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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
See context

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to participate in today's debate.

As hon. members know, our government came to office with a plan to grow the middle class and to grow the economy. Bill C-63 is the next step toward this goal.

The bill would help to make the tax system fairer and more efficient. This bill also includes measures to give federally regulated workers the right to request more flexible work arrangements from their employer, largely benefiting women, who continue to do the majority of unpaid work at home. Also proposed is the elimination of unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors that are not part of a formal educational program, and providing labour standard protections for unpaid interns who are part of an educational program.

Bill C-63 also provides yet another building block in our overall climate change strategy. Through the bill the government is taking action to ensure that Canadian exploration expense treatment for the oil and gas sector is effectively limited to unsuccessful exploration or early stage exploration where the linkage to success cannot reasonably be determined in the year the activity takes place. We believe these measures will be an important part of Canada's pursuit of a low-carbon economy.

If we look at the measures in Bill C-63, I think we can all agree that this legislation is an important step in our plan to build an economy that works for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

However, before I speak about the next steps in our plan, I would like to talk about how we got where we are today, and the signs that tell us our plan to build a stronger middle class and grow the Canadian economy is working.

First, let us look at what we inherited.

Just two years ago, the world economy was still in recovery. Canadians were feeling as though they were working harder than ever, but they just were not getting ahead. During the last election campaign we debated whether Canada was in or heading into a recession. There were grounds for that concern. The median real wage income of Canadians had barely risen over the previous 30 years.

The global economic environment was, and to a large extent still is, very uncertain. The fact is that when we talk to people across the country, there is a lot of anxiety that the next generation, our kids and grandkids, may not be as well off. Our government wants to ensure we create the conditions for all Canadians to succeed in a changing economy.

To get there, the government is committed to ensuring a healthy, thriving business environment and to protecting the ability of Canadian businesses to invest, grow and create jobs.

Let us look at where we are right now.

I would now like to focus on the state of our economy and the recent measures in the government's fall economic statement, which is a continuation of the government's plan put in place in 2015. Our past two budgets laid the foundation for this plan and we built on it in last month's fall statement.

The government's plan to invest in people and in our country's future is based on the belief that when we have an economy that works for the middle class, we have a country that works for everyone.

I think it is fair to say that there are many clear signs that the government's plan is working.

The Canadian economy is currently the fastest growing in the G7, with an average growth of 3.7% over the last four quarters.

This is due in large part to increased consumer confidence, a direct result of programs like the Canada child benefit, which puts more money in the pockets of moms and dads, so they can pay off debt, buy sports equipment for their children, or buy healthier food. Our government is providing a bit of breathing room for Canadian households that greatly need it.

Everywhere we look, there are signs of progress for the middle class.

Over 600,000 new jobs have been created since 2015, and the unemployment rate is nearly the lowest it has been in a decade. Canadian economic growth has accelerated sharply since the second half of 2016. Over the last four quarters, the Canadian economy has had its fastest rate of growth in more than a decade, and growth is forecast to be 3.1% in 2017, significantly above expectations at the beginning of the year.

These gains, coupled with a better than expected fiscal outcome in 2016-17, have resulted in a real positive improvement to our budget outlook.

In fact, Canada's fiscal outlook has improved by over $6.5 billion annually on average compared to what we expected back in March. The federal debt-to-GDP ratio has been firmly placed on a downward track, with Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio projected to remain the lowest in the G7. Our government is committed to preserving Canada's low-debt advantage for current and future generations.

The actions the government has taken are having a real, positive impact on our economy and for all Canadians.

I would now like to expand on how our government's fall economic statement will keep us on this positive trajectory.

Canada's strong economy is giving our government the ability to reinvest the benefits of growth back into the people have who contributed most to that success. This is why we are strengthening the Canada child benefit, to ensure it continues to play a vital role in supporting families for years to come.

The Canada child benefit will be bolstered by annual cost of living increases starting in July 2018, which is two years ahead of schedule.

The government had previously committed to indexing the Canada child benefit to inflation as of July 2020. However, our economic growth and our improved fiscal record have allowed our government to achieve this commitment two years ahead of schedule, which is excellent news for Canadian families.

We are also putting money in the pockets of low-income Canadians by increasing the working income tax benefit by $500 million more per year as of 2019. This benefit will ultimately be 65% higher than it was when we came to power.

I remind members that the working income tax benefit is a refundable tax credit that supplements the earnings of low-income workers, the people who are working hard to get into the middle class, such as young, single workers who are struggling to carve out a place on the job market.

The working income tax benefit provides important income support and helps to ensure that work is rewarded. This $500 million enhancement announced in the fall economic statement is in addition to the increase of about $250 million annually that will come into effect in that year as part of the enhancement of the Canada pension plan. These two actions will boost the total amount the government spends on the working income tax benefit by about 65% in 2019, increasing benefits to current recipients and expanding the number of Canadians receiving that much-needed support.

This will give a needed boost to well over 1.5 million low-income workers as they work long hours, sometimes in more than one job, to advance their careers and support themselves and their families. Whether this extra money is used for things such as helping to cover the family grocery bill or helping to pay for work-related expenses, the improved benefit will help low-income working Canadians make ends meet.

We are also helping small businesses invest, grow, and create jobs by lowering the small business tax rate to 9% by 2019. We are making sure that Canada's low corporate tax rates serve to support businesses, not to provide unfair tax advantages to the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.

The investments we have made in our country's people, communities, and economy are producing results. They are putting more money in the pockets of those who need it the most, creating good, well-paying jobs, and giving Canadians more confidence in their future.

That is why we are doubling down on a plan that has been proven to work and reinvesting in the middle class, which, need I remind the House, was neglected by the previous government for a decade.

I would like to take a moment to discuss another measure in Bill C-63.

It is important for Canadians to have the confidence that our tax system is fair, simple, and efficient and that we have a growing and healthy economy. Initial action to implement changes from the comprehensive tax expenditure review conducted by the government were introduced in budget 2017. The review had a broad scope, which included corporate income tax expenditures, personal income tax expenditures, as well as goods and services tax expenditures. As part of the tax expenditure review, the government considered billed-basis accounting.

Billed-basis accounting is a method that allows certain designated professionals to declare expenses for tax purposes before the income related to those expenses is included in their revenue. It was eliminated in the 1980s for all professionals, except those in certain designated professions. Back then, those professionals could not access the small business deduction except under very limited circumstances, which put them at a disadvantage. That is no longer the case today.

With Bill C-63, the government is proposing to eliminate the option of using billed-basis accounting for income tax purposes for a limited group of professionals in order to avoid giving these professionals a tax benefit that other taxpayers do not have access to.

We intend to implement this measure in a fair and reasonable manner and give professionals the time they need to adjust and adapt. We are acting on the feedback we have received, and we are planning to extend the phase-in period to five years.

I would also like to reassure the House that this measure should not affect the legal services provided through legal aid or on a pro bono basis. It will not have any impact on the agreements regarding contingency fees, under which a lawyer is paid only if the client receives money. The Canada Revenue Agency has indicated that work in progress could be considered to have no value until a payment is made.

In summary, the government is committed to ensuring that the tax system puts everyone on an equal footing, and we are convinced that this measure will contribute to greater equity among professionals.

The government's plan will help strengthen the middle class and ensure Canadians have the support, resources, and confidence they need to succeed, create jobs, and grow our economy.

Economic growth is strong and because of that, we are in a position to do even more to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. We will ensure Canadians have the skills, training, and learning opportunities they need to compete and thrive in the rapidly changing global economy.

We are continuing to invest in public transit, our commercial networks, and cleaner water to keep our cities moving and to keep Canadians safe.

We will continue to build a better future for the middle class and all Canadians, no matter their circumstances. We want to ensure that they have a real chance to reach their full potential.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the job numbers are out. The Canadian economy created 80,000 jobs, bringing down the unemployment rate to 5.9%, the lowest since February 2008. It is the 12th straight month of positive job creation, the best since March 2007. It is the 12th month of full-time job creation and the best in 18 years.

Did this excellent news happen due to the income tax cuts for the middle class, or the investments we made in infrastructure, or the investments we made in innovation and skills training?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is probably a mix of all the factors he mentioned, but it is important to look back at where Canada stood when we arrived in Ottawa as the Liberal government. In the last election campaign, Canadians were debating, and rightfully so, whether Canada was in or heading into a recession. We had sluggish employment growth. Our GDP growth, in the decade the Conservatives were in power, was the worst since the Second World War.

We were in a situation where Canadians voted for a plan. Interest rates were low, and we knew that there was a need for infrastructure spending in communities across the country. I have spoken to a lot of mayors who can confirm this. I am sure that all MPs in this House know about the dire need for infrastructure spending in all their communities. Therefore, when we came into office, we looked at that situation, and we decided that while interest rates were low, it was important to invest and to make sure that we not only invested in infrastructure but reduced inequalities. We know that when inequalities are on a downward trend, economic growth is better. We have seen it in Scandinavian countries, for instance. They can attest to that. They have had good economic growth while they have maintained inequalities at the lowest possible level. That is where we wanted to go.

It is a plan that has been approved by international institutions. Christine Lagarde, of the IMF, said that Canada's approach should go viral, that this approach should be emulated by other countries in the world, and that the smartest thing to do would be to invest in Canadians and invest in infrastructure while interest rates are low to boost the economy and get better growth. It would help improve the state's fiscal position. That is exactly what we have done, and the results speak for themselves. These are today's numbers: 600,000 jobs created since we took office.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, hopefully I am allotted the same amount of time as our hon. colleague across the way to answer that last question.

I just arrived from Quebec City, where I toured the Davie shipyard yesterday with our colleagues. I met a number of proud employees who are there working on the Asterix ship. It is incredible work the Davie shipyard is doing, and I know that our hon. colleague is aware of it.

I also know that the Liberals like to say that Canadians are telling them that they are doing a great job. I know for a fact, because I heard this from many people yesterday, that the hon. colleague himself has taken a lot of heat in that area, specifically in some radio and media interviews. They ask why rather than spending money on, say, the Asia infrastructure bank, the government is not spending money on what is perhaps the oldest marine fleet in the world. Our Canadian Coast Guard has one of the oldest marine fleets in the world. We have icebreakers that are beyond their notional lifespan, and the government has dithered away two years putting our economic viability, our Arctic sovereignty, at risk. It is putting coastal communities, maritime fishers, and shipping at risk. The government is continuing to put its eyes overseas, rather than focusing here at home.

When are the Liberals going to start focusing on Canadians and spending money here that is actually creating jobs, and when are they going to allow the Davie shipyard to reach its full potential and purchase and approve some icebreakers?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for his visit to my beautiful region of Quebec City. I am very proud of Davie and its workers and what they have produced with the Asterix. It is a source of pride for my region. I have worked very hard with Davie and its union representatives to make sure that it can show its full potential in the competitive process we have in place for icebreakers, as the member mentioned.

However, it is a little rich to see Conservatives go and do photo ops at the Davie shipyard. When the member for Lévis—Lotbinière was sitting at the cabinet table when the national shipbuilding strategy was approved under the previous government, nothing was left for Davie, and now he is going to do photo ops at the Davie shipyard. He should hang his head in shame.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech.

When debating a budget, or in this case, a budget implementation bill, we often talk about the measures set out in that budget. However, it is also important to talk about what is missing. I want to talk about a commitment that the NDP and the Liberals made regarding the tax loophole on CEO stock options.

I am raising this issue because it is disappointing to see that the Liberals have not closed this loophole after two years in office. What is more, they are eliminating the public transit tax credit and other tax credits. I want to ask my colleague to explain the rationale behind eliminating the public transit tax credit while keeping a tax credit for CEOs who are buying stocks in their own companies.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.

I believe that our government is committed to making our tax system fairer where we see it is lacking. I think that my colleague has made some valid suggestions. We are open to looking at the different options available to enhance the fairness of our tax system.

We must acknowledge that the public transit tax credit had very little impact. Again, you have to pay taxes in order to receive a tax credit. We are making historic investments in public transit. We are spending $180 billion over 12 years, with a large part going to public transit. We know that this improves access to public transit and makes it easier for Canadians to get around. We believe that it will help improve the lives of Canadians and also make a difference to our environment.

When we looked into the analyses of the public transit tax credit, we noted that it was not a very effective measure. I believe that the NDP cares about the most vulnerable, as I do. The most vulnerable quite often do not pay tax, and they did not benefit from this tax credit. You have to know about it and, often, you need an accountant in order to use it. You have to know something about taxes, and not everyone does.

By investing directly in public transit, we are making it easier for everyone to access it and at the same time we are helping the environment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, my constituents are concerned about the Asian infrastructure bank. As my hon. colleague mentioned earlier, the reality is that the government is going to invest $500 million in an Asian infrastructure bank that is going to create jobs for building pipelines and coal-fired power plants in another part of the world. My constituents are asking why the government cannot create jobs here in Canada.

The Liberals shut down the energy east pipeline, which would have come through my riding and created jobs. Here they are, sending money outside the country instead of putting it toward good-paying middle-class jobs in my riding. They could put money into carbon capture plants, which capture 98% of greenhouse gases and 100% of sulphur and put it into the ground. This is innovation. This is advancement and a great asset for greenhouse gas capture. Why can the government not put money into Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy that the member talked about job creation. That is clearly where we have succeeded and where the Conservatives failed for 10 years. In the last two years, we have created 600,000 jobs in this country, most of them full-time. That is something they unfortunately failed to achieve. I am all about Canada's success. I wish they had succeeded in those 10 years. They did not. They had the wrong plan.

When we look at the Asian infrastructure bank, this is part of Canada's re-engagement in the world. Most of the bank's projects are done with the support of the World Bank and other international institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank. Is the member suggesting that we should withdraw from international institutions?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to address one allegation sometimes made against the Liberal government and other far left governments around the world that I think is false. Some have accused governments like these of really having it in for the rich, for wanting to get tough on people who have a lot of money, and unfairly so.

Even Winston Churchill once said, “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” I want to say that in this case, this very rare case, even the great Winston Churchill was wrong. Socialism and big government policies do not equally spread around the miseries to everyone. No, they spread them around in a way that is better described in George Orwell's Animal Farm. They spread them around in a manner that is equal, but equal in a special way, equal in that everyone is equal, but some are more equal than others.

The Liberal government, a government that subscribes to, to put it generously, social democratic policies, socialist policies, does not disparage those who have lots of money. Rather, it has a different view of how money should be distributed. While we on this side believe in the free market, which distributes wealth based on merit, the Liberals believe that wealth should be distributed by government, that people should be allowed to get wealthy as long as they do so through the government.

In a government-directed economy, people get rich by having the best lobbyists. In a free market economy, people get ahead by having the best product or service. We have seen this borne out.

Strategas research, a company out of the United States, did a carefully calculated correlation between the money spent on lobbying in Washington and the amount of government spending in Washington. It found that as government becomes a larger share of the U.S. economy, the number of dollars companies spend on lobbying goes up almost on a one for one basis. Why? It is because business goes where the money is, and if all the money is in the government, it invests in getting that money. It invests in getting a return by purchasing political power. When the government decides who gets what, those with money buy power and then transform that power into yet more money.

What are some of the ways one can do this? One can, for example, hire a lobbyist to get a subsidy. Company X spends $10 million on lobbying and gets a $400-million interest-free loan, a pretty good return on investment. That is how one gets a return on investment in a government-directed economy. One purchases political power and then hopes that this political power results in more money.

In a free market economy, one invests in creating a better product or service that improves other people's lives, which they buy voluntarily with their own money, and then one gets a return by making somebody else's life better. In a free market economy based on voluntary exchange, the only way to get ahead is by offering something to someone that is worth more than it cost.

Let me give some practical examples of where our friends across the way have been extremely generous to the rich, contrary to allegations that they are hard on the rich, allegations that, in fairness and in a spirit of nonpartisanship, I seek to dispel here on the floor of the House of Commons.

First, a $400-million interest-free loan was given to Bombardier, which, if it is ever paid back, will be done so on the most generous terms. Bombardier is controlled by a billionaire family that had 53% of the votes at a shareholder meeting, even though the family has a minority of the shares. They have multiple voting shares. That company could have raised more money by issuing more stock, but what would have happened then? The majority control of the billionaire Bombardier-Beaudoin family would have been diluted, and they would have lost their majority and thus their control of the company.

The Liberals bailed out the billionaires and saved their control of that company so they could continue to make decisions and pay themselves exorbitant salaries, even when they have bad results. In fact, after the government kicked in this money, the executives of the company, some of them billionaires, paid themselves a 50% increase in compensation, all while laying off 14,000 people. We now know that many of the jobs to be created in the future are going to be south of the border, and the control of the intellectual property will be in the hands of Europeans. There was no Canadian public interest in this move, it was all about helping this billionaire family.

Therefore, it is not true, and I reject the allegation against the party opposite that it is tough on the rich. That is unfair, and I reject it, and I will stand up against those who disparage the government in that way.

Then, there is the infrastructure bank. Municipalities across the country have become smart about these construction companies. For years, these companies would come in, place a bid, promise to build a bridge or a road for a certain price, and then, after they got the contract, they would come back and say, “Oops, sorry, it's going to cost a lot more than we thought and you'll have to pay us more.”

Municipalities have said that they are not doing that anymore. From now on, they are paying on a fixed price contract. It must be built for the price agreed upon and, if it goes over, the construction company will have to pay for it. That has bred discipline into the process of procurement. The government wants to take away that discipline, with loans and loan guarantees backed up by taxpayers, which will protect investors when they participate in infrastructure megaprojects. If they build a monstrous bridge, a transit project, or something else, and the project goes over budget or its revenues fall short, then that company will use the loan guarantee provided by this multi-billion dollar taxpayer-backed bank to protect them. Taxpayers get all the risk and investors get all the profit.

This whole scheme was cooked up at the Shangri-La Hotel, one of the swankiest places in Toronto. The heads of investment firms, worth literally hundreds of billions of dollars, met with ministers of this government, in secret, to craft all the terms. They decided how Canadian tax dollars would be spent. There were no consultations on this with taxpayers, the people who have to pay for it. Those who would benefit were at the table writing the policy for the government. That consultation, and the generous way with which the government carried it out, proves once again that the allegation against the government for having it in for the rich and being hard on the wealthy is absolutely false. I again dispel that false allegation.

Now we have the Asian infrastructure bank. This is a half-a-billion dollar contribution from Canadian taxpayers to a foreign bank to build infrastructure in other parts of the world. All of us at times have supported foreign aid for the world's poor, but this is not intended to help the world's poor, it is meant to help the world's rich. Wealthy investors who build pipelines—which would never get approved here in Canada—or other infrastructure in other parts of the world, would have their investments protected by $100 billion of tax money from around the world. Therefore, if those project do not meet their financial expectations, that is fine, because taxpayers from around the world will have to pick up the tab for the incompetent decisions of international investors. That is more welfare for the wealthy. In this case, it is the foreign wealthy, those who are not even in Canada.

We cannot say that this has anything to do with promoting trade links. In fact, the principal government participating in this Asian infrastructure bank, in China, has said that the purpose of the bank is to re-establish the Silk Road, the trading route from China westward, away from Canada. Therefore, the infrastructure that would be built could not possibly facilitate commerce with Canadians, because we are on the wrong side of the world to benefit from any of it. Again, the government has cozied up with the world's wealthy elite in order to provide taxpayer-funded benefits to those who have the most.

To move on to other decisions here at home, the government has decided that it is going to raise taxes. It claims it will only affect the wealthy. However, it seems that it affects everyone but the wealthy. The Fraser Institute calculated that 87% of middle-class taxpayers are paying more in tax since the government took office, on average $800 more.

We found in the first annual financial report from Finance Canada since the government's policies were implemented that the wealthiest Canadians actually paid less in the 2016-17 tax year, because they were able to successfully move their money around and avoid the tax increases that the government imposed on people.

This brings me to the conduct and judgment of the Minister of Finance. We have learned that he was one of the individuals who moved his income in order to avoid paying the taxes that he was imposing on others. He sold his shares in Morneau Shepell on November 30, 2015, which was almost a month before his own tax increases took effect. By selling his shares at that time, he paid capital gains tax under the lower rate, rather than waiting an extra five or six weeks and paying the higher rates that he said were so fair.

Putting aside whether the minister acted ethically in that matter, on principle he should have led by example. If he believed that Canadians should pay higher taxes and that people like him should pay more, why could he not have waited five weeks to make that $10-million sale, realize his capital gains in the 2016 year, and pay the same higher taxes that he applied to everyone else? He was very careful to make sure that those taxes would not apply to him.

On the same point, the Minister of Finance has huffed and puffed and said it is so unfair of us to ask him questions about his shares. However, in any public company, a corporate executive could be asked those kinds of questions at a board meeting or at an annual meeting of shareholders. In fact, corporate executives are required to publicly disclose the shares they buy and sell. If they sell them at a time that is near the release of earnings report, for example, there are lots of red flags raised, and lots of questions that they are accountable for answering.

For the minister to suggest that it is somehow unreasonable for Her Majesty's loyal opposition to demand that he explain the timing of the sale of shares that he made in the immediate lead-up to the tabling of tax documents on the floor of the House of Commons is a little rich, quite literally, coming from him.

Let me talk to both the hypocrisy of his conduct and his judgment. In the corporate world, they have something called “blackouts”. Typically, officers and directors of public companies try to avoid selling shares in the immediate lead-up to the release of earnings results. Even in cases where those results are anticipated accurately, even if the guidance issued by the company at the beginning of the quarter turns out to be accurate at the end of quarter, even if all the analysts correctly predict the earnings per share that will be released at the end of the quarter, and even if there is nothing unexpected that comes out in those earning results, it is not good form for a CEO, or another executive, to sell shares a week before those results are released. It is better form for that executive to wait until three or four business days after the earning results are released, to have no doubt that everyone had exactly the same information when they sold their shares.

The minister admitted on the floor of the House of Commons yesterday that some of the contents of the document he tabled on December 7, 2015 were confidential, that it was kept tight within a small group in Finance Canada, that those materials were sensitive and therefore could not be shared around. If that were the case, then surely he ought not to be trading on the stock market seven or eight days before the public release of that document. He should have had the competence and the judgment to avoid the real, or perhaps just perceptual, problems that go along with that conduct. These are exactly the kinds of questions and criticisms that the opposition is expected to raise, and it would be political malpractice for us not to raise them.

Furthermore, there are places around the world where such questions are not asked of the leaders, where leaders can say, “That's out of bounds. You can't ask me that. It's none of your business.” There are places like that. They are the most miserable places to live on planet earth. I am so proud to live in a country where we have the ability to ask these kinds of questions. It is our job on this side of the House of Commons to ensure that the government is always acting in the public interest, and not in the private interest of any individual.

Going back to the point of hypocrisy, the Prime Minister and the finance minister have been crying a lot of crocodile tears about the questions they face over their own financial decisions, the amount of tax they have paid, and the way they have protected their own family fortunes.

These are the questions that they invited when, over the last three years, they have engaged in a bloody-minded campaign of class warfare. They went out and started attacking people, including in their own words, “wealthy doctors” and others, who use “fancy accounting scheme”, “a privileged few” who were avoiding “paying their fair share”. They implied that there was a group of people who were getting ahead and not paying enough, and they disparaged those people. Now the Prime Minister and the finance minister expect everyone to have sympathy for them because people are asking questions about their finances.

When they single out a group of honest, hard-working, law-abiding Canadians, and attack them for following the rules and working hard and succeeding, then people are going to ask questions as to whether they live up to their own standards. That is exactly what we have been doing.

To conclude, the government has no problem supporting the wealthy and the privileged. In fact, the government has been very, very generous to that group of people. However, we on this side of the House of Commons will continue to stand on the side of merit, free enterprise, and an economy that allows anyone who is prepared to work hard, to be smart and industrious, to get ahead while making the lives of other people better at the same time.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, first let me provide some counter. The member across the way has tried to say something that is just not true. This government did in fact have a special tax increase on Canada's 1% wealthiest. There is no denying that. That is factual. In fact, the member knows it full well, because he voted against that measure.

What we have heard time and time again from members opposite is a character assassination conducted against the Minister of Finance. I found a wonderful quote that is appropriate, and I would like to read it into the record. This is what the member opposite said when he was in government:

I would encourage him, if he has the integrity, if he has the courage, to take the exact statement that he just made, walk outside in front of the media and repeat those allegations. It is my bet that he will not do it.

When we look at the character assassination, I have heard words such as “jail” and “criminal activity” being levelled against the Minister of Finance.

Would the member across the way not hold the same standard he held when he was in government, when he talked about how easy it is to use parliamentary privilege to say something inside the House, and not have the courage to say the same sorts of things outside of the House when it comes to character assassination?

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a very strange course of events when the government is using words about an allegation relating to its own minister that the opposition is not using. He almost wants us to make those allegations. We have not.

Second, the Minister of Finance told me go outside. I said, “Come with me. Let's go together. I will repeat the same facts and questions out there as I did in here”, but he was like the schoolboy who challenged someone to fight and then did not show up at the bike racks. I went outside, I repeated my questions and my facts, and stated the same things out there as I did in here, which are questions and facts.

These are legitimate questions and legitimate facts, and the finance minister could have done a lot better job of dealing with these problems if he had just answered basic, simple questions, to which he would obviously have answers, like when did he sell his shares. We asked it literally dozens of times this week and as late as yesterday, he was claiming not to have any knowledge. That was an obvious question, to which he could have given an obvious answer, and he would have done himself a great service if he had. If he starts to answer questions, he will do himself a great service.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I resisted the temptation, which came to me frequently throughout the speech by the member for Carleton, to ask about relevance to Bill C-63. He did occasionally, in fairness to the member, touch on things that are actually in Bill C-63, but I am going to ask a more partisan question.

This morning, going through The Daily Press, those media sources that are generally cheerleaders for his party, people like Terence Corcoran and the editorialists in The Globe and Mail, papers and columnists who uniformly endorsed the Conservatives in the last election, are wondering if the Conservatives have not gone out too far without evidence. In this constant attack, I am not going to defend the finance minister's decisions on many things, but if the member cannot get the cheerleading choir of the Conservative Party in The Globe and Mail and the Financial Post to agree that he is on to something, would he consider changing the channel and actually talking about the bill before us?

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will not stop asking the relevant and important questions that are the duty of an official opposition to ask. Our job is to hold the government to account to ensure that not only its policies but its conduct are appropriate. In so doing, I have stated facts, asked questions, and played my role as an opposition critic, and I will keep doing so.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to focus on the first part of the speech by the member for Carleton. He spoke about the infrastructure bank and how all of the risk would be put on the taxpayer. If I recall, one week before the election, he announced a fund in Ottawa, which he should remember. It was called the public transit fund, which would be administered under PPP Canada. PPP Canada issues private sector funds, taxpayer funds, and obviously the proponent of the project would issue his funds as well.

I am wondering if his mind has changed since July 27, 2015, when he announced the public transit fund, which would be administered under PPP Canada, which we know is a public-private partnership, and obviously all of the risk is on the taxpayer. He was just complaining about the infrastructure bank. All I want to know is if he has seen the enlightenment of not issuing a PPP.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I strongly support private sector investment in infrastructure in a way that puts the risk on the investor, and that is exactly what Conservatives did in government. We created infrastructure deals that ensured that the investor would suffer the losses in the event that the project went over budget or revenue came in below expectations. That is exactly how public-private partnerships should work. In fact, the only real benefit to having a public-private partnership is to shift risk off the taxpayer and onto the private sector investor. What, in fact, the government is doing is exactly the opposite. It is shifting the risk off the investor and onto the taxpayer, and that is what we oppose.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for another exceptional speech here in the House. I would ask him to elaborate a little on the finance minister's invitation to go to out to the lobby and restate what he suggested were allegations that did not refer at all to the fact that they were facts and questions. The other half of that invitation was that if my colleague did, and he did and the finance minister did not accompany him, he would face the full weight of the law and the legal proceedings that the minister's great wealth would enable.

I wonder if my colleague could speak about the fact that the threats that have been made from the Prime Minister and the finance minister, and the legal chill that they are trying to impose on the questions that are being legitimately, logically, and democratically asked in the House.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the minister is in fact trying to use his prodigious wealth to silence his critics. There is no question about that. I have stated facts and asked questions on the floor of the House of Commons, which I have repeated outside the House. However, the minister, instead of just answering them here, has said that he wants to sue people who ask those questions.

In the House, we are equal regardless of the wealth that we inherited or brought to this place. We are all equal in our ability to conduct debate, to ask questions, and demand accountability, and that is all that we have sought from the minister. Unfortunately, he has made problems so much worse for himself through his absolute unwillingness to answer the most basic questions on the floor of the House of Commons or anywhere else. He has had all week to do it, he fails to do it, and instead he goes around using the Bay Street tactic of threatening lawsuits against anybody who disagrees with him.

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December 1st, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Carleton has introduced a new phrase into our lexicon today: “political malpractice”. It is fascinating. He also said that the Minister of Finance is using prodigious wealth to silence people.

However, I recall that very member on the government benches day after day refusing to answer direct questions about a certain Mr. Nigel Wright, who I do think had prodigious wealth and wrote a cheque arguably to silence someone. How does he feel about that instance today?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think a lot of people are looking back on those quaint old times in the previous government when people had to resign because they spent $16 on a glass of orange juice, or because they, on behalf of a constituent, called a quasi-judicial body in order to try to help a constituent with a problem. Those were the days when ministers held themselves to the highest possible ethical standards. Now we live in an era where a minister can own shares secretly in a company that he regulates, introduce a bill on pensions when he owns a pension company, and where that minister can actually tell us that it is illegitimate to question his sale of shares right before introducing a tax measure. Times have changed for the worse.

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December 1st, 2017 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, here we are once again with a budget implementation bill that fails to honour the Liberals' commitment to refrain from using omnibus bills inappropriately. In fact, the Chair decided to allow separate votes on some aspects of the bill.

Furthermore, there is the matter of time allocation. Once again, here we are at third reading of the bill, and we will only have two and a half hours to debate it. This is completely unacceptable, since the budget is one of the most important duties of government and parliamentarians. The government's frequent, or even constant, use of time-allocation and closure motions is completely unacceptable, in light of the promises it made during the election campaign. It is disappointing to see that the government is yet again proceeding in this fashion.

Let us come back to the substance of the bill. Often, when it comes to a budget and the budget implementation bill, you could say the devil is in the details. It is important to take a good look at what is in the budget and what is not in the budget, or what the government did not do. On that point, I will focus on something extremely important. I already raised it in a question that I asked the parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Finance, and that is the issue of tax credits that keeps coming up.

Hon. members will recall one of the first promises the NDP made before the election campaign even began. It was when we quietly started talking about the measures that we were going to propose during the campaign. We mentioned this infamous loophole that allows CEOs to benefit from a tax credit on the purchase of shares in their own company. That is an extremely problematic loophole. Obviously those who benefit from it are very well off. This situation is all the more infuriating when we consider that the government eliminated other tax credits.

I realize that some of the previous government's tax credits fall under what is called boutique tax credits. Those are tax credits that truly target very specific areas or specific people and are not always very effective.

