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

In committee (House), as of Nov. 8, 2017

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Summary

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

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

(a) 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

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

November 8th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in this House to speak to Bill C-63, the budget implementation bill, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget, that was tabled earlier this year, in March.

As always, my comments are made on behalf of the residents of Davenport, who I am blessed to serve and who always inspire me with their passion for life, their love for their families, their love of community, and their desire to do their part to make our community, our country, and our world a better place.

In talking about the budget implementation bill, I would like to focus on what our budget this year does for women, for seniors, and, if I have time, for workers.

On women, our budget this year produced the first-ever budget gender statement, an assessment of how gender was considered in budget 2017 measures. For me this is vital to do, because I believe it is important to be transparent on how budgetary measures and spending are impacting women. This budget gender statement will not be a panacea for gender equity, but it will help the Canadian government assess and target how we can best allocate our resources so that both our men and women are supported equally. It is a long time coming, as there are many other countries that have already done this, but I am so glad we are doing it now and that we have committed to doing this on an ongoing basis.

One of the biggest stresses for Davenport parents continues to be the high cost of day care. Therefore, I was pleased to see that over $7 billion over a 10-year period was committed in budget 2017 to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across Canada. I know that our Minister of Families, Children and Social Development has worked hard with all the provinces to create a framework to foster fully inclusive early education and child care services across the country while respecting the needs and circumstances of each jurisdiction. Under the agreement, the federal government will send billions of dollars to the provinces and territories to focus on creating new child care spaces for families. Our plan is anticipated to create up to 40,000 new, affordable, accessible spaces across Canada over the next few years.

This is a good beginning. Indeed, this is a great beginning, and I think we need to go further and do more. Until we close the gap in women's participation in the workforce, until we ensure that every single family in Canada has access to affordable child care in this country, we have not finished our job.

There is currently a 10 percentage point gap between the labour force participation rates of men and women in Canada. According to the International Monetary Fund and a large body of research from a number of places around the world, the more women who enter the workforce, the more productive its economy will be. The best way to boost women's participation rates is to ensure not only affordable day care but also maximum flexibility for women in the workforce.

At this point, too many families in my riding still have to make a choice between either having one spouse at home to take care of the kids or having both parents work to earn enough to cover the high cost of day care in downtown Toronto, where the monthly costs are around $1,200 per month. Therefore, while we have made enormous, laudable progress, our work is not yet done.

One of the key areas I am very proud of that does support families and is helping with some of the costs of day care is our Canada child benefit. This is a huge benefit for working middle-class families in Davenport. I asked for the numbers to date with respect to the amount of money going to Davenport families, and what I received was this: from July 2016 to June 2017, there were a total of 9,210 payments, with an average payment of $5,880 for the year. The total amount that went to Davenport families over that one-year period was $54,164,000. That is an enormous amount. I know that Davenport families are very happy to have received this. I know that it goes a long way to support them, to support their lives, and to support their families.

I also should note that in the recent fall economic statement, which was released on October 24, the government announced that it would strengthen the Canada child benefit by indexing it to an annual increase in the cost of living, effective July 2018, which is two years earlier than planned. This will put more money in the pockets of Canadians immediately to help with the ever-increasing cost of living.

There is great progress and support for both women and families in our budget this year.

Now I want to move on to seniors. In the cold air of November that is a harbinger of the winter to come, the past summer now seems so long ago, but I did a lot of canvassing during the summer, and I had an interaction with a Davenport senior that is seared in my mind. The woman saw me canvassing, and she came up to me to tell me to make sure to tell the Prime Minister not to forget seniors. I relayed to her all the things we had done to support seniors. I told her we were going to continue to work hard to make sure that seniors continue to feel supported.

According to Statistics Canada, Canada's elderly poverty rate has fallen by a remarkable 25%, from 37% in 1976 to 12% in 2010. However, since the mid- to late 1990s, poverty rates have actually been growing among seniors, and 60% of low-income seniors are women. Therefore, I was very proud that as of July 2016, our government increased the guaranteed income supplement to $947 a month for the most vulnerable single seniors. We also restored the age of eligibility for OAS and GIS to 65 from 67. That will also go a long way to support our seniors, sooner rather than later, and make sure that they do not fall anywhere near the poverty level. I am pleased to say that this year's budget would take even more steps to support our seniors.

We have invested $6 billion over 10 years for home care. That will go a long way for those who want to be taken care of at home and not in hospitals. We have committed $2.3 billion over two years to expand affordable housing, which is expected to improve the housing conditions for all seniors, especially senior women. We provided an additional $4 million over two years to the enabling accessibility fund to improve the accessibility of public spaces. I know that is something that was very important for my mum, so I am glad that is something we have introduced right across the country. I am very proud of our Minister of Finance, who reached a historic agreement to enhance the Canada pension plan to ensure that there will be more money for Canadians when they retire.

A lot of work has been done to support our seniors. I want to give a shout-out to a couple of my colleagues who are doing such a tremendous job in terms of trying to make sure we create a national seniors strategy. They are my colleague from King—Vaughan and my colleague from Nickel Belt.

Finally are workers. The world of work is rapidly changing. What I hear are a lot of concerns about more contract work. We hear that there is more precarious work. There is more artificial intelligence and a continued loss of manufacturing jobs. In general, with the advances in communications technology, there is an anticipated way of working in the future that is causing quite a bit of consternation among many Davenport residents and among Canadians in general. Therefore, I am proud that our government has taken action to support workers who are looking to train in different jobs. There is also support for workers who are trying to improve or upgrade their skills, and there is more support in general for workers in an ever-changing workforce. Some of those changes include $2.7 billion over six years to boost skills training and employment supports for unemployed and underemployed Canadians. Under the labour market transfer agreements, we have put in $132 million over four years to expand flexibility within the employment insurance program to enable more unemployed workers to pursue self-funded training while remaining eligible for EI benefits.

I do not have time to go through the rest of the amazing things we are doing to support workers. There is more that needs to be done. One of the key areas I am hoping our government will start looking at is a basic income as a way to support workers in the future.

I will end on a wonderful note. Our economy is doing well. Over the last two years, we have created over 450,000 new full-time jobs. We have a historic low unemployment rate of 6.2%, the lowest since 2008. We have a youth unemployment rate at a historic low of 10.3%. Canada is the fastest growing economy in the G7, with an average rate of 3.7% over the last year. I know that more good news is to come.

I appreciate the wonderful opportunity to present on behalf of the residents of Davenport today, and I urge all my colleagues to support Bill C-63.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, the residents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, my constituents, are very concerned that the recent economic update from the finance minister suggested that over the next six years, we are going to add $100 billion to Canada's national debt.

According to the finance minister's figures in that document, the interest paid per year will rise from $24 billion per year to $32 billion per year in 2022. The constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry ask how we can possibly afford that increase in interest each and every year. When they think about it, that is $3 billion a month, and that is if the interest rate stays the same.

I wonder what the constituents of Davenport think of increasing the interest on Canada's national debt by $3 billion per month.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, I did a lot of canvassing over the summer. I did reach some doors where I had similar questions.

What I was said to them was the following. Canada has one of the best balance sheets in the world. We have probably the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the world. We have a lot to be proud of. We have an economy that is growing faster than all other economies at the moment. We are spending responsibly. That was validated by the IMF when Christine Lagarde came here just over a year ago.

We are spending responsibly, we are investing in infrastructure, we are investing in our future, and we are doing everything we can to keep our debt at a manageable level.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, there are many things we can agree on. I am going to bring to my colleague's attention, as I have to her colleagues, the Labour Code changes.

One of the areas I am concerned about is the unpaid leave for domestic violence. I am hoping the government will be open to listening to experts, both legal experts and people who work in the area of domestic violence. The challenge for many in those circumstances, who are often mostly women, is that their ability to take an unpaid leave to deal with creating a safe plan, hiring a lawyer, and perhaps finding a new place to live will not happen right away. It will happen over months or a year. However, when they come home to their abusive partners with a paycheque that is less, because they have taken unpaid leave, that might be a serious safety issue for that family and that partner.

I am encouraging the government to look at that again and to make those paid days for domestic leave.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are a lot of areas we need to continue to look at to better support our workers across this country. I appreciate the member putting a wonderful idea on the table.

I will say that I am very proud of what we have done so far in terms of supporting workers. I asked the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour a question in the House today about an announcement made this week about measures we are taking to protect workers from harassment and sexual violence in the workplace.

I know we will take more steps to support our workers in the days and years to come.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, during the election, we campaigned that an economy that works for the middle class is an economy that works for everyone.

The member has done a lot of work with immigrants in her community. Could the member comment on how these changes we are putting forward will help immigrants in her community?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, in Davenport we are very blessed to have 52% of the people in my riding born in other countries. They are very happy with the changes introduced in the budget not only this year but last year. Mainly it is because we actually spent quite a bit of time and money and resources making our system more efficient. For example, to process spouses went from 26 months to 12 months. That is just one of the many great changes new Canadians are seeing in our system that will very much benefit not only our immigrants but our economy, both today and tomorrow.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to join this debate on the budget implementation bill. I have seen many of these go through and I can say that I am really pleased with what I have seen in it. It is going to make a significant difference in the lives of all Canadians. As always, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak about the budget implement act, Bill C-63.

Our government is making intelligent investments that will have a direct impact on job creation and strengthening our economy while at the same time creating opportunities for success for all Canadians.

Our government is taking the right steps to give all Canadians, including the middle class especially, a brighter future. Allow me to take this opportunity to tell everyone about some of these investments and what I consider to be the right steps.

For example, the richest 1% of Canadians will be asked to pay a little more tax than others so that we will be better able to provide the middle class with some tax breaks they very much need. This tax cut has directly benefited nine million Canadians and is something that we Canadians will be proud of.

Second, let me talk about the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. I know this for a fact because many of these children are in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek, and I will mention some of their stories.

Two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of hosting the hon. Minister of Families, Children and Social Development in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek, and as we walked through Yorkgate Mall, we encountered a constituent who was expecting her first child. The hon. minister and I took this opportunity to explain the financial opportunities this new mother stood to gain from our government's new Canada child benefit. This constituent, about to be a new mother for the first time, was overjoyed with a sense of relief to know that there would be financial help from the government and she thanked us for making a difference in her life and the life of her baby.

It would be a good idea to dig even deeper into the numbers on how the Canada child benefit is helping ridings like mine and many others throughout Canada. As of July 2017, there were a total of 12,250 payments provided in the riding of Humber River—Black Creek, which directly impact more than 20,000 children, who are so much better off as a result of the Canada child benefit. Their moms have extra money to be able to invest in everything from winter clothes to assisting with dancing or piano lessons, things they certainly could not do before. With some families, that money is putting more food on the table.

The average payment to a family is $770, and families in my riding have already received a total of almost $10 million dollars. That is $10 million dollars more that has gone into the riding of Humber River—Black Creek to help the single moms, the families, the children to have a better quality of life. That is all part of the budget implementation act. It is making a difference in their lives in that one riding. Repeat that throughout our country and think how much better off so many families and children are. These numbers cannot be ignored and do make a significant difference.

It is stories like these that allow me to rise today and speak confidently that the bill would help make a positive difference for Canadian families. The investments our government has made in people, in our communities, and in our economy are working. Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7 and we are reinvesting the benefits of that growth back to the people who contribute most to that success.

Because of Canada's strong economic growth, our government's bottom line is better and we can, as a result, do even more to help the middle class and those working hard to join it. With lower taxes on small business, more support through the Canada child benefit, and an enhanced working income tax benefit, it will be an enormous help.

One of the things I have often heard from some of the parents or families who come into my office is that if they go to work, they will be worse off because everything they make will get clawed back. The working income tax benefit will help those families so they can go out and get a second job and not be penalized for it.

When the Canada child benefit was first introduced in July 2016, the extra money in parents' pockets had an immediate effect on consumer confidence and economic growth. Canada, as I said, has the fastest growing economy in the G7, giving our government the flexibility to reinvest a lot of these benefits.

With the increased cost of living increases to the CCB starting in July 2018, two years ahead of schedule, for a single parent with two children making $35,000—and I have a lot of them in my riding of Humber River—Black Creek—the strengthened CCB will mean $560 more next year, tax free, for books, skating lessons, or warm clothes for winter. The added confidence these increases bring to families is proven to have an immediate impact on economic growth.

Because the economy is growing so well, we are allowing low-income workers, including families without children and a growing number of single Canadians, to keep more hard-earned money from every paycheque by further enhancing the working income tax benefit by an additional $500 million per year, starting in 2019. This enhancement is in addition to the $250-million annual increase that will come into effect as part of an enhancement to another program the Liberals are strengthening, the Canada pension plan, to help people have a more secure retirement. That is very much top of mind for a lot of people given what has happened recently with Sears. We saw what happened with Nortel previously. These events really shake the foundations of many people. Taken together, the two enhancements that we have made will boost the total amount our government spends on WITB by about 65% in 2019, increasing benefits and expanding the number of Canadians who qualify.

Let us talk a little more about cutting taxes on small businesses. Our government committed to reducing the small business tax rate to 9% from 11%, effective January 2019. That represents a considerable amount for many small businesses. We want them to flourish and grow, while ensuring that Canadian-controlled private corporation status is not used to reduce the personal income tax obligations of high-income earners rather than supporting small businesses. This is about reinvesting money back into businesses so they will grow, can hire additional people, and certainly do much better. This means up to $7,500 in federal corporate tax savings per year to help entrepreneurs and innovators do what they do best. Small businesses are a key driver of our economy and a cornerstone of communities across the country. As our plan works to grow the economy, small businesses see the benefits of that growth with lower taxes.

As we continue to move forward, we want to ensure that the average Canadian has a good quality of life and can take the opportunities the government is trying to provide them by tax advantages that only the richest individuals, using high-priced accountants, were able to take advantage of in the past. Instead, the government has listened to small business owners, professionals, farmers, and fishers and will move forward in a way that protects all of them, innovators and entrepreneurs as well. As we lower taxes on small business, we are committed to ensuring that they support business growth and investment and not give personal tax advantages to the wealthy over the middle class.

We are doing very well. As I said earlier, we are the fastest growing economy in the G7; we have the lowest debt to GDP ratio and have created over 500,000 more jobs, many of them full-time, good jobs, in the last two years; the economy is great, and our country is doing very well. I am very happy to support Bill C-63 and hope that everyone in the House realizes the benefits to all Canadians of supporting it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate my colleague for receiving the Maclean's Parliamentarian of the Year award for being a mentor. It is certainly well deserved.

However, on this particular issue, I am not sure I want her to be mentoring anyone. There were a number of things she totally ignored in her comments. She ignored the fact that this budget will increase our debt. In fact, the interest costs alone will rise by $9 billion per year to $33 billion a year by 2021. She talked about not having personal tax advantages for the rich. I am wondering if she was including the finance minister and Prime Minister in that. It does not seem like it from some of the questions that have come up. She talked about the small business tax cut. My colleague and all of her colleagues know that there is no way that would have happened were it not for the immense pressure put on them by the opposition and hundreds of thousands of Canadians who protested the proposed tax changes that were going after so-called tax cheats. Because of the pressure by the opposition and Canadians who were going to be negatively impacted, the government capitulated and reduced the small business tax credit, which is a good thing. However, to imply that the government members it out of the goodness of their hearts is a little rich.

Finally, my question relates to infrastructure. She commented about the infrastructure they are investing in, but the problem they are not talking about is where they are investing in infrastructure, namely Asia. There is nearly $500 million, almost half a billion dollars, being invested in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which Canada will have about a 1% say after investing that money. We know that the infrastructure investments that bank will be making will benefit Canadians, but will cost Canadians all kinds of money. How can she really honestly support that kind of spending?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, investing in infrastructure is a fabulous way of creating jobs and wealth and helping to grow the economy. Over $36 billion in projects have already been announced and are under way through our infrastructure plan. By investing in both the Asian infrastructure bank and our own infrastructure bank, it will provide lots of opportunity to invest in bridges and sewers. So many things throughout our country that have been neglected for many years by many governments will now receive infrastructure investments that will help keep our cities strong. Cities have clearly not had the money to do that, which has led to many bridge and road collapses. This money will begin to ensure that we are building a strong Canada that will stay attractive to many other people to live and invest in.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, on this side, we certainly welcome some of the changes proposed to the Canada Labour Code that would prohibit unpaid internships unless they are educational, and provide flexibility within the workplace for people to take important leaves.

I want to draw to her attention one of the leaves I find problematic, and that is unpaid leaves for victims of domestic violence. I want to point out to her the issues that may be a barrier to victims accessing that leave. Because it is unpaid, it will put victims in a vulnerable state within domestic relationships where one partner is controlling the other economically. If that individual is coming home with a paycheque that is less than what it should be, it could actually put the family and the individual in harm's way. I encourage her to support looking at this particular part and being open to amendments at committee.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the best parts of this budget implementation act is this whole issue of flexible work arrangements. We just have to recognize that we are in the 21st century. Many women are working, many families experience pain and difficulty together and need to find ways for their employers to give them the help they need. Certainly, my colleague raises a very good point, but as with everything, we have to start to introduce change. As we go forward at committee, I am sure there will be a variety of amendments that will be costed out. The flexible work arrangements are something moving us in a much more positive way throughout Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, with regard the budget implementation act, I would like to talk about the climate around investment these days.

It is important to understand that while the government can create jobs, programs, and a number of different things, it is ultimately entrepreneurs who create the work, the employment, and the wealth in our country. I say that because one of the things the government fails to understand, or one of the challenges it has had over the last little while, is the uncertainty that small businesses face.

There is a number of issues and a number of things the Liberals are trying to do in stimulating the country, such as universal child benefit and other that obviously will make families better off. We do not have a problem with that. The challenge we have is the instability of what entrepreneurs face. Let me give an example.