However, gone is the public transit tax credit, which benefited families, students, and those middle-class Canadians that the government says it wants to stand up for and design its policies around. The fact that the CEO loophole stays intact while the public transit tax credit gets axed shows that there is a gap between what the government says it wants to do and what actually happens in real life.

One of the most problematic aspects of this bill is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is related to another major file we looked at with the first budget implementation bill, namely the Canada infrastructure bank. We have heard very little about it since then.

There have been many debates on this subject in the House of Commons. Our biggest concern is that it is really a bank designed to privatize public infrastructure. It invests public money and then asks the private sector to invest. However, these investments come with conditions, and those conditions are extremely dangerous.

The public will be paying for infrastructure that the private sector will be asked to invest in. The public will then have to pay again, through tolls, for example, and will have to bear the entire financial burden of maintaining this infrastructure.

This is very worrisome. The Liberals support this approach. We know that these contracts will not benefit small or even medium-sized communities, which need infrastructure badly, as do municipalities. Instead, they will of course benefit the Liberals' Bay Street friends and representatives of investment companies like BlackRock, who attend closed-door meetings with the government about the development of this infrastructure bank.

We now see that approach continuing with this bill, which allows the Minister of Finance to invest $480 million of Canadian taxpayers' money in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

This is very troubling because there are risks to the sovereignty of our infrastructure. It also lets them claim that the more than $200 million allocated by the government has doubled. That amount will now be $480 million. This is a very troubling situation.

We can also see what is missing from all of this. I would like to take this opportunity to talk about local issues, issues back home, issues that affect the riding of Beloeil—Chambly.

In the last election campaign, one of the most important issues was whether we were going to get a commitment from the government. In fact, I made a commitment that if the NDP were to form government, we would change the law to resolve disputes between the federal government and many municipalities. Let me explain. This has to do with certain sites that are federal government property, such as Fort Chambly and the Chambly Canal in my riding.

The Supreme Court ruled on this a few years ago in Halifax (Regional Municipality) v. Canada (Public Works and Government Services). In that case, the City of Halifax and other municipalities involved in the matter argued that the federal government was not paying its fair share in lieu of taxes. Indeed, the federal government does not pay municipal taxes on land that it owns.

In its ruling, the Supreme Court agreed that the government was not paying its fair share. At the time, the federal government offered to create an advisory panel to help the decision-making process, in order to obtain an accurate assessment of the value of the sites and to ensure that the payments meet the municipalities' expectations.

The problem is that the advisory panel was made up of bureaucrats, and what it said was basically that if a municipality like Chambly did not agree with the federal government's decision with respect to the assessment of a site it owns, such as the fort and the canal, the government would just lob the ball to other bureaucrats, who would essentially make the same decision.

The bill I introduced in the last Parliament, which I reintroduced at the beginning of this one, would set up an independent assessment process to get it out of the hands of the governments involved in these disputes. We need independent assessment. As we saw in Chambly, the city commissioned an independent assessment to determine the fair value of the property.

This is something that really worries me. Why? During the last election campaign and during the debate that took place in Chambly, we got all of the other candidates to sign on to that commitment. That was at my insistence. If any other candidate, including the Liberal candidate, had won, he or she would have done the same thing.

Right now, we have a Liberal government that has not taken any action on this despite our repeated requests or the bill I introduced. We are talking about $500,000 a year for Chambly. For a city with a population of about 30,000, $500,000 is a big deal.

Not only is this a way for the federal government to pay its fair share, but it is also a way to make more resources available for cities so that they can offer services for residents, such as public transit, which is a free service in Chambly.

I am raising this issue because I think that introducing a budget implementation bill like this one that changes all sorts of provisions constitutes an opportunity to change the law so that Public Works and Government Services Canada is required to conduct an independent assessment when there is a conflict between a municipality and a city like Chambly.

Speaking of Chambly, there is another aspect of this bill that I find very worrisome and it has to do with infrastructure. The government and the minister responsible made announcements in Montreal and the greater Montreal area about the REM light rail project, which is extremely important for the city's suburbs, particularly the second tier of suburbs, which includes my riding.

However, there is a caveat. We realize that certain aspects of the file need to be discussed in order to ensure that the project is completed while fully respecting the people and the municipalities. A very important request was made by the mayors of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Chambly, and here I appeal to my colleague, the Liberal member for Saint-Jean. They would like the rail network to be extended so it can properly serve the residents of the Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu region and the Chambly basin.

In its current form, the project will create horrific traffic jams on highways 30 and 10. It is also important to consider urban spread and population growth in areas like mine. Naturally, we are happy that people want to move to our area and start a family. That is important, because the trend is towards population aging, and we are seeing more and more young families in our neighbourhoods.

In 2011, Marieville, one of the municipalities in my riding, was one of the top three municipalities in Quebec for population growth. In 2012, two municipalities in my riding, one of which is no longer part of my riding, ranked among the five Quebec municipalities with the highest birth rates. Furthermore, in the last Parliament, my riding was the third most populous federal riding in Quebec, thanks to its relatively young population, which ran counter to the trend.

At a meeting with members of the Fédération étudiante collégiale du Québec, or FECQ, I learned that the only CEGEPs in Quebec that will not see a drop in student numbers are those that serve the greater Montérégie area and Montreal, particularly the Saint-Hyacinthe and Édouard-Montpetit CEGEPs.

Given that more and more people are living and working in my riding, but sometimes also work in Montreal, it is extremely important to have a good public transit system. When it comes to the REM, one of the biggest projects ever proposed, the government must show some respect for communities and municipalities like Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Chambly. These municipalities are making a very specific request. Not only do they want their residents to be well served, but they also want to ensure that traffic will not increase on the roads used by the people I represent. That is extremely important.

I can say today in the House that we are going to continue to call upon the ministers responsible to ensure that they are listening. I am talking about this during the debate on the budget implementation bill because, although the government says that it is providing funding, funding is not enough. Respect and project implementation are also important. Of course, that will require full and effective co-operation with the Government of Quebec and municipalities like Chambly and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

There is good news, too, but not thanks to the government. I am very pleased to say that the good news stems from the hard work of our team, my counterparts in the National Assembly, and municipal elected officials. I am talking about the Beloeil pool. Enough people signed the registry to hold a referendum about building a pool, and the outcome was positive.

The subject also came up during two election campaigns in Beloeil, including the one that just ended. It even came up during the federal and Quebec elections in 2015, because people wanted to be sure the money would be available for this infrastructure project, which is very important to the community and to the young families I mentioned earlier.

I sat down with the mayor of Beloeil, Diane Lavoie, and my National Assembly counterpart, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and we came up with a joint game plan to make sure we got the money. We got the Government of Quebec and the federal government to commit to paying equal shares amounting to $9 million to build the new aquatics centre.

Given the parliamentary budget officer's findings and other things we have heard, and given that the government has had difficulty allocating money and spending it on infrastructure, it should not be congratulating itself for this type of bill. The local stakeholders are the ones who should be congratulated. It takes a tremendous amount of work jumping through endless bureaucratic hoops to get the money we are owed. A city such as Beloeil has a robust public sector. However, we can only imagine what it must be like for smaller municipalities, which have part-time staff, for example, and even part-time elected officials. This is not a criticism; their reality is a function of their population, demographics, and resources.

In this context, we can imagine the challenges they face when it is so difficult for the federal government to negotiate bilateral agreements and, on top of that, to spend the money. That is why I give credit to local stakeholders. I am proud to have worked with them to make this project a reality, because it will be a great asset to our community.

As I only have a few minutes left, I would like to conclude with the following remarks.

The government is patting itself on the back and saying that its plan is working, highlighting the numbers that came out on employment. However, the fact remains that social and economic inequalities are as present as ever in our society. We must address them. Simply sitting back and saying that the unemployment rate is at such and such a level is not enough, because that rate does not accurately reflect the government's record. The government's record is better reflected in the quality of jobs, as well as the level of inequality in our society. In that regard, the government still has a lot of work to do.

I talked about some extremely important local files, not to mention all the other files that need to be addressed, including tax evasion. The government merely identified billions of dollars that is missing from its coffers, rather than actually going after and recuperating it. It refuses to change the tax laws and treaties that mean that taxpayers who pay their fair share are essentially being cheated by the wealthy and by large corporations that are guilty of tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Despite what the minister says, this is not a priority. When it is time to table a budget, these are the types of priorities a government must have if it truly wants to address inequality and have the necessary resources to tackle the big projects that I mentioned in my speech. The government has a lot of work to do.

Speaking of inequalities, I want to use my last remaining minute to mention another group that I have had the pleasure of working with in my capacity as public safety critic. They are known as the no-fly list kids. They did not get any money in the spring budget and were hoping to get money this time around.

All the legislative measures in the world will not get us a proper redress system without the necessary money. When we see the problems with Shared Services Canada and the Phoenix pay system, we are not very confident that a computer system can be implemented without adequate funding. However, I am an eternal optimist, and I hope to see something different this spring.

As hon. members can see, there is a lot to say. I look forward to hearing my colleagues' questions, but also to seeing the next budget. I hope that the government will do the right thing and actually have something tangible to boast about, instead of just half measures.

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December 1st, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to express my admiration for the hon. member, who has covered a massive range of subjects in his 20 minutes, some of which are actually related to the bill before us.

I want to bring him back to his comments about his riding, which apparently is a younger riding, to ask him about a subject that he did not cover but I think would be of considerable benefit to him, which is the Canada child benefit. After his conversation about boutique tax credits, tax cuts, and things of that nature, does he in fact believe that the Canada child benefit is possibly the most revolutionary and effective way to get money into the hands of families who will actually use it? That is my first question, from a theoretical and policy standpoint, as it were.

The second question is whether he knows the amount of Canada child benefit money that has gone into his riding from the inception of that benefit in July 2016 to its first fiscal year-end of June 30, 2017.

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December 1st, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, who chairs the committee I sit on, for his questions.

First, it is interesting that he used the term “revolutionary”, because, as a Quebecker, when I think of measures that could be implemented to help families and expand the job market, especially for women, I think of the implementation of Quebec's child care program.

I would be very pleased to see a similar system become established across the country. It would be a good start because until child care services become affordable and even if we make all the investments possible, it comes down to one way that families can have this growing need met.

With respect to families in my riding that may or may not have received these government benefits, I would like to speak about the Canada Revenue Agency. One of the Auditor General's reports informs us that the agency never answers telephone calls and, when it does, it provides false or wrong information 30% of the time. Thus, the people in my riding who would like to take advantage of certain tax measures will find it very difficult to do so.

I would like the government to resolve these problems. When it is time for taxpayers to pay their taxes and try to claim certain credits, we expect the agency to help them and to let them claim the credits rather than helping those interested in evading taxes.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, it was probably a few weeks ago that I received a call from someone who lives up in northern Canada. They had seen a couple of TV newscasts, and the first one was about how the government was putting up heated tents at the borders for people entering the country illegally. Then the budget implementation act was tabled, with almost half a billion dollars going to the Asian infrastructure bank. He was so angry. It broke his heart. He said there are people up in the north who are freezing and homeless, and yet the government is providing shelter at our borders and half a billion dollars for an infrastructure bank overseas. He asked, “What about us?”

Does my colleague perhaps share some of the concerns of this person who called my office and is so angry about what is happening?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I can address some of the concerns related to the files my colleague listed. In fact, I thank her for the question.

Let us start with the situation at the border that she mentioned. That is definitely a file that concerns me as the NDP public safety critic. One of the concerns raised by the union representing border officers is the lack of human resources. This summer saw a completely unacceptable situation when these people were pushed to the extreme by their workload.

I know these men and women to be extremely devoted. The government has to do its part to help them by providing them with the resources they need to deal with the current situation. This is an example where the government could have truly helped workers on the ground deal with a situation stemming from a policy issued by our neighbours to the south, among other things.

My colleague also talked about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This ties in with the government's proposed infrastructure bank, something we have not heard so much about lately. Our main concern has to do with the fact that the government is going to use taxpayers' money, public money, to fund projects that will benefit only the well off and private businesses. What is more, taxpayers will be asked to pay for this bank not once, but twice through tolls and fees. I think that is unacceptable. I doubt it is acceptable to the person my colleague was talking about or to my constituents.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the riding I represent, Nanaimo—Ladysmith, the cancellation of the public transit tax credit is a double whammy. It is affecting not only the people riding transit and who are now not able to claim it against income tax at the end of the year, but also ferry-dependent communities, such as Gabriola Island, where I live, including students and workers there. People used to be able to get back a bit of the fares they paid as a tax credit, which is particularly important for us in British Columbia after the former provincial Liberal government instituted a user-pay regime that shot fares up by 120% in some communities, way beyond the pace of inflation.

I would like to hear more from my colleague about the financial impact on the ground of this cancellation, and the message it sends to Canadians that a tax credit to encourage use of public transit has been cancelled by the Liberal government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Interestingly, when I asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance about this, he said that in order to benefit from a tax credit, people need to pay income tax and therefore need to have a certain level of income. Basically, he is right.

When I was the sports critic for the official opposition, at the time, I often asked the government questions, either in writing or in the House, about the effectiveness of tax credits for certain sports, since some sports require a certain level of investment and therefore a certain level of income.

However, when it comes to public transit, we know that many people who have a very modest income, but enough of an income to pay taxes, use public transit regularly or for other reasons, as my colleague mentioned. Those people could benefit from such a tax credit. This is not just about students and commuters going to work. It could also include the families of students who still live at home.

When I finished high school, I took public transit and still lived at home. My mother was a teacher and had a modest income, but she helped me pay for my monthly pass, and she benefited from that tax credit. That is an excellent example that illustrates that the middle class, which this government says it wants to help, will pay the price for this tax credit being eliminated. As my colleague put it so well, public transit is good for the environment, and we want to do everything we can to encourage people to use it. Eliminating this tax credit does the exact opposite.

Lastly, when the Liberals leave a tax credit in place that helps corporate CEOs as well as a loophole to facilitate the sale of shares, this shows that their priorities are not in the right place.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by suggesting something that would be absolutely fantastic for Canadians, that when the government makes investments, we should put aside partisanship and politics and acknowledge and give credit where good investments for Canadians have been made. Canadians, overall, would really appreciate this. In fact, I think they are yearning for it.

I know that the member spoke about the importance of transit investments. Our government made a commitment to invest over $180 billion in infrastructure, of which transit is a part. We believe these investments will be very good for Canadians and are much needed.

I would ask the member across, first, if he would agree that we could, when a government is making good investments, put partisanship aside and give credit where credit is due in the interests of Canadians and, second, whether he thinks that the unprecedented investments we have made in infrastructure are good investments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

I agree with her in principle, but what I have a problem with is when the Liberals make announcements without inviting certain members, or when they tell us that we can announce something in the local media but that we absolutely have to use a press release that highlights the name of the minister, the minister's party, and the fact that this is a source of pride for the government without giving any credit to the local stakeholders who did the work.

When it comes to public transit, we have noticed that things seem to be done by region. Funding is allocated based on the number of users, which puts some people who need public transit at a disadvantage.

In closing, I would like to say that we are the only G7 country that does not have a national, in our case a pan-Canadian, public transportation strategy, as proposed by our former colleague Olivia Chow and others. We need this type of strategy so that we can tighten up the financial criteria, rather than just throwing money out the window and hoping to get the intended results.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to follow my colleague, who is a very able contributor to the public safety and emergency preparedness committee. I did not agree with everything he had to say, but nevertheless there was sufficient there to be helpful in this debate.

I also want to inform members that I will be splitting my time with the member for Joliette.

I will focus my remarks over the course of these few minutes on the issue of the Canada child benefit and discuss it in a kind of larger context.

The Government of Canada raises revenues somewhere in the order north of $300 billion. All of that money comes in, and then it is largely distributed to various benefits and programs. The biggest chunk of that money is distributed back to provinces. After that, it is distributed to individuals, such as seniors who get the Canada pension, and various other programs, which members are quite familiar with. It then comes down to the money that the government can actually control, because most of that money is spoken for, if you will, upon its arrival in the coffers of the federal government.

Within that pool of money that the government can direct, there is obviously program spending, such as the Department of Defence, which is somewhere in the order of about $20 billion and is far and away the largest program spending that this government has. Then we get into some other nuances, and we have this discussion as to the best way to use funds in order to benefit Canadians. Some will argue that tax cuts are the best, and clearly tax cuts are the best for those who have the highest margins of taxable income. Clearly, in order to be able to benefit from a tax cut, one has to have a taxable income. Therefore, those who are in the high margins benefit the most from tax cuts. Then we have this beast called a tax credit. Again, one has to have taxable income in order to benefit from a tax credit. It is a contribution, if you will, to those tax credits. Usually they are kind of targeted tax credits, which are sometimes called “boutique tax credits”, and they are a bit hit and miss. Then we have kind of a refundable tax credit where, if one does not have a taxable income, money goes back.

However, the ones I want to talk about today are benefits. Some benefits, and this was particularly true of the previous government, are taxable benefits. For example, the government sends a person $100, that has to be declared, and it is taxed at whatever one's marginal rate might be. The revolutionary concept here with this government has been that it introduced the Canada child benefit, a non-taxable benefit, which has become an enormous amount of money that has gone into the hands of Canadians directly.

The government is always fond of speaking in large numbers. The problem with speaking in large numbers is that it does not give a feel as to how much money is really going into our pockets. Most taxpayers want to know how it affects them. Therefore, on the larger number in the 2016 budget, for instance, a family with two children with an income of $90,000 received $2,500 more per year than they would have under the previous system. This is a significant sum of money.

However, what struck me, and why I wanted to talk about this particular subject, was that I received a memorandum a few weeks ago that set out the amount of money that has come into my own riding from the Canada child benefit. This is why I asked the previous speaker whether he knew about that amount of money.

On average, the size of a riding is in the order of about 100,000 people. Some are a little more than that, some a little less, but that is a rough average. Between July 1, 2016, when the benefit was introduced, and June 30, 2017, a sum of $101,629 million came into my riding. That is a lot of money in one 12-month segment. It is by far the biggest payment of funds received by my constituents, literally in years. I think that all members would be interested in knowing how much money has come into their ridings as well.

The point is that this money goes into the pockets of families with children. It is a cheque that arrives in their bank account. It is money that goes directly back into the economy.

I looked around for a study to arrive at a kind of economic multiplier, such as the one that applies to a tax cut. How much money does a tax cut actually generate to stimulate the GDP? However, I could not find a multiplier effect on GDP for the Canada child benefit. It is not that it does not exist, I simply could not find it. If we compare this to other forms of monies that the federal government returns to taxpayers, this is possibly one of the most effective ways to stimulate the economy.

Statistics Canada announced today that the unemployment rate is down to 5.9% and that 80,000 jobs were created in the last month. That is not insignificant. It is interesting to me, and it would be an economist's paradise to try to correlate the Canada child benefit and the amount of money that goes directly into the economy, the rise in economic productivity, and the increase in GDP. This is possibly the most direct way to stimulate the Canadian economy, by putting money into the hands of people with children.

There was an American study which dealt with a tax credit. It stated that the first half of monies are spent on groceries, child expenses, and furniture. Therefore, if $100 came into the bank account of a person receiving this benefit, the first half would go to groceries, child expenses, and furniture, while the second half would go to paying past-due bills and asset building, such as saving money for education. That does put a lie to those who say that all it does is create dependencies, etc.

I would suggest that the single most significant economic initiative by the government has been the Canada child benefit. I was heartened in the past week to hear the Prime Minister announce the housing benefit, which is, in some respects, a parallel benefit, as it puts money directly into the hands of those who need it. That is the most important economic stimulus that we can do as a government and a nation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his great speech. I agree with him that the universal child tax benefit is the best idea that has come across this country in a very long time. I am glad that the Liberals adopted that model and possibly improved upon it, although I liked the universal part of it before. It is an income-tested benefit now, which I do not think is as good.

I appreciate the member's comments, but I am wondering if he would give credit where credit is due, as it was our idea.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was a good half idea, insofar as it was universal. That is the good part. It was not such a good idea with respect to taxing the benefit, because that actually diminishes the benefit of the benefit, as it were.

I think income testing it is not such a bad idea. It is a pretty simple way to do things, because what we want is for the money to be in the hands of the people who need it the most. For people who are earning significant sums of money, this is just free money, and in some respects it becomes dead money because it goes into savings accounts and places where there is not economic activity, or postponed economic activity. As the study in the United States showed, of that $100, the first half goes directly into economic activity and the second half goes into asset building. In this instance, the government has taken what is half an idea and turned it into a whole one.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, today's job numbers show a 5.9% unemployment rate, the best since February, 2008. This is the twelfth straight month of positive job creation and the best 12 months of full-time job creation in 18 years. TD senior economist James Marpel has noted that in the last 40 years, only one other month, December 2007, had an unemployment rate of less than 5.9%. Could my hon. colleague explain the reasons for this?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure my hon. colleague would like me to say that it is entirely due to the wisdom and intelligence of our government, but I do not believe that. We are doing well economically. The point I want to make, though, in connecting the Canada child benefit to the extraordinary economic performance over the last 18 months is that the benefit has been in place for the last 18 months, so we are actually flowing this money directly to people who stimulate the economy.

It would be an interesting and important economic study to see what the correlation is between the Canada child benefit and the way the economy has taken off.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, because my colleague has given some of us a bit of a challenge in terms of the relevance of his remarks, I would invite him to show us where in Bill C-63 it expands the Canada child benefit, because it is not in this legislation.

On the topic of other missing pieces, why does the budget not include any spending for new child care spaces, on which people could spend the Canada child benefit money? If we do not have new affordable child care spaces in last year's budget and this year's budget, there is nowhere for working women to spend that money.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have two responses. First, Bill C-63, or the ancillary documents with the bill, move forward the benefit by two years. The anticipated benefit was going to start in 2019 or 2021, but it has been moved forward by two years.

As to child care spaces, the best way to have more of those is for the Canada child benefit to be real and meaningful, providing cash in the hands of parents. Also, the housing benefit that was announced in the last week or two is money that can be directed to all of the needs of parents, who are most able to decide what is of benefit to their family.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are many reasons to oppose Bill C-63.

Take, for example, last summer's botched tax reform and the supposed tax cuts for the middle class from which hardly anyone benefits fully because a person has to earn $110,000 a year to be entitled to the maximum amount. Then, there are tax havens. I would like to remind members that Canada signed the OECD's convention on tax evasion five months ago but still has not ratified it because the Income Tax Act is full of holes, and Bill C-63 does absolutely nothing to fix them.

I will talk about just one aspect of the bill, which is truly scandalous and has largely been overlooked so far.

I am talking about the cannabis taxation framework. Cannabis will be legal in eight months. At that time, the federal government will no longer really be involved. Quebec will be responsible for health and detox services. Quebec will be responsible for education and prevention. Quebec will be responsible for the administration of justice. Quebec and the municipalities will be responsible for public safety and security. In short, Quebec will be stuck with all of the responsibilities and the costs, and it will cost a lot. All that Ottawa is going to do is issue the production licences. That does not cost a penny. This is how the bill is drafted, and Ottawa will be issuing permits and raking in the tax money. The provinces will take on all of the costs and the federal government will not take on any.

Part 4 of Bill C-63 has to do with cannabis taxation. It states that cannabis will be taxed “under a single Act of Parliament”.

Yes, I said “a single Act of Parliament”. That is what it says in black and white in the new paragraph 8.8(1)(a), as set out in clause 170 of the bill. Ottawa wants to collect all of the tax. It wants to take up all of the available tax room. That is what Bill C-63 boils down to. It cannot be stressed enough that it is the provinces and cities that will be paying all of the costs. Once the federal government gets its hands on all the money, what will happen? If we want to know the answer, all we have to do is keep reading this nefarious bill, which makes it pretty clear.

The Minister of Finance will turn to the provinces and tell them he has gobbled up all the revenue and siphoned off all the money. He will tell them to come and see him so they can talk it over, and maybe he will be able to give them back a small amount. We heard the Minister of Finance say that he might go fifty-fifty. That means 50% for Ottawa, which will have paid for nothing, and 50% for the provinces, which will have paid for everything. Even then, the parliamentary secretary says this fifty-fifty arrangement is not set in stone and will have to be looked at. None of this is very reassuring.

We could end up with a ratio like 95% for Ottawa and peanuts for the provinces. We do not know. That is the problem with Bill C-63. It allows that kind of theft. The Minister of Finance will be free to do whatever he wants, because he will be the one setting the ratio. If this bill is passed in its current form, Quebec will just have to obey if it does not want to be hung out to dry and left with nothing, zip, zero, to pay for regulating cannabis consumption, educating and treating the public, and ensuring public safety.

A few years ago, former Quebec finance minister Nicolas Marceau coined the phrase “predatory federalism” to describe Ottawa's blackmailing behaviour over transfer payments. My good friend Nicolas Marceau, an excellent economist, was putting it mildly. We are seeing that predation happen in real time today, here in this House, in a debate being rammed through under a gag order. Under Bill C-63, Ottawa gets all the money. The Minister of Finance could decide to give some to the provinces, at his discretion and under his conditions.

Paragraph 8.8(1)(a) mentions those conditions. It says that the provinces must abide by the conditions if they want to get the transfer, but it does not say what the conditions are. That will be up to the federal government to decide later on, by itself, without having to come back to the House.

In Quebec, Minister Charlebois has started drafting a plan to regulate cannabis consumption. The Minister of Finance may decide that he does not like Quebec's plan. He might force Quebec to change its plan if it wants a share of the money the federal government gets its hands on thanks to Bill C-63. He might stop the payments if Quebec does something he does not like. This is serious.

Bill C-63 can say all it wants about coordinated cannabis taxation agreements, but the real story is something else altogether. Something agreed to at gunpoint is not an agreement; it is a shakedown. Bill C-63 is a weapon for extortion. Quebec has its hands full figuring out how to regulate this in terms of security, public service, and prevention, all of which Ottawa dumped on its plate, so the last thing Quebec needs is another pointless federal-provincial battle instigated entirely by a federal government that refuses to respect Quebec. The predatory federal government is taking all of the money and using it to make my people and their government do its bidding. I have had enough of the federal government shoving things like this down our throats with its mammoth bills.

A year ago, Bill C-29 tried to make Quebec consumers powerless against banks. The Bloc Québécois was unable to intervene until late in the process, but we moved heaven and earth. The National Assembly, consumer groups, the Government of Quebec, and everyone else protested loudly, and the government backed down.

There was another omnibus bill, another nasty surprise, six months ago. That time, the government was giving a gift to the private investors putting their money in the infrastructure bank. It gave them the right to ignore Quebec's laws, agricultural zoning, and municipal bylaws. Once again, no one said anything in committee, because the Bloc Québécois was not there to stand up for Quebec. Once again, the National Assembly protested, and so did the Union des producteurs agricoles. However, we lost the battle that time. It is frustrating that there are 40 MPs from Quebec who would rather clash with Quebec than defend it. We are facing the same situation today, another omnibus bill that is hiding a scam.

In the committee study, no one pointed out that Ottawa wanted to take all the money from cannabis and use that as blackmail to impose its conditions. No one raised any issues about that during the study of the bill, because the Bloc Québécois was not at committee.

Although it is late, it is not too late. We will very firmly oppose Bill C-63, and we will not be the only ones. As in the case of other omnibus bills, we will have Quebec behind us.

This time we will see whether the Liberal members from Quebec have found their backbones since last year. It remains to be seen. Time is running out.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, equalization is a consolation prize. The government is allowing all the ships to be built in the Maritimes rather than in the Davie Shipyard, which has half of all of Canada's production capacity. It is a sorry consolation prize that we are paying for through our taxes, for the most part. It is time we busted that myth.

The government is imposing a new tax, but it is the provinces that will have to cover all the costs related to security, health, and prevention. All Ottawa has to do is sit back and collect money. Buried somewhere in the omnibus Bill C-63 is the fact that the government is going to collect the tax and blackmail the provinces by holding on to all the money if the provinces refuse to negotiate.

During the election campaign, the Liberals promised not to introduce omnibus bills. This bill has 318 pages, affects 19 departments, and hides a whole host of things. Frankly, this is disingenuous. I am quite disappointed to see that the Minister of Finance is putting his party above his people.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, speaking of equalization, is my colleague proud of the fact that Quebec receives so much money through equalization, more than $10 billion? Should Quebec not strive to stop receiving equalization payments? That would make Quebec a “have” province.

Should we not be making sure that Quebec becomes a wealthy province instead of a poorer province that needs higher equalization payments?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, all federations use equalization programs to prevent certain regions from losing their populations to regions with more wealth. In the beginning, the program was developed to help a western province, Saskatchewan, I believe. The objective is to redistribute wealth.

We know the government makes choices based on economic development. These choices benefit the banking and automotive sectors in Toronto, for example. These choices also benefit fossil fuels in the west. In making these choices, the government neglected other segments of the economy, such as the Davie shipyard, which I mentioned earlier.

We are talking about several tens of billions of dollars in the coming decades. Half of this money should normally have returned to the Davie shipyard. If Quebec had received this money in return for the taxes it pays the federal government, we would not need equalization. Quebec could pay.

Equalization is the result of political choices made here and of choices made at the expense of Quebec and my people. That is why we are here to speak out against the situation.

This is about Bill C-63. With all due respect to my colleague from Beauce, he could have spoken about the situation we want to denounce. The government is resorting to predatory federalism and is appropriating another tax. This is what we are condemning. I would be very happy if my colleague supported us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I take an immense amount of pride in the province of Quebec. In fact, my heritage goes back to the province of Quebec. I have had the opportunity to travel there on a number of occasions.

One of the things I really appreciate, and it does not matter what province one goes to, is that we have such a wonderful health care system. Yes, there is room for improvement. It could always be better. I am wondering if my colleague across the way would also acknowledge just how much the people of Canada genuinely appreciate our health care. That is why the health care accords with the provinces was so critically important.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are again moving closure. That is appalling. They said they would do things differently. It is really disappointing.

In response to my colleague's comments, we should be proud of our health system. A member of my family just underwent serious surgery, and I saw for myself the support provided to patients at the new CHUM.

I would like to remind members that, historically, half of the support for health services was to be provided by the federal government. That support has diminished over the years. The small amounts of money added recently are not nearly enough. This points to the problem of the fiscal imbalance and the difficulty the provinces have funding the health system properly.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Dubé NDP Beloeil—Chambly, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary to the government in the House leader, when we forced the vote, which is obviously at the heart of the work we do here, heckled across the way “Jagmeet made me do it”. I am not quite sure what he was implying, what was being insinuated. I do not find it particularly appropriate, so I would ask that he either clarify or withdraw that inane comment.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

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

moved:

That, in relation to Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and one sitting day shall be allotted to the third reading stage of the said bill; and

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

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government is now proposing to rush through a bill, moved by the Minister of Finance, without adequate debate among Canadians, not only about the substance of the bill but the conduct of the minister in crafting it and other similar legislation.

The very first financial legislation introduced in this House by the finance minister was a notice of ways and means on December 7, 2015, that would raise the effective capital gains tax on January 1, 2016, only about three weeks after the introduction of that said motion. Financial advisers told investors that they should quickly sell their shares in order to realize gains before that tax increase would take effect only days later. The result was that the stock market fell by 5% from the day before the introduction of that notice of ways and means until seven days after.

Morneau Shepell shares also fell by 5%, but not before somebody was able to sell their shares in Morneau Shepell and avoid those losses. Someone sold 680,000 shares, worth $10.2 million, one week before the finance minister introduced his motion on the floor of the House of Commons. That person was very wise and had great foreknowledge and ability to project what was to come.

I am asking if the Minister of Finance can tell us who it was who made that sale of 680,000 Morneau Shepell shares.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, what I would say to the opposition member is that if he wants to make an allegation of wrongdoing, he should do it outside this House.

I am focused on doing the work that Canadians asked us to do. What we are talking about today is moving forward on a bill that is going to continue our plan to make an enormous difference for Canadians. We have seen, over the last couple of years, that the work that we are doing is making an enormous difference. There have been 500,000 new jobs over the last couple of years and the lowest unemployment rate over the course of a decade.

What we are talking about now is continuing that work with measures that are going to ensure tax fairness and that we can continue on our plan, in its entirety, to make a continuing difference for Canadians. That is what we are doing today and that is what we would like to talk about.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

As you know, Madam Speaker, we now have a record debt load for average Canadian families, the worst in the industrialized world. If that is something the finance minister is proud of, then I think his priorities are all wrong.

The government has brought in closure now, on average, 25% more times than the Conservative Harper government did. We can remember how Canadians reacted to the closures and omnibus legislation of the Harper government. Now the Liberals are 25% worse in terms of closure. It is appalling.

The real reason the government seems to be ramming through this legislation is because it is taking absolutely no action against all of these overseas tax havens that so many Canadians are concerned about. I cannot talk about ethical lapses, but we have the ethical void of the finance minister, who has been unable to answer any of the questions asked by opposition members in the House. Is that not the real reason that the government is ramming through this legislation, invoking closure yet again, because of the ethical void of the finance minister and the government?

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very happy to talk about what we are trying to do for Canadians through this bill and the high ethical standards our government will continue with, and what we are actually doing for Canadians on a day-to-day basis.

In this bill, we will make an enormous difference for Canadians. We will continue with the plans we have put forward and will talk about them this morning. I hope we will talk about the measures actually in the bill. We will talk about tax fairness. We will talk about how we have improved flexible work arrangements for Canadians. We will talk about our continuing goal of being part of the international community through our investment in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

We would like talk about the changes we have made for nurse practitioners, allowing them to have a broader scope of responsibility, not only making it easier for people to get access to medical care but also making our health care system more efficient.

We will want to continue to talk about the measures in this bill, which we would like to move forward now.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, my colleague, the member for Carleton posed a question to the minister, and I actually thought that after having a chance to sleep on this, the minister would gather his thoughts and information and answer the question.

One of three answers is possible. There is, “I don't know who sold the shares”, or “I did not sell the shares” or—

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, and with all due respect to the members opposite and the line the questioning they might want to ask, I think it is important as we go through this process to note that our Standing Orders clearly indicate that the members opposite need to be relevant to the subject at hand.

What I would suggest—

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, let me quickly mention how it is relevant.

We have a Minister of Finance who has shown a number of ethical lapses, in fact one that he was found guilty of and fined for because he did not disclose all of the information he should have to the Ethics Commissioner. He has introduced legislation that—

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, on a point of order, in no way is character assassination relevant to the legislation before us or the procedure we are entered into.

We are talking about the budget implementation bill and time allocation. The members opposite adjourned debate on this very piece of legislation. If they want to keep relevant, those are the two items they should be talking about. Maybe they could justify why they moved adjournment yesterday. Maybe they could ask questions related specifically to the budget implementation bill. That is what we are debating today.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Madam Speaker, the government agreed with us yesterday that we should adjourn debate on the budget implementation bill. We did so because we do not have confidence in this Minister of Finance who introduced this bill, as he will not answer very simple questions.

He had a chance to look over his records and now to answer either that he knows who sold the shares, that he does not know who sold the shares, or that he sold the shares. It is a very simple question. It needs a very simple answer.

I would ask the Minister of Finance the same question. Does he know who sold the 680,000 Morneau Shepell shares prior to the tabling of the bill regarding the budget and the tax changes? It is a very simple question.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, if the member opposite would like to make an allegation of wrongdoing outside this House, I would be happy to answer in full force.

What I can say is that today we are talking about the second budget implementation bill to move forward with the work we are doing for Canadians. Canadians know that we should be focusing on work that would benefit them, and not on spurious correlations that have absolutely nothing to do with the work in this House.

I will continue to talk about that and why we are moving forward on things that actually matter to Canadians. That is what we are talking about this morning. We are going to talk about how we are continuing to make a difference for Canadian families, a difference that has been enormous over the last couple of years and we will continue to work on on their behalf.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I have not heard the finance minister address the issue raised by our House leader that when the Liberals were in opposition, they joined us in condemning the practices of the then Harper government for shutting down debate in Parliament time and time again. We actually thought things could not get worse. It was hard to imagine how they would get worse. Somehow, the Liberals have found a way to make things worse for Parliament.

If the finance minister would not mind listening, I have a specific question for him. Like the Prime Minister, he has often talked about respect for Parliament and the process. How does he demonstrate that respect? He contributes to the idea that we should shut down debate more often than Stephen Harper did. That is the fact of the matter today.

If he wants to talk about facts, I think he should. He should address the fact that rather than moving through a normal process and talking about something significant, like the implementation of the budget in a proper way, as I am sure he talked about as a candidate, he has instead reverted to this other type of politics, where they say they will use their power to force upon Parliament vote after vote before debate can be concluded. I will remind him that is how mistakes get made. I remind him that when he disclosed his assets to the National Post , through John Ivison, in trying to clear up one ethical mess, he made another ethical mess. Maybe he was rushing forward on that too quickly and creating the cloud himself by not placing things in a blind trust. That was no one else's decision, but his.

The decision today is about his government's intention to ram through another bill, doing so 25% more often than Stephen Harper did. I would like him to address that one simple fact, if he could somehow find a way to do it.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to remind the member that Bill C-63 has been debated extensively in the House and at the finance committee. We have seen four days of second reading debate, during which more than 70 members have spoken. That includes 23 members from the Conservative Party and 10 members from the New Democratic Party. The bill has also been studied at the finance committee for six hours. We have seen eight members speaking at report stage.

We want to move forward. This bill is clearly the next step in our continuing goal of making a difference for Canadians. I suspect that the member opposite should be pleased that his constituents are feeling much better because there is more employment across this country. We are seeing 500,000 new jobs. I hope the member opposite is pleased with the fact that nine out of 10 families are seeing more money because of the Canada child benefit. Because of the positive economic results we have seen, we are able to make sure that benefit will keep up with the costs of inflation.

That is the kind of work we are doing on behalf of Canadians. It is the kind of work we are committed to continue doing. This debate has been extensively elaborated upon, and now we would like to move forward to do the good work that Canadians asked us to do.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, the finance minister cannot seem to understand why we still have so many questions, so let us come at it another way. Fool Canadians once, shame on the finance minister. Fool Canadians twice, shame on us.

The finance minister has admitted guilt by paying a fine levied by the Ethics Commissioner, as well as by surrendering millions of dollars of ill-gotten gains to charity. That is why Canadians' confidence has been shaken in the capacity of this minister. He now refuses to answer questions about major stock trades made before a ministerial announcement. He refuses to disclose information within—

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, again I rise on the issue of relevancy. There is an obligation on the part of the official opposition to be relevant to the debate. Today's debate is about a time allocation motion and Bill C-63. Issues related to something the opposition wants to create at this point in time are just not relevant to the debate we are supposed to be having.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would remind the member opposite that we have a process in this House of working with the commissioner of ethics. That is a process I have followed to the letter by disclosing all of my assets. Making up fabrications in order to move the dial from what we are actually doing for Canadians is what we are clearly seeing repeated over and over again. The actions of this government and mine as finance minister have led to a situation where the only thing the opposition members want to talk about is me, because the only thing they do not want to talk about is what is going on for Canadians. When growth has increased in this country significantly above the anemic growth rate under the previous government, they obviously do not want to talk about that. When we create 500,000 new jobs and reach the lowest unemployment rate in a decade, they obviously do not want to talk about that. When families are doing better because they have more money in their pockets, they obviously do not want to talk about that. Those are the things we want to continue to do on behalf of Canadians.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to ask the Minister of Finance if he knows whether his government plans to use time allocation every time the Minister of Finance introduces a bill.

Perhaps the Liberals do not want us to discuss them for too long, in case we find additional conflicts of interest involving the finance minister.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I will continue to remind the House that we have had plenty of time to debate this measure. We have had four days to examine these measures in the House. We have heard from 23 members from the Conservative Party and 10 NDP members.

We think it is important to examine what we want to do for Canadians, which is to continue with our policy to improve Canada's economic conditions. Our economy is currently in good shape, but we know that there is always more that can be done. We want to continue improving the lives of the middle class and Canadian families.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise because I am disappointed that we are once again seeing time allocation. This is a very large bill and much here that I would like to study more. As the Minister of Finance will know, I voted for the bill going to committee. I think there is much in here that is really quite encouraging and positive. However, in the debates at committee, it was drawn to my attention by the member for Carleton that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank could indeed fund potential infrastructure investments that go against our Paris accord commitments.

Could the Minister of Finance assure this House, as the bill is rushed through, that Canada will apply a climate lens to the funds we provide to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank?

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I first want to acknowledge the member opposite, who did not vote to shut down debate yesterday like the Conservative and New Democrat members did. What I would say to her is that we are of course very pleased to be making investments in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. What we do by making investments there is get a seat at the table. As she knows, we have a significant goal of trying to make sure that our efforts to improve the changing climate around the world are considered in everything we do. With that seat at the table, we will certainly be talking about our government's initiatives to improve our environmental practices, and be a voice for encouraging that activity in other parts of the world as well.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, what we are witnessing today is an absolutely pathetic display of contempt for this Parliament. This is a government that ran on the fact that the voices of its members would be heard, yet here they are again shutting down debate. However, we are seeing bully politics going on here as well.

I had a conversation with some of my colleagues this morning, and we talked about how this day would go. I said to them that as soon as the sun comes up, the finance minister's answer to any questions similar to yesterday's would be, “Let's take it outside.” Well, it was taken outside.

More importantly, the finance minister is responsible for answering to Canadians. He was asked a simple question about when he sold his shares or who sold those shares, and he refused to answer.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

Even the member across the way acknowledged that he was starting to get off topic. I just want to remind my colleague that we are debating the budget implementation bill, along with the issue of time allocation. The member was starting to deviate, and I want to bring him back to those topics.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

The disruptions, Madam Speaker, are designed to thwart the voices of members in the House.

The relevance to Bill C-63 is this. The minister has shown a propensity to not be honest with Canadians and to not be honest with the House by not answering questions that are specific to him. How can we trust the minister with respect to the budget implementation bill, Bill C-63, if he will not answer those simple questions? How can we trust him when he suggests that he is not benefiting from this if he is not answering those questions? That is the relevance.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I will continue to be absolutely transparent with the Ethics Commissioner. That is the way we work in the House.

No matter how many times members opposite talk about their superimposed approach on the approach that has been used in the House for decades, for ministers today and for ministers of yesterday, we will not accede to their fabrication of a process that actually does not exist.

The member for Barrie—Innisfil yesterday moved a motion to shut down this debate. What we are talking about today is moving forward on Bill C-63. We are moving forward, because we have had debate on this over the course of four days. More than 70 members have spoken. We are moving forward with a plan that will continue to improve the lives of Canadians. We know how important it is to keep on this track, because we are seeing real impacts now after two years of hard work.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a question for the Minister of Finance.

As you know, my riding is located in the suburbs north of Montreal, where the REM, or electric rail network, is being built. I wonder if we could have an update on the infrastructure bank and how it might support the REM project in Montreal.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it is very important to understand how our plan is working for Canadians. Our current economic situation is an important example and that is thanks to our policies. One very important policy is the Canada infrastructure bank. This bank gives us the opportunity to find global investors for our infrastructure fund and Canada's pension funds. That is exactly what we will have the opportunity to do in Montreal and the surrounding areas, in order to improve public transit. It is an investment in infrastructure that will make a big difference for people living in Montreal or near Montreal. It is very important. Once the bank is up and running I hope that we will have the opportunity to invest with institutional investors to improve conditions for people living near Montreal.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I must say that I am confused. We are currently debating a time allocation motion on the budget, and yet I am hearing my Liberal colleagues and the Minister of Finance discussing the budget even though they must not want to talk about it, given that they moved a time allocation motion.

Does the Minister of Finance want to talk about the budget or not?

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, we have had plenty of time to talk about our budget. Now I believe it is time we thought about how we might speed up the process to finally implement it. We want to continue with our plan to improve Canada's economy. Things are already going very well, but there is still work to be done. This bill is an important part of our plan to improve our economy. That is why we are here today.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, SK

Madam Speaker, I would first like to address my comments to my colleague and friend, the parliamentary secretary to the government house leader, who has made continuous interruptions and interventions during this debate, citing relevancy.

I point out to my friend, and to all members in this place, that we are talking about the budget implementation bill, and as the finance minister, he is the architect of that bill. Any budget-related matters are relevant to this discussion and debate.

The credibility of not only the government but this minister is at stake here. His failure to answer a basic and very simple question about the timing of the sale of 10 million Morneau Shepell shares affects not only his credibility but that of his government as well.

For the life of me, I cannot understand why the Minister of Finance, arguably the second-most important member of this government, refuses to answer a legitimate and very simple question. This question is about the timing of a sale of shares that could have potentially benefited the Minister of Finance directly. He refuses to answer even the most basic question about that potential conflict of interest. We are simply asking why he does not answer the question.

Did he have any knowledge about the sale of Morneau Shepell shares one week prior to the introduction of the bill that he himself introduced on this floor?

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, as I have said in this House, it is important that we work together with the Ethics Commissioner to make sure that we do things exactly as prescribed, which is exactly what I have done.

The fabrication of processes that do not exist is completely unnecessary. What we are talking about today is how we can move forward on Bill C-63, making a real difference for Canadians. I fully understand why the member opposite does not want to talk about that. I fully understand that he is not interested in talking about how constituents of his and people across this country are doing better because of our policies. We understand that.

We are going to continue to move forward to make a real difference for Canadians, and we are not going to be taken off our game by fabrications.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Madam Speaker, I find it appalling that a time allocation is being imposed on us for the 26th time, especially since this is a mammoth 329-page bill that amends about 20 acts.

In his own budget bill, the Minister of Finance proposes no measures whatsoever against tax avoidance. I can understand why, given that he himself is involved in a tax avoidance mess.

Why does he want to hasten the process when this is such a major bill? With the holidays around the corner, it is time we gave Canadians the gift of bringing back home all the tax that has been dodged and using it to provide public services.

Bill C-63--Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Bill Morneau Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, we want to continue to move forward with our plan for the country. That is the explanation for today's situation. Moving forward with our plan is very important.

It is clear that our plan is working, because our economy is doing very well. Many more people now have jobs, which is important. Thanks to our policies, we have a very high rate of economic growth. We are going to continue implementing our plan. That is an important part of our plan.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will remind the House that I moved a motion to adjourn debate yesterday when we were talking about Bill C-63. The reason I moved that motion was the fact that the finance minister refused to answer the question from the member for Carleton and others, including the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. In the context of that bill, I moved that motion because of a lack of confidence in the finance minister's ability to talk about it. Again, unless and until the finance minister answers these tough questions, we will be at a stalemate.

When time allocation was moved this morning, during tough questions from the member for Carleton, very simple questions, too, the finance minister suggested the member take it outside. That has been a pattern of the government in the past. If the Liberals do not want to answer the questions in the House, the inference is that we should take it outside, a bully politic tactic. If the finance minister wants to threaten high-priced Bay Street lawyers by threatening us to take it outside, we will not stand for that. In this democracy and this Parliament, every one of us is sent here to represent the voices of our constituents and every one of us has an obligation to ask the tough questions, the simple questions, the yes or no questions.

The debate was adjourned yesterday because we lacked the confidence in the minister's ability to deal with Bill C-63. We did not know his agenda, and we still do not know what his agenda is with respect to Bill C-63. The funny thing was that every member of the Liberal Party voted to adjourn yesterday, including the finance minister. Therefore, the Liberal members clearly do not have confidence in the finance minister's ability to deal with this issue as well.

We read in The Hill Times yesterday that the Liberals' major concern was not transparency, not accountability, not openness, not the impact Bill C-63 would have, not the fact that the finance minister would not answer any questions, and continues to hide in the dark. Their concern is the next election, the fact that potentially in 2019, after four years, they may lose their pensions. This was said in The Hill Times. That causes me to greatly question the motivations of Liberal backbenchers. It is all about their pensions. How sad is that?

I hear them chirping on the other side, and to that I say “bring it on”. Until the finance minister answers the simple questions being asked by Her Majesty's loyal opposition, we will continue to ask the tough questions, the very simple questions, on behalf of all Canadians who sent us here, including my riding of Barrie—Innisfil.

There are no high-priced lawyers in Barrie—Innisfil. It is a working-class community. The finance minister thinks he can come in here, bully the opposition by threatening lawsuits, libel, or slander suits, telling us to take this outside and not ask the tough questions in the House. None of us will be intimidated by the bully tactics of the finance minister, and we ask him to answer the questions.

Returning to Bill C-63, the Liberals have talked about tax fairness and the fact that the middle class and those working hard to join it are somehow better as a result of what they have done. This is about the middle class and those working hard to stay in it. They talked about a revenue-neutral tax decrease, that they would tax the top wealthiest 1% and lower taxes on middle-class Canadians. It was not revenue-neutral. It was going to cost the treasury $8.9 billion over six years, further adding to the debt and deficit of the government, deficits as far as the eye can see, debt that is projected to be $1.5 trillion by the 2050s.

For those of us who live in Ontario, talk about compounding the problem. The Ontario government is mired in endless debt and deficits. Now the federal government is moving in that direction. Quite frankly, I am worried, not just for my four children but every young person in the country who will have to pay for the Liberals' spending.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for standing up for democracy and for the hard-earned dollars that young families are contributing through their taxes. The government continues to squander that.

When we look at the deficit alone, between now and 2021, the interest costs alone on the deficit will be $33 billion per year. Just think for a moment what we could be doing with the $33 billion that would actually make a positive difference in our country. However, the government continues to spend money it does not have on projects we do not need. I wonder if my colleague would comment a bit about the long-term effects of this growing deficit that adds to our national debt, which my children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren will need to be paying back.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, that is a very good and relevant question. If they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the hon. member for Kitchener—Conestoga does not have to look too far to understand the impact that high debt has. In Ontario, we are the largest sub-sovereign nation debtor in the world. In fact, payments on the debt alone are one-third, next to health care and education. If paying for the debt was a department in Ontario, it would be the third biggest funded department in the Province of Ontario at $1 billion a month, just in debt payments. When we start compounding that, think of the impact that is going to have on our kids. Two things happen: taxes go up and services go down. We have seen that in Ontario, and it is predictable federally as well.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Madam Speaker, one of the things I have noticed in Durham Region—and my riding of Whitby is a part of Durham Region—is that, right now, we have the lowest unemployment we have had in 15 years. It is at 5.3%.

I wonder what my hon. colleague would say to his constituents who have benefited from the work our government has put in place. We have the largest growth in the G7, a strong economy, 500,000 new jobs created, and low unemployment. What does he say to his constituents who have benefited from such a great economy currently in Canada?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, there have been reports recently about Canadians being the most indebted nation in the OECD. We have seen the government show no limit to the amount of debt and deficit spending it is willing to do.

Employment based on debt that is funded is not sustainable in the long term. We have seen that in Ontario. Ontario has become a have-not province. Again, if we want to predict the future, we need only look at what has happened in Ontario. Every person in Ontario, under a Liberal government, is suffering as a result of the debt and indebtedness. It is not sustainable in the long term. If the hon. member ran her house in the same manner they are running the government, she would not be able to afford it, because it is not sustainable.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the vote happened, I will remind my friend from Winnipeg. However, here is the concern. Right now, Canadians are experiencing the highest personal debt rate of anywhere in the developed world. I wonder if the bill we are debating today is going to help out any Canadian who is experiencing these record high personal debt rates, or is it just more noise coming from the government?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, it is more noise, simply put.

When we look at the investment of $500 million in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, we have to ask questions. Why we are not investing that money back into seniors in this country? Why are we not investing that money back into veterans this country? Why are we sending that money overseas? How about prioritizing Canada? How about prioritizing the people who have contributed most to this country?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

[Member spoke in Cree as follows:]

Niwakoma cuntik Tansai Nemeaytane Awapantitok.

[English]

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to be speaking today on Bill C-63 and truly speaking on the issues related to the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2. This is an interesting piece of legislation. Budgets are important because they impact people on the ground, average Canadians, average people. It is my belief that a budget is a real reflection of the will of a people.

I think of the people in my riding who came to me and talked to me about, for instance, subsidies to the fossil fuel industry. They came to me in May 2016. They spoke to me with great passion. They talked to me about their beliefs, and how they wanted to make the world a better place. They said they wanted to make sure we could make room in this world for other human beings and we could look after each and every one of us. They believe in ideals like simplicité volontaire or voluntary simplicity.

There are people in the areas of my riding, like Wolseley, and when these young people ask what we are going to do about the environment and if we are going to fulfill our promises made during the election, I say, “Of course, I am going to fight for you every day to fulfill those promises.”

As an indigenous person, I have heard from my elders. “Treaty” is a buzzword today that we often use. It was a buzzword a thousand years ago as well. Wahka say jach was the very first man. When the creator, the Great Spirit, created all beings, when he created the two-legged ones, the four-legged ones, those who could fly, when he created the rivers and streams and mountains and sky, he created man last of all, and that was Wahka say jach.

He gathered all the animals together and asked them, “Who will protect this man, because it is cold today and he is cold?” The buffalo said, “I will give him my fur so he can stay warm.” The birds said, “We will give him food and sustenance. We will provide him with something to feed himself and his families.” They had a treaty. They had a relationship with each other. It was not something to be taken lightly.

I said:

[Member spoke in Cree as follows:]

Niwakoma cuntik Tansai Nemeaytane Awapantitok”.

[English]

That says I honour all my relations.

We have to honour all of our relations because we have treaty with everything that exists in this world. If we use something, we must honour it afterwards. If we use an animal or a being, we must honour it in a good way, to make sure we do not waste, we do not destroy, and we continue to cherish, love, care, and protect.

Those things, today, are sometimes very hard, but that is what I saw in the people who came to speak to me on May 27, 2016, in my riding.

The world's largest economies in 2009 agreed to phase out subsidies for oil and other carbon dioxide fossil fuels in the medium term as part of efforts to combat global warming. Some $300 billion a year is spent worldwide to subsidize fuel prices, boosting demand in many nations by keeping prices artificially low, and that is leading to more emissions.

This agreement in 2009 was backed by all G20 countries, including Russia, India, and China. It was a victory for the United States president, Barack Obama. He said this reform would increase our energy security and it would help us combat the threat posed by climate change. He also said, “All nations have a responsibility to meet this challenge, and together we have taken a substantial step forward in meeting that responsibility”.

It is my belief that eliminating such subsidies by 2020 will reduce greenhouse gas emissions blamed for global warming by 10% by 2050, and this was also highlighted by the International Energy Agency and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In a statement from the G20, comprising the major rich and emerging economies, energy and finance ministers said they would develop timeframes and strategies for implementing the phase-out of the subsidies and report back at the next G20 summit.

It was our prime minister back then, the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, who was the one to act on behalf of Canada at this G20 summit. In 2015, he agreed to a final communiqué for the G7 which said, “we emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse-gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century”.

Our Parliament also voted last June to accept that the Paris accord is a necessary step to fight climate change. These are all truths.

However, another truth is that the Liberal Party promised in our 2015 platform:

We will fulfill Canada’s G-20 commitment to phase out subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. The next step will be to allow for the use of the Canadian Exploration Expenses tax deduction only in cases of unsuccessful exploration. The savings will be redirected to investments in new and clean technologies.

That is our engagement on behalf of Canadians that we decided to fulfill in the budget implementation act no. 2.

I will now quote what we are actually going to be doing in the budget implementation act in relation to the fossil fuel subsidies:

The success rates for exploratory drilling have increased substantially since the 1990s and, in a majority of cases, discovery wells now lead to production, which makes the well an asset of enduring value.

This measure would modify the tax treatment of successful oil and gas exploratory drilling. Consistent with the usual treatment of enduring assets, expenses associated with oil and gas discovery wells will be treated as Canadian development expenses, unless and until they are deemed unsuccessful.

This measure supports Canada's international commitments to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.

I have had the opportunity of sitting on the finance committee for the past two years, almost. I remember asking the Canadian Taxpayers Federation representatives about fossil fuel subsidies, and I asked what they thought about them. They said they were against corporate welfare in any form. However, we on the finance committee also recognize that we need to take a balanced approach and that, yes, there were and there still are continuing issues in Alberta related to employment. However, I believe it is a balanced approach that we have tried to take, not simply coming in and applying what we believe right away but taking the time to listen and to consult. We have waited for Alberta to lift itself to ensure that we have other programs that can take the place to ensure that we have good economic development in Alberta.

In my belief, we are fulfilling a promise of treaty to all our relations. We are fulfilling a promise of the Right Hon. Stephen Harper, one that we are willing to keep because it is important. We are willing to fight for the environment, fight for the beliefs of Canadians, and fulfill our promises that were contained in our 2015 platform. I am proud that even a bit of work, asking some of those questions on the finance committee, allowed us to ensure that today we are fulfilling that 2015 promise, fulfilling what should have been done in 2009 to 2011.

Thank you very much. Tapwe akwa khitwam.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:45 a.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague, the member for Winnipeg Centre, for his speech. His introduction was very interesting because he explained the relationship that indigenous peoples have with animals and the planet Earth, the history of humanity, namely that there is a sacred relationship between man and animals, a reciprocal relationship based on the ethics of living together.

In the 2015-16 budget and in this one, and following the COP21 negotiations in Paris, the Liberal government decided to send billions of dollars to poor countries in the developing world to help them with climate change. It is not a sure thing that they will use the money for that purpose.

I would like to ask my colleague a question. I know that he will understand because he is an anthropologist. From the perspective of intergenerational ethics, can we really ask a generation, or the generation of living Canadians, to pay for the mistakes of their ancestors who have supposedly polluted the planet? Is this legitimate in terms of intergenerational ethics? In terms of the ethics of international relations, is it okay to send billions of dollars overseas to compensate for the mistakes of our ancestors? Do we have to pay for these mistakes?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Beauport—Limoilou. That is a very interesting question. As an anthropologist, I know that cultures change and evolve. They are dynamic and constantly changing. That is part of the indigenous philosophy.

However, we still have a responsibility, even if our ancestors are the ones who made the mistakes. My own parents made plenty of mistakes in their lives, which are evident in the way they raised me. I have to try to correct that for my own children.

We cannot abdicate our responsibilities. We need to try to strike a balance in our society between the environment and the economy. I think it is possible, even if we have to help subsidize the economies of third-world countries or poorer economies. It is important to try to help everyone in this world move forward. We are not an island unto ourselves, even if North America's original name is Turtle Island.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague talked a lot about environmental protection. The question I would like to ask him is related to the environment, but it is about housing, which is my portfolio since I am the housing critic.

I would like to know why there is nothing in the budget about renovation and energy-efficient construction. The government recently released a strategy that talks about housing construction. If the government were to include the principles of energy-efficient renovation and construction in its strategy, that would help protect the environment and lower building maintenance costs for social housing, for example. I think it would be very beneficial to consider such options.

Given his way of thinking, which comes from his indigenous culture, is he not disappointed that his government does not share his environmental perspective when it comes to housing?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

Last Friday in Winnipeg, I had the opportunity to make an announcement about the national housing strategy. Speaking at the Siloam Mission, we explained how this policy will be implemented for the benefit of all Canadians. I did indeed mention that the environment is important to me. We have to protect the environment and we have to build housing that is as carbon neutral as possible.

As I said during my speech, this will be an important change. However, we cannot forget to listen to local communities. Yesterday, I had the chance to speak with people who were trying to lay secure foundations for northern homes so that they do not shift quite so much and are more stable, preventing cracks from developing. Sometimes, the lifespan of a house depends on its design and how it is built. We have to convince local communities that it is important to build these types of homes.

However, this is not something we can impose because many indigenous communities are used to seeing people show up there to experiment with new building techniques. It gets to the point where they are fed up. Why do they not go somewhere else?

That is why it is important to really communicate with people and try to convince them to do this on their own initiative.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, as usual, I would like to acknowledge the people of Beauport—Limoilou who are listening to us today. I am sure they have some serious questions with respect to all of the question period speeches they have been watching on television or reading about in the papers.

Canadians are all wondering the same thing: can we trust the Minister of Finance? As we debate the 2017 budget and the proposed spending to achieve the government's objectives, all Canadians are watching the Minister of Finance closely and wondering if they can trust him.

Indeed, over the past three months, the finance minister has done some things and shown some lapses in judgment that have been revealed by journalists, the official opposition, the NDP, and Canadians. Paradoxically, ironically, and sadly, members of the Liberal Party are still smiling and laughing about it today, and not taking it seriously. As my colleague from Barrie—Innisfil was finishing his speech this morning on yesterday's motion, which calls on the government to end the debate on the 2017 budget implementation bill, we saw several members of the Liberal Party laughing and dismissing it all as nonsense. Basically, they are saying the opposition is lampooning them and engaging in gutter politics, but that is not at all the case.

Since July, the Minister of Finance has been saying that he wants to stand up for taxpayers by going after people who cheat when filing their income tax returns to pay less in taxes. To that end, he implemented certain tax reforms, or rather tax hikes for small and medium-sized businesses, which create jobs for the so-called middle class that the government is always talking about. I have a problem with all of that. We should be talking about Canadians, not about classes. Meanwhile, the minister hid from the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner that he had a company in France, which owns his villa there. He paid a $200 fine for that just under a month ago.

While he was trying to go after small and medium-sized businesses, farmers, mechanics, and hairdressers, among others, he made millions of dollars on his shares in Morneau Shepell, which he held until recently and were worth roughly $20 million. Instead of putting those assets in a blind trust, he hid them in a numbered company in Alberta. While he was going after small businesses that create jobs in Canada, he failed to disclose to the Ethics Commissioner the fact that he had assets in France and Alberta. What is more, he devised and introduced a bill that seeks to make changes to Canada's pension plans and will benefit three companies that specialize in pensions, including Morneau Shepell.

The Minister of Finance keeps spouting nonsense every time we ask him if we can trust him in light of the revelations from journalists and the official opposition. Yesterday, our venerable official opposition finance critic, the hon. member for Carleton, and several other opposition members, asked a very specific question. It takes a lot for me to feel discouraged, but I am starting to have serious doubts about the integrity of this Minister of Finance.