While we were in government, we did a number of things to try to encourage entrepreneurs to start businesses. I used the acronym called “TIRE” because it was a multi-pronged approach. We lowered corporate taxes to one of the lowest in the G7, down to 25%. We can say okay, it was great that we lowered corporate taxes, but what did that do? That was just one thing in a number of things we did, but it was important to create certainty for entrepreneurs to flourish.

Let me talk about the acronym of TIRE and what it stands for. The “T” stands for taxes and trade. One of the things we did was lowered taxes for corporations because we wanted to increase investment in Canada and we wanted to create a favourable environment to encourage other crown corporations and individuals to invest here.

The second thing we did was trade. We worked on the CETA deal, which we pretty much got to the finish line. It was nice to see the Liberals complete it. However, we were there. We negotiated it over the four years we were in government.

The second one was TPP, another agreement we worked on and had actually signed it but were waiting for ratification on it. This is important because Canada has about 35 million people and they cannot possibly sell all their goods to each other. We are definitely a trading nation. These are important things. We count very heavily on the U.S. That number used to be 85% to 90%. I realize now it is down to 75%. However, we need to create other opportunities. This was one of the reasons why we worked on trade along with taxes.

The “I” in TIRE, is infrastructure, investments, and immigration reform. We worked on these things. We spent major amounts of money in infrastructure across the country, and we got it out in record time. The Liberal government has also promised infrastructure money, but we have not seen a whole lot in the first two years. There is always some concern with a half billion dollars going to the Asia Infrastructure Bank, but the budget officer has said that almost $2 billion have been unspent at this point in time.

The “R” stands for research and development, and red tape reduction. If we look at the R and D, the government continues to spend money on it and continues to commit money to it. These are good things, but sometimes it misses the mark. We have talked about superclusters being important. My challenge is that as a small business person, it is very hard to access those things. Most businesses in the country are small businesses. While there is probably nothing wrong with the concept of superclusters, the challenge is that money needs to go to entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Entrepreneurs tell us all the time that it is always difficult to raise capital. If we look at some of these things, this always seems to be the number one issue. When we look at places like San Francisco, silicon valley, Boston, Israel, and a number of other places around the world, there is great entrepreneurship. A lot of times Canadian companies have to go south of the border to raise money for second rounds, third rounds, VC rounds, and those kinds of things. These are some of the things with which we are challenged. When we look at R and D, absolutely important is the number of programs. The government has programs such as SR&ED a few others that are effective and helpful.

I sat on the red tape reduction committee. We travelled the country, and red tape was another thing that frustrated entrepreneurs to no end. We have to find ways to continue. One of the things we implemented was the one for one rule. When a new regulation was introduced, we would reduce a regulation.

One of the challenges is this. The federal government regulates a number of areas. However, then there are provincial and municipal jurisdictions and each of these add a layer and make it difficult for entrepreneurs to get started.

The last thing, the “E” in TIRE, is entrepreneurship and the economy. One of the things I always tell people when I talk to them about business is that there is a whole suite of things that we need to do in order to encourage entrepreneurship in this country. Right now, there are obviously a number of incubators and accelerators. Members are obviously familiar with Communitech in Waterloo, which does an amazing job. There are a number of other incubators and accelerators across this country. I always wonder if it would not make sense, as we move forward, to encourage colleges and universities to look at making that part of their mandate. I realize that is not always possible, but I think if we are going to teach entrepreneurship, if we are going to talk to people about starting businesses, then we also have to give them a place to actually help hone their craft.

Some of the things that are helpful for incubators are, obviously, that there is access to capital and money, that there are mentors, and that there is an environment where there is a chance to work and feed off what is going on with other individuals. As I visited a number of incubators in Silicon Valley, one of the things that was amazing was this whole issue of like-mindedness. People could come together, share their ideas, have access to capital, and all those other things.

However, one of the things we struggle with in this country is that we do not have a culture of entrepreneurship. I talk to students taking business programs all the time and ask them what they think they are going to do. They tell me that once they get their MBA, they want to work for a big company. Now, there is nothing wrong with working for a big company, but one of the challenges we have in this country is that we do not have enough people willing to start businesses and be entrepreneurial.

As I look at these things that we worked on as a government, I use TIRE, where the “T” is for taxes and trade; the “I” is for infrastructure, investments, and immigration reform, which is trying to help businesses bring in the people they need; the “R” is for R and D, and red tape reduction; and, of course, the “E” is for entrepreneurship and economy.

One of the things that has been a challenge with the latest implementation, or the thought process of taxes and taxation, has been the uncertainty for small businesses. I have literally had all kinds of phone calls coming into my office. People were saying that they were not happy and were not sure what they were going to do.

I co-hosted a round table here on Parliament Hill as the co-chair of the entrepreneur caucus with my colleagues. We had the CFIB and a number of individuals. We had a high-net-worth accountant, who represents a lot of money. He said that since this has happened, over $1 billion has gone south of the border. Now, we are never going to see a press release sent out on who was going to invest in Canada but will not now. Money is fluid, and it can move in different directions. Quite frankly, when there is uncertainty, it makes it a challenge.

I also want to talk about the unintended consequences of some of the proposed tax changes. Remember, in previous years, it took the Carter commission four years to look at tax changes and another six years to implement them, which is over a decade. However, this was done in less than 75 days in the middle of the summer.

Doctors are a segment of people who were singled out as not paying their fair share of taxes. I have an individual in my office who lives in my riding but has a practice in Welland. She is a dermatologist, and her husband is an orthopaedic surgeon. She feels totally vilified with what is going on here. She and her husband have over $400,000 in debt, with another $100,000 for her to set up her practice in Welland. She said that if things do not change that, in two years when her lease runs out, she will be moving south of the border. I am not saying that every doctor is leaving, but there are certainly individuals out there who do not feel like the hard work and time they put in is going to be rewarded.

As I look at some of the budget implementation act, I see large deficits, which are for a time when the economy is not doing that well. Right now, the economy has been doing relatively well. What happens if we continue to spend all of this money that is for a rainy day? Our growth is better than average, and maybe better than expected, but I believe that on the horizon we will see less than 2% growth, or 1% and change, over the next couple of years.

If we stack up some of things that are going on here, such as the uncertainty with the tax proposals, the fact remains that it is still hard for entrepreneurs to access money. When we look at taxing passive income, it makes it very discouraging for people trying to grow the economy, create jobs, and, quite frankly, trying to help Canada grow as a nation.

I would encourage my friends on the other side of the House to reconsider what they are looking at, where they are going with these tax changes, and the deficit, because there will be lasting and long-term results.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member across the way for his intervention today, and for giving us the letters T-I-R-E to consider and to remember the points he has given. It always helps when in a presentation to have something to refer to.

My question is whether the TIRE was flat or not, and whether maybe we did not get economic growth with $150 billion in increased debt in the country. Our strategy of investing in the middle class seems to be getting the growth that the previous government did not get by giving tax breaks to the wealthy.

Could the member comment on the different strategies that are being used by the member's party and our party?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the members that the TIREs were full, we were running on all four TIREs, and everything was working well.

We can look at what happened with the great economic downturn in 2008. It was Canada that actually did better than any country in the G7. It was Canada that led the way in growth. While other countries had this huge fall, we continued to maintain.

We spent money. It was the opposition that said we needed to spend more. We spent what we felt was important at the time to get the economy back on track. I will just say that we want to be careful looking at this quarter. Things are well, but I believe there are huge troubles on the horizon. We have mortgage rates that are going to change in January. They are going to raise the benchmark by over 2% to qualify for first-time homebuyers or for homebuyers in general. That will mean that less than 75% of what homebuyers qualify for in 2017 is not going to be there.

There is a whole bunch of these small cuts that are happening. I would encourage the members to be cautious, because as we move forward into 2018 and 2019, I really believe there are storm clouds on the horizon.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my Conservative colleague for his speech in the House on the budget implementation bill.

He talked a lot about business owners. Whenever I meet with small business owners back home, they often tell me about unfair credit card fees. Some businesses are paying extraordinary sums to credit card companies. Some small businesses are paying more than $200,000 per year.

I would like to know whether this is also an issue for small and medium-sized business owners in my colleague's riding.

Do they talk a lot about how the government has not done a thing to better regulate credit card fees?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dean Allison Conservative Niagara West, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I pay attention to on a regular basis are the surveys that come out from CFIB.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which has members all across this country, has a great pulse on what is going on in the world of small and medium-sized businesses. One of the things that continues to come up is credit card fees for CFIB.

What I would say to the member is that this is an issue that continues to come up, time and time again, as an issue of concern. It is one of the things that we looked at when we were in government, and one of the things that I believe needs still more work.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for this debate in the House tonight, for the government bringing forward budget 2017, and now for Bill C-63. The government's actions are in line with and directly support the four initiatives of the Guelph and Wellington poverty elimination task force, by looking at the four areas of income inequality, affordable housing, food insecurity, and health inequities.