The hon. member for Carleton reminded him that he introduced a bill in 2015, after the Liberal government was elected, making changes that, according to the Liberals, would increase taxes on the wealthiest. That is not what happened. Several academic papers show that it is not the case. Ultimately, the wealthy are paying less taxes.

In short, two weeks before the announcement of the bill's implications for the stock market, the Minister of Finance—or someone else, but we do not know who—sold millions of Morneau Shepell shares in order to save about half a million dollars. If it was not the minister, can he tell us who it was? Yesterday, during question period, he did not answer.

The situation has only gotten worse over the past three months. After the villa in France, the $20 million in Morneau Shepell shares hidden in Alberta, and the bill that benefited Morneau Shepell, today we learned that someone sold shares to avoid the consequences of the proposed tax increase.

The Minister of Finance must stop playing ridiculous, partisan politics, which are no longer acceptable. It is high time he gave serious answers to the questions asked by the official opposition of Canada. We represent the Canadian people and we hold the government to account to ensure ministerial responsibility. The members of the Liberal Party of Canada must stop making light of the situation. Their Minister of Finance has committed serious violations. He must answer the questions and stop telling us nonsense day after day in the House.

I would still like to say a few words about the 2017 federal budget. Once again, it is a completely ridiculous budget and the Liberals are calling it a feminist budget. The budget should be for all Canadians, not just a special interest group. Of course, we know that the Liberals are centralists and that they work on behalf of special interest groups, including post-materialist groups.

What is more, this budget is in the red and speaks to the many promises the government has broken. Unfortunately, what has defined the Liberals over the past two years is a series of broken promises, including their promise on electoral reform. We are lucky that they broke that promise, because it would be a very bad idea to change the way we vote in Canada. We must retain our Westminster system of voting. The Liberals also broke another promise they made to their environmentalist base by keeping the same greenhouse gas emissions targets as our Conservative government.

Most importantly, the Liberals said that they would run a modest deficit of $10 billion per year in their first two years in office, when in reality they ran a deficit of $30 billion in the first year and $19 billion in the second year, 2017-18. What is even more worrisome is that they broke their promise to balance the budget by 2019-20, even though we are not in an economic crisis or at war. They themselves are saying that the economy is doing great. When we, the Conservatives, ran a deficit in 2008-09, it was because Canada was weathering the worst economic crisis since 1929 and 1930. Today, there is no economic crisis and no war, so there is no reason for the government to be running a deficit.

A recent article in the Financial Post indicated that, according to the OECD, household debt, particularly mortgage debt, is the highest it has ever been. For the past few years, the household debt ratio in Canada, including debt for houses, cars, and all the rest, has been the highest of all the OECD countries. This could have a serious impact on Canada's economic growth.

The Liberals say the economy is doing great. They keep sending Canadians an endless stream of Canada child benefit cheques. Despite adding up to thousands of dollars a year, they do not seem to be working, because Canadian households are more in debt than ever. This debt could be extremely dangerous for the country.

How can we expect Canadians to behave any differently, when the example they are given is a Minister of Finance who cannot be trusted and a government that urges them to spend as recklessly as it does? It is time for the Liberals to get a grip on themselves.

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

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

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention today. I know that he spent the majority of his time trying to personally attack the Minister of Finance. However, what we are actually debating here today is the budget implementation act. He did spend a little time on that and referred to the budget as completely ridiculous.

This is a budget that invests in people, skills training, and making sure that we continue to empower people to help build our economy and to build the middle class so that the economy can continue to flourish. We are seeing that.

My colleague continually said we are just stating that the economy is doing great. Well, in fact, the growth of our economy is the best of the G7 countries. What the government is doing is making investments into the economy that are actually making a difference, which unfortunately is not what we had seen with the previous government.

I ask the member to further explain how he can call this budget ridiculous when it attempts, and has been shown, to have such a huge impact in the lives of so many Canadians.

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

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

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the impact is quite clear. In 20 years our kids will pay for all the demands that they have brought forward.

I remind the hon. member across the aisle that I did not say that the content of the budget was ridiculous. I was speaking of the way it was presented and titled as a “feminist budget”. Is it possible in this country or in any parliamentary democracy for a budget to refer to a particular group or gender? This is unbelievable and unacceptable. The budget should be for all Canadians, not only in its content but in the way it is presented.

Financial Post journalist, Mr. Watson said, “Turns out the Harper government was actually terrific for wage growth.”. In the last two years of the government under Mr. Harper, we saw wage growth as we have never seen in Canada. We created 1.2 million jobs in the last decade.

All of the fruits that the Liberal government is harvesting in the last two years are because of the work of the Conservative government from 2006 to 2015 and its $3-billion surplus.

That is the reality. Stop playing politics and work for all Canadians.

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

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

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

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

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments. I also want to congratulate him on his comparison between Bill C-63 and Lotto 6/49.

I am sure my colleague hears just as clearly as the official opposition the Liberal claims of all the wonderful things they are doing for the Canadian economy and for the middle class. However, at the same time, they are taking money away from diabetics. They are taking money away from people with autism. Taxes have actually gone up on 81% of the Canadian middle class. At the same time, the current Liberal government is exporting half a billion dollars to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank to build infrastructure in Asia, while postdating the cheques for Canadian infrastructure and having to re-profile fully $2 billion in infrastructure commitments, because it cannot get the money out the door.

I wonder if my colleague could speak to the confused, dysfunctional priorities of the current Liberal government in spending Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I commend him on the quality of his French, and I encourage him to speak French more often in the House.

That being said, of all the things he mentioned, I would like to focus on the investments in an Asian bank. Last week, the government announced with great fanfare the national housing strategy, which provides for an investment of $40 billion that we do not have, $20 billion of which will likely come from the federal government. However, nothing will be done until 2019, because right now we have nothing but deficits and no real money. The federal government is hoping that the provinces, the private sector, and who knows who else will also put some money in the pot.

The Liberal government is all about image. On financing the Asian infrastructure bank, the government reached new heights of absurdity and duplicity when it said that the money that it will invest in that bank will also be counted as foreign aid. I almost lost it when I heard that. I cannot imagine which objective of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development the government could possibly meet by investing in an Asian infrastructure bank.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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La Prairie Québec

Liberal

Jean-Claude Poissant LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure for me to speak to this bill relating to Canada's vibrant agriculture and agrifood industry.

This highly diversified sector is a major economic driver in Canada. It generates more than $100 billion, or more than 6% of Canada's GDP, and employs one in eight Canadians.

Agriculture has shaped our nation and contributes to the health of Canadians and of the Canadian economy. We are talking about a powerful driver of job creation, growth and trade in Canada. The sector has evolved to become highly specialized, efficient and able to make remarkable progress in terms of crop yields and diversification.

We know that farmers play a key role in our economy, and that is why we want to be certain to take the appropriate actions, particularly regarding the new generation of farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs. That is also why this bill will ensure that the government does not change the tax measures aimed at helping family businesses grow, create jobs and innovate.

The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadian farmers by investing in the growth of the agrifood sector and in agricultural innovation.

On November 6, 2017, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, on behalf of the Minister of Finance, announced tax relief to assist farmers. Those measures included tax relief for farmers who received compensation under the Health of Animals Act for the mandatory destruction of their livestock following the outbreak of bovine tuberculosis in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2016 and 2017. There was also the designation, for tax deferral purposes, of regions affected by flooding or drought in 2017, a measure that will help farmers renew their herds by allowing them to defer to 2018 part of the proceeds of their sales of breeding livestock in 2017.

The government also announced the continuation of the tax treatment that currently applies to cash tickets for deliveries of listed grains.

We want to see farm families succeed. That is why we are working so that all family business owners retain the ability to pass on the fruits of their hard work to the next generation.

As stated in the bill, the government plans to cut the tax rate for small businesses, from 10.5% to 9%, by January 1, 2019.

During the consultations, farmers told us about unexpected consequences. The government will not implement the measures related to conversion of income into capital gains.

Farm owners will continue to benefit from the lifetime capital gains exemption on farm property, up to $1 million.

Over the coming year, the government will continue its awareness activities regarding proposals that facilitate the intergenerational transfer of businesses, while maintaining the fairness of the tax system.

Based on comments received during the consultations, the government plans to simplify the proposals related to income distribution. We were told that the proposed measures regarding the lifetime capital gains exemption could have unexpected consequences, particularly by preventing business owners from transferring their business to their children. As a result, the revised measures regarding income distribution, which will be released later this fall, will not contain any measures to limit access to the lifetime capital gains exemption.

Moreover, the government will follow up on the proposals related to passive investments, but will also ensure that farm owners have greater flexibility to allow them to save money for professional and personal reasons, including retirement.

We know that one of the best ways of optimizing return on investment is to help the next generation pursue a career in farming. As it expands, the sector needs more and more talented, dynamic and educated young people.

The government is resolved to help this new generation acquire the skills and support they need to obtain good, well-paid jobs, including in the Canadian agriculture sector.

The future is bright for this dynamic sector, thanks to global growth in the middle class, who want the products our world-class farmers and processors can offer. However, to continue to prosper, the sector must continue to attract young farmers, but many young people have financial barriers to overcome before they can take over the family farm or start their own farm business.

That is why the government, through Farm Credit Canada, has increased its support for young farmers though the loans available to young farmers, by doubling the amount of credit offered, from $500,000 to $1 million.

Farm Credit Canada has also reduced the minimum down payment to 20% of the value of the loan, thus encouraging the purchase and improvement of farm lands and buildings. These are key resources that will help new farmers deal with the considerable expenses required to get into agriculture.

As part of the 2016 youth employment strategy, the Government of Canada created the agricultural youth green jobs initiative, a $5.2-million investment that will help create 145 green jobs for young people in the agricultural industry.

Young farmers also play an important role in the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, a federal-provincial-territorial agreement to invest $3 billion in the advancement of this great industry over the next five years.

The partnership will focus on priorities critical to optimizing the sector's growth potential, including research, innovation, internal competitiveness and trade. The partnership is a solid foundation for the future of our great agricultural sector. It will build on our sound agricultural program, which includes the investments in science and innovation, trade, the environment, transportation and value-added industries announced in the 2017 budget. To stimulate the growth of agrifood trade, the budget set a target of $75 billion in agrifood exports by 2025.

As the House can see, the government fully understands that it is in Canada’s interest to encourage young people to opt for a career in agriculture.

The tax changes we are proposing will not increase tax rates for agricultural businesses. They will have no impact on farmers’ ability to incorporate, invest or pay family members who work on the farm.

Lastly, the government’s goal is to make sure that the next generation of farmers have the tools, resources and support they need to succeed.

The government knows that farmers play a key role in our economy, and we want them to prosper. We are committed to ensuring the vitality of Canada's agriculture and agrifood sector.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech.

I would also like to remind him that the government proposed its tax reform in July. In fact, the Liberals launched the consultation in July, when farmers were not at home, but in the fields working. Fortunately, the opposition managed to get the government to back down. If the tax reform had been implemented as proposed, no young person would ever have been able to take over the family farm, because it would have been more advantageous to sell the farm to a stranger than to one's own children.

Fortunately, I see that the government has reversed its position, thanks to the opposition, which did a tremendous job collaborating with Canada’s business community to ensure that 80% of the measures in the ridiculous tax reform were withdrawn.

I would like assurances from my colleague. The Liberals created a $250-million fund to help producers. I hope they remember that the Conservative government set almost $4 billion aside for compensation. We are talking about compensation under treaties with Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

Do the Liberals intend to increase the $250 million earmarked for farmers?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Jean-Claude Poissant Liberal La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

We began consultations during the summer and we were also able to hear what producer organizations had to say. The goal of the exercise was to listen to producers and determine how we could help them. We are still currently holding consultations with owners who want to transfer their farms.

With regard to the $250 million, I would like to remind my colleague that the Conservatives' $4 billion or more was split between two agreements, namely the agreement with Europe and the trans-Pacific partnership, the TPP. The TPP involved access to not only the dairy sector, but also everything involving the poultry and feather industries. For the moment, the TPP has not been implemented. Our $250 million still makes sense.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am flabbergasted to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Agriculture talk about how the federal government is encouraging young people to get involved in agriculture, while the Liberals themselves voted against the bill introduced by our current House leader. Bill C-274 would have made it possible to transfer family businesses, especially in the agriculture and fisheries sectors. It would have made it more advantageous for farmers to transfer their land to their children than to strangers. They voted against it. They also said that they would compensate dairy farmers and cheese producers for the free trade agreements with the European Union. It took a single week for the entire $250 million to be allocated. It was done during the summer on a first-come, first-serve basis.

We can easily Imagine the number of farmers who converged on the Hill to meet with us and tell us how unfair and poorly thought out it was and that not all dairy farmers had been compensated.

How can the member opposite believe that opposing Bill C-274 and allocating such a small amount for compensation on a first-come, first-serve basis could encourage young people to get involved in agriculture?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Jean-Claude Poissant Liberal La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her two questions.

With respect to Bill C-274, we knew that we were going to consult people on the ground before passing anything about the transfer of farms. We are currently consulting to determine what will help them the most.

As for the $250 million, we started with a first phase in which producers could apply for compensation. We received approximately 3,000 applications, but there will also be a second phase, since the $250 million has not yet been allocated in its entirety.

There is therefore more to come concerning the remainder of the $250 million.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to stand in this place to speak today to Bill C-63, the Liberal government's budget implementation act.

The genesis of the today's debate is the move by the opposition yesterday to close down debate on the bill because the finance minister refused to answer questions during question period. Twenty-one questions were asked about his stocks to make certain that he was above reproach. He smugly refused to answer the questions, which is regrettable.

There are a number of times when Canadians, as well as members in this place, understand the direction a government takes. We understand that when the government gives us its throne speech, it is laying out what it wants to accomplish over its tenure. We know it is the same when it comes to a fiscal update or a budget.

Regrettably, Bill C-63 continues to attack our future prospects and amass more debt for future taxpayers to pay off. After the bill passes, and it will pass because the government is pushing it through, Canadians will see what the Liberals have actually done.

In the past election campaign, the Liberals told Canadians one thing and did something completely different when it came to their throne speech and their first budget. The Liberals promised there would be a small deficit of up to $10 billion a year, and we now know that was simply not true. I very much question whether they had any intention of ever living up to that promise. Not only that, but the 2017 budget, which we are debating, also has no answer to the question of when Canadians can expect the government to balance its budget. The Liberals continue to refuse to tell Canadians when their big spending will stop and when debt reduction will begin.

In the last election, Canadians did vote for the Liberal Party and for small deficits. They believed that some investment by government to that degree was all right. However, Canadians in my constituency and across this country are concerned when they see a spend, spend, spend government that gives absolutely no indication as to when it will stop. The debt is continuing to grow.

Families, small businesses, the middle class and those struggling to join it cannot perpetually operate their households in the red. They cannot perpetually, year after year, continue to spend more than they have.

Millionaires and billionaires spend. They have no problem sometimes accumulating debt if they see that it will pay off in the end. They typically borrow money and know they will have to pay off that debt. We have a millionaire Prime Minister and finance minister who are having more fun now because they are borrowing money that the future generation will have to pay off.

Families cannot operate this way. When annual economic growth is moderate or high, families know they have to save for a rainy day, but not the Liberals. The Liberals borrow money during prosperous times, and why not? It is not their money. They are borrowing money that other people will have to pay back, including my grandchildren.

Families scrimp and save because they know that things can happen that cost money. If the furnace breaks down, given the climate in this country, a new one must be purchased. That is when a family tries to find savings to pay off that furnace. Families do not borrow money to buy a new furnace with no intention of ever paying that money back, and yet the Liberal government has no plan to pay back the debt, no plan to get out of debt, no plan to stop overspending, no plan to balance the books, no plan to start paying down the accumulated national debt. The Liberal government continues to pay interest on the massive amount of money it has borrowed.

I was speaking to a Liberal member the other day who asked, why worry about the debt when interest rates are low? Interest rates are low. However, fiscal responsibility is what we expect from a government. If our mindset is “interest rates are low then why worry about it”, what happens when the rates start to turn around? Is there a panic all of a sudden? The government does not panic because it will not have to pay for it.

The Liberals came up with the so-called “new tax bracket” to tax the top 1% of income earners. We know now that it did not work. In fact, less money came in than the revenues flowing before.

After the Liberals hiked the taxes on the rich, we found out that the rich or the top 1% of the income earners, many of whom are also job creators, are actually paying a billion dollars less in taxes per year than they had been. The middle class did not receive any of the revenues from the top 1% of income earners, because there were not enough revenues raised by hiking those taxes to pay for the programs and the services that the Prime Minister said that he was going to implement.

Since 2015, the Liberals have cancelled tax credits, raised CPP, and raised EI premiums. At the same time, the price of everything else for the average Canadian continues to rise, such as transportation, fuel, groceries, and rent. Very soon, all Canadians will be suffering under a new carbon tax. We have seen that in the throne speech. We have seen that in budgets. That carbon tax will not be used to reduce carbon emissions. Rather, it will be spent by the Liberals in Ottawa on their friends and pet projects.

What about jobs? The former government understood that we needed trade agreements and lower taxes. When we lower taxes, jobs are created.

The Liberals talk about their job creation achievements. To look at their record, 11 out of 12 jobs that are created are not in the private sector. They are in the public sector. More people work for both the federal and provincial government. It is unsustainable.

In Alberta, a lot of the new jobs came up in the public sector. Revenues from the private sector pay for jobs in the public sector. Revenues from public sector jobs do not create more jobs.

Still the Liberals say that there has been a two-third reduction this year in unemployment numbers. It is shameful. They do not talk about the fact that fewer people out there are looking for work. Statistics show that two-thirds of the unemployed in Canada have given up looking for a new job.

The Liberals are putting Canada second in the long-term goals of what our country should look at and investing in the wrong places. A good example of this is the decision by the Liberal government to invest in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This system makes sure that taxpayers and their money take all of the risk when it comes to building infrastructure in Canada. The millionaire owner of a construction firm building an infrastructure will escape losing money if a bridge fails to generate revenues, because it is the taxpayer who will be on that hook.

What is worse is that the Liberal plan includes creating well-paying, middle-class jobs in foreign countries. That is the shameful part. It is not money invested here in Canada for jobs, but money invested in China and Pakistan and other nations in this infrastructure bank. That is where the jobs will be found and that is where the benefits will be created. The goal of this bank is not to create jobs here in Canada for middle-class Canadians.

It is easy to sign a cheque. The prime minister loves the signing. The government members may believe in an “A” for announcement, but if job creation is one of their goals, they get a “D“ for delivery. Although they make the announcement, jobs are not happening in the country. This is where it will come back to bite us.

In Alberta, the Liberals have managed to complete 20-some out of 174 announced infrastructure projects. This is from a government that campaigned on infrastructure. That is shameful.

I see that I am out of time. I would have encouraged the government to say that we need more trade, we need lower taxes, we need to create jobs, we need to make certain that we live within our means, and that has not happened with the Liberal government.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to note that the parliamentary budget office released a report in October, the fiscal sustainability report, and noted that federal finances are actually sustainable in the long term, contrary to what the member has indicated.

The member mentioned the carbon tax coming into force. It is revenue neutral at the federal level, and the provinces will do what they will with the funds. B.C. will do something different from what Manitoba will do, which will do something different from what Nova Scotia do, perhaps.

Does the member not believe in market mechanisms, such as a carbon tax? Does he not believe in climate change? If he does believe in climate change, what does he propose as an alternative?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe in carbon tax. I do not believe that by taxing the average Canadian we are going to see much less emissions.

As far as climate change, I know that man-made climate change here in our country accounts for about 1.6% of emissions. The question is not whether we believe in climate change. The question should really be around how much money we are going to throw at 1.6% man-created emissions in our country.

I agree that we need to do what we can to make certain we have a clean environment, to lower emissions. However, it is not a carbon tax. I have seniors on fixed incomes walking into my office and asking which bills not to pay. We have seen the carbon tax and how it has affected our gas prices in Alberta. We live in a large, vast country where we must move goods and services across our country.

Fuel and heating oil is an absolute in this country. The government is attacking the very people who need it the most and who do not have it. Those are the ones who will feel a disproportionate hurt on their lifestyle because of what the government has done with its big tax plan.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, ultimately budgets are about choices. In his speech, the member alluded to the decision to send nearly half a billion dollars to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, but there is more.

We have a decision right outside these Parliament buildings to spend more than $5 million on a temporary ice rink. There was a decision made to cover the Canada Post headquarters in a $500,000 building wrap. It was also judged necessary to spend over $200,000 on the budget cover.

I look at the situation that exists in my home province of British Columbia, where one in five children are growing up in households mired in poverty. I think about the missed opportunities when the government is prepared to spend that kind of money on some of these frivolous projects.

Could the member elaborate on what that says about the Liberal government's true intentions, and about the missed opportunities to really help Canadians who desperately need it?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about a couple of areas that he believed were massive wastes of money. Certainly I would agree.

I have individuals in my constituency coming up to me and saying, “Kevin, tell me it isn't so, $5.9 million on a hockey rink on the front lawn of our Parliament building. Tell me it isn't so. How long is the rink going to be up?” It is going to be up three or four weeks. They ask, “How long did it take to build?” It was months. They want to know, “How many people are going to skate on this rink?”

My constituency is predominantly a rural riding, and $1 million is a lot of money to help some smaller community with a rink that is going to be there for decades and decades. Again, we have a government that loves the photo op, that loves the idea of something new and innovative, a rink on Parliament Hill.

We had $200,000 budget covers, smiley, glossy budget covers. It does not dress it up. Something this ugly cannot be dressed up. The budget was so bad. It could be asked if that $200,000 did its job; the answer is no.

The OECD came out in the past few weeks, warning the developed world of high household debt. I think this goes back to expectations of our government. Canada is at the top of the list, above the United States, China, Korea, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, France, Germany, the whole list.

The household debt of Canadians is scary. There is nothing that addresses this issue in our budget. This has always been a fear in Canada. It is time the government awoke to the true threats in our economy. It is time it wakes up, but it just keeps hitting the snooze button.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to follow a seasoned parliamentarian, who was actually the second-in-command to the minister of finance in the Conservative government, which, through the worst recession, paid down $40 billion and then came out of it faster than any other nation, not by coincidence but by management, and actually gave the government across the road a surplus. That is quite amazing.

However, we cannot forget the election. The group across the way campaigned by saying they were going to have a little $10-billion deficit, which is how they described it, and Canadians bought into it. That is democracy, folks. That $10-billion deficit is now over $20 billion. I mentioned that to folks in my rural riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, which does not often deal with billions of dollars.

Let me provide an example of the Liberal government being irresponsible, disrespectful, and incompetent. Let us say I am a small business guy who has a project, I want to increase my business, and I go to the bank with my business plan, saying I need $1 million. After I make my plea, my lender tells me I have the money for my project. Eight weeks later I go back to the bank, saying I am going to start the project, everything is in order, but I now need $2 million. The bank wants to talk about the changes and I say there actually are no changes, it is just that I did not know what I was talking about in the first place and I now want to increase what I previously asked for by 100%. In the real world, that does not happen. When I walk out through the door of the bank, it would hit me in back.

What happens when the Liberal government has a budget that in incompetent in terms of its projections and irresponsible in terms of what it has done to taxpayers? The banker is now every taxpayer in Canada. That is only the tip of the iceberg. We now have a Minister of Finance and a Prime Minister who are in an elite group. I actually get a kick out of it. Do members remember when they said they were going to take that little deficit from the top wealthiest 1% and spread it among the working class? I think they call it the middle class. We, in our places, actually work. They said it would save taxpayers $2 billion. That worked out well. They took that off the top, did not get the revenues they wanted, and shafted taxpayers for about $3 billion. That is the irresponsibility and incompetence of the Liberal government, which says one thing and does not actually know what it is going to do.

Earlier, my colleague mentioned another great investment, the Asian infrastructure bank, in which we are going to spend $480 million, though we are not sure. We are going to send it to Asia. Liberals have this love affair with China, so I am assuming it is going to possibly go to Beijing, where it can build its infrastructure with Canadian tax dollars.

I know that the folks across the aisle met last week, as I did, with members of the municipal governments in the Federation of Canadian Municipalities who come from rural areas. Rural infrastructure is important, with our vast amount of roads, bridges, and rail that need to be looked after. I do not know what the number is, but what is amazing is not the amount of money that has gone out but the amount of money that has not gone out. We have talked a lot about infrastructure. The new infrastructure plan is a bit like the new housing strategy. When is it going to take effect?

We hear that housing is really important. We hear that we have desperation in public housing, and we need to deal with it quickly. That is what the municipalities talk about. The years 2020 to 2021 meet the urgency panic button. This is 2017. That is four years down the road, by the way. I suspect it will make a good election platform in the next election in the fall of 2019.

Similarly, with respect to infrastructure, most of that has been moved past 2019 into 2020. That happens to be after the election, so it will make another good election platform, I guess. What is happening in our rural municipalities across this country and in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex is a lack of actual dollars to partner with our municipalities that need a partner. In Ontario, our third partner has sort of disappeared in the red tape of Ontario, much like where the Liberal government has taken Canada.

We are now worrying about where we will get the money for the infrastructure, because it is not flowing. They talk about it, but when we talk about something, and I go back to my earlier discussion about businesses going to the bank, we actually have to manage it. We need to have a business plan on how to put it out.

In my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, agriculture is the main industry. It is the driver of the economy in Ontario, and I might say the driver of the economy, quite honestly, in this great country of Canada. The Liberals came out with what they called the new growing forward 2 agriculture program, and they added a couple of things to it, such as a public trust and money to actually help processors, because we need to vertically integrate this great industry of agriculture from top to bottom, and in this case, from the bottom up. I agree with those.

As a country based in agriculture, we need to make sure that we grow the safest and best products. Just ask anyone in international trade about our agricultural products. We always provide quality. We need to make sure that we have public trust on our side so that people understand what great products we produce in Canada. Because we are great producers, we export a lot. We also process much of the product we have. Where is the money to help do this? The Liberals added two or three components to the Canada agriculture program, but where is the money for it. The Liberals said they would have to shift some around, which means everyone is going to get less, or it will be just like infrastructure, with spending in the earlier part, and maybe even housing. They are just going to talk about it, but they are not going to put any money into it. They might talk about the money going into it in five years. By then, Canadians will be hopeful that they are no longer in government and that the Conservatives will be able to do it.

My time is running out. All I can say to the folks in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, and across this great country, is that Bill C-63 is a disaster, and I will simply not be supporting it.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by correcting the record on a few fronts. Although I enjoyed the hon. member opposite's opinions, they were not necessarily based on fact. I note that as part of the national housing strategy, there is money actually being spent today that was allocated in budget 2016. It is going to things like the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society in my riding. With respect to infrastructure, projects are being built today in my community, putting people to work. The accounting issue he mentioned, the gap of $2 billion, is merely how funds are allocated, because they are paid out when funds come in.

He also indicated that during the last government, they managed their way out of a recession. He said that they were the best in the G7. Going into the last election, in 2015, we were the only G7 country that was facing a recession again. Was it the $55-billion deficit they ran in 2008-09? Was it the $150 billion over 10 years?

If he is going to use those facts, will he at least acknowledge that the deficits being run under our government are leading to unprecedented growth and to job creation that we have not seen in a decade?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, 94% of announced infrastructure projects have failed to start. That is really moving forward.

Let us talk about jobs. We actually talked about jobs in committee this morning. We talked about a number of things. One of them was Phoenix. The shipbuilding procurement program was another.

In my riding of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, what is the driving indicator? It is small and medium-sized businesses. Is that not interesting? It is one job in 11. Eleven jobs out of 12 are not private. They are in the government. Who drives the industry?

Across the aisle, they always talk about how important small businesses are for job creation. They give one of 11 the credit for saving the jobs of the other 11.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member would comment on what the budget does in terms of helping those trying to join the middle class and those in the middle class, who the government is always talking about, when the income tax provisions proposed in the budget do not give any breaks at all to the people who are really in the middle class, those making $45,000 a year or less. It does nothing to go after the really big fish, the people who are putting their money offshore in the tax havens in Barbados and the Cook Islands we heard about in the paradise papers. I wonder if he could comment on that complete lack of priorities on the part of the government.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, members might remember the tax reform that came out in the middle of the summer and ended just before we came back in the fall. That was small business tax reform. It should have been called “shaft the small business people”, because that is what it was all about. The Liberals made some retractions after they were caught. Do members remember capital gains?

However, they did great things for themselves, especially the leaders, such as the Minister of Finance and the Prime Minister. They wanted to make sure that those at the very top were sheltered. In fact, what we have heard is that those in the very elite top are now paying $1 billion less in tax a year. However, the middle class they talk about, which I call “working individuals”, are now paying $840 more than they were before the Liberal government came to power.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, coming back to the matter of trust and confidence that every Canadian taxpayer must have in the finance minister of the day, as Canadians had in the legendary Jim Flaherty, confidence that has been shaken by this finance minister, with his conviction for non-disclosure, his crash divestment of shares, and his contribution to charity after he was caught, I would like to ask my colleague to explain again to the Liberals why our continuing questions are so important, particularly under the legislative guillotine of time allocation we are seeing with this important bill brought forward by the minister, Bill C-63.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is irresponsible. It is disrespectful, quite honestly. We have the second-most powerful individual in the country under investigation. In fact, he was charged and had to pay a fine, because he would not disclose the things that all of us had to. He had an administrative oversight and forgot to mention his villa in France. We do ourselves a disservice by not being honest and upfront. We wonder why people call politicians crooked. It is because we sometimes are not forthright about what we do and what we say. Jim Flaherty was declared the best finance minister in the world. We need that back again.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder where I should begin my speech about Bill C-63. I do not necessarily want to repeat what I already said at second reading. Today, we are at the report stage. I was lucky enough, if you really want to call it lucky, to be the vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Finance. I had the honour of being a very involved, even proactive, participant in the study of the bill in committee.

This huge bill required all of our attention during its final weeks in committee and I wanted to report on how things progressed. I also wanted to report on how the Liberals behave in committee.

It seems that they just plug their ears. When we hear witnesses about a bill, and the witnesses are in general agreement on an issue, it seems that by the end of the process the Liberals have not heard anything. They are practically deaf.

They look at their notes and stick to the guidelines they were given on how to vote on amendments. Even if they can hear as well as I do—I do want to give them the benefit of the doubt, as they are obviously not deaf—when it comes time to vote on the NDP or Conservative amendments, they seem to have completely forgotten what they heard from the witnesses.

I will give a few examples. In the bill, significant amendments were made to the Canada Labour Code to add leave for various reasons. The first types of leave added are for indigenous cultural practices. I moved a very simple amendment, which would ensure that indigenous peoples are consulted about their practices. I must say that in addition to the list of indigenous cultural practices already included in the legislation, which are accepted and which employers will also have to accept, the Governor in Council may make regulations to add other practices. We said that indigenous peoples needed to be consulted first and that this obligation had to be put into the bill. This was rejected. However, it was very clear that this was needed. The Liberals rejected this amendment.

We welcome the initiative of leave for family violence in the Canada Labour Code, but it is for 10 unpaid days. Several witnesses who came before the Committee found that this did not make any sense. How can a victim of family violence be told that she can simply get out of her family violence situation, take unpaid leave and everything will be quickly worked out. Come on.

It defies logic that someone could take unpaid leave to get out of critical and vulnerable situations like those. We tried to amend the labour code to turn it into paid leave, but the Liberals refused to listen to the witnesses and experts who said that it would take at least paid leave.

The same thing is true for family-related leave. Family responsibilities are very important today. Often, both parents work. Family responsibilities can vary widely. The government was proposing three types of leave, again unpaid. Experts agree that it made sense to give paid leave. That is what we proposed. We even proposed five days of paid leave and the Liberals refused that proposal as well, for reasons that they cannot even explain themselves. They simply voted against the proposal without giving any explanations. It is from the opposition, so it surely is not good.

We tried to amend the bill so the leave could be taken in blocks of less than a day. It is very clear, in the bill, that employers can require that employees take a full day of leave or more. Leave related to family responsibilities or family violence may only be for two hours. Nevertheless, for the Liberals, that is out of the question. The leave must be one day or more. They again refused our proposed amendment.

We put forward other amendments on other topics in Bill C-63 that have been extensively discussed. There was the one regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

In addition to the Conservatives’ amendment aimed at reducing the allocation to the government’s poorly designed and misguided bank to zero, we attempted, even though we knew that the government would reject our amendments, to make the process more transparent. Given that most experts were opposed to the bank since, in their opinion, there would be no real return on the investment for Canadians, we asked the Liberals to have the finance minister report to the House on the money invested in the Asian infrastructure bank for each project, so that Canadians would know exactly where their money had gone and which infrastructure project in Asia they had financed.

In my opinion, the Minister of Finance has a strong obligation to be transparent. We are being asked to spend up to $480 million Canadian dollars on this infrastructure bank. Canadians are being asked to invest all this money in a bank, and they are not even being given information about what their money is being used for.

In Asia, there are many diverging interests, and officials who are at the very least questionable will probably benefit from that bank. That is why we asked questions about the transparency of the bank’s accountability mechanisms. Unfortunately, once again, the Liberals closed their eyes and plugged their ears, and refused another amendment, one that made sense. It was not to prevent the bank from existing; it would simply have made it possible to obtain transparency for Canadians, which is a bare minimum.

Bill C-63 also covers another topic, the sharing of cannabis revenues. This topic is in the news and the sharing of revenues is highly contested by the provinces, as we know. The Minister of Finance began to hold preliminary consultations at one point and the provinces were adamant: equal sharing is not acceptable. Most of the responsibilities related to the legalization of cannabis fall to the provinces. It was therefore sensible, in our opinion, to include an obligation in the law setting forth transfers and taxation mechanisms.

The minister should have been required to consult all his counterparts to come to an agreement before being able to set up this type of cost sharing. Once again, the Liberals rejected this sensible amendment that would have prevented the minister from pursuing an approach that imposes the Liberals' way of seeing things onto the provinces.

After the preliminary discussions, the minister made a more definitive proposal on splitting the proceeds from cannabis legalization equally. The cities and provinces are categorically against the idea. They know full well that they will have to bear the full burden, that they will have to change their own regulations in their own laws and in their own jurisdiction. Unfortunately, the federal government is being stubborn and simply does not respect the provinces.

That being said, the Minister of Finance's fingerprints are all over the more than 300 pages of Bill C-63. Today we know how he divested himself of his shares in his company, of which he was still a shareholder when he introduced this new legislation on taxing individuals and corporations. Once again, in this bill, we get the impression that the Liberals want to protect their own interests.

The Minister of Finance left his mark throughout this bill. We might wonder whether he is working for himself or for Canadians, but this bill makes it clear that he is working for himself and that is why I am voting against it.

I hope that all my colleagues will join me in voting down Bill C-63 at report stage.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I are thinking along the same lines as far as this budget is concerned. I certainly do not want to call it a fiscal plan, because it is far from that. Obviously, we disagree

I could ask all kinds of questions on this. The previous speaker from Crowfoot in Alberta talked about the budget document, and I think he called it a piece of crap. I would never do that. They talk about the $200,000 cover with which they tried to cover up this document.

The way they would say it back in my riding is that people spread manure all the time, so they fill up the spreader with horse manure, and they can cover it with a tarp, but the bottom line is that the spreader is still full of horse manure. Could the member comment on that?

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I really like the image my colleague used to describe the government's bill.

As we have seen, a number of governments have tried hiding various things in bills. That is what is happening here. The government is trying to hide things in Bill C-63 that it does not want Canadians to know too much about. It does not want to give Canadians a lot of details. A good example of something the Liberal government is trying to hide is the $480-million investment in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

If Canadians had $480 million to spend on growing the economy, and if we were to ask them whether they would rather spend that money in Asia or in Canada, I am sure that the vast majority of Canadians, if not all of them, would say that the money should be spent in our economy here at home.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Sherbrooke for his speech. I have just one question.

My colleague touched on a number of subjects, but he did not say a word about all of the good things in the budget. That really worries me when I think of the people in his riding and other ridings represented by opposition members.

In my riding, Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, 15,700 children receive the Canada child benefit every month. That is phenomenal. It adds up to $5.2 million per month.

I wonder if my colleagues can tell us how many children in their own families receive the Canada child benefit.

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

November 28th, 2017 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure which part of the bill my colleague was referring to when he mentioned the Canada child benefit.

I am not sure whether my colleague read Bill C-63. What I do know is that nowhere in the bill is there any mention of the Canada child benefit. I do not know why the member is asking me a question about that today. If my colleague is wondering why I did not talk about it in my speech, he should read the bill we are debating here today. Then he will know why I did not mention the Canada child benefit.

I nevertheless thank my colleague for his question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, as always, it is an honour to rise in this chamber and engage in debate on substantial issues.

Before I begin my speech today on Bill C-63, I would like to briefly share a comment with all members. Some time ago, a now-retired provincial cabinet minister shared a comment with me. After a 16-year career in a provincial legislature, his advice was simple. He said that, whenever a government attempts to resolve a problem through legislation, it must be careful to avoid inadvertently creating a series of new problems in the process. That sounds so very simple, and I believe all governments, including the current one, are certainly well intended. People put their names forward to serve and to try to help build a better, stronger, and more prosperous society. However, as my former and now-retired provincial cabinet minister friend pointed out, it is not always that easy. I suspect that, over the past few months, few members on the government's bench would disagree with this sentiment.

I share the advice of my friend because within one of these sections contained within the bill is precisely such a measure that is likely well intended but would certainly cause harm. The specific measure I am talking about is a new provision proposed to eliminate the use of billed-basis accounting by designated professionals. I will credit the Liberal government for resisting the temptation to call this one “billing fairness for lawyers and accountants” because, much like the attack on small business, this particular measure would create some serious problems.

Allow me to explain. At the moment, we know that in professions such as accounting and in law firms, until they actually get paid for their billable hours they do not have any income. This concept does not take much for anyone in this chamber to understand. However, if this measure were to go through, for example, it would mean that once a lawyer has billed his or her billable hours, those hours are considered income for tax purposes. To be clear, this even means that, although the said lawyers have yet to be paid for those hours, they would be taxed on them.

On the surface, it may not seem like a big deal. At the finance committee, we heard from officials. They said that, after this measure is implemented fully, it is about $500,000 to the treasury, which is not a big sum for this place. However, like most things, we need to look away from the Bay Street law firms. I mean no offence to them in saying that, but in rural parts of the country, in fact in many small to mid-size communities, law firms are not so large. I suspect many in this place know full well that the reality is that not many even middle-class Canadians can afford a lawyer anymore, let alone those who are most vulnerable, without legal assistance. On the same note, I suspect members would not meet a provincial bar representative anywhere who would not share with them what a crisis legal-aid funding is going through throughout this great country. We all know that the vast majority of our provincial treasuries are running deficits and few, if any, are putting more money into things like legal aid. As I mentioned, even for the upper middle class income earners, still the cost of legal representation is exorbitant.

It is easy to blame lawyers for this, but as some in this place will know full well, running a law firm carries a huge amount of overhead: bills, expenses, staff, making draws. These things need to happen weekly. In some cases, it can take years before they see a resolution. I mention these things of course because the proposed measure in this bill would ultimately increase the costs that lawyers would have to carry. In other words, it would increase the overhead. In the big firms, this may or may not be a big deal. However, in smaller firms and in particular in those rural areas, these added costs could well be crippling, and they would make the availability of legal representation that much more difficult for middle-class Canadians let alone those scraping by.

These are the very same middle-class Canadians that have become a favourite talking point of the Prime Minister and his finance minister, but what is more frustrating about this is that there is really no public benefit here. Ultimately once a lawyer bills those hours and finally gets paid, the tax revenue is coming to Ottawa anyway, unless of course, someone is one of those wealthy friends of the Prime Minister who banks in the Bahamas.

For the most rank and file Canadians and their attorneys, this tax money would make its way here to Ottawa, but that is not good enough for the government. The Liberals do not want to wait for that money. They want the cash upfront, now. I do not know about everyone else, but I think an estimated half a million dollars inevitably pushes smaller firms to take less marginal cases; for example, a grandmother who has been hit, not offered proper compensation from my own province, ICBC, which is a provincially regulated monopoly, will not be able to find that same representation in the rural areas because people will say they are sorry, they would like to take her case, but the rules are here and they cannot subsidize her case on the backs of the other ones. Unless she pays a full retainer upfront, they will not be able to take her case let alone help her.

Again, I am hoping that government members hear this and start to ask a few more questions. The government members will say they have consulted with the provincial bar associations and they are fine with this. They said they would it put in place over five years, so every year it would go up 20%, but that does not negate the harm this would be doing to those seeking representation in those marginal rural areas. Sometimes a consultation is asking to hear what people say and then making a response. In this case, the government said it did a consultation but it is going to go ahead regardless of what people say. What kind of a consultation is that?

Is it really so unreasonable that the government should wait for people's income until they have actually been paid for a service that has been performed? I would suspect many people in this chamber would say that expectation is not unreasonable, and I am hoping that members across the way agree.

I'll now turn to taxing employee benefits, denying disability status for type 1 diabetes, and something I raised in this place earlier: the case of a mother whose Canada child benefit has been withheld simply because she has an unco-operative spouse. These are people who need those supports, and the government, whether through laws like this or whether through finding them ineligible by technical grounds on the administrative side, is harming the material life of these vulnerable people.

In my view, this agency is overreaching at the behest of the government, and there will be consequences for that. I do not simply mean political consequences. I mean that, for those who need legal advice, it might become that much harder to reach. Also, here in Ottawa we could have that money a little sooner.

Meanwhile, if people can afford lawyers, they might be paying them to sit in court only to find out that there is no judge because the government is well behind in judicial appointments. I raised that directly with the Minister of Justice, that we saw for the first time in 35 years a section of the family chambers court in Vancouver closed because there were no judges. That is a shame, and frankly, for a party that has always been so revered by so many in the legal profession, I am surprised that it is only the opposition members who are standing up for the profession in this case.

Before I close, I will say that at times the government has surprised me by changing directions. That would be only a very small change in direction, but if the Liberals were to make this change and remove this section, it could hugely help out those facing legal challenges and help the legal profession in general throughout rural Canada. For that matter, I am hopeful that the members opposite will give my comments some consideration and look to see this provision removed.

On that same note, I would like to thank the members in this place, particularly the government, for listening. I appreciate everyone's time today.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Madam Speaker, the member said something that I want to clarify and get his thoughts on. He said that any work-in-progress account is going to be subject to income tax. The members opposite know that is not true. In fact, bill-based accounting rules are the lesser value of fair market value and/or cost. Perhaps the member could explain to the Canadian public why his previous statement was incorrect and the importance of that distinction.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's sincerity here. I asked this over and over of the lawyers who were at committee. I asked the officials about this concern. The way the government is proceeding to do bill-based accounting, with 20% every year, is going to cause that harm. I had lawyers from the provincial bar association in British Columbia come and talk to me about this case. This is not something made up by one member of Parliament; this is something that is out there and being heard. I just hope that the people on the other side really ask those questions, because the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance actually said in this place that he believed it was a challenge and that more could be done to make this better. I sincerely hope the member goes and talks to the parliamentary secretary and asks his advice.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

Does he not see a strange parallel between our constant feeling that the government is not going after tax havens and the sad spectacle we have been witnessing for weeks now involving the Minister of Finance? Is there not a curious discrepancy between what is being said and what is unfortunately not being done?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, this is a tale as old as time. What often happens is that those who are well connected are able to take advantage and, whether it be through social connections, work relationships, or formal political lobbying, are able to get their message heard. I am fearful that we are starting to see a two-tier approach to taxation in this country, where those who have very little power, influence, or political ability to get in front of the government are being disregarded and are being nickelled and dimed.

This is the opposite of what the government says it wants to do. It says it wants to have an inclusive economy. Part of an inclusive economy means including people and thinking of them, not thinking for them. In this case, I have to say the government is putting the onus on these small marginal cases, these grandmothers and family members of ours who are hurt, who need help, who need representation, and who are told no because of economic decision-making that is forced upon them by the government.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to see my colleague drill down on a particular shortcoming in a piece of Liberal legislation.

It is true that the receivables are considered by accountants as assets. However, taxation before payment is yet another example of the theoretical application of the grasping that we have seen from the government. I think my colleague was quite correct in mentioning the abortive consideration of taxing benefits of retail employees.

This brings us back to the question that has been asked a number of times in the House. Given the government's focus on those who struggle most to perform a job, to raise families, and to pay their taxes, is this a case of a finance minister and a Prime Minister who have lived such rarified lives that they simply do not consider the impact they are having on those who have not?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, we heard from officials who said they likened the billable hours to inventory, and that the fair market value, as the previous Liberal member raised, would be representative of that, and Canadians would be paying taxes on that per share. The problem with that is, if grocers had inventory that went bad, as in the case that one did not win, they would be able to write that inventory off against their income and not be taxed on that. That is not the case here. I think it is because officials are basically giving examples that make sense at the surface. However, when we start asking if it would apply to other forms of business or if other forms of business could write off inventory that spoils on the shelf, it is obvious that no one on that side is going deeper into the issue. That is what I am asking these members to do, go deeper.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, it is a great honour to give my thoughts on Bill C-63 on behalf of the hard working and amazing constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. I have to once again note, on their behalf, how unfortunate it is that we have to debate this bill under the yoke of time allocation. This bill, like so many others, is being railroaded through the House. It seems like it is the only way the government can get its legislation through, rather than having meaningful dialogue with the opposition parties.

I want to start off by underlining some key facts and figures, and they are not pretty.

Over the last 30 years, workers have helped grow our economy by over 50%. In spite of this, their salaries are stagnating and their retirements are becoming less secure. The inequality gap in Canada between the richest and the majority of Canadians is growing faster and wider than in other developed countries. The 100 richest Canadians now have the same wealth as the combined wealth of the 10 million less fortunate.

Employment insurance is becoming harder to access. Statistics show that less than four in 10 unemployed persons qualify for insurance when they need it. That statistic has not changed. In fact, none of these statistics have changed for quite some time now.

Closer to home, in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and in my beautiful province of British Columbia, since the House of Commons passed a resolution in 1989 to eliminate child poverty in Canada, the child poverty rate has increased from 15.5% to 18.3% today. The richest 10% of B.C. families with children receive 24% of the total income, while the poorest half of families share 27%.

My own home town of Duncan has extremely alarming child poverty rates. It is especially severe in the city where almost three in 10 children live in poverty. As I said, these are not new statistics. Continuous Liberal and Conservative governments have been aware of these. We are now two years into the government's mandate and we still have some of the most disadvantaged families in the country, waiting for meaningful action to tackle many of these dreadful statistics.

A lot has been made of the Minister of Finance of late. It is worthwhile to talk about him because he is the sponsor of this bill. The opposition represents most of Canadians, given that about 60% of them voted for the parties on this side of the House, and most of them do not have any confidence in the minister.

Yesterday, and continuing through today, he has been unable to provide yes or no answers to simple questions from the member for Carleton. He will not reveal his assets in other numbered corporations so the House may have confidence in his abilities as the finance minister.

The real sticking point for our members in the NDP is that he sponsored Bill C-27, an act that would allow federally regulated sectors to change their pensions to targeted benefit programs, while he had shares in Morneau Shepell, a company that stands to benefit in extreme ways from the passage of that legislation. I would like to see Liberal members of Parliament have the courage to bring that bill forward for second reading debate and hear the arguments they put forward on how it would affect the retirement security of the middle class they claim to stand for each and every day in the House of Commons. I am so looking forward to that day.

Budgets are about choices. I want to go through some of the choices that exist in the bill and that the government has made.

One of its provisions will allow the Minister of Finance to transfer some $480 million to the Asian infrastructure bank, which was mentioned in the 2017 budget. Many members of the opposition have expressed concern about why Canadian money is flowing to that bank and about the good it could have done here in Canada. For those of us who represent rural communities, $480 million is untold riches of what it could do and build in our local communities.

This fits with the pattern of the government's spending choices. Right outside these doors, we have a hockey rink which cost $5.6 million. I know the government likes to talk about it as a legacy project, but it will be dismantled after February and it is only a block away from the largest skating rink in the world. Therefore, $5.6 million is a princely sum of money to be spending on something that will make the front lawn of Parliament look better for three months.

Also half a million, $555,000, was spent on a building wrap, while Canada Post headquarters gets renovated. The government spent over $200,000 developing the illustration on the cover of budget 2017.

When we start to see spending patterns and choices like this, it raises legitimate questions about the government's priorities.

This leads me to the second part. When we talk about those choices, what invariably comes up are the missed opportunities. The budget implementation bill, because it would implement certain measures of the budget announced earlier this year, gives members of Parliament a large amount of latitude to talk about some of the choices that were not made.

For example, we asked the Minister of Finance if he could include provisions to cap CEO stock options, CEOs who make use of this loophole to shelter some of their income. We asked him to actively fight tax havens. We asked him to establish an all-important $15 minimum wage for federal workers to show that kind of leadership to our provincial counterparts and to show that we actually cared about the workers of our country. We could have made huge investments in energy efficiency home renovations. We could have addressed accessibility problems linked to housing, drinking water, mental health services, and education in first nation communities. More important, we could have established a universal pharmacare program, a program that the parliamentary budget officer conservatively estimated would save Canadians over $4 billion. Unfortunately none of these provisions were implemented.

In March 2017, the government supported our party's motion to tackle tax havens and place a cap on those same tax loopholes for CEOs, as I just mentioned. However, while the government supported it, we are still waiting for that concrete action to address the problems caused by tax measures benefiting those at the top.

The previous Conservative speaker talked about a tax system that increasingly treated some at the top differently from those at the bottom. He used the term “nickel and diming”, and I could not agree more. Vulnerable sectors of our Canadian society, such as those suffering from diabetes, are unable to access the disability tax credit. I have seen the cost to these families to treat their diabetes. Meanwhile, high-flying millionaires, Liberals friends at the top, can use tax havens and measures about which none of us at the bottom could even dream.

This goes to a sense of fairness. We need to institute that fairness in our tax system. We need to see that the government is supremely confident and serious about tackling this widespread problem. The paradise papers have only released the tip of the iceberg of how deep this problem goes, how deep the rot goes, and it really needs to be addressed.

The government likes to talk about the child benefit. Of course, families receiving money is a good thing, but it still does nothing to address the chronic shortage of available child care spaces. I have families talk to me about this all the time. The fact is that they cannot afford to get a second job because the cost of child care is so high and the spaces are simply unavailable.

At least one party in the House consistently and constantly talks about these issues, whether standing up for minimum wage, adequate retirement security for our workers, or ensuring families get real breaks, and that is the NDP. It is why I joined this party. I will continue to stand with it to raise these issues on behalf of my wonderful constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford to ensure we get the true progressive policies our country deserves.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member concluded his thoughts on standing up for Canadians. The member is correct in one sense. He did stand up and say no to the Canada child tax benefit. He did stand up and say no to the middle-class tax cut. He did stand up and say no to the tax that was being applied to Canada's 1%. When it comes to the whole issue of tax evasion, I have news for the member. Chances are there are fairly wealthy New Democrats also out there, as there are wealthy Conservatives.

There is a need for us to look at the way individuals avoid paying taxes. That is why the government has put in close to $1 billion to look at that and prosecute, where we can, tax evaders.

Would my colleague support that initiative brought forward by the government? We have allocated close to $1 billion to go after rich tax evaders, whether they are New Democratic wealthy, Conservative wealthy, or Liberal wealthy? Does the member support that initiative?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I have to address the misleading information that the parliamentary secretary just uttered right now.

When he talks about New Democrats voting against the tax measures, I want it to be known that every Liberal member of Parliament gave themselves the maximum tax bracket raise in that budget. The median income in Canada is around $41,000 a year; those people got zero. He can argue with me all he wants but that is a fact. That is why we voted against the measure, and he knows that to be true.

When we give tools to the CRA to ensure it cracks down on tax avoidance, we want to ensure it goes after the people who deserve it, not nickel-and-diming the people at the bottom. We are very concerned that the CRA's level of service and the way it goes after Canadians is completely misguided. The Minister of National Revenue needs to stand in the House and be accountable for her agency's actions.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, the budget implementation bill is important because it puts forward the measures the government will enact through its budget.

One of the key issues Canadians are deeply concerned about is universal pharmacare. Theoretically, we have universal health care, but the government, with the Conservatives, voted against an NDP motion to bring forward universal pharmacare.

Could the member explain to me if there is anything in the budget implementation act that speaks to universal pharmacare for Canadians?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, when it comes to universal pharmacare, health care has been consistently listed by Canadians as the number one priority.

The supposedly progressive Liberal government likes to talk the good talk, but when it comes to real action, when we gave it the opportunity to implement a national pharmacare plan to really save money for Canadians on their prescriptions, the Liberals were nowhere to be seen.

I want it to be known that there is one party that will keep fighting the good fight. It is right here, the NDP. My constituents in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford can count on me to continue raising this issue on their behalf and ensuring the most disadvantaged members of our Canadian society get the help they deserve.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Peter Fonseca Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Madam Speaker, the member knows full well just how hard families work in his riding, in my riding, and in ridings right across the country. For our part, we have to ensure we support those families and those children. That is why the first budget brought forward the Canada child benefit. Now, with our economy doing so well, it is providing those investments back into our communities so our communities can continue to grow.

Does the member not believe that his community, and all communities, deserve this funding, this plan that is working, that is driving our economy, creating jobs, and taking 300,000 kids out of poverty?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, speaking of investments, I would like to refer the hon. member to the national housing strategy. Most of that money will not come into effect until after 2019. The last time I checked, some communities are in crisis right now. We have known about the housing crisis for decades, and still Canadians have to wait until they elect another Liberal government in 2019. The NDP will ensure the job gets done immediately.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, just listening to the previous speaker reminds me of the degree to which the NDP love to put a spin on things. Let me just comment on a couple of the things the member across the way makes reference to.

He talked about the importance of a national pharmacare program. I believe there are many members of this chamber who are striving to achieve that. I know my colleagues, at least on the government benches, are very much committed to strive toward that. We have a Standing Committee on Health that is working on that and inviting stakeholders to its meetings. It was in the midst of a report when the NDP had a flash of an idea and took the idea from the standing committee and presented it inside the chamber, not allowing the standing committee to do its fine work. True to form, the NDP likes to think that if it is a good idea it has to be an NDP idea.

The member just made reference to the housing strategy, that it might be a big plan but that we are not spending money on it today. I inform the member across the way that we are spending money today. Every year, the national government spends hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidizing national housing. However, this is historic because this is the first time we are getting the type of money we are seeing invested not only for today but into the future for a national housing strategy. Instead of at times trying to recognize the fine work the government is doing, the NDP tends to navel gaze and wants to look at where it can criticize and how it can say it is better than the government.

The member talked about tax fairness. One of my favourite lines is that the NDP likes to come across as if it thinks the rich and corporations should be taxed and the money given to the poor. That is the standard line that it likes to say. When I was in the provincial Manitoba legislature, where the NDP was in government for far too many years, it actually reduced corporate taxes from 16.5% to 12%. That was the NDP in government in the province of Manitoba—

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, that is right, we are in Ottawa. That is very observant of the member opposite.

What did the members in Ottawa have to say? When it came to putting a tax on Canada's wealthiest, what did they do? They voted against it. What did they do when it came time to support Canada's middle class? The member opposite says that it was brought in because of the salaries of MPs. No, that is not true.

The difference between us and the New Democrats is that the Government of Canada supports its middle class and those striving to be a part of it to the degree that it brought in a middle-class tax cut that put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of its middle class. I am talking about teachers, health care workers, and factory floor workers. Millions of Canadians had their disposable income increase, had that tax break, and what did the NDP do? It voted against that too.

Then we take a look at New Democrats wanting tax fairness. Once again, we have a government that wants to—

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I will not lie: it is good to switch off this member's loudspeaker. The truth is that that this man’s speech has nothing to do with the business that is before us today. He spends his life blaming us for our positions. He should talk about the topic at hand, Bill C-63.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

The truth hurts at times but the truth needs to be said.

Madam Speaker, I have done quite well in terms of not standing up, because I hear many members of the opposition stand in their place and talk about the exact same things that I am talking about, but maybe not being as harsh on my friends in the NDP. I will try to stay away from being so harsh and look at ways in which we are supposed to be adding further thoughts on today. That is the issue of the infrastructure investment and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That is what the NDP moved an amendment on to the budget. I realize very few members have actually talked about that, but I want to at the very least make reference to it because what we hear from across the way is again a false impression.

The members tried to give the impression that Canada is actually spending money on infrastructure in China in a very significant way. I thought it was interesting that one of the most significant investments that it made was actually in the Philippines. In the Philippines, where there were issues related to flooding, there was a commitment of just under half a billion dollars providing flood protection. Flood protection is important, I know. Manitoba is a province that has often had floods, and we have invested in flood protection and it works. It has saved the City of Winnipeg billions of dollars over the years.

We have the Asian infrastructure bank, which does some fine work that might not have taken place. Not that long ago, some serious floods took place in the Philippines and at the time members on all sides of this House stood up and called on the Canadian government to do something. We had individuals in every region in our country; it went far beyond the Filipino heritage community, which continues to grow and be prosperous and add to our very rich heritage. People responded to the flooding in the Philippines, not only by providing comments but by providing hundreds of thousands of dollars and the Canadian government responded to that.

This is some of the work that is being done with the Asian infrastructure bank. However, if people listen to the opposition that is not the impression they would receive. One of the things we do exceptionally well in Canada is the high level of expertise of individuals who have infrastructure experience. Investing in the Asian infrastructure bank allows Canada to better compete, with the expertise that we have to offer the world. If people listen to the opposition, they would think that we are throwing the money away. That is not the case because that money ultimately will come back and there is a very good chance there will be a healthy dividend on it. Therefore, we are contributing to the development in many areas of the world, particularly in that Asian area, in a very humanitarian way as in the example I just cited, and allowing Canadian expertise and possibly even Canadian companies to participate in the process.

It is a bit ironic. We hear Conservatives talk about how bad this thing is because of infrastructure dollars going out of Canada, and yet here we have a Minister of Finance who has invested more in infrastructure with historic record highs, hundreds of millions going toward billions of dollars invested into our infrastructure.

The government has excelled at investing in Canada's infrastructure. By building infrastructure, we support the middle class, and the healthier the middle class, the healthier our infrastructure, the better we all will be.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, I always appreciate my colleague's enthusiasm, but I will pick up from the end of his remarks when he talked about the government's promises for infrastructure spending, many billions of dollars worth of those promises postdated until after the next election. How does he excuse the $2 billion committed already, which has had to be reprofiled because the government could not get those $2 billion out the door?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I am sure my friend across the way recognizes that as much as the government would like every dollar of that spent in a fiscal year, there is an obligation to work with provinces and other stakeholders. In many situations, they could not get the shovels in the ground fast enough. More and more projects are being approved and there are more and more shovels in the ground, but let there be no doubt that this government is truly committed to Canada's infrastructure and the dollars tied to it, because we want the Canadian economy to continue to develop and grow.

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his speech and for emphasizing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

After the Second World War, Canada learned its lesson well regarding the importance of being part of multilateral organizations to ensure development.

As we all know, when everyone works to create prosperity and wealth by investing in basic infrastructure, everyone benefits, as it ensures progress and development in Asian countries.

Canada is not the only investor in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Indeed, it is not 10 or 20 countries that expressed interest, but 80 countries.

According to my colleague, is it a good idea for Canada to do its part to invest in development in developing countries?

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November 28th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, that is a great question. Canada plays a very strong leadership role on many fronts. If we look at the Asian infrastructure bank, Canada is not alone. The United Kingdom, France, Germany, and many other countries are engaged with that infrastructure bank, and no doubt it is for different reasons. Canadians can feel very comfortable with our investment, which will range anywhere from $250 million to $500 million, depending on whether it is U.S. or Canadian dollars, that it is a good, solid investment, for which we will get a return, likely with significant dividends. Whether it does or does not, we should recognize the potential good we are doing around the world.

I used the example of the Philippines, because it is a country I care very much about. My constituents and Canadians as a whole understand and appreciate the horrific natural disasters that took place there and because of the infrastructure bank, the country will be more flood-proof. I see that as a positive thing. It is not just about the dollars. It is about ways we can contribute to the betterment of countries beyond our borders, while still getting a return. Canada is not alone. The Conservative Party might want to be excluded from that, but I suggest there is an obligation to other countries I have already referenced, such as the U.K., Australia, and many others.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to review Bill C-63 at report stage. I lament that we have time allocation in place, but I am grateful that I was able to grab the slot that occurs every 34 slots for someone in a position like mine: being in a party with fewer than 12 MPs. Time allocation tends to be a real detriment to the principle that all MPs in this place are equal. That is the principle of Westminster parliamentary democracy. Of course, the increased power of party whips and the increased partisanship within the House means that all MPs are equal in the way that George Orwell described all animals as being equal in Animal Farm. Some are more equal than others.

Regarding the rules on recognized parties, I only recently discovered that Canada is the only Westminster parliamentary democracy that has the notion that a party needs a certain number of MPs before they get the same rights as their colleagues. It is unique to Canada. It is replicated in our provinces and is something I would like to see removed someday.

In the meantime, the bill has already made history. It is the first time the new rules for parliamentary procedure on omnibus bills have been applied. I appreciate that the Speaker accepted to look at this and separate out the sections that did not appear to be within the same theme of action.

Omnibus budget bills became, I have to say, horrific in the Harper era. We had two omnibus budget bills in 2012, Bill C-38 and Bill C-45, that had nothing to do with budgets and were omnibus bills of the most egregious kind. The term “omnibus budget bill” became, in the public mind, something to be absolutely rejected and condemned. However, there is such a thing as a legitimate omnibus bill; there is such a thing as a legitimate omnibus budget bill. This one came close, but there were sections I appreciated the Speaker separating out.