There is an old African proverb that states, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.” This government knows that working together with others, and other orders of government, is crucial. In fact, the whole-of-government approach is the way forward.

On the first point of income inequality, the goal of the Guelph and Wellington poverty elimination task force is that all members of the community have the income, resources, and opportunities to fully participate in the community. Of people living in poverty, 70% are currently working. According to Statistics Canada, Canada has one of the highest proportions of low-paid workers among similarly industrialized countries.

The government believes that the working income tax benefit can do much more to improve the financial security of low-income working Canadians. To this end, in the 2017 fall economic statement, the government is announcing its intention to further enhance the working income tax benefit by $500 million a year, starting in 2019. The maximum Canada pension plan retirement benefits for workers will also be increasing over time by 50%. The government has increased the guaranteed income supplement payments to seniors by up to $947 a year, which is going to help 900,000 low-income seniors, 70% of whom are women.

The Canada child benefit has helped to stimulate the economy. Our economy is growing at 3.7%, leading the G7, and we have created more than 500,000 jobs since it was introduced. There are 12,000 families or 24,000 kids in my riding who receive a total of $8 million per month tax-free. This is an enormous boost to the Guelph economy. The budget implementation act will now index these funds two years ahead of schedule due to the strong growth we have in our economy.

Economic opportunity is the best way to address income inequality. This legislation will take the next steps for our innovation and skills plan, an agenda that focuses on people and addresses the changing nature of the economy to ensure that it works for all Canadians. Bill C-63 will enact several key parts of our plan, including $600 million in new financing for clean technology firms, and $400 million to put in place the venture capital catalyst initiative.

The second point that the poverty elimination task force is looking at is affordable housing, with the goal that everyone in Guelph and Wellington can find and maintain an appropriate, safe, and affordable place to call home. The government will invest more than $11.2 billion over 11 years through the national housing strategy to provide low-income Canadians with improved access to adequate and affordable housing. This is the most significant investment in housing that has ever been made in the history of Canada.

Through the rental construction financing initiative, the government will also offer more than $2.5 billion over the next four years in low-cost loans to support the construction of new rental housing to help increase the supply of rental housing. Budget 2017 also proposes a total investment of $2.1 billion over the next 11 years to expand and extend funding for the homelessness partnering strategy beyond 2018-19. Our national housing strategy will be announced over the next few weeks. We will be meeting with members of the Guelph and Wellington poverty elimination task force to discuss implications for Guelph and how we can work together.

The third point is food insecurity. Everyone has to have access to affordable and healthy food in a dignified manner. We have a shared objective federally. In fact, the agriculture committee that I sit on has repeatedly heard from witnesses on the food policy, addressing the nutritional food that Canada needs to focus on, and working with partners like food banks to reduce food waste and to improve food distribution within our communities.

The Canada child benefit has been mentioned a lot today. It has helped lift 300,000 children out of poverty. Thanks to this benefit, by the end of this year, it is estimated that child poverty will be reduced by 40% from where it was in 2013.

For a single parent with two children and $35,000 of income, the acceleration of the Canada child benefit will contribute $560 toward the increasing cost of feeding children. This increase means more nutritious food for lower-income children and families, allowing for a more engaged and active student population in our schools.

To address food insecurity within indigenous communities, they need employment opportunities. Budget 2017 invests $50 million in the aboriginal skills and employment training strategy, providing the knowledge indigenous peoples need to sustain themselves and build their communities.

Finally, on health inequities, everyone in Guelph and Wellington has to have access to affordable health services. Drug prices in Canada are among the highest in the world. Patented drug prices in Canada are 17% to 37% higher than those in France, Italy, the U.K., Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. Canada's generic drug prices are also comparatively high.

We have heard from Canadians about the need for improved access to prescription medications and lower drug prices. Through budget 2017, we are investing over $140 million over five years to help improve access to pharmaceuticals and support innovations within the health care system, but we know there is a lot more to do.

People may be wondering how these two policies, federal and municipal, are so well aligned and how this can happen. In truth, if a government believes in the whole-of-government approach and serving its people, there can be no other way. Our government understands the needs of our communities, both large and small, from coast to coast to coast, and is prepared to offer communities what they need to realize their goals.

The results of the past two years justify the trust Canadians placed in this government in the 2015 election. We promised we would work together, and we are. I am confident that the measures in budget 2017 and the budget implementation act will continue this positive trend, build our communities, help the most vulnerable, and have a successful economy together.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, something I have heard is quite concerning. Some telephone calls have come into my office. As members know, I am focused on the Indigenous and Northern Affairs file. The calls are from people who are expressing significant concern. They are asking how the government can spend half a billion dollars on infrastructure in Asia, through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, when we have so many desperate needs at home. They ask why the government is putting heated trailers at the border for people when people in the north are freezing.

When the member says that the government is taking care of vulnerable people, I would like him to provide an answer on how spending half a billion dollars to provide infrastructure in Asia or backstopping investors in Asia is helping people in the north, as its communications adviser suggested.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we participate in international activities, such as the infrastructure bank, and we are setting up an infrastructure bank within Canada to also attract international investment, it makes us participate in the investment of world development, both in Canada and abroad. We will be looking at significant investments in infrastructure that Canadians will not be paying for by themselves. They will pay for it in partnership with other countries, similar to what we will do in China.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently in my riding, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with several doctors. As the representative of North Island—Powell River, a huge challenge for us is attracting health care professionals to the region. The doctors talked about their concerns on the impacts of the small business tax to these types of communities. One thing that is really important for the House and the Prime Minister to hear is how hurt these doctors were by the comments the Prime Minister made about rich doctors and how much of a ramification that had on their offices. People have gone into their offices to chastise them for this.

What I notice is missing from the bill has nothing to do with tax fairness across the board. I see a focus on small business and not at the significant tax loopholes that the very wealthy use every day to not pay their fair share. What are the member's thoughts on this specific issue and how those impacts are meaningful in communities like I represent?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member's question looks at how we work as a country together. Because physicians serve our communities in so many ways and they give so much to our communities, how do we ensure our communities are there for them when they need them as well?

When we look at tax fairness and tax inequities in our system, we will be helping their patients, developing communities, increasing the economy, and helping them to continue to contribute to Canada, which they do in such a great way.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the people in Guelph know how diligently my colleague works on the innovation file. I have had the pleasure of working with him on a number of initiatives. As the chair of a subcommittee on innovation through our Atlantic growth strategy, I have discovered a lot of opportunities available to Atlantic Canadians. Could my hon. colleague talk about how our focus on innovation is helping companies, entrepreneurs, and people in his community thrive in this growing economy?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I almost never have a conversation without innovation coming up in some way, so I appreciate the member coming at this from this angle. Innovation in Guelph and innovation elsewhere includes social innovation. Through the investments our government is making, we see a social innovation that is contributing to our economy, to our environment, and developing social benefits for all Canadians. I thank the hon. member for his focus on innovation. Social innovation is a very important part of our strategy going forward.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:40 p.m.
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NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, which I will strongly oppose.

I would like to talk about Sunday's municipal elections in Quebec. There are 37 municipalities in the riding I represent, and it spans 3,200 kilometres. I would like to congratulate all of the candidates who ran in the municipal elections and all those who won. I care about having a good working relationship with other representatives. I look forward to working with the newly elected officials. I would also like to celebrate the fact that more women were elected mayor. I am very proud to say that we now have more women mayors back home. This is good news.

In my speech today, I want to talk about the issues that are not part of the Liberal government's bill. For example, the government is not doing anything about credit card fees, and more recently, it refused to work with us, the provinces, and other stakeholders to create a universal pharmacare program. I also want to talk about how the government is refusing to remedy tax unfairness by facilitating the intergenerational transfer of family farms. The last issue I will touch on is employment insurance.

I will start with credit card fees, which cost Canadian merchants tens of thousands of dollars. It is their second-largest expense after salaries. Small retailers make up more than 50% of the Canadian economy. For example, a Saint-Boniface service station called Alimentation Lemoyne & Auger in my riding pays $30,000 per year in credit card transaction fees. That is a lot of money. Canadian small businesses pay the highest credit card transaction fees in the world. The Liberal government should do like other countries, such as Australia and EU countries, which have capped fees at 0.5% or less.

This is a measure that the Liberal government should have introduced for small business owners. We really would have liked to see some progress. We would have liked for the government to stand up for small business owners in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. There is supermarket owner in Laval who spends nearly $200,000 on credit card fees. The government needs to act now to better regulate those fees.

Last month, the NDP used an opposition day to raise a debate in the House of Commons on the need to adopt a universal pharmacare program. In the riding that I represent, the population is aging, so I care about health-related issues. We had a debate in the House of Commons, but unfortunately, the Liberal government decided to vote against our motion.