For the most part, the debate in this place has been misplaced in tending to be, from the opposition benches, primarily about the Minister of Finance's personal finances. We need answers to those questions, but not in the context of a debate on Bill C-63. Bill C-63 has much in it that I would urge colleagues to read closely, because I have read the bill closely, and there is much in the bill I like.

Although it did not go far enough, I certainly want to support the steps toward something the government promised. The Stephen Harper government promised to remove fossil fuel subsidies at the 2009 G20 summit. The promise has been on the books for some time that Canada would eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. It is, in that sense, a government promise that is not strictly a Liberal promise, but it is also a Liberal promise, and it was made in the platform and in the Speech from the Throne. We have seen very little done at the federal level to eliminate subsidies to fossil fuels. The accelerated capital cost allowance for oil sands investments was tapering off under the previous Conservative government. It remains in place for existing projects that are grandfathered under this very advantageous tax regime. It continues to amount to about $1 billion a year for oil sands companies, but it was once closer to $3 billion a year. People debate what is a subsidy and what is not, but a capital cost allowance is seen as pretty advantageous tax treatment that amounts to a subsidy.

The other one that has not been touched at all by the Liberals was one Stephen Harper brought in after he pledged to get rid of fossil fuel subsidies. That is the subsidy for the production of natural gas, particularly to assist liquified natural gas companies. It is hard to beat the one the former premier of B.C., Christy Clark, left in place for the Woodfibre LNG plant, which will amount to about $4,000 in public subsidies for every job created. Therefore, we are still subsidizing fossil fuels provincially and federally.

However, I was pleased to see what the bill would do on oil and gas drilling, in part one, although it would not go far enough. If a company had an unsuccessful oil and gas drilling experience, it used to get a 100% writeoff. Under Bill C-63, that would now be reduced to a 30% writeoff. That tax treatment would be better. It is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough.

The other piece in that same section that certainly is encouraging is better tax treatment for a real winner in renewable energy, and that is geothermal energy. We have known for a long time that we can do a lot with geothermal. We have seen countries around the world benefit from geothermal. The bill includes very good new tax treatment to encourage geothermal electricity.

There are also improvements in the bill on the donation of ecologically sensitive land. I was part of the national round table on the environment and the economy back in the day when the member for Ottawa South was the CEO. We took a real fight on to try to convince then minister of finance Paul Martin not to treat the donation of ecologically sensitive land as something that penalized the donor. People used to get dinged with a deemed capital gain, when they did not actually get anything; they were making a donation.

Over time, our tax code has moved consistently in the direction of better treatment. Bill C-63 would expand the kinds of land that could be donated and would improve the tax treatment. The ecologically sensitive land donations are quite welcome.

I also want to support the improvements in the tax treatment of nurse practitioners so that they would have some of the same tax treatment as other health professionals, which would improve their day-to-day lives.

Similarly, in division 10 of part 5, there are improvements to how the Energy Efficiency Act would operate. We definitely want to see more energy efficiency programming. It has been a big disappointment to me, and the Minister of Finance knows this, as I mentioned it to him recently, that we are not using the tools in the federal tool kit to approach climate change as if we take it seriously.

If we could go back and look at the current Minister of Public Safety's budget when he was minister of finance, in 2005, and pull all those measures out and decide that they were a top priority for the government to put in the 2018 budget, I would be one happy camper. That would include ecoenergy retrofits, which we do not have. It would include support for electric and hybrid vehicles and improvement of the east-west electricity grid.

Those are the things we do not have in the budget, but at least in Bill C-63 we have amendments to facilitate a lot of energy products to include harmonization of regulations to enhance energy efficiency. Those are very welcome.

What I tried to change the most in committee, through amendments, was something that is generally positive or a step in the right direction, which is to give people the right to time off work if they or members of their family are victims of violence. It is obvious to anyone who thinks about it or has gone through it. If a person has been a victim of a violent assault, or if someone in the family, particularly a child, has been the victim of a violent assault, it takes time. That child will have to be taken to therapy appointments. People will have to go to therapy appointments.

If people are going to recover from the trauma, they need time off work. This legislation is very welcome. It would give employees, by right, time off work. However, the bill operates in such a way that employers would have the option to say that someone could not take less than a full day. Employees could not say that they just wanted a couple of hours off, because that was all they needed. Employees would have to take a full day, and this would be time off work without pay. I am very disappointed that my amendments did not get through, because in committee, we said that this should be time off with pay.

The evidence we heard in committee was overwhelming, certainly from Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress, who pointed out that 90% of domestic violence survivors experience financial control issues.

If a spouse has been violently assaulted by a spouse, and in most cases it is the male partner who violently assaults his wife, and the wife is, generally speaking, in a reduced financial situation of independence compared to her husband, how does she manage, if taking time off work means she might lose her right to raise her own children because of the financial duress? These are the parts of the bill I would have liked to see fixed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank the leader of the Green Party for her speech, and there are many parts I agree with, and also for her work at finance committee, of which I am a member.

My question is in regard to some of the tax treatment changes in Bill C-63. One of the elements the member mentioned was changes regarding geothermal energy and its tax treatment. I am wondering if I could give the hon. member the opportunity to talk more about the measures, some of the changes she wanted to bring, and how in future budgets she would look for changes in that regard.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for those points and for his kind words about my work at the finance committee.

The geothermal regulations are found in a couple of places, primarily at subclause 104(1), on allowing the recovery equipment to be used in the process of both energy efficiency, meaning conserving energy, and producing energy. Geothermal has tremendous potential. A lot of reports the British Columbia Utilities Commission has issued, for instance, to B.C. Hydro have said to look at that potential. The potential is enormous.

People tend to think that it is kind of icy and geographically specific, such as in Reykjavik in Iceland, where there are geysers and it is clear that they get their energy from geothermal. However, geothermal is adaptable to almost every region of Canada. One could tap geothermal energy to warm a house in every part of Canada, certainly below the treeline. There is huge potential for the large-scale production of geothermal energy.

In the suite of renewable energy options, including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, and tidal, Canada is abundant. When Stephen Harper used to talk about Canada as an energy superpower, that is where our superpowers lie: installing that equipment so that we never have to buy fuel again. Once we have solar capacity, once we have wind capacity, once we have geothermal, once we have tidal, we are not buying fuel to run energy-producing equipment. It is there for free. We just have to invest in it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from the Green Party for her speech. We do not hear often enough about alternative methods for finding heating, for example, below ground where the temperature is higher in the winter, regardless of where we are in Canada.

Another topic that we do not talk about enough is the Labour Code. I was listening to my colleague speak about the different types of leave and I wondered if she did not find it deplorable how little the government has done. We are finally talking about it and we could have respected the Arthurs report that proposed 10 days of family-related leave, but we stopped at three.

Does my colleague think that that is something that we could have improved?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I absolutely agree with my colleague, the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

In times like those, families must have access to financial support for days not worked. Without that support, it is truly hard to obtain leave.

It is pretty clear that when we are in these situations, if it is an opportunity we cannot use, it is not really an opportunity.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to speak again to the economic update, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.

This will be an opportunity for me to address, in particular, the issue of accountability in government decisions. Governing is not just about pleasing people. It is also about making well-thought-out and sometimes difficult decisions by going beyond the objectives of the mandate itself. Our political actions have repercussion on many future generations, and that is even clearer for budget issues.

The Liberals had promised us balanced budgets by 2019. They also promised us a deficit of less than $10 billion only for the first two years. That is what they promised Canadians, and Canadians elected this government because they believed those commitments. The Liberals are therefore accountable to all Canadians who expect those promises to be kept, and also to all those who elected opposition members and who are concerned about the growing government spending.

The Liberal deficit is now twice as large as what was promised and, unfortunately, the government does not foresee a return to a balanced budget. The Liberal government is thus increasing the debt twice as fast as promised and expects that debt to increase every year from now on.

I will read a quote: “We were the only ones in the last election to not focus on a balanced budget at any price, regardless of the repercussions”. Who said that? It was our esteemed Prime Minister himself, no later than this summer, on June 27, during a press conference in Ottawa. That statement by our own Prime Minister is a bit over the top.

Meanwhile, interest on the debt is growing, totalling more than $15 billion in 2017. I take this opportunity to clear up the confusion that exists sometimes between deficit and debt. A budget deficit, or a negative balance on the government budget, is when budget revenues, what the government receives from taxpayers and businesses, are lower than that government's expenditures. It is therefore a negative balance. To fund its overspending, or its deficit, the government must borrow money, and all government loans, every year, when added together, constitute the government's debt. Accordingly, the more deficits the government accumulates, year after year, as the Liberal government is doing, the more the government’s debt grows.

The two figures are different, but they are closely related. Budget deficits contribute to the debt, which, in turn, has an impact on the level of the deficit due to the increase in interest being paid. While the deficit corresponds to the money that is not available today, the interest on the deficit is simply lost money. Let me explain.

The government will tell us that it created a deficit to invest in infrastructure, and we can understand that reasoning. However, the interest that is paid on the debt is money that is completely lost. It is $15 billion. The infamous interest that we pay, $15 billion just in 2017, is an expenditure. It is therefore money spent just to finance the debt, not programs, structuring projects, or aid that could be provided to Canadians, such as tax cuts.

Here are some comparisons to illustrate the magnitude of the money lost by paying interest on the debt just this year. With $25 billion, we could have funded a half million child care spaces. We could have built three Champlain bridges. We could have built four dams like La Romaine or 11,500 affordable housing units.

Unfortunately, a series of deficits, year after year, fosters the creation of new deficits. If we continually increase the debt, the interest that it produces leads to an increase in the deficit. In other words, the country is driven further and further into debt. There is therefore collectively more interest to pay, year after year. That is what is called a snowball effect.

That is why I wanted to talk about government accountability. The Liberal government is currently operating on a line of credit and therefore on the backs of our children and grandchildren. This government constantly tells us that the economy is going well and that all indicators confirm that we are in a good economic cycle. However, if we rack up the debts now, when the economy is doing well, what will happen when the economy is not doing well? What will happen when we have no choice but to borrow to be able to deliver our programs and our services and our line of credit is in the red? What will happen when we need to borrow to stimulate the economy by investing in infrastructure while already being in the red?

What are we leaving for future generations? If the tendency that the Liberal government has begun continues, my daughter, who recently turned 16, will be 45 when the budget is balanced. What are we leaving to our children?

I will give an example: according to data from Statistics Canada, if we divide this year's $20 billion deficit by the number of children in Canada, that represents exactly $2,005.75 for each child just this year. That is in addition to last year’s deficit and future deficits.

Does this government think beyond its four-year mandate or does it think more about its re-election in 2019?

I would also note that if the previous Conservative government had not been such a good steward of the economy for the past 10 years, and if that government had not been able to balance the budget after a terrible global economic crisis, the Liberal government would never have been able to act so irresponsibly.

If we oppose this budget update today, it is because the government is asking for a blank cheque, with no guarantee regarding a return to a balanced budget. However, Canadians have a right to know when the country’s finances will improve and when we will see an end to this endless cycle of deficits that fuel an ever-growing debt, like the snowball effect I explained earlier.

In the meantime, someone will have to pay the bill. Today, despite the deficits, 80% of middle-class Canadians are paying more taxes than under the previous Conservative government.

Make no mistake: the money we are spending today will have to be paid back one of these days, whether by us, by our children, or by our grandchildren. The more recklessly we spend, the bigger our debt will be and the more it will cost us to repay that debt.

The bigger the deficit grows year after year, with no plan to balance the budget, the more we will be saddling our children and grandchildren with that debt. That, to me, is completely and utterly irresponsible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Fayçal El-Khoury Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his speech.

I have to say that our government is very responsible. Why? Because our government decided to invest in creating jobs for Canadians and supporting middle-class families.

Does my colleague have anything to say about a government that created over half a million jobs all across the country from coast to coast?

We need to invest in driving economic growth. We need to invest in creating jobs for Canadians. We need to invest in supporting middle-class Canadian families, and we need to invest in paying the debt the previous government left us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. I like his smile.

No one believes that the economy is doing well because of this government's decisions, since the funding it allocated to programs are just starting to be used. More than half the infrastructure projects did not even get off the ground after they were announced. Several projects are in a holding pattern in the municipalities.

The economy is doing so well because of past decisions. Let us come back to that in two or three years to talk about the repercussions of the current decisions. One thing is certain, someone will have to pay for the deficits created by this government. My three children, and the children and grandchildren of every hon. member here and all Canadians will one day have to pay for the budgetary irresponsibility that this Minister of Finance and this Liberal government have shown for the past two years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention.

I always have a hard time understanding where the Conservatives truly stand on the question of deficits and balanced budgets. My colleague talked about everything we could do with billions of dollars. As a matter of fact, the previous Conservative government left a $150-billion debt, not including interest, which was added to the government's cumulative debt, which is currently almost $700 billion.

Can my colleague tell us how much interest we are paying every year on the $150 billion that the Conservatives added to the public debt? What could we have done with that $150 billion?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I thought I was pretty clear in my explanation of the difference between a deficit and a debt.

The Conservative government was in power during the worst economic crisis in the world, and yet Canada was the first major democratic country to balance its budget. We proved that we can invest in our economy and still achieve a balanced budget.

I would also like to remind all members of the House that it was the previous Conservative government that lowered taxes for Canadians, cut the GST from 7% to 5%, and took less money away from taxpayers, all while balancing the budget, making investments, and creating the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history to that point.

I am not sure how I could be any clearer. Indeed, the economic situation did create a deficit. We balanced the budget gradually and over time, while still putting money back in taxpayers' pockets. Unfortunately, we are back in the deficit spiral, which means that today, we are paying $15 billion in interest, on top of the $20-billion deficit this year and the $25-billion or $26-billion deficit from last year. For the people from Quebec who are listening today, that is equal to 53 Videotron Centres a year, and it will probably be the same next year. At this rate, every city and town in Quebec could have its own Videotron Centre.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to join the debate on the Liberal government's second budget implementation act of 2017.

As with all legislation, members of Parliament must weigh the consequences not only of what is found in a budget implementation act, but also what is not included. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the government is not moving forward to lower the small business tax. That was promised in the 2015 election, but as I have pointed out, they broke their promise. Then after the great tax revolt of the summer of 2017, they had a revelation that breaking their promise to thousands of small business owners and then calling them all tax cheats was not a recipe to get re-elected.

While scouring the many parts of this proposed legislation, I thought that there might have been a line about how they would retract their ill-thought-out tax increases on local businesses, farmers, and entrepreneurs. Lo and behold, the government did not take this opportunity to provide clarification on the details of its tax increases and how it would be plucking more feathers out of the goose. The government's intention to raise taxes is causing great consternation among job creators throughout Canada.

The government likes to proclaim that it and it alone is responsible for any job creation, and in many respect it has been, as thousands of new individuals joined the ranks of the public service from across the country. For example, it has been estimated that the public service has grown by almost 10% in the national capital region since the Liberals formed government. While any government can go out and borrow money it does not have to create new full-time equivalents, we must always remember that such growth in these jobs is not sustainable.

There is an argument to be made that a government should stimulate the economy while in recession. However, it must also include a road map back to balanced budgets, as Prime Minister Harper predicted, and attained one year faster than his original plan. This brings me to the point that there are no measures included in the Liberals' proposed budget implementation act to get back to balance. It reminds me of the broken promise that the Liberals ran on in the 2015 election.

Some would say that the Liberals' election platform was one of the greatest works of fiction in recent memory. While it was not written nearly as eloquently as one would like, it was the platform, however, in which they made promises to Canadians.

During budget 2017, the Liberals projected a $28.5-billion deficit for this fiscal year. This was almost triple their campaign promise of running a small $10-billion deficit and that the budget would be back to balance in 2019. Finance Canada now says that if spending continues at the same pace, there will be no budget balance until 2051, which is almost 35 years.

Now the Liberals think they deserve kudos because their fall economic statement revealed that the deficit is only about $20 billion to date. While not as bad as originally projected for this fiscal year, it is still a broken promise as per their election platform. As they would like to call it, balancing the budget in 2019 is under way, but with challenges.

The Liberals have tabled a budget implementation bill and are asking us to get behind their finance minister's financial plan. Normally this would be par for the course in a parliamentary democracy, but it was only earlier today that the Prime Minister gave no clear answer to a point blank question on whether he would stand squarely behind the finance minister. What was most shocking was that it was a chance for the Prime Minister to publicly state he had full confidence in his finance minister, but he avoided giving a straight answer. This begs the question: If the Prime Minister will not defend his finance minister, why do members of the opposition trust anything the finance minister says?

There are many reasons for Canadians to be concerned about what is found in this omnibus bill. If the proposed legislation passes, it would allow Canada to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This would mean the Government of Canada would be giving $256 million over five years to that bank, even though Finance officials have stated that Canadians should not expect to see any financial dividends or return on this investment.

If the intent of the Liberal government is to send a quarter billion dollars to an Asian bank that will not see any financial gain, it can only lead those people who are questioning this deal to think there are ulterior motives behind this agreement. The government's priority to reach a free trade deal with the People's Republic of China should not be achieved using Canadian taxpayers' money, particularly when the money is being given to a bank located halfway around the world. At the end of the day, the government should not give loans to other countries when Canadians will be taking all the risks and seeing no rewards.

In this legislation, the Liberals are once again going after energy companies by repealing one of the tax credits for energy exploration. The government is phasing out the first one million dollars, and no longer will Canadian development expenses be allowed to be reclassified into Canadian exploration expenses. This change will have an impact on smaller and more up and coming drilling companies, exactly the ones that most rely on this tax credit. Ironically, this change was actually in the 2015 election platform. Raising taxes seems to be a promise the government is willing to keep. The government is more than willing to once again go after the energy sector, which employs hundreds of thousands of individuals either directly or indirectly, but it has no problem adding billions to our debt load while playing class warfare. This is all in the name of politics.

I cannot tip my hat to the government for another aspect of this legislation, It is trying to move the yardstick forward by eliminating many of the non-tariff barriers between provinces. Quite frankly, it is absurd that in many cases it is easier to ship and sell your products in a foreign country than to your provincial counterparts next door. While there has at least been some progress made to reduce interprovincial trade barriers, it should be noted that the list of exclusions to this agreement is almost as long as the agreement itself. I would prefer the Government of Canada to spend its time and energy on eliminating all interprovincial trade barriers than on attempting to woo the People's Republic of China.

It would be irresponsible of any member of this House to vote in favour of this bill. No member should endorse the government's budgetary plan. The government has completely eliminated any hope of ever balancing the budget. It has eliminated even the mere thought of having a plan to return to balanced budgets, and it is causing serious and unnecessary pain to Canadian businesses and our overall economy.

A government that spends more money than it brings in while the economy is growing is foolhardy. I have seen that personally when I spent my 14 years in the Manitoba legislature watching the NDP. The Liberal government is trying to outspend Manitoba's former NDP government. It is adding billions of dollars of new debt with not a lot to show for it. It should come as no surprise that the government is willing to waste taxpayers' money, such as spending over $200,000 to design the cover of their budget document or half a million dollars to make the Canada Post building look like a present.

Let me say this. Canadians are mightily upset about the millions of dollars being spent to build a hockey rink where no one will get to play hockey. They have a finance minister that nobody trusts. They have budgetary numbers that no one believes and they have no plan to create real private sector economic growth, other than spending billions of dollars of taxpayers' money on pet projects.

I cannot, and will not, support this legislation as, in many respects, the government has failed Canadians. It has lost its way and, unfortunately, Canadians are left picking up the tab.

In the weeks ahead we will see if the finance minister will keep his job. It is my sincere hope that, in the best interests of all Canadians, they will stop piling on debt and attacking local businesses.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite suggested there is not a lot to show for some of the federal spending. However, the Governor of the Bank of Canada disagrees and has called the Canada child benefit “highly stimulative”.

The member also talked about hopeless budgeting that no one believes, so I just want to read the following quote:

Taken from the perspective of the government sector as a whole (that is, federal and subnational governments and public pension plans combined), current fiscal policy in Canada is sustainable over the long term. Relative to the size of the economy, total government net debt is projected to remain below its current level over the long term....

However, this perspective masks unsustainable fiscal policy at the subnational level. While federal net debt is projected to be eliminated entirely in just over 40 years, we project that subnational government net debt will rise....

Current fiscal policy at the federal level is sustainable over the long term.

Of course, that was the parliamentary budget office in October of 2017. I wonder what the member has to say about that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I can assure my colleague across the way in the Liberal Party that the finance department of the Government of Canada has indicated that it would not even get rid of the deficit in 35 years, never mind getting rid of the debt in 40 years. I do not know whether the member has the ear of the finance minister or not, because his own department is telling Canadians that it will not even reduce the deficit for 35 years, as I said earlier.

I also believe, as I said, that if the governing party of Canada today continues the way it is going, it will outstrip the debt of Manitoba per capita, the province with probably the highest net debt per capita next to Ontario.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, one thing in my riding that people have a lot of questions and concerns about is that the infrastructure money the government committed has not gotten out the door. They also hear that we are going to be investing half a billion dollars in an Asian infrastructure bank that will be used to develop or underwrite things like pipelines in Asia that will be run out of China.

Is the member hearing the same concerns from citizens in his riding and what might they be telling him about this particular aspect of the budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am certainly hearing that from people in Brandon—Souris, my constituency, and throughout the Prairies, as I had an opportunity to be in a few provinces over the last few days. It is a sad irony that we would allow Canadian money to go into an Asian bank to build pipelines in a foreign country that has a ghastly environmental record, when we will not allow money to be used for pipelines in our own country. Very few pipelines will ever be built under the current government. The government is already halfway through its mandate. It has an infrastructure program that it talks a lot about, but three-quarters of the money promised in the election, including now for the infrastructure bank, has not even been used in Canada. If three-quarters of that promised money has not been used in Canada, why are we sending an equivalent amount to an Asian infrastructure bank? People are quite critical of this.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ziad Aboultaif Conservative Edmonton Manning, AB

Mr. Speaker, the government talks a lot about the Canada child benefit. As one who understands finance and the economy, it is a pity that people believe that the Canada child benefit will lift the Canadian economy to the level that Liberals are talking about. Some reports suggest that 81% of the people the government is trying to help it is actually hurting.

I would ask my hon. colleague to comment on this point.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question.

I had an opportunity to be with my grandchildren on the weekend in Calgary, and one of the young ladies who was there with her own children, a friend of my daughter, asked if I was Mr. Maguire. I said yes and she said she wanted to tell me to keep up the good work, because we have to get rid of that guy. I asked her to elaborate and she said we have to find a mechanism to get rid of the Liberal government. This lady is about 35 years old with a family. She is married, lives in Calgary, and has three small kids. She was bemoaning the fact that the government has taken away income splitting and the child tax credits.

If members want to find out what is actually happening on the ground, they should go to playgrounds. The people with kids will tell them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, that was my mistake.

The Prime Minister of Canada was being given his report card by the Auditor General of Canada, Michael Ferguson. The context is as follows. The Auditor General shows him a note with the following written on it: incompetence, lies, and unaccountable spending. That is written in the cartoon. Our famous rock star, and I am referring to the Prime Minister of Canada, is standing beside his wax sculpture at the Musée Grévin. He looks at himself in the mirror and says, well, that wax figure is not that bad.

That says a lot about the attitude of the Prime Minister and the government. That is our Prime Minister's priority, and what he thinks of the impartial officers of our Parliament.

Total disregard. He could not care less about the Auditor General of Canada, who evaluates how well Government of Canada departments and programs are doing.

Incidentally, in his latest round of reports, the Auditor General looked at the Phoenix pay system. There is no comprehensive governance structure to develop a sustainable solution to pay problems. The Auditor General himself mentioned that in his report. The Liberals' only defence is to say that we, the previous government, are responsible, but it has been 16—no, 18—months since they gave it the green light, and they have still not found solutions to make sure our hard-working Canadian public servants get paid.

This is unacceptable. They are floundering. I do not know whether yesterday's vote on marijuana got them thinking, but they have not implemented anything and they still have no date. Public servants do not know it. Public servants have gifts to buy and mortgages to pay, but all they get from the government is radio silence. The Liberals have no solution.

That is serious. Their sole defence is to blame the former government for this fiasco. We were not the ones who gave it the green light. They were. They need to find solutions. Their job is to govern, although for the sake of all Canadians, I hope it is only for four years.

During yesterday's question period, and again today, the parliamentary secretary to finance answered opposition questions directed at the Minister of Finance. We are unable to get any answers to highly relevant questions about ethics and the appearance of conflicts of interest. We are asking questions and doing our job properly.

We are doing it so well that the commissioner recently fined the Minister of Finance $200 for certain violations. The Liberals cannot say that they are following the rules and are guided by the commissioner. The 335 or so other members, and I hope there are no others on that side of the House, because we on this side are all in compliance, followed the rules and respected the commissioner's ethics.

It is ironic that the Minister of Finance has a bill here today that we are debating. I do not trust this minister. He is not capable of giving an answer. We would gladly move on to something else. We would love to get the economy moving forward. We would love to see programs and departments get the resources they need. Why does the minister refuse to answer yes or no? Once he does, we can move on to something else. They are the ones who refuse to answer.

The government introduced a bill several months ago. Yesterday, at third reading, we voted on the legalization of marijuana. The Liberals are unable to manage the public service pay system, and now they would have us believe that they are legalizing marijuana to protect our children and eliminate organized crime. I do not buy it. They have not proved that they are competent.

The real reason the government is in such a hurry to legalize marijuana by July 1, 2018, is the economic impact this will have. The government is in a tight spot and has backed itself into a corner with the budget. It has been spending money hand over fist but not seeing any results.

In 2019, the government will have a record to defend. Legalizing marijuana will do two things. First, it will allow the Liberals to recover a little more money to pay down their infamous deficit, since they promised to balance the budget by 2019. However, they are now realizing that the way they have been managing the public purse will not allow them to do that.

I have given four speeches in the House on marijuana. I said that the physical development of young people aged 18, 20, 21, or 22 is not yet complete, and that statement is based on studies conducted by psychologists, psychiatrists, and scientists. I am not a doctor, but all of the studies show that brain development is not complete until age 25. Why play Russian roulette with marijuana? I find that unacceptable.

Do my colleagues know why the government has set the legal age for marijuana use at 18? It is because they hope that in 2019, the young people who will have had the privilege of using marijuana legally will vote for them. The government has a hidden agenda. The Liberals are in financial trouble, and they want more votes. It is always smoke and mirrors.

Today, we are debating a second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.

My introduction has been long, but I must say that the government is patting itself on the back. It is telling us that the Canadian economy is going well and that the Liberals are the champions of the economy. The way they see it, the Canadian economy has never been stronger. They need to come down to reality. It is true that the economy is doing well or at least it is not in such a bad shape. Luckily we are not in an economic crisis. What would we do if we were? It would be tragic.

We Conservatives have weathered an economic crisis. Under the leadership of Stephen Harper, Canada was the first country to emerge from the economic crisis and get back on its feet. Among the G20 countries, Canada was the first country to do so.

We need to be aware that we are now spending hand over fist. Occasionally we invest in an economy, which is perfectly fine in a fragile or precarious situation or an economic crisis. However, since we are not currently in a crisis, it is irresponsible for the government to be spending so recklessly.

The government is congratulating itself by saying that it is investing in the economy through its infrastructure programs. I have the privilege of being the deputy critic for infrastructure. Quebec municipalities do not know what to do with the program. The Liberals said that they would pay up to March 31, 2018, but they also said that there could be an extension until March 31, 2019, but only 40%. What we do not know is whether the 40% pertains to project completion or submission. Can we help out our regions by giving them some breathing room?

Since everyone is in a hurry, costs are increasing. There is no vision, because we want to have the money available right now. It is irresponsible. Who is going to pay yet again? It is Canadian taxpayers, that is who. Being responsible means thinking about the taxpayers and not raising their taxes. That is what we did for 10 years on this side of the House. As for the members on the other side of the House, they are raising taxes. At some point, our taxpayers will not be able to function anymore.

I would have liked to talk about several other aspects, but time is running out. I will take the time when I answer questions.

In closing, I would like to say that I do not feel that I can trust this Minister of Finance. He does not have the decency to answer the questions that opposition MPs and Canadians have for him. From now on, any bills he introduces will fuel my skepticism about him. He reacts only when his back is against the wall. Personally, I do not want to give this Minister of Finance a blank cheque. I do not trust him.

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November 28th, 2017 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech.

My colleague had some very interesting things to say. He said that the government introduced proposals in this bill on marijuana in order to win the vote of 18-year-olds who smoke cannabis. That is totally ridiculous.

I am not a doctor or a philosopher, but I remember my philosophy classes. There is a concept call Occam's razor. According to that philosophy, there is no need to seek a complicated explanation that relies on principles outside of experience when a simple explanation based on existing knowledge adequately accounts for the phenomenon that we are experiencing.

Does my hon. colleague know that the current consumption rate in Canada, with the prohibition of cannabis, is the highest in the industrialized world? If we want to regulate access to this substance and eliminate or greatly reduce the profits of organized crime, the best way to do that is to legalize cannabis.

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November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, it has been quite a while since I studied philosophy, but my colleague from Hull—Aylmer was probably quite involved in that field.

I am not naive when it comes to marijuana. I am not saying that there is not a problem. I wish to remind my colleague from Hull—Aylmer that he could read over my speeches. In them I said that while we have a special situation and we need to find solutions, legalizing marijuana is a cowardly approach.

Let us simply put two very simple things in place: a more rigorous and better-equipped force to eliminate or reduce organized crime and, to protect our young people, awareness programs to encourage them to get involved in sports and the arts. As well, as I said in one of my speeches, we should encourage them to volunteer for the many organizations that they will run into during the holidays. They need young people and new blood. As a society, we need to be proud and encourage these people so that we can be even more enlightened in Canada.

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November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have some interesting observations.

First, the member spoke on infrastructure, knowing that $2 billion has not been rolled out in 2017. The government tried to announce a new housing strategy just last week, but the new housing strategy would really start after the next election, in 2020. It puts a tremendous onus on every province and territory in this country. They have not even been consulted; they were just told to divvy up.

The telltale sign of the government was today in question period when the Prime Minister would not even confirm that the current finance minister would deliver the next budget. That, to me, shows a lack of confidence, even on their own benches, that the finance minister is doing the job.

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November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Saskatoon—Grasswood.

Indeed, that is strange, and I am not sure the government backbenchers are aware of what is going on in the front benches on the government side. It is important to understand that, yes, there is the national housing strategy, but with the tax reform, the Liberals are postponing everything and have said that they would cut corporate taxes to 9%, but not until 2019.

I invite my backbench Liberal colleagues to look closely at what is going on. The Liberals are managing their election, when really, they should be managing this country, Canada.

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November 28th, 2017 / 5:55 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to talk about my journey this summer through my riding. It is very relevant to the budget implementation act tabled today and to what is not in the budget.

This summer I travelled my riding. It is 8,500 square kilometres. I did it by bicycle and by boat. People in my riding travelled with me, seniors, young people, leaders, chiefs, mayors, councillors. They rode with me from community to community. They came out to share what was important to them.

The reason I also did it by bicycle was because I tabled Bill C-312, an act to establish a national cycling strategy, on October 4, 2016. Members are probably wondering what the benefits are of a national cycling strategy and what that would do for Canadians.

The national cycling strategy would commit the federal government to set clear targets for the expansion of cycling-friendly infrastructure; encourage more Canadians to choose cycling as their mode of transportation; improve national safety standard measures such as side guard rails for trucks, support cycle tourism in Canada, which is one of the fastest-growing areas of tourism in the world; and increase education for cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists.

Why is a national cycling strategy important? We need to take small steps and a multi-faceted approach to tackle the great challenges we face with soaring health care and infrastructure costs, greenhouse gas emissions, and traffic congestion. Cycling is a sustainable transportation solution that is low cost, environmentally friendly, and encourages healthy living.

Therefore, Bill C-312 is a multi-faceted proposal to develop cycling options across our country. It addresses the social, economic, and environmental issues facing Canada today. It provides a plan for cycling infrastructure and education. It makes dollars and cents. With the rising costs of housing, gas and groceries, just to name a few, life is becoming increasingly unaffordable for many Canadians. Cycling is a sustainable solution offering to transportation, and we can make that happen. Therefore, we need to do more to make Canada a cycling nation.

I want to talk about a study that was recently done in Denmark. It shows that for every kilometre cycled, society enjoys a net profit of 23¢, whereas for every kilometre driven by car, it suffers a net loss of 16¢.

When I learned more about cycling in our country, what alarmed me was that in the Netherlands 50% of children would ride their bike to school. In Denmark, it is 40%. In Germany, it is 15%. In Sweden, it is 20%. In Canada, it is 2%. That is not because we live in this big, vast country, which one would think is the reason why. It is because 82% of Canadians live in an urban environment. In fact, 35% of Canadians live in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal alone. It is not because of our climate, because there is only a 1° difference between Stockholm and Toronto. It is because we have not made it a priority, set clear targets or made a commitment.

Let us look at the costs associated with health. I will give an example.

Heart disease in Canada costs us $12 billion a year. A recent study done in Denmark shows that the people who ride their bikes to work reduce their risk of heart disease by 40%. Imagine finding a pill that could reduce costs from $12 billion to $8 billion just by simply taking it. That is cycling. We need to set clear targets. We need to create a marketing and education approach to get more people on bikes and bring all users of the road together.

As a former municipal councillor, I know this. If the federal government puts a dollar on the table designated specifically for active transportation, for cycling, we know the province will not leave a dollar on the table. We know a municipal government will not leave $2 on the table. We know a local community group will not leave $3 on the table.

This is supported by many groups. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has endorsed the need for a national cycling strategy as has Canada Bikes. The City of Toronto recently wrote a letter of support for Bill C-312 and the need for a national cycling strategy. In my riding, Port Alberni and Cumberland have also committed to that.

There was nothing in this bill that was specifically designated in the last budget, and the budget before, for cycling in Canada. Therefore, we need to do more.

I started my journey on August 22 in Hesquiaht, which is about two and a half hours north by boat from Tofino. I was the first MP in the history of our country to show up in Hesquiaht. I was received very well. I went with Chief Lucas. The people talked about the importance of conservation on their herring, the reality of low-income assistance rates, the high cost of transportation, and the complicated failure of our government to respect their rights by the Supreme Court to catch and sell fish.

We went to Hot Springs Cove after that, and we heard the same thing. Then we went to Ahousaht. We met with Chief Louie and his council. We heard from them about--

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 6:05 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, the intervention could not have been more perfect, because we are talking about where the government is not spending its money. It is in my communities. It is spending $500 million on the Asian infrastructure bank instead of infrastructure in Ahousat, in Hesquiat, and in Hot Springs Cove, and I am not done yet.

As I travelled through my riding, all I heard about was neglect from the government and bad decisions. I went to Tofino. People there told me about the lack of investment for marine debris and the lack of investment now, today, for affordable housing. I went to Ty-Histanis and Esowista. In the Tla-o-qui-aht nation, people talked about the lack of commitment from the government to honour its promise to ensure indigenous people would be its most important relationship and would be treated like that.

We talked about social issues, including elder care, which was not in the budget. The money is going to Asia instead. We talked about addressing the lack of monitoring and science-based indigenous decision making not being supported.

I went from there to Macoah in the Toquaht nation. People there had not received the support for a community centre. In fact, we had our gathering under a 10x10 tent. I was received beautifully, despite our neglect as a nation for this community, with a feather, asking us to work with them. In fact, they were looking for transportation support so they could grow their economy and build a nation, and be part of this great story.

I went to the Ucluelet nation. The people there welcomed me warmly as well, calling for language revitalization and support for a higher learning economy. These are all good ideas in which we can invest in Canada. They talked about Parks Canada houses sitting empty in Ucluelet, which could be used for housing people when they had a housing shortage. Those houses are actually rotting and moulding instead.

The government's neglect is costing us not just money, but infrastructure, which is available right now.

I went from there to the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. I met with Chief Dennis. He talked about the amount of children living in care, and the lack of investment from the government.

It is humiliating and embarrassing to hear that the government is concerned about what I am talking about today and is calling me out for that when it is investing in Asia instead.

I went from there to Bamfield. People there talked about the lack of investments and support for their institution and how they needed more.

I travelled to the Alberni Valley and met with Chief Tatoosh and the Hupacasath. We talked about the need for salmon restoration and EI eligibility for fishers. They received nothing from the government's coastal restoration fund and nothing from its oceans protection plan.

I travelled throughout the riding. I went and saw the STseshaht. I went to Hilliers and Nanoose Bay, to Coombs, to Parksville, to Qualicum, to Bowser, to Denman Island, Hornby Island, to Royston, Union Bay, Cumberland, and Courtenay. When I went to the Qualicum nation, and all those communities, they all said the same thing. They felt they had been ignored. They felt the government's priorities were completely out of order.

That intervention just said it all. The government wants us to talk about an infrastructure bank in Asia, instead of here in Canada, while people are suffering, living a meagre existence, and being totally forgotten. Seniors are being neglected. The lack of commitment from the government in my riding is clearly evident, where we have one of the highest poverty rates in the country, the highest in British Columbia, and in the Alberni Valley where one third of the children are living in care.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am a little perplexed about the reference to money going into Asia. In the last federal election, in a pamphlet called “Building the country of our dreams”, my friend's party outlined investments of up to $600 million in foreign aid. I am quite perplexed that those members are coming back today, saying that it is outrageous that money is going into Asia.

He needs to look a bit deeper into what these funds are going for and really reflect on where his party has been on bringing Canada back into the world. The commitments of the New Democrats in the last election clearly alluded to the fact that they too were willing to spend that kind of money. Today they are basically demonizing foreign aid. That is quite offensive.

My friend really needs to reflect on what he says because as a party, the New Democrats have been quite clear that foreign aid and our place in the world is quite important.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, it would be great if this money were going to foreign aid, but it is not. It is going to an infrastructure bank, money that could be invested in our communities. Alberni valley needs urgent investments for our port, which would create hundreds of jobs. That would be great for the Canadian economy. We could honour our commitment to Canada's indigenous peoples and ensure they would have investments so they could be part of this great story. Instead Canadians are living in poverty, and that costs a lot of money.

If it were about aid, the Liberals would be following up on their commitment to grow the GDP and our commitment internationally. Our party has been calling for that. The Liberals are dropping their commitment to aid. They are failing the United Nations and they are failing people who really need a lift up.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his speech. It is obvious how much he cares about his riding, his constituents, and the issues that matter to them. I sincerely congratulate him on the figures he presented, including his cycling statistics. I was recently in Copenhagen, and I saw how incredibly popular cycling is there. He is quite right; we should be trying to bring forward these kinds of measures, rather than spreading ourselves too thin with all kinds of pipe dreams.

He mentioned the child poverty rate in his riding. As the member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, I know that 37% of our kids, so over one-third, live in families that are living under the poverty line in Longueuil. The government seems to be turning a blind eye to the problem. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on that.

When we see the government investing $5 million in a skating rink on the front lawn of Parliament Hill, we know where its priorities lie. Does my colleague agree?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:10 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are hearing about a temporary skating rink being built right here on the lawn of Parliament. It is going to cost over $215,000 a day, while in my riding, a third of the children are living in poverty.

Today I rose on a statement to call on the government to change the requirements for the Canada learning bond so every child could be registered. We know education is the most important indicator to help lift people out of poverty. However, instead of the government trying to get more children registered, is making it difficult.

We need to find ways to lift children out of poverty and make it a priority. It is a multifaceted approach. Health is one, education is the other, and housing is critical as we know. I call on the government to listen to what we are saying today, to make children a priority. Lifting every child out of poverty should be our utmost priority.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when the member talks about poverty, why then did he vote against the Canada child benefit, which literally lifted tens of thousands of children out of poverty? Why did the member vote against the guaranteed income supplement, which lifted tens of thousands of seniors out of poverty? Many of those thousands of Canadians are his own constituents. Did he tell his constituents that he voted against measures to address poverty head-on?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, first, I voted against a middle-class tax break that did not include 17.9 million Canadians. Anyone who earns $45,000 a year or less get nothing. I will not support a tax cut where people who earn between $100,000 and $200,000 a year get a $700 tax break and most of the people living in my riding get nothing.

Second, when it comes to child care, there was nothing in that budget to build a national child care plan, which is good for the economy, good for families, and good for the health of our country.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a real honour to be able to speak in the House on this important issue, and Canadians are engaged on this issue. Canadians are realizing the serious problem that Canada has with a government that has a serious spending problem. The spending problem is actually getting worse. I am not going to spend time going over the growing list, but I did see Santa Claus over the weekend and it is confirmed that the Prime Minister is on the naughty list. What he is doing is not good for Canada, it is actually bad for Canada.

The Fraser Institute recently reported that 81% of middle-class families are paying more under the Ottawa Liberal government. That is an average of $840 more every year under the current government. It is not good news. First, the Liberals eliminated the child fitness tax credit, unbelievable. Then the children's art tax credit, the tax credit for post-secondary education and textbooks, and income splitting for families. Now it is found that they are going after children with autism and diabetes, and they are going after seniors. It is endless, and is all happening because of this horrendous spending problem and a growing debt.

I listened to a youth advisory board of our bright young leaders, and they are also not happy with the direction the government is going. They recognize the government is focusing on where it can get votes and not necessarily doing the right thing. It spends a lot of money and makes announcements. In fact, it was the commissioner of the environment who made a comment that the government makes bold announcements but before the confetti hits the ground it forgets those promises. The government has a hard time getting to the finish line. That was something that was said in 2005 by the commissioner of the environment, then a Liberal government.

The government has said it is back. Absolutely it is back. It is back in entitlement, corruption, and wasting Canadian taxpayers' hard-earned money. However, it is back to a new level, where it is actually calling hard-working Canadians “tax cheats”. It has introduced a budget to fund this out-of-control foolish spending. Canadians are saying that this is wrong, and they do not want us, as members of Parliament, to support this out-of-control spending.

I have just come from an important meeting at the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. It is important we give our youth a future of prosperity, a future where there are jobs. The government is all excited about making announcements, but again is not getting things done. The government wants to travel, and was quite upset that the Conservatives said no. We heard that in the last Parliament there was travel on accessibility, but it wants to travel again.

The Liberals like to travel, report, and make announcements. It is time to get things done and create jobs for our youth. Our youth are quite upset about this growing debt, mega billions of dollars of debt that will have to be paid by them. They are also upset with tax increases on small business, which is an attack on the very economic engine that creates jobs for our youth. Our youth is not happy with the Liberal government's budget implementation plan.

There are also seniors, and we have heard from the parliamentary secretary about how good they have done. Again, we have these bold announcements. However, when we dig down, we find that the Liberal plan for seniors is actually going to save the government approximately $4 billion a year because of the way they have structured this and the clawing back of benefits to seniors.

For families, the middle class, and hard-working Canadians who are trying to join the middle class, the Liberals keep moving the goalposts further and further away, all the while making these bold announcements with spaghetti. Even the announcement that was made last week about the housing plan, the greatest plan in Canadian history, is if the provinces provide a majority of the funding. This is if the Liberals get re-elected, and Canadians want corruption and entitlement to continue. Therefore, the plan goes nowhere, because it is not worth the paper it is written on. It is not a real plan.

In addition to all of this, the big promise that the government wants to create is to have marijuana legalized and have impaired drivers put on our roads. However, that is not what the Liberals say. They say that marijuana legalization is to take drugs out of children's hands and take it out of the hands of organized crime. How is the government going to take marijuana out of the hands of our children to make it safer for our children? They would allow 12-year-old children to walk around with 15 joints. Right now, it would be confiscated, but the government's plan is that it would not be confiscated anymore and that they will be able to carry it around. There is this detachment from logic where the Liberals are saying that they would take it out of the hands of children, but the legislation would permit them to walk around with 15 joints.

Once a person turns 18, they would be able to walk around with 90 joints. Therefore, if we take a 19-year-old with buddies and let us say that they roll their joints pretty big, then instead of 90 joints they will have 75 joints. These are premium joints. If there were four people in the car, at 75 joints each, that is 300 joints. Now with three people driving around in a car, the government would be creating a distribution network with marijuana, and I am not making this up. It is bizarre. This is the new Canadian economy. This is why police forces are really expressing concern.

Is this new, open, and transparent government listening? No. We have an ice rink out front of the Prime Minister's office, and that is for right now, but for Canada Day, we are going to have marijuana legalized. These are the wonderful announcements that the government is making, and it does not make sense. It is not good for Canada. It is not good for the Canadian economy. Obviously, the government, to get drugs out of the hands of our children, would allow them to carry around vast amounts of marijuana, which is illogical.

What are the Liberals going to do to make sure our streets are safer? We should be learning from Colorado. When we have people out on the road with legalized marijuana, it cannot be confiscated, it will be legal in their possession. What happened to the roads in Colorado? What will happen to the roads in Canada? Well, it is going to get worse. There will be increased deaths, and it will be chaos. We heard the Liberals say that it will be chaos, yet they are moving forward, and this chaos cannot happen soon enough. Surely the health officials, police forces, and chiefs of departments would be listened to. No. The government set this July 1 date.

We have an economy where the Liberals adopted a surplus budget of $2 billion, but now they have a growing deficit of mega billions, and this is all going to be passed on to the next generation. The Prime Minister is going to be going around and skating on his private ice rink, and he will be able to go to Paradise Island. The finance minister is in good shape. However, the Canadian taxpayers are being called tax cheats and told they need to pay more. It is a mess. This is what the Liberal government, the Ottawa Liberals, want us to vote for.

The number of phone calls and emails that I get continues to grow month after month, and they are asking what is happening here, and what is happening to their money. We are not supporting our veterans. We are not even supporting our seniors. It is a mess, and the obvious, logical solution is to vote against that bad bill.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Langley—Aldergrove started off his speech by talking about travel and how committees wanted to travel and that the Conservatives were so good at putting their foot down.

At the beginning of this fall session, I had the opportunity to travel with that member to eastern Europe and Ukraine. We learned on that trip about the amazing work that our men and women in uniform are doing throughout the world. That member took great satisfaction out of that trip and learned from the experiences that we experienced as a committee together.

My question is: Is travel only beneficial when it is somewhere that he wants to go, or does he think that it is specific to a particular committee that he happens to be on?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, the travel to Brussels, Latvia, and Ukraine in nine days was a wonderful, edifying, educating experience. It was a brutal trip where there was no stopping. It was go, go, go, and many of us came back sick. Was it ever educational. It was an amazing trip that came on the recommendation of the shadow minister for defence. He serves on national defence committee that is somewhat non-partisan—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 28th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would encourage the Liberal member to listen for a moment. He asked his question.

I appreciated that trip, but that travel does not happen every year. In the last Parliament we had a trip on accessibility and the Liberals wanted to travel some more. They did it last year and they said they wanted to do it again. Canadians are saying no, that if we already have the information, we do not need to travel anymore. We need to get to work and solve the problems.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague from British Columbia for bringing up “skategate”. Almost nobody from British Columbia ridings is going to use the temporary skating rink that will cost Canadians $5.6 million, or $215,000 a day, and located a block away from the world's longest skating rink, the Rideau Canal.

Groups that are looking for funding for salmon, an important resource for British Columbians, for our economy, for our food security, for our well-being are getting denied. I just received an email from the Clayoquot Salmon Roundtable. They received nothing from the coastal restoration fund and the oceans protection plan. West Coast Aquatic, a great group of stakeholders representing all sectors of the fishing industry, received nothing as well.

Maybe the member could speak to how important it is that we get funding for our fish if they are going to get a temporary skating rink here in Ottawa.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is a big question and the big answer is the Liberals are not spending wisely the dollars that are sent here in trust by hard-working Canadian taxpayers.

Canadians want Parliament to do a better job. They want this Parliament to vote against the way the Liberals are spending their money. It is not the Liberals' money. It is not the Prime Minister's money. It is not the finance minister's money. It is hard-working Canadians' money, and they are overtaxed and under-represented.

I challenge Liberal members to start representing their communities. When their constituents say they want them to vote a certain way, then that is what they should do. They should not discipline members who do not vote the way the Prime Minister tells them to vote.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Liberal

TJ Harvey Liberal Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I consider myself very honoured to represent the people of Tobique—Mactaquac. I can honestly say that the people of Tobique—Mactaquac are very well represented. The people of Atlantic Canada spoke very clearly during the last election and they would also agree that Atlantic Canadians as a whole are well represented in the House.

We talk about what Canadians want. I had the opportunity to listen to my hon. colleague pontificate at length in the committee meeting just a little while ago. Does he think that the manner in which he represented himself and his constituents in that meeting represents the best interests of Canadians? Does he think that is what his constituents would want him to be doing here on their behalf in Ottawa?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I believe all of us have a responsibility to be available to our constituents, to listen to our constituents, and to represent our constituents. I introduced a motion that a meeting be dedicated to study job opportunities for youth and taking care of our aging population.

It was turned down by the committee, a partisan committee, directed right from the Prime Minister's Office, and Canadians do not like that. The member knows that the Prime Minister promised that this was not going to happen, that committees were not going to be run by the Prime Minister's Office. However, that is exactly what is happening now. The Prime Minister is directing the desired outcome, and the members of the committees are making sure that what the Prime Minister wants is what the Prime Minister gets.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me start by saying that I have been in this Parliament for 20 years. During that period of time, members of Parliament were elected on this side of the House, on that side of the House, on every side of the House, and it keeps changing. I can assure the member that everybody represents their constituency very well, including that member. That is why he was elected. This is not about of the issue of representation. We are all representing our ridings, and we are all doing a great job for our constituents.

As my colleague said quite clearly, I have been in the government. I do know from experience, having been in the government, that policies and issues are made by the government, by the PMO, by those things, and they direct that.

During the summer, the Liberal government came out and tried to raise taxes on all these things, and it was spending money. There was a big push-back from Canadians. We could see them changing. There was a push-back because Canadians are worried. They are worried about their jobs, number one. They are worried about where the government is going with its economic agenda and with the TPP.

The government did not attend a meeting with our allies, and what a shame when the government is saying we are back on the world stage. Talking about NAFTA and where it is going, talking about pipelines not being built, not pushing to have pipelines built, this creates uncertainty across the country. Even the NDP leader in Alberta is talking about jobs and jobs.

The question that arises out of this is where the Liberals are taking us. We are concerned. Everybody out there is talking about the wasteful spending on the ice rink, the $5 million. Things like that really bother Canadians all across this country, and they are asking if the government is really in charge.

Canadians saw the Panama papers come out, and the Liberals' rich friends put money away so they do not have to pay taxes, while the government wants ordinary Canadians to pay taxes, while taking away the disability credit for diabetics and others. There is a big concern out there.

Today, while I am talking on that subject, Canadians want the government to address the issues in Canada. That is what they want. There are a lot of jobs being lost. The economy is not doing well—actually, it is doing well, but the Liberals are spending all the money.

The question that arises for Canadians is what is there for the future. In this bill—which really concerns us, aside from the fact of all the other money that the Liberal government is spending—is the $500 million going to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

In 1966, we joined the Asian Development Bank. The Asian Development Bank is another bank that is supposed to do infrastructure spending. Canada has contributed $7.5 billion during that period of time, up until today, not to say that in return Canadian companies have been awarded close to $715 million. However, there is a bank there that we have been associated with for such a long time, which has been doing the development assistance program in Asia.

Here come the Chinese—and I say to the Chinese, they are absolutely right, they are welcome to set up their infrastructure bank, but they should do it with their own money. They should not ask Canadians to pay for their foreign policy issues.

This infrastructure bank is designed to promote the foreign policy issues of China. Look at where the infrastructure bank has given its money. It has given its money to Bangladesh, it has given its money to Indonesia, it has given its money to Tajikistan, and it has given its money to Uzbekistan, countries surrounding China. That is because this fits into China's foreign policy.

I am not putting down what the Chinese want to do; they can go ahead and do it, but do it with their own money. Why would we, here, have our money go to promote the foreign policy of another country, when we could use that money here in this country to address the issues that Canadians want addressed? This is the big question that is being raised out there.

Let me say this again. There is a concern here. This policy of giving money to the infrastructure bank in China is something that is not well thought out, because we have a problem here with the Liberals, who are being over-friendly with China.

There is the concern about the free trade agreement with China. The previous government talked about a free trade agreement with India for years, a country that has similar values and is a democracy like Canada, but now the Liberals are going to sign a free trade agreement with China that is causing concern, because there is no level playing field between the Chinese and Canadians. The Chinese can invest here and we can go there, but there is no level playing field. Ask any Canadian business in China or Chinese businesses here. It is a common question.

The Prime Minister is going to China. The one big concern I have is that the Chinese government is saying that the Liberal government is biased toward China as opposed to other countries. When Conservatives were in government, we had a strategic dialogue with India, which has a democracy similar to Canada, to find common ground. The Liberal government has not done anything about it. It has had a strategic dialogue with China. A second dialogue was held with China. Our system of democracy is different. The Chinese have their own system, which is for the Chinese people to decide, and we have our own system. There is no compatibility. What is the point of having a strategic dialogue with a country that is pursuing its own foreign policy? Are we just riding its coattails? Do we not have our own policy? Can we not stand on our own feet and make our own decisions in this country? Why do we have to follow, just because the Prime Minister's father was a very big fan of China? That does not allow us to just close our books and look other ways.

There are big issues being raised in this country on the direction the Liberal government is going. The Prime Minister said we are on the world stage. For example, this afternoon, the Minister of International Trade talked about a historic visit to India. Imagine that, a historic visit to India. Before the Liberals came to this House, the prime minister of Canada visited India twice, the governor general visited India, and there were countless visits by other foreign ministers, yet for the Liberals, it is a historic visit. Come on, we need to get some sense of where the government is going and pay attention to what has been done, because thousands of bureaucrats and public servants have worked very hard over the years to ensure that we have very good standing around the world.

Of course, the biggest blowback was from the Prime Minister not showing up at the TPP negotiations. Imagine that. Other heads of government were there. Who are we? Think about that. Who are we to brush them aside? Let me get straight what the Prime Minister said. He said we are not ready. There is a department sitting there. The government has had negotiations on the TPP, so how can the Prime Minister suddenly say that we are not prepared? Liberals are not prepared, because they are looking for a free trade agreement with China. Is that why they are doing this? It is about time someone pointed out to the Liberal government that whatever direction it is heading, it is not the direction Canadians want it to go.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, it may have escaped the hon. member, but the relationship with our current largest trade partner is a little rocky, and the response we have had from the other side so far has been complete capitulation, that we should lie down, let them roll over us, and see if we can save something in it, as opposed to looking at a very large, very rich, growing market on the other side of the Pacific that has already demonstrated that it likes the products and services that come from Canada.

Compared with his strategy, does he not think developing new markets, especially in a country that wants to do business with us, as opposed to one that does not seem to, make sense?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, talking about NAFTA and the policy of capitulation is the Liberals' talking point. The fact of the matter is that we were negotiating the TPP, which is larger than anything else, and they walked away from it. When they want to look for new markets, they will take the opportunity to look for new markets, yet we are turning a blind eye to the fact that the Chinese have different rules. Their labour rules are different, their environmental rules are different, and the way they operate is different. They are not compatible with a free market. Why does the government want to open up Canada's markets to a country whose environmental and labour regulations do not match ours, giving it the advantage and us the disadvantage. That is not the right policy for trade.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to a great speech by my colleague from Alberta, one of the only guys in the Alberta caucus who has been here longer than I have. I certainly appreciate his wisdom. He has been here a long time.

He has been here so long, could he remind all of our colleagues in the House of the fiscal position the Liberal government inherited from the previous Conservative government? Based on the tax position at the time, we were going to be debt free as a nation by the year 2055 versus having about $1.3 trillion in debt based on the current government's strategy. Could he remind Canadians of the importance of that?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for bringing up our record. The Liberals always take credit for everything we did. We laid the foundation for a good economic base in this country, as my colleague said, and the Liberals want to say they did everything. They have only been in power for two years. All they have done is create uncertainty in the minds of Canadians.

We were going to balance the budget. Jim Flaherty was one of the best finance ministers Canada ever had, bringing us into account. I want to tell the other side clearly and simply that it was because of the base built by the Conservatives that we are enjoying economic growth today, yet the Liberals are putting us in jeopardy.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:40 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, somebody has to get up and say something. It is true that the member there at that time. I was in the previous Parliament too, and I can say that we often found the Conservative government's policies to be very tiresome and miserly with respect to many issues, especially social issues.

However, does the member not agree with me that the famous sunny ways of the government's election campaign have turned into a form of arrogance, or entitlement? The government has decided to set up a large skating rink in front of Parliament. It believes that China is really important. It is spending money hand over fist. It is accumulating a monstrous deficit. There is also the behaviour of the Minister of Finance, which has left everyone scratching their heads. How can they be so arrogant and believe that the rules do not apply to them? I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, of course, we are Conservative and they are NDP. We definitely have differences on the economy. There is no question about that. However, let me say that I agree with him one-hundred per cent that it is an arrogant government, a government that feels it is entitled to all these things. We see time after time the Liberals not listening to anyone. I one-hundred per cent agree with my colleague that in 2019, Canadians will speak.

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to hear that the Conservatives have the nerve to bring up their economic record, every year of which they were in deficit except one, with the lowest growth since the Great Depression, and huge unemployment.

I was more shocked to see the NDP suggest cutting funds for the largest housing project in Canadian history, money for low-income seniors, money for low-income students, the national child credit that has brought 300,000 children out of poverty, and the working income tax credit. These are all investments that have created the highest employment record in a decade, with the highest economic growth.

Could the member talk about something that is not his talking points?

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November 28th, 2017 / 6:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. I do not know what he is talking about. He is talking from his talking points without telling us all he is reading.

Let me say very clearly that the member's government is putting a huge burden on Canadians with this deficit. The Liberals said during the election campaign there would only be a $10 billion deficit. At this time, we have no idea where the deficit is going.

The legacy of the former government is not as the member is saying, but the legacy that Canadians will carry for years and years is the high debt load that the Liberals are putting on young Canadians.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I am pleased to rise to speak to our amendment, but also to the entirety of Bill C-63, the Liberal government's budget implementation bill.

We proposed one amendment, but we could have proposed dozens given the great many things that are omitted, incomplete, or wrong-headed in Bill C-63.

The oddest thing about this bill is that it authorizes the Minister of Finance to inject $480 million in the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The budget announced $256 million, and Bill C-63 increases that amount to $480 million. During committee hearings of the Standing Committee on Finance, we asked departmental representatives questions about the goals of this Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

During the last election campaign, the Liberals said that we had an infrastructure deficit and that we had to invest in water and wastewater systems, bridges, and roads. People voted for infrastructure investment here, in Quebec, Ontario, or British Columbia. We never really discussed building infrastructure in Asia. I agree that Asian countries need infrastructure; that is quite all right.

However, when we asked whether these investments would be used to privatize infrastructure, we were told that we would be investing in public-private partnerships, or PPPs. At least now we have a general idea.

Will this investment yield a return or dividends fairly quickly? No, it is a long-term investment. The goal is to create a market that is receptive to Canadian private investment in Asia. That is why we are going to invest there. It will pave the way for our companies to invest in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China.

Did the Liberal Party tell voters about this in the 2015 election? No.

We do not believe this to be the most judicious use of $480 million, especially given that this was never mentioned before and that the goal is not even to get a return on the invested public funds.

We will be minor participants in a major Asian infrastructure bank. Our money will be sent over there and we have no idea when we will get it back. That investment will be made over there without any return on investment. We will get our investment back if we ever decide to sell our shares, and assuming that other countries want to purchase them. That is a strange investment. We do not quite understand what the objective is here.

Worst of all is the fact that the $480 million of Canadian and Quebec taxpayers' money that will be put into an infrastructure bank, one that will be controlled by China, I might add, will be reported as foreign aid. It will count as foreign aid so that we can raise our level of international aid, which is currently an abysmal 0.27%, closer to the objective of 0.7% set by the United Nations. It is appalling.

The government plans to engage in some sort of dubious investment scheme that will not yield any returns and count it as international aid in the budget.

It is misleading. The government thinks that Canadians do not see what it is really up to. That is why we tabled this amendment. We want to take away the finance minister's ability to write a cheque for $480 million on which we will not see any return on investment and which will be used to privatize infrastructure. The government would have Canadians believe that the money is going to foreign aid, but that is not what I would call foreign aid.

The government is helping foreign companies and countries do some of their work, without generating any returns for Canada. The government is doing this to look good abroad in the hopes that Canadians companies will be afforded business opportunities down the road. That is the shell game the Liberals are playing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

We do not think that this is a good investment. Canada also has an infrastructure bank that the NDP calls the infrastructure privatization bank, which was planned, designed, and practically led by BlackRock, one of the largest investment companies in the world. That company held countless meetings with the Minister of Finance to concoct this infrastructure privatization bank.

It is funny because, during the election campaign, the Liberals told us that it would run a small deficit and build a lot of infrastructure. After two years under the Liberals, we now have a large deficit and no infrastructure. The Liberals keep saying that it is coming, but we have not seen anything yet. The board of directors of the infrastructure privatization bank will be set up this year, and its members will be appointed. The board will then ask for money from private corporations and investment funds to build infrastructure in our communities.

During the campaign, they said that interest rates were low and that it was a good time to borrow money to invest in our communities, in creating wealth, and in infrastructure. That logic is sound, but what they never told us was that three-quarters of the investment would come from the private sector, and that that money would be used to pay for projects. What kind of return did the government promise the private companies involved in the infrastructure investment bank? Was it 7%, 8%, or 9%?

The state is supposed to invest in our communities to make sure we have infrastructure that meets people's needs. Private investors invest to make a profit. Sometimes those two objectives are aligned, but not always. Because of the new infrastructure privatization bank, Canadians and Quebeckers, the people who use the highways and bridges, who go to the skating rinks and swimming pools, are the ones who will have to pay for all that. That is the only way it will be worthwhile for private investors. The infrastructure has to make money. Will infrastructure projects be selected based on what people need or on how potentially profitable they are?