That day, representatives of the Centre Avec des Elles in Saint-Gabriel-de-Brandon and the Centre des femmes l'Héritage in Louiseville came to attend question period. They also got to meet several MPs. These people from my riding, who came to the House the day that we moved an opposition motion on the need for a universal pharmacare program, could not believe that the government was going to vote against such a measure, when, unfortunately, the cost of prescription drugs is rising every year.

The people I represent did not think it was the right approach to lowering the cost of drugs. They were really frustrated to see the Liberal government's inaction and unwillingness to act. We would have really liked to see something in the budget for this. However, there is nothing yet again. There is no action on the part of the Liberal government.

I had have the honour of being the agriculture and agrifood critic since 2015 after being the deputy critic from 2012 to 2015. I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food since 2012. I am the longest serving member of the committee. Anything that has to do with the transfer of farms and fishing businesses is really important. We know that Canada's population is aging and that succession and planning is not going well.

My colleague from Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques introduced a bill to address a fiscal injustice in the transfer of farms. Unfortunately, that bill was defeated in the House of Commons before it could be referred to a committee. We think it is disgraceful that the government is doing nothing to help the next generation of farmers in Canada.

I would also like to raise the matter of employment insurance. I represent a rural riding where many people work in seasonal industries. These people depend on EI, but they do not always have access to it, sadly. The budget contained no changes or assistance to give workers access to employment insurance. Currently, 15,000 Canadians are having to contend with the spring gap. This needs to be discussed, because during the campaign, the Liberal Party said it would fix the problem by improving the system and making it so that these people have access to EI.

There have been some minor changes, but the Liberal government has not carried out a comprehensive reform to improve access to employment insurance for workers in the agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism sectors. These sectors are incredibly important to the economy, and we need to make sure we support the people working in them.

The unemployed workers' movement in Quebec claims that the Liberal government has not reformed the employment insurance system. Forty-four percent of Canadians will not be eligible for employment insurance. That is a lot of people, a lot of Canadians and Quebeckers who need reform and change so they can access EI when they need it. This is really important to them.

We really hoped to see some progress on reducing inequality. We know that a special committee was formed to examine pay equity. A report entitled “It's Time to Act” was even published. The government committed to taking action, but not today, tomorrow, or even in a year. It is going to introduce a bill on pay equity to ensure that women and men earn equal pay for work of equal value. It is going to take until the end of 2018. I am trying to understand why the government is dragging its feet on introducing a bill that would truly further equality.

I think everyone agrees that there is still work to be done. It is 2017. The government claims to be feminist, but it needs to walk the talk. This bill needs to pass quickly. We are deeply disappointed to see so many things missing from this budget, especially since the government is always saying that it can do better.

The government should have done better with this legislation.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Pat Finnigan Liberal Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Mr. Speaker, I salute my colleague, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé. She also sits on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. I want to thank her for her hard work.

Let us look at our budget since we have been in power. There are still many things we would like to do, this I know. There is obviously still much to be done.

We increased the Canada child benefit, which was great. We increased the old age security pension, which was also great. Then, we lowered the retirement age from 67 to 65. On the agriculture front, we allocated $250 million to producers and $100 million to processors.

These are some of the positive things we have done in the past two years. There is much to do, of course, but will my colleague at least acknowledge that our government has been very busy? We still have a lot left to do. Does she have anything to say about that?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

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

This Liberal majority government is halfway through its mandate. Indeed, it has taken some positive steps, and we must recognize that the government has taken action and implemented measures. We agree, and congratulate and thank them for some things. However, they made a lot of promises. It has been two years, and Canadians expected more.

The government really needs to reduce tax inequities. A bill has been introduced to do so. My colleague and I both sit on the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-food. Everyone who appears before the committee talks about the importance of fixing the unfair tax measures affecting the transfer of family farms. This is one thing the Liberal government could have done. It should have done it. This measure could have been included in the budget. We would have liked to have seen the bill at least make it to committee.

There are a number of measures that we like, but the government must do better. Canadians expect more.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her very thorough listing of measures for which ordinary families are waiting.

It appears the government feels it has a lot of money to spend. It is going to send hundreds of millions of dollars over to China to develop infrastructure around the world, and yet, it cannot seem to find the time, the money, or the heart, to provide pharmacare.

The Liberals say we are all in this together, and yet, they vote against every single private member's bill and motion we table. That includes calls for the right to affordable housing, and the right to affordable medicines, so people do not have to decide whether they are going to pay their rent or buy their medicine.

Could the member speak to the fact there are many working families, and many people trying to get into the middle class who are not benefiting yet from the government?

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians had a lot of high hopes in 2015. They put their trust and confidence in a Liberal government. The Liberals did a great campaign. However, Canadians are starting to realize they are not getting what they thought they would out of the government.

Before being elected, I worked at quite a few jobs to make ends meet. Many constituents in my riding work really hard, and they still do not make ends meet. In Quebec, we have a great system where we have affordable child care. It was a promise this government made, to develop affordable child care. We are not there yet. The Liberals have created no new child care spaces.

On pay equity, they realize they have to act, but they keep pushing it back. Why do women have to wait for pay equity? It does not make sense. The government says it is feminist, but it does not show us. Where is the bill? Why do women have to wait?

Canadians are disappointed and frustrated, and that is why we are voting against Bill C-63.

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November 8th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Fredericton New Brunswick

Liberal

Matt DeCourcey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour and a privilege to speak, on behalf of the people of Fredericton, the riding I have the pleasure to represent, to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act No. 2, which will help us conclude our budgetary measures for 2017.

This bill contains some of the important measures from our government's second budget. These measures are in line with our plan to continue to create jobs, stimulate the economy, and offer Canadians more opportunities to succeed.

In just two short years our government has accomplished a great deal. I hear from people in Fredericton, Oromocto, Maryland, and the Grand Lake region that they like what we are doing. They like the tax cut for the middle class. They like that we have enhanced the Canada child benefit, lowered the eligibility age for the old age pension to 65 from 67, and expanded old age security for low income seniors.

As a result of this government's efforts to ease the burden on our middle class, nine million Canadians are now paying less tax. This tax cut provides about $3.4 billion in annual tax relief to the middle class. Single individuals, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $330 every year. Couples, who benefit, will see an average tax reduction of $540. To help pay for this middle-class tax cut, we raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.

We also decreased small business taxes from 11% to 10.5%, and it will drop even further, down to 10% on January 1, and then down again to 9% by 2019.

In the fall economic update, the government announced another enhancement to the Canada child benefit. As a result of this change, an average Canadian family with two children will see about $200 more in the Canada child benefit payments next year and about $500 more in 2019. In New Brunswick, this amounts to 71,000 recipients, with a total investment of $499 million.

The Canada-New Brunswick early learning and child care agreement signed in August will see the federal government invest close to $30 million in improving early learning and child care for pre-school-aged children. By the end of the three year agreement this funding will build a high quality early learning and child care system that New Brunswick families can rely on.

While I am on the subject of supporting families, let me remind the House that Fredericton welcomed more than 500 Syrian refugees, more per capita than any city in Canada.

With an aging population, one-third of which is expected to be over the age of 65 by the 2030s, support for New Brunswick seniors is essential.

During our first year in government, we restored the eligibility age for old age security and the guaranteed income supplement back to 65. We increased the GIS top-up benefit for single seniors by up to $947 per year. We enhanced the Canada pension plan as well.

Budget 2017 further ensures that seniors continue to receive the support they deserve by committing $125.1 million to improve home care for seniors in New Brunswick.

Over the next 11 years, we will invest $3.2 billion to support affordable housing priorities, including initiatives to support safe and independent living for seniors.

Over these 11 years, we will invest an additional $5 billion to establish a national housing fund to help seniors and the most vulnerable.

New Brunswick is the ideal place to rollout bold and transformative approaches that will enable healthy aging. The federal government's $16.6 million investment in the University of New Brunswick's Centre for Healthy Living is an excellent example.

AGE-WELL, Canada's technology and aging network, recently partnered with the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation and Fredericton's York Care Centre to open a new national innovation hub in Fredericton.

AGE-WELL is a network of federally funded centres of excellence that advance innovation in the field of technology and aging in the interest of all Canadians.

The federal government's first health care deal will enable seniors to live longer, healthier lives in their own homes, and reduce financial and administrative burdens on our already over-stretched health care system

As chair of the Atlantic growth strategy subcommittee on innovation, I can assure the House that the federal government is committed to empowering Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs through innovation. Under the Atlantic growth strategy, the government is taking bold action to create more middle-class jobs, strengthen local communities, and grow the economy. The AGS will enhance and enrich Atlantic Canada's innovation ecosystem.

Recently designated community of the year for startups in Canada, Fredericton has built a well-earned reputation as an entrepreneurial hub and a centre of innovation.

Thanks in part to the University of New Brunswick's essential role, the innovation ecosystem of this city is attracting a larger number of creative entrepreneurs.

In our 150th year of Confederation, as we prepare to once again take on a more active and dynamic role in the world, we are committed to the vision of Canada's new defence policy. To meet this commitment, the federal government is investing in an agile, multi-purpose, combat ready military, operated by highly trained and well-equipped women and men.

Over the next 10 years, defence spending will increase by more than 70%, which means that 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown, Canada's second-largest military base and home of Canada's army, will take on an even bigger role as an economic generator in our local economy.

Earlier this year, I took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for a new tactical armed patrol vehicle facility, a $26 million investment by this federal government. When we add this $26 million investment to the $38 million investment in critical infrastructure upgrades at Base Gagetown last year, we get a clear picture of just how big an economic generator Base Gagetown is to the Fredericton region and to all of New Brunswick.

This investment in infrastructure is certainly important, but the federal government's investment in the Canadian Armed Forces is even more important.

For example, since January 1, all troops deployed on international operations have been exempt from federal income tax on their CAF salary up to a pay level of lieutenant colonel. This is in addition to existing allowances that compensate for hardship and risk. Other investments include $198.2 million over the next 10 years to implement a new total health and wellness strategy, providing a greater range of health and wellness services and programs.

There is also an increase of $6 million per year to modernize family support programs, such as military family resource centres, and a new 1,200-person Canadian Armed Forces transition group that would help CAF members and their families transition back into CAF following illness or injury, or into civilian life at the conclusion of their military service.

Budget 2017 would continue to improve the lives of veterans by focusing on three important themes: ensuring the financial security for ill and injured veterans, investing in education and career development to help veterans transition into post-military life, and supporting families.

In the 150th anniversary of Canada's Confederation and with Remembrance Day just a few days away, I want to underscore the sacrifices that our women and men in uniform have made in service to our country. We are here because of them, and we will remember them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly, on this side, we all agree that we could do no greater activity this coming weekend than to take the time at many different events in our ridings to pay tribute to the men and women in uniform who have fought and died for the very values that we hold dear, so I thank my hon. colleague for that.

In his speech, the member talked about entrepreneurship, innovation, and innovation hubs, which we certainly applaud on this side. I am blessed to have in my riding Communitech, which is an incubator that is going worldwide. I certainly applaud the work the people there do. However, it is not good enough to encourage innovation in these incubators, get people excited about projects they have developed for use by Canadians, and then to have repressive policies placed on them that actually make it hard, or almost impossible for them to actually start the business in which they have invested so much energy.

Recently this summer, on July 18, we had this proposal to change the tax system for small and medium-sized enterprises, and to go after the so-called tax cheats. I have spoken to people in my riding who currently have small businesses, and have created their own enterprises. Even though they are already created, they are actually thinking of moving them south of the border, because of the repressive tax scheme we have here.

If a company that is already here in Canada finds it impossible to continue to operate under this scheme, how in the world would it be possible for a fledgling start-up company, that has not even gotten its own business started yet, to put roots in the ground and establish that business and create jobs here in Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to being at the cenotaph in downtown Fredericton on Saturday. My thoughts will be with the people in Oromocto at their ceremony, in New Maryland, at Barkers Point, and in the Grand Lake region. My thoughts will also be with those who are holding Remembrance Day ceremonies while I am here in Ottawa this week.

I mentioned that Fredericton was recently named Canada's entrepreneurship start-up capital. We are home to UNB, Canada's most entrepreneurial university, with incubators such as Planet Hatch and Energia, which the government supported in its launch. We have focus clusters on cybersecurity, on green energy, and on smart grid growth.

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, through the Atlantic growth strategy, is focused on supporting the start-up and life-cycle of entrepreneurs in our community, through supporting them in innovative new processes.

In addition, as I said in my speech, we are lowering the small business tax burden from 11% to 9%. The government will always be there for small businesses right across the country. Finally, after 10 years, small businesses in Atlantic Canada can also count on the government's support.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to share with the member how much I appreciate his city. On 9-11, I was stranded in Fredericton when the towers came down. Fredericton was very kind to all of us who were in an international meeting.

I would like to ask the hon. member a question about global co-operation, work of the federal government on climate change and clean energy. What is troubling to me is there are several things missing from the budget. One is a tiny inkling of a measure to begin bringing down the $5 billion to $6 billion perverse subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which Canada has committed to bringing down expeditiously.

Second, regrettably, there is nothing in this budget, which is one of the big topics happening at COP22, which is happening as we speak, and that is a just transition while providing capacity building. When Canada signed on to the Paris agreement, it committed to contributing toward capacity building.

Could the member speak to why he thinks the government has not stepped forward to support the provinces in building capacity for those workers who would like to get into the renewable energy sector?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Matt DeCourcey Liberal Fredericton, NB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's comments about the generosity of people in Fredericton. It has certainly been my experience over the course of my life.

I have had the pleasure of travelling abroad and witnessing first-hand the impact our contributions have made to the global climate fund through other infrastructure development banks and in places like the South Pacific that are losing coastline.

Canada is a leading contributor in helping with coastal degradation and renewal projects. We are a leading contributor through those multilateral funds. We also have local initiative funds that are putting people on the ground in these developing countries to work to help tackle climate change matters.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to the House today about the Liberal government's economic update.

Halfway through their term in office, the Liberals seem to be celebrating, but we think their economic update is cause for concern. What worries us the most is that this Liberal government seems to be hurting the very people it says it wants to help. Are the measures it announced mere smokescreens? That is a perfectly legitimate question and one we should be asking. That is what scandals like the paradise papers seem to suggest.

The government is making the middle class, job creators, farmers, and even our most vulnerable citizens, such as diabetics, pay for the deficit. Meanwhile, it is turning a blind eye to Liberal friends who avoid paying taxes in Canada.

Before telling everyone else how to do things, maybe the Liberal government should get its own house in order. A Fraser Institute report showed that 81% of middle-class families have been paying more tax during the Liberals' two years in office than they were paying under the former Conservative government at the end of its term in office. On average, each family is paying $840 more per year.

The Liberals answer by telling us not to worry, because the economy is growing. We know that the economy is growing right now despite the Liberals, not because of them. The measures being taken by the Liberal government now will not really have an effect until a few years from now, and the positive growth we are seeing is a direct result of our Conservative measures taken by the previous Canadian government.

The Minister of Finance also confirmed that the Liberals will borrow $20 billion this year to pay for their spending spree. This is on top of the $25 billion they borrowed in the first year of this government's mandate. They answer by telling us again not to worry and that the budget will magically balance itself, but no one knows when. The truth is that by announcing a $20 billion deficit again this year, the Liberals are breaking another election promise they had made, which was to not exceed a $10 billion deficit in the first two years, and that is already a huge amount, all things considered. Now it is going to be double that for each year.

That is not all. The government broke a second promise because the Prime Minister promised to balance the budget by 2019. Now, we have learned that he has no plan to ever balance the budget. If I understand the Liberals' message correctly, that means that the Minister of Finance is racking up debt twice as quickly as planned and that the deficit will continue to steadily grow for several more years. There is no escaping it. Someone will have to pay the bill at one point or another. That someone will be our children and grandchildren and all middle-class Canadians.

By way of evidence, first, the Liberals eliminated the universal child care benefit. Then, they did away with the children's fitness tax credit and the children's arts tax credit. They also eliminated the post-secondary education and textbook tax credit, not to mention the fact that they did away with income splitting as soon as they took office. That is not all. Next, they cancelled plans to reduce the small business tax rate and employment insurance contributions, while increasing payroll taxes and creating a new carbon tax.

That is still not all. We must not forget that the Liberals eliminated income splitting; halved the TFSA contribution limit; scrapped the public transit tax credit, even though they claim to be a green government; introduced an Uber tax; and raised taxes on beer, wine, and spirits. Finally they tried to impose a tax on health and dental benefits and even on employee discounts for retail and restaurant workers, who need a bite to eat and are trying to save a few dollars on each meal at the end of their shift. Now that is really meanspirited.

The Liberal government's strategy involves trying to smother the flames of its out-of-control spending by asking the middle class to come to the rescue.

The problem with this Liberal government is that it seems to be completely out of touch with Canadians. It seems to belong to a different class, the small percentage of wealthy people. This leads it to make decisions that make no sense to most Canadians who are living from paycheque to paycheque. When these Canadians found out that the Prime Minister and his family spent their vacation on a private island at the enormous cost of $215,000 and that taxpayers would have to foot the bill, no one could understand it. How can the Prime Minister believe that he acted responsibly? How could he have made that decision without seeing that it was problematic, contradictory, and hypocritical? How can he be concerned about the growing tax burden on Canadian families when the measures that have been put in place do not affect his family fortune?

Maybe the Liberal government needs to be reminded that the interest on the debt exceeds $15 billion per year. I am not talking about the deficit; I am talking about the interest on the debt. Those billions are gone and will never be invested. Increasing the deficit by $50 billion will not help us deal with the debt, which has grown that much in just two years. The $15 billion annual interest on the debt could pay for three tunnels between Quebec City and Lévis, three Champlain bridges, or 187,500 kilometres of repaired roads, which is the equivalent of 12 trips across Canada and back from coast to coast. It could pay for 40 huge multi-purpose arenas, four major hydroelectric dams, 500,000 daycare spaces, 11,500 affordable housing units, 2,500 MRI machines in hospitals, 75 F-18 fighter jets, 1,625 water treatment plants on reserves, or 300 rail bypasses for places like Lac-Mégantic. As an aside, we are still waiting for the results of that study.

The Liberals will reply that they created the Canada child benefit, but that benefit, which gives families a maximum of $560, is a smoke screen. Indeed, for every $560 a family receives, it will have to write off its share of the deficit. It will simply be added back into the line of credit. This year alone, after each family receives its Canada child benefit, it will still have to pay another $3,547.90 sooner or later to cover the cost of the deficit. What the Liberal government gives with one hand, it takes back with the other. All they are doing is leaving this debt to future generations.

These reminders and new perspectives might give the Liberals some idea of the repercussions of their out-of-control spending on Canadians. What we need, and what the Conservative government would deliver, is sound management of public finances, lower taxes, greater justice for victims, and a more affordable lifestyle for all Canadians. This must begin with a crackdown on tax avoidance and tax evasion, which does not appear to be one of this Liberal government's priorities, as we learned this week, based on how it is protecting the Liberal Party bagman. This close friend of the Prime Minister is suspected of hiding money in tax havens, as shown by investigations by several internationally recognized media venues.

Unfortunately, we are now dangerously on the wrong track with this other update and this other budget tabled in 2017.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:20 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, there are many parts of the member's speech that I take some exception to. I sat in opposition and saw a Harper government do absolutely nothing to deal with issues such as tax avoidance, or anything of that nature. I sat in opposition when the Harper government allowed the debt to grow to $160 billion. We have seen so much progress within two years of this administration, far more than we saw in 10 years of the Harper government.

The member talks about tax fairness. What did the Conservative members opposite do when it came to increasing the taxes of Canada's wealthiest? They voted against it. What did they do when it came to the tax break for Canada's middle class? They voted against it. What did they do on the Canada child benefit enhancement? They voted against it. What did they do on the guaranteed income supplement? They voted against it.

Why is their voting record so bad when it comes to representing real Canadians?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, it really seems as though the hon. member on the other side of the House missed the point of my speech. I wonder if he even bothered to listen to what I said.

He is going after the former government, but his government is the one that is hypocritical with respect to our current fiscal situation. This government has a minister who was found guilty of a conflict of interest by the Ethics Commissioner. This government's Prime Minister went to a private island to spend taxpayer money. This government cancelled income splitting for families, which allowed them to save on taxes. This government is irresponsibly putting our families, children, and grandchildren in debt, without any plan to return to a balanced budget.

The government's budget is, quite simply, mind-boggling. The people watching right now know better. They understand what is going on. We cannot wait to change sides in the House.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

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

I would like to ask him specifically about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. In this budget implementation act, the government is taking a half a billion dollars and giving it to wealthy bankers to build infrastructure in Asia, not in Canada. We have heard examples of the government taking away money from diabetics. We have heard of it taking away money from people with autism. It has taken money away from people suffering from mental health conditions, and it is giving money away to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

I want to talk about priorities and get the member to talk about the priorities of his constituents. When he was campaigning, did anyone say, “Please give away a half a billion dollars to an infrastructure bank in Asia instead of taking care of Canadians' interests first”?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 8th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my colleague for his highly relevant question. I would have liked to talk about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Canada infrastructure bank, which the government is in the process of setting up, but I had only 10 minutes to speak.

It makes absolutely no sense that this government is taking money from Canadians and investing it in an Asian Infrastructure Bank that will develop infrastructure located not in Canada, but on the other side of the ocean. This infrastructure is not even in our own country.

Since the members on the other side of the aisle dispute our extremely severe, yet legitimate, criticism of their budget, I must also talk about the credits and money this government is taking away from our most vulnerable citizens, like diabetics. This government is clawing back money that these people are entitled to, money that helps them provide for their needs, and using it to fund its own reckless, out-of-control spending.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:35 a.m.
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Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act, no. 2. The bill would implement certain provisions of our government's second budget, budget 2017, that was tabled in the House on March 22.

Following in the footsteps of budget 2016, budget 2017 offers immediate help to those who need it the most and helps ensure that everyone has a real and fair chance of success.

In the 2015 campaign, when we knocked on doors we listened to Canadians, how they were struggling to find jobs and pay for their families, or working extremely hard to make ends meet. We listened to them and we invested in Canadians, in our communities, and in our country.

That is why the first thing we did as a government was to lower taxes for the middle class and raised them for the wealthiest 1%.

We introduced the Canada child benefit that helped nine out of 10 families and lifted over 300,000 children out of poverty.

These investments made by our government in our people, in our communities, and in our economy are now bearing fruit.

We have been able to add nearly 500,000 new jobs in our economy in the last two years. Just this past October, 89,000 full-time jobs were created. The steady rate of job growth has led to the unemployment rate dropping to 6.3%, the lowest level in over a decade.

Additionally, due to the historic investments made by our government, youth unemployment is also at the lowest level in decades. In Brampton West, I had the privilege this summer to visit many local organizations taking part in the Canada summer jobs program. This program helps provide essential experience for youth all across Canada. Our government doubled the funding and doubled the number of jobs for students. In Brampton West, organizations were able to hire over 150 youth through the summer jobs program. That is real change.

Our economic policies have also made a mark on the international stage. Canada has seen the highest growth rate of all G7 countries, with our economy growing at an average rate of 3.7% over the last year. As a result of of this strong economic growth, our government is able to invest more in Canadian families and our communities.

In our fall economic statement, we announced a number of measures aimed toward ensuring that those in the middle class and those working hard to join it share in the success we achieve as a country.

We announced further action to strengthen the Canada child benefit. When it was first announced, the Canada child benefit helped provide more money to nine out of 10 families and lift 300,000 children out of poverty. This was significant for the people of Brampton West.

Starting in July 2018, the Canada child benefit will increase with the cost of living, two years ahead of schedule. In my riding of Brampton West, this means that a single parent of two making $35,000 will receive over $560 more next year tax-free for books, for skating lessons, or for warm clothes for winter for their children.

Additionally, our government announced an enhancement of the working income tax benefit. By letting low-income workers take home more money, the working income tax benefit offers real help to over 1.5 million Canadians. Our government is doing more to help those working hard to join the middle class by enhancing the WITB by an additional $500 million per year starting in 2019. These changes will encourage more Canadians to enter the workforce and further boost our economy.

Now, let us talk about our job creators. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and they help create jobs in our communities and throughout the country. That is why in our fall economic statement we announced that the small business tax rate would be cut from 10.5% currently to 9% in 2019. This will provide small businesses with up to $7,500 in tax savings per year to reinvest in their businesses. For a local small business in my riding of Brampton West, such as AJ's Bar and Grill, this means more money to hire new employees and expand its services.

The steps we have taken since being elected have helped create this environment of growth and optimism. Bill C-63 looks to build on our policies and bring more prosperity for middle-class Canadians.

This budget implementation act would support the middle class and those working hard to be part of it by protecting the rights of federally regulated workers when they seek flexible work arrangements from their employers. Some of the ways we are helping Canadian families balance work and family responsibilities are by providing greater flexibility for annual vacation days and holidays, more bereavement days in the event of losing a loved one, and more unpaid leave for family responsibilities. These changes would greatly impact the young families in Brampton West who are just starting out in their lives.

Our government also recognizes that many young Canadians are undertaking internships to gain hands-on experience. While internships can help young Canadians make a successful transition into the workforce, some internships, in particular those that are unpaid, can be unfair. The budget implementation act proposes to eliminate unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors where the internships are not part of a formal educational program. These changes would also ensure that unpaid interns who are part of an educational program are entitled to labour standard protections, such as maximum hours of work, weekly days of rest, and general holidays.

It is a well-known fact that our government is committed to strengthening the middle class by promoting strong, inclusive economic growth in Canada and around the world. Investments in high-quality infrastructure contribute to long-term growth and a better quality of life for people at home and abroad.

As part of Canada's commitment to engage, collaborate, and invest with other global partners on development projects in Asia, Canada's decision to apply for membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was announced in August 2016. Canada's investment in the bank will be included as part of Bill C-63. This would help sustain growth in Asia and represents an opportunity for Canada to further engage in multilateral infrastructure efforts that support inclusive economic growth at home and abroad. By doing this, we would contribute to global economic growth, and help Canadian companies to explore new commercial opportunities.

The steps taken in budget 2017 and Bill C-63 address the very real issues facing Canadians every single day. Our government plans to strengthen the middle class and ensure that Canadians have the support, resources, and confidence they need to succeed, create jobs, and grow our economy.

I am proud to be part of a government that is committed to improving the lives of so many people across our country. I am proud to support this piece of legislation, and I encourage all members to do the same.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, as usual from that side, we hear about the middle class and those trying to join it, and that this budget is so good for them. The Liberals talk about how they are lowering taxes on the middle class when, of course, those taxes were lowered on, if you can call it, the upper-middle class, people who are making $150,000 or $200,000 a year. Middle-class people who are making $40,000 a year or less got absolutely nothing. The Liberals could have lowered the taxes on that group and helped all Canadians, but instead they chose to leave them out and lower taxes on the people above that.

However, I really wanted to ask why the Liberals left out the big fish. Why did they not follow up on their promises about closing the tax loopholes that CEOs use when they are paid in stock options? It would have netted the government $750 million or so and really sent a message that it was going after the people who really could pay more of their fair share.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to set the record straight. One of the first things we did as a government was lower taxes on the middle class and raise them for the wealthiest 1%. We introduced the Canada child benefit, which has helped nine out of 10 families in Canada and has taken 300,000 kids out of poverty.

With respect to my hon. member's question, I would like to remind him that it is our government that invested over $1 billion in CRA to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax planning. Because of that, we are well on our way to recouping over $25 billion. We have identified more than 627 cases, which have been transferred for criminal investigations. There have been 268 warrants and 78 convictions.

We will continue to work hard every day for a tax system that is fair for all Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear the hon. member elaborate on the measure that is going to provide flexibility. The changes in Bill C-63 would allow more flexibility for families when they need an opportunity for some special time for a variety of issues.

Could my hon. colleague elaborate on the flexibility side as well as on closing the many loopholes in the tax system? Both are important issues for Canadians to know more about.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Kamal Khera Liberal Brampton West, ON

Mr. Speaker, what my hon. colleague said is extremely important and true. That is why this bill would put measures in place to give flexibility to Canadians working in federally regulated industries to balance work and family responsibilities. There would be greater flexibility for annual vacation days and holidays, more bereavement days in the event of losing a loved one, and more unpaid leave for family responsibilities.

I believe other programs we have implemented, such as the Canada child benefit, will also assist single parents who may need help in these specific cases.

There are a lot of good measures in this bill, and I hope my colleagues, even on the other side, support this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 10:50 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to give a speech on Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures. This is an omnibus budget bill.

In speaking to this, I wanted to also start with the big picture. Most of the speeches in this place since we began the debate at second reading of Bill C-63 have not delved very much into Bill C-63 itself. I plan to go into it in some detail. Most of the speeches have dealt with the general question of how much we, depending on which side of the House we are on, like or dislike the budget itself. There are some big picture comments I also want to make.

In debates in this place, the Conservative official opposition members berate the government for spending too much and adding to the debt. It is as though we have forgotten how to distinguish between the deficit, which is rising, and debt. Debt is a more permanent condition, and unfortunately, it is very hard to eliminate debt once it has been added on. We have not reduced any of the $150-billion addition to the national debt accrued under former prime minister Stephen Harper. The debt increased quite a lot in that period, although in the final term, we saw a balanced budget. Deficit is an issue of concern, but not nearly as much as debt.

In looking at the deficit and deficit spending, this current Liberal government was elected promising to run a deficit, although a much smaller one than the one we now see.

Here is what concerns me on the subject of government spending and increasing deficits. We are actually in a situation in this country where we need more, not less, government spending. The strictures on spending the current government appears to feel constrained by on things that need to be addressed come from an unwillingness to spend more than the large spending announcements that have already been made, which were for needed spending.

We need spending on infrastructure across Canada. In a sense, we have been like a homeowner who has deferred maintenance on the home in order to afford the other things we need in our household budget. However, deferred maintenance adds up. When the deferred maintenance is on water works and sewage systems, bridges and roads, and social infrastructure, such as affordable housing, and those things come home to roost, we need to spend more.

At the same time, there is a deep aversion to raising taxes. There have been a lot of claims that the opposite side has raised taxes a great deal. The reality, which I support, and it was in the Green Party platform to reduce the tax on small business to 9%, is certainly applauded. However, we in the Green Party are urging the government to look at the need to raise taxes on large, profitable multinationals.

The tax on large business was, in the year 2000, 28%. It is now down to 14%. It certainly should be raised, because if we look at the percentage of our total government revenues that come from corporations versus individual citizens, the portion on individual citizens has gone up while the portion on large corporations has shrunk dramatically.

As the economy is recovering, and that is good, there certainly is no reason or excuse to not go after, as my hon. friend from South Okanagan—West Kootenay just pointed out, the big fish. The big fish are in offshore tax havens. The big fish are in large, profitable multinationals. Going after people who are seeking to avoid, or worse, criminally evade, taxes should be a top priority.

I note, and it is a personal story, but I think it is quite bizarre, that my daughter, who is a university student, reported to me that the CRA is wasting tax dollars asking for proof of various items on her income tax return. She is a student. She is not making enough money to pay much in taxes or anything in taxes, I think. However, she is being asked to provide proof of the cost of books. I said that it was bizarre, and she said that another friend of hers is doing the same thing.

I would suggest that CRA could adjust its sights on millionaires and billionaires as opposed to students. I think that would be something most Canadians would support.

Turning to Bill C-63, I have to say that I read it with a growing sense of happiness. No doubt it will surprise people that anyone on the opposition benches would. However, when I pick up an omnibus budget bill I still have a sense of, I guess, PTSD from having read the omnibus budget bills in the 41st Parliament, particularly Bill C-38, which destroyed our environmental assessment regime and wrecked the Fisheries Act; and Bill C-45, which devastated the Navigable Waters Protection Act, removed the inspector general for CSIS, and various other measures that had nothing to do with each other.

Reading Bill C-63 confirms in my mind the strong need to simplify our tax code. When we talk to tax accountants, they generally agree that it would be wonderful if the Minister of Finance went in for root-and-branch tax reform to simplify the tax code to remove so many boutique exemptions. I commend the Minister of Finance for removing a number of boutique exemptions, but the tax code, and therefore the omnibus bill we have before us, is very complex on very specific items, such as straddling tax years and figuring out how to deal with different derivatives and the use of various tax mechanisms, such as going through trusts or going through additional corporations and how we end up taxing.

For the most part, I actually find myself wondering if I am going to vote for this particular budget bill if we can make some amendments. I want to point out the areas I like in this bill and the areas I think would benefit from amendments.

As it is an omnibus budget bill, I am pleased to see that there has finally been a tepid move, although it could go much further, to eliminate some of the fossil fuel subsidies. This was a large-ticket commitment in the Liberal campaign platform. Most of the large fossil fuel subsidies remain in place, despite a pledge in the Liberal platform to eliminate subsidies for fossil fuels.

This would be a parallel and needed measure that would go along with eliminating the market distortions that are created by both subsidizing fossil fuels and failing to put a price on dumping waste into the atmosphere. That is equivalent to having a municipal waste dump where there is no tipping fee. People are not encouraged to avoid dumping if it is free. That is why a carbon price makes sense, but we need to move to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.

The move that is happening here is in relation to changes to the Canadian exploration expense. This happens to be in part 1 of Bill C-63. It would change the tax treatment of Canadian exploration expenses to reduce the tax deductions that are available now from 100% to about 30%. By the way, the way this is structured has created an incentive for accelerated drilling prior to this kicking in in 2019. This could be an unintended but environmentally damaging period. I am holding in my hands advice from Bennett Jones to that corporate sector suggesting that if any oil and gas companies can hurry up and start exploration activities and get commitments in writing before 2019, they can continue to take advantage of the 100% deduction on capital expenses.

I also welcome the changes to the donation of ecologically sensitive lands. I worked on this, back in the day, on the now defunct National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, repealed in the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-38. We worked to persuade the minister of finance of the day, the Right Hon. Paul Martin, to create special tax treatment for the donation of ecologically sensitive land. The revisions in Bill C-63 continue along that road to clarify and improve that system.

I am not at all unhappy to see the follow-through on the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is part of Canada's development portfolio. We still lag far behind the commitments made by previous governments, including every government back to Lester B. Pearson, Jean Chrétien, and the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney, who all committed that Canada's development assistance should equal 0.7% of our GDP. We are nowhere near that, but certainly the provisions around the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank are welcome.

There are a number of other provisions I was pleased to see, particularly those in the Canada Labour Code that would provide more flexible work arrangements and give Canadians prescribed statutory time off work to recover after experiencing family violence. I would like to see those sections amended. I would like to see that time off work as paid leave. I would like to see a single woman without children receive some assistance if she has been the victim of violence. There could be some tweaking of provisions in there.

I am very happy to see the new tax treatment for geothermal energy and an Energy Efficiency Act.

There are many provisions in a bill of 275 pages, but I will stop there and say that I am generally pleased with the contents of this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is fascinating to listen to the areas the member so ably commented on, many of which she has been talking about for some time. I am pleased to see that she is tentatively a supporter of the bill. She knows how important it is to be able to pass this kind of legislation.

I would be interested to hear more about the tweaking of flex leave and the areas where we can better help families throughout Canada.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always tempting as a member of the opposition, particularly the leader of another party, to spend most of one's time in Parliament