This is where our vision is diametrically opposed to that of the Liberals. On this file, they are really adopting a neo-liberal approach, meaning that the government is there to help private companies make a profit, not to work for the common good or the public interest. If the Liberals really wanted to be consistent and logical, they would have borrowed money in the international markets in order to raise the funds to invest in our infrastructure, their famous social infrastructure. However, that is not what they are doing. They are going to create a kind of super PPP, or public-private partnership, whose primary purpose will be to guarantee a return on private investment. We think that this is a shame and that people will be appalled.

The Liberals are always saying they are working for the middle class and those working hard to join it, but these are the very people who will be paying for the new infrastructure to be created by the Liberal government. On top of taking money out of Canadians' pockets, Bill C-63 contains no measures to fight tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance, or tax havens. According to Statistics Canada, tax havens cost us at least $8 billion a year. We are losing $8 billion a year in uncollected taxes because of our agreements with the Cayman Islands, Barbados, and the Cook Islands, like the one the Liberals signed last year. The amount we lose every year is enough to pay for two Champlain Bridges or to build 21 Videotron Centres in Quebec City. I should note that there is another problem in Quebec City, namely the fact that we have a $400-million arena but no hockey team to play in it.

Bill C-63 does not meet the needs of Quebeckers and Canadians. There is the Asian infrastructure bank that the government is putting money into that is obscure and misleading. There is the infrastructure privatization bank here, which is going to force Canadians to pay more for public services and access to certain services, whether at the provincial or municipal level. There is a lack of real action and political will to recover the money that is owed to us.

Tax evasion is theft, and the Liberals are letting it happen. It is shameful.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his speech. I serve on the finance committee with him, and we have debated this matter in committee. I proposed two amendments to the bill to try to remove the Asian infrastructure bank, which the Liberals seem to be very interested in.

I wonder if the member would agree that this bank could be described as crony capitalism. That kind of capitalism means that certain people have access to the government and they tell it which projects they would like it to fund in Asia. That is what cronyism means, when Liberal friends get first choice.

I would like to hear what other members think of that.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. It is always a pleasure to work with him in committee.

A disproportionately high number of former Liberal Party ministers, organizers, and fundraisers were awarded contracts for cannabis permits. I understand the hon. member's concern.

Is cronyism between Asian governments, certain companies there and certain companies here in Canada, what is behind the use of taxpayers' money and public money to pave the way for future political patronage to benefit government friends?

That is an excellent question. Judging by what has been going on these past few months, that is highly likely unfortunately.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the concerns. Any time investments are made, there are concerns about the rate of return. The infrastructure bank investment into Asia talks about a return to Canadian taxpayers. However, the real opportunity, as it has been understood by folks on this side of the House, is that a lot of Canadian companies have expertise in the delivery of large infrastructure programs, especially in the construction management field, as well as with architects and engineering firms.

One of the things that is presented as an opportunity already within the riding I represent is that people with foreign credentials, people who were perhaps born overseas, or have studied overseas, have come back to Canada, and whose credentials are not recognized, can find employment with engineering, construction, and architectural firms. As these firms gear up for the infrastructure investments on the table in that part of world, people with foreign credentials are now seen as an advantage to have inside their firms because of the work they can do overseas.

If local Canadians, who have been hard to employ in their professions, would get work out of this, would the NDP have an eye to support it? There is an extraordinary opportunity now present to immigrants and refugees who arrive here with credentials that quite often are not recognized. They would now have an opportunity to participate in a very high level way and do so in a way that actually would return an investment to Canadian taxpayers.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to correct my colleague. In committee, we were told in no uncertain terms that there is no hope for a return on investment in the short term. It is not a question of making money with the public investments that would be made in this bank.

I agree with the hon. member. I also want architects, engineers, and our Canadian experts to be able to make investments and work on projects in India, China, or Bangladesh. Obviously that is what we want. Why do we need to put in half a billion dollars to make that happen? Why is that necessary? It is extremely expensive and yet, our expertise and our companies are already available to take part in the projects.

Do we have to put a token on the table? Is there an entry fee for taking part in the project?

I would have liked that half billion dollars to be invested in creating infrastructure here at home. Our architects, our engineers, and our workers would benefit from building the infrastructure that we need here and now.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, it troubles me when the Liberals run for office, go to the communities, and promise one thing and then we get the budget bill, with $180 million going to Asia, not that Asia does not need better infrastructure. I have worked in Indonesia and Bangladesh and know the need. The infrastructure needs in our rural, isolated aboriginal communities troubles me. Not one cent in this budget, or last budget, goes toward helping those communities to get off diesel or switch over to what they would prefer—access to clean energy.

Does the member think that perhaps the government has its priorities in the wrong direction?

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. She is quite right.

We obviously want people in Asia to have access to more services and infrastructure. This is an appealing investment opportunity for our companies. At this time, we do not see the need to invest public money in this type of bank.

My colleague is quite right when she says that there are urgent needs in many of our communities. We need infrastructure and water systems, for example. Some communities have difficulty accessing drinking water. In some communities, there is no electricity and people rely on generators, which use fuel. There are urgent needs in our own country, but we are not addressing them.

On the weekend, we learned that 25 of the wealthiest Canadians own more assets than 40% of the poorest Canadians. Unfortunately, the Liberals are doing nothing to address this inequality.

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November 27th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to debate these report stage amendments. I get to move amendments very rarely, and so I am pleased that we are going to be debating at least one of them. I tried to move them at committee, but I was not successful there.

I am going to focus most of my comments, if not all of them, on the portions in division 2 that deal specifically with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

I will start with a Yiddish proverb. I always have these. “Everyone knows where his shoe pinches”. My pain point is with this infrastructure structure bank. I have a serious problem with throwing away a half billion dollars of Canadian taxpayer money for a project that at best is a “nice to have” at this point.

I do not know if the Liberals have noticed, but they are broke. They are $20 billion in the hole just this year. They are racking up debt in large amounts. This is not the time to be throwing away a half billion dollars of taxpayer money on such a project.

At committee, we heard from expert witnesses from the government. They were officials who came in and said that this is an opportunity for Canada. Just like we are members of the Asian Development Bank, it is an opportunity to invest Canada's money. Well, it is taxpayer money, and they should honour and steward it. They should not just throw it away like this.

There is no gain for Canada in this. We would be buying less than a 1% share in this AIIB, which would give us the same voting rights as Poland or Israel. The way decisions are made by the bank is by a majority decision of the board. The bank is led by the Chinese government. It has a Chinese national president. It is based in Beijing. It is not like the Asian Development Bank, which is an easy comparison that the government makes. The Asian Development Bank is based in Manilla. It has a Japanese president. I do not know if the government has noticed, but Japan is our ally. China is not. Japan has an exemplary human rights record in the past 30 years. China does not.

This is not about China bashing. This is about the proper use of taxpayer dollars and where the Liberals are putting them at a time when they are running a $20-billion deficit. In comparison, we heard from the New Democrat member who said that infrastructure dollars should be spent here and not in Asia, and that this is the wrong way to go.

Using Alberta as an example, the Liberals have only completed 27 out of 174 projects. Two years into their mandate, and now they are sending a half billion dollars over to Asia to build infrastructure there and to finance loans overseas for these 21 projects that have already been approved by the AIIB. In comparison, when the previous Conservative government was in power, between 2006 and 2008, it completed 100 projects in Alberta. The comparison here is 27 to 100. Where are the priorities? It is an easy question to ask the Government of Canada today.

This is an interesting part, where the budget and foreign affairs and foreign relations of Canada kind of intersect, but putting $480 million of taxpayer money into this bank does not advance our international interests. It does not advance our national interests. It advances China's foreign interests through the belt and road initiative.

It is not just me saying this. Members just have to read the speeches of Xi Jinping, the president of China, in 2015 at different summits where he makes a distinct connection between the belt and road, and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. They are connected together. The journals of Contemporary Politics, different Chinese journals, academics, professors, and foreign service officials from their governments make this point as well. The intent of the AIIB is to turn infrastructure toward China and the entire Asian continent. This is its intention. It is a tool of China's foreign policy, and it does not hide it but is very open about it. Anybody who takes the time to read any of these documents, which are publicly available, will find that China does not hide this fact. It is not as if this is some grand conspiracy. All of this documentation is very much public.

The Prime Minister is going to China to perhaps kick off these so-called free trade negotiations. Was the AIIB investment, the first $480 million, a down payment in order to get in through the door, in order to get an opportunity just to meet with China? Is that how these negotiations are going to go? To get to the next step, we have to pay the Chinese government a certain slice, and more taxpayer dollars have to be sent to it.

The thing that is most degrading for myself as an Albertan is that the AIIB is financing, loaning money, to two projects that are pipeline projects: the TANAP line in Azerbaijan, and the Bangladeshi line. Both of these are natural gas pipelines.

We have such difficulty building pipelines in Canada, yet we are so ready to hand over Canadian taxpayer dollars to support the loans that will end up building pipelines overseas. Some have said, and it has been said at committee too, that part of the reason we are investing is so Canadian companies can have an opportunity to bid. That is absolutely not true. They could have bid for the project before. Officials have confirmed this. It is publicly available on its website as well that Canadian companies could have bid for the contracts before.

The interesting part is that when we review all the projects, how the RFP was done, and which companies received the projects, they were either state-owned enterprises, SOEs, or Chinese sub-contractors, the majority. That is interesting. This so-called bank that is supposedly not dominated by China, and not directed by the Chinese government in fact, furthers the ends of the Chinese government, and ensures that many of the contracts were handed to Chinese-based companies, whether state or privately owned, if we can even call them that, or that they supposedly exist in China. That is the galling part.

There were two pipeline projects that were approved last year. Actually, one of them was approved in and around the time the current government tabled its budget, so it would have known this. When I asked the question whether human rights and environmental reviews had been done for every single project before agreeing to join, the Liberals said that they had indeed been done. I am still waiting for that information to be given to the committee. I am still waiting for that information to be passed on.

We are investing $480 million for a 1% share. We are not on the board of governors. We are not on the board of directors. We likely will never be able to get to that point. We are just giving the money away when we are running a $20-billion deficit in this country. Therefore, instead of good-paying, middle-class construction jobs being created here in Canada through public procurement for infrastructure, we are doing it for the benefit of the middle class in Asia, in whatever countries and whatever assortment there is.

One thing we will hear is that some will say that there are other multinational institutions that are financing some of these projects, such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank. In fact, only 10 of the 21 current projects this AIIB is financing actually have multiple partners doing that. The other 11 are purely funded by this Chinese-led bank. Among the future projects, only three of nine have other international partners funding them. Again, the majority of them are funded by the Chinese government.

Some of the witnesses from the government side came and talked about de-risking, that government money, government largesse, middle-class taxpayers giving large sums of money to this bank, will de-risk a high-risk project. That does not exist. That does not happen. By government putting money into a project, it does not suddenly reduce the risk magically, all it does is offset the risk. That way the company will still get paid. We do not de-risk a project that way. The risk is still there. Government participation cannot reduce the risks of cost overruns, natural disasters, supplies not getting there on time, or a worker strike. Government participation does not eliminate those risks for a construction project. What it can do is ensure that the rich, wealthy, and well-monied international elites get their share of the pie. They get their share of Canadian middle-class taxpayer dollars. That is why we have to remove it from the budget. This is the wrong time to be putting half a billion dollars of taxpayer cash into a bank that will never build an infrastructure project in Canada. That should be where we first look at infrastructure projects.

I understand why the government is doing this. If we look at its record in Alberta, it is terrible. There are 27 out of 174 projects completed. That is on its infrastructure website. Therefore, it admits willingly that it is failing in this regard.

I talked about the RFP process before. A lot of the regimes that the money is going to are not known as liberal democracies, they are more illiberal democracies at best and pseudo-democracies at worst. I do not blame countries like Azerbaijan for trying to better themselves. Of course they should be doing that, building projects, finding the financing wherever they can, both in the private and public sectors. That is up to them and their governments. However, I do not see why the Canadian government should be using taxpayer dollars to this end. We are running a $20-billion deficit. We should be financing and helping sustain good-paying, middle-class energy jobs here. The fact that this bank is going to be loaning money to sustain the TANAP line in Azerbaijan and Bangladesh is absolutely ridiculous.

Therefore, I look forward to a continuing debate on this. Hopefully, the government will listen and will remove it from the budget.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Gatineau Québec

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a world leader in infrastructure projects. Canada is an active and constructive participant in emerging markets, in growth markets. We take Canadian expertise to the world. Our world-leading companies are recognized and welcomed the world over. This includes institutions like Brookfield, but also the CPPIB, and others. In short, Canada has made a name for itself in infrastructure development the world over.

The member would have us pull back, hunch over, and retreat within our borders, as opposed to spreading our economic wings, improving Canada's influence around the world, and helping to achieve economic growth at home and abroad. Would the member not concede that this is a feather in the cap of Canada?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is an expensive feather: $480 million of taxpayer funds for a feather. That is interesting procurement on that side.

No one is talking about removing ourselves from the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, because those are led by our allies, countries we have deep trust with. This is a bank led by the Chinese government. Do the Liberals trust them to do everything in the best interests of Canada? I just explained the entire process of how it finances the projects. The majority of sub-contracting jobs go to Chinese companies. Many of the companies involved are stated-owned companies.

The best part is, whether we participate in the bank or not—and I think we should not—Canadian companies could still build on it. Our world-class construction leaders could bid on these projects, because the bidding process is entirely available online. We were not missing out before, and we would not miss out in the future by not participating in this.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I really appreciate the concerns of my colleague from Calgary Shepard around Liberal spending. Perhaps he could comment on this. Recently, we learned there is a skating rink being built in front of Parliament that will cost Canadian taxpayers $5.6 million. This is a block away from the world's largest and longest skating rink at the Rideau Canal, and four blocks away from the rink of dreams the City of Ottawa has as well.

I am concerned. Not one person from Courtney—Alberni is going to use that rink. In fact, we need a rink. The five nations in the central region of Vancouver Island, Tofino, and Ucluelet are looking to build a hockey rink, and they need around that amount for the federal government's share to build a rink in our region.

We know the government is confused in terms of its decision-making, and governing is about decision-making. It is going to cost over $215,000 a day for a temporary hockey rink. Perhaps the member could share his comments and thoughts on how that is impacting people in his community, and across Canada, and how they feel about it.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is the member's pinch point, how the government is spending. The Liberals are bad stewards of the resources Canadian taxpayers are forced to give them through taxation. This $5.6-million project is a good example.

I will give him an example from my riding. Right behind my constituency office, there is a space allocated for a fully enclosed lacrosse facility that has been waiting for funds from a new recreational program of the federal government. We have the matching funds, $1.5 million, ready to go. This would be a year-round facility for lacrosse players—about 6,000 of them all across Calgary—to go and play. It would revitalize the area we are in.

My constituency office is inside the city, but I still find deer at my back door, among people who have nowhere else to go who sometimes sleep there, unfortunately. It would revitalize the area. It would fundamentally change Ogden, and the commercial area it is in, for $1.5 million of matching funds.

This gives us an example. This would be a year-round fully built facility run by volunteers, and $1.5 million is all they are looking for, but in return $5.6 million was spent on this hockey rink just outside Parliament Hill.

I heard a member ask why I do not like hockey. I love hockey, but no one can play hockey on it. It is a hockey rink with no hockey allowed.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:40 p.m.
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Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I have the great pleasure of being here today. I am very pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-63, which implements the budget and, in particular, measures to protect Canadians who are interns, especially young Canadians.

We know that knowledge and expertise are essential to the success of our community, our society, and our economy. They are the drivers of innovation and keep Canada ahead of the curve when it comes to change.

They are also key to a strong and thriving middle-class and imperative for those seeking to join the middle class. That is why Bill C-63 is so important. It includes changes to ensure that interns are treated fairly when they are in workplaces in the federally regulated private sector to develop the skills they need and successfully transition into the workforce.

In budget 2017, we made a commitment to eliminate unpaid internships in the federal private sector where internships are not part of a formal education program. We recognize that internships can give Canadians the hands-on workplace-based learning experience they need to make a successful transition into the workforce. However, let me be clear: some internships, particularly those that are unpaid, can be unfair and exploitative. Young people and others who are desperate to find a way into the labour market can find themselves in situations that cause them undue hardship. We have all heard the stories of a supposed intern being used as free labour, and that is just not right.

We want to make sure that interns are treated fairly. To that end, Bill C-63 proposes changes that would amend the Canada Labour Code to prohibit unpaid internships, unless they are undertaken to fulfill requirements of a program offered by a secondary or post-secondary educational institution or vocational school or an equivalent institution outside of Canada. For those internships that are legitimately part of an educational program and are unpaid, the intern would be covered by a modified set of labour standard protections, such as maximum hours of work, weekly days of rest, and general holidays.

The proposed amendments are consistent with our government's fundamental position that interns should be paid for their work. The only justifiable exception is if an intern receives credit as part of an academic program. In this case, it is appropriate for the intern not to be paid. The majority of stakeholders, experts, and other administrations in Canada agree with us on this key principle.

The amendments are also consistent with our government's overarching goal of providing young Canadians with fair and meaningful opportunities through programs designed to help them gain the skills and experience they need to find good jobs. That is not all we are doing. We all know that the workforce today is dramatically different from what it was a decade ago. A changing economy means new challenges, concerns, and opportunities for employers, students, and post-secondary institutions. Students are telling us that it is hard to find jobs: with no experience, they get no job; but with no job, they get no experience. Post-secondary institutions are telling us that students need real work experience in their fields before they graduate and that employers need to be more connected with education.

We also recognize the need to better align what is taught in post-secondary institutions with the needs of employers, and we are committed to creating high-quality paid-work placements to give students the on-the-job experience they will need to succeed when they graduate. That is why we introduced the Government of Canada's student work placements. Over the next five years, almost 60,000 Canadian students will have paid-work placement opportunities, like co-ops, internships, and apprenticeships.

We will make it happen in two ways. First, we are investing $73 million over four years in student work placements. This funding will help to create close to 10,000 work placements for students in STEM and business over the next four years, with extra supports for under-represented students to make sure they are also offered placements. Our student work placements, in addition to our partnership with Mitacs, will ensure that 60,000 paid-work-placement opportunities are available for Canadian students over the next five years. These work placements will ensure that students develop the skills that employers are seeking, and that they become job-ready. It is part of our plan for creating the kind of economic growth that does not leave anybody behind and ensures that all Canadians have a shot of success.

Another key component of our plan is to give young Canadians the best start in their careers. Each year, our government invests more than $330 million through its youth employment strategy. We expanded this strategy and provided significant investments through budget 2017. We are investing more than $395 million over three years for the youth employment strategy, starting in 2017-18.

Combined with similar measures in budget 2016, these investments will help more than 33,000 vulnerable youth, including indigenous youth develop the skills they need to find work or go back to school; create 15,000 new green jobs for young Canadians in sectors like agriculture and renewable energy; and provide over 1,600 new job opportunities for young people in organizations that celebrate our Canadian heritage.

The youth employment strategy has three complementary streams: skills link, which helps young people who face more barriers to employment than others to develop the skills they need to get a job or to go back to school; career focus, which helps post-secondary graduates find jobs through paid internships; and Canada's summer jobs, which provides wage subsidies to employers to create summer employment for secondary and post-secondary students.

Young Canadians are the future of our economy and have the talent and determination to succeed in today's labour market. Since we formed the government, we have made it a priority to help them get the education and training they need to find good jobs and build good lives for themselves and their families. Our plan is working. Youth unemployment is now the lowest on record.

To conclude, the amendments we are proposing in Bill C-63 will help to ensure that interns in the federally regulated private sector are treated fairly while they gain the hands-on, practical experience they need to transition to the workforce.

More generally, I urge my fellow members to support Bill C-63 so that we can continue to make smart investments that will help students and anyone trying to secure a better future succeed.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, which I think gave a pretty clear picture of what happens when the time comes to vote.

The member spent most of his time talking about what qualifies as an unpaid internship, according to the conditions he mentioned. I agree on this measure. However, although he focused on this aspect, he ignored all of the other amendments to the Canada Labour Code, in particular those related to leave for family responsibility, domestic violence, or traditional aboriginal practices. Not only do they fall short of what we were expecting, but the leave in unpaid.

Does my hon. colleague honestly believe that they could offer victims of domestic violence unpaid leave without setting off alarm bells?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

Ten minutes of speaking time is not enough to talk about every issue that a bill like the budget implementation bill addresses. However, I would like to thank him for agreeing with us about unpaid internships.

We think that we are doing the right thing for the most vulnerable Canadians, including students who are trying to get the work experience they need to find a job and build a successful career.

Obviously, we think that there must be guidelines or some sort of framework so that students and interns are not left to their own devices and are protected under the Canada Labour Code.

With regard to the issues the member raised, I think that the government has taken a step in the right direction by introducing new leave for various circumstances, including traditional aboriginal practices or domestic violence. I believe that this is a step in the right direction. These measures are being introduced in response to what we learned through extensive consultations.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's focus on youth and the initiatives that we have taken to ensure that our young people have opportunities to succeed now and well into the future. In my riding of Whitby, part of Durham region, we have seen a lot of the impact of the last two budgets, particularly the last. The unemployment rate in the Durham region right now is 5.3%. We have not seen such a low rate in about 15 years.

Could my colleague expand a bit more on some of the strategies put forward in this budget that will help see that unemployment rate stay low, or go even lower, now and in the long term?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for her question.

Two weeks ago, I got a chance to visit her wonderful riding and see how very dynamic Whitby's private sector and non-profit entrepreneurs are. However, I did notice a problem in Whitby. I do not want to make comparisons, but I am a bit biased. In my region, the Quebec City area, unemployment is at 4.4%, which virtually means full employment. This also poses all kinds of challenges for employers seeking to recruit and retain labour in the region.

We held a round table with the non-profit sector, and one of the points that was raised was the importance of the Canada summer jobs program. Members may recall that we have doubled funding to this program since coming to office.

The Canada summer jobs program is a way to lend a hand to organizations that often accomplish a lot with very little, as well as to give young Canadians a chance to gain work experience in a field that interests them. We saw the impact this program has had in Whitby, and I also see it in my riding when I visit organizations. This is just one of the many aspects of our youth strategy.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, heavy rainfall has led to a state of emergency for the Tseshaht First Nation and flood warnings across the Alberni Valley region. This is the fourth year in a row we have had what was deemed to be a 100-year flood.

Climate change has moved from being a future threat to a present danger. Extreme weather events such as floods are increasing in frequency and severity. The Insurance Bureau of Canada recently mapped the flood risk for people across the country and found that 19% of Canadian households are at some level of risk. Canada is the only Group of Seven country with no national flood program, and we need one.

Last year the parliamentary budget officer estimated that the financial cost of natural disasters over the next five years, driven in part by climate change, would be far greater than previously estimated, and would be $900 million in fact. That is far in excess of what the government has set aside for such events.

Maybe the member could speak about what the government is going to do to make sure that we mitigate the impacts of climate change on our infrastructure.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

I do not think anyone on this side of the House questions the consequences of climate change. That is why the Minister of the Environment announced our plan to price carbon pollution. That is why we announced a $180-billion investment in infrastructure, including in public transit, to reduce our contribution to climate change.

I take my colleague's comment about flooding very seriously, and I thank him.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I stand today to address Bill C-63, the budget implementation act. Today I will speak to the concerns I share with many Canadians.

In my riding this past summer, I heard from countless constituents at round tables with small and medium-sized businesses. Even though I heard from hundreds of different people, each of their situations was unique. One thing was common, Canadians are overwhelmingly concerned about how their businesses and their families will make ends meet.

My constituents of Markham—Unionville are concerned about the Liberal government's economic update. The cycle of debt and deficit is not the key to success. Sensible budgeting and limited government are what will allow our economy to flourish. The same free market principles that allow small businesses to be successful can be applied to our economy. The free market allows for optimal allocation of resources, incentives to work hard, and more freedom.

This is why I stand here today to speak against the government's out-of-control spending and huge deficits that will leave our children to pick up the bill. I stand today as the voice of taxpayers, the average Canadian, and fight every day to leave money in the hands of the people who earned it, not to be foolishly spent by the Liberal government. Businesses have to find ways to stretch a dollar but the government throws it away. We saw this foolish pattern in the previous budget, the fall economic statement, and now in the budget implementation bill. This jut confirms to Canadians that the government cannot be trusted with our nation's finances.

Let me highlight what the record shows.

First, budget 2017 projected a $28.5-billion deficit for the 2017-18 fiscal year. This is almost triple the Liberal promise of a small $10-billion deficit.

Second, the 2017 fall economic update confirmed the government was still spending double its promised small $10-billion deficit.

Third, the Liberals have broken their promise to balance the budget in 2019 and have no plan to return to balanced budgets. This is simply irresponsible.

Finally, under the Liberal government, more than 80% of middle-class Canadians are paying more taxes today than they were paying in 2015 under the former Conservative government.

It is clear that the Liberal government does not have the best interests of Canadians in mind. Bill C-63 shows us that the finance minister is good at spending other people's money. It is a shame that the government continually attacks those who create wealth, are entrepreneurial, and want to work hard to succeed. We saw this just a few months ago when the finance minister introduced tax planning using private corporations.

Canadians are scared to do business at home. There is no incentive and they are taxed out of the market. Almost every day I hear another example of an entrepreneur, a doctor, a small corporation leaving our country to do business south the border.

This trend cannot continue. We need to allow a healthy environment for businesses to flourish for our economy and in turn our country to be successful. On top of businesses leaving, the debt and deficit continue to rise. It is like the finance minister cannot help himself. The previous Conservative government did right by Canadians.

According to Finance Canada, there was a surplus of $3.2 billion at the end of 2015. The Liberals cannot accept the fact that we balanced the budget in 2014-15, and we did so ahead of our original schedule.

The last economic outlook given by the Minister of Finance showed that revenues were holding up better than expected. GDP growth in the last quarter of 2015 was also higher than expected.

The previous Conservative government created jobs during the worst economic downturn since the great recession. Canada had the best job creation and economic growth record among G7 countries.

The previous Conservative government balanced the budget. After running a targeted simultaneous program that created and maintained approximately 200,000 jobs, it kept its promise to balance the budget, and it left the Liberals with a $3.2 billion surplus at the end of 2015.

The previous Conservative government lowered taxes. We reduced taxes to their lowest point in 50 years, with a typical family of four saving almost $7,000 per year.

The previous Conservative government created approximately 1.3 million net new jobs, the most per capita in the G7. These were high-quality jobs, with 80% of them full-time and another 80% of them in the private sector.

The Prime Minister and the finance minister were lucky enough to inherit good fortune in the form of a balanced budget and a recovering economy thanks to the Conservatives. However, their carelessness and mismanagement spent this good fortune very quickly.

Here we are now halfway through the Liberal government's mandate and all we can see is that the Prime Minister is giving with one hand while taking with the other. This is not sustainable, this is not responsible, and Canadians are concerned.

In order to feed their greedy spending, the Liberals have raised taxes on hydro, gasoline, home heating, health and dental benefits, employee discounts, personal savings, life-saving therapies, and of course local businesses.

The government is hurting the very people it claims to want to help. Job creating businesses will not invest in the Canadian economy if they do not know the cost of doing business. Saddling businesses with higher taxes, changing the rules of the game when they are not looking, and handing borrowed money from one politician to another is not going to create jobs. Mom and pop shops will face higher taxes, which will put many out of business.

It is high tax hypocrisy for the Prime Minister and finance minister to force middle-class Canadians to pay for the government's out-of-control spending while their family fortunes remain untouched. Too many Canadian families are already struggling to make ends meet. They cannot afford to be taxed further.

I am in favour of free market, where people are able to get ahead by working hard. It contributes to economic freedom, prosperity, and creates a competitive market. This creates more choice for both the firm and the consumer. Free market principles and hard work are what allowed me to become a successful businessman. These principles are what inspire the Canadian dream and are the way we build a prosperous country.

Every economist knows that the only reason our economy has slowed is because companies have stopped investing. The government is stifling opportunities. This is not right. I cannot understand the current Liberal approach that more government spending, higher taxes, and regulatory uncertainty will solve this problem. I obviously cannot support the legislation. Taxpayers do not deserve this. Businesses and entrepreneurs do not deserve this. Canadians do not deserve this.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has cited a study that the Conservatives have often cited in the House, which would be probably inaccurate or incomplete at best but more likely to mislead, in the view the study takes of the measures this government has put in place that actually reduce taxes and lead to economic growth for Canadians. These measures include a program that has seen nine million Canadians see their taxes reduced, as well as millions of Canadians receive more in a simpler, more generous, and tax-free Canada child benefit that helps families with the monthly cost of child care and has lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty.

Add that to the historic investments in infrastructure that are putting people to work and building communities for the long term. That is why we see this unprecedented economic growth, the best in 17 years, with 500,000 jobs right across the country and consumer confidence once again as Canadians feel confident in their government, which is leading them toward economic growth.

Did my colleague opposite have all those facts when he entered the chamber today?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, he can bet I did. I do not only have the Canadian facts, I also have the international facts.

Let me remind my hon. friend that when Margaret Thatcher became the prime minister of the United Kingdom in the 1980s, the country was almost bankrupt by the Liberal government and the Democrats, the same sort of thing. They said, “go to work, bring me the cheque, I know how to spend it better,” This is going on today. People go to work, bring the money here and the Liberals know how to better spend it.

The money the Liberals are borrowing on a daily basis is $50 billion so far in two years. In the last campaign in 2015, we remember the commercials on the TV of a small $10 billion deficit a year for four years. Now the Liberals have over-spent $50 billion for which our kids and unborn Canadians will pay. It will not be the Liberals who pay for it; future generations will pay for it.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, if it were not so sad, it would probably be pretty funny to see the Conservatives and Liberals pointing fingers at each other, when we know that they ultimately share more similarities than differences.

Could the hon. member who just spoke tell me more about the Liberal government's deficits? This government promised us small deficits so that we could invest heavily in infrastructure. However, what we have gotten are big deficits and tiny investments in infrastructure. If we were to talk about green infrastructure, there would virtually be nothing to say, especially since the infrastructure funding seems to be constantly delayed because the government wants to go through the infrastructure bank it is trying to set up.

Does my colleague agree that infrastructure should be public and should be funded at the government's prime rate, not based on the rate of return that private businesses expect?

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the infrastructure bank and the infrastructure money, the only thing I understand is that it is one of the minister's goals, and the Liberals make an announcement. I see no sign of something improving or creating jobs.

Back in 2013, 2014, and 2015 fiscal years when in the United States the unemployment rate was 8%, we were below 8%. Now the American unemployment is 4%. Using the same ratio, when we should be at 2%, we are 7.8%. The Liberals are claiming that they are creating jobs but I do not see where they are. They are giving with one hand and taking with the other hand. If they still have the money, they should spend it to put shovels in the ground. I do not see it and this one of the problems. The Liberals keep spending the future of our country.

Speaker's RulingBudget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 27th, 2017 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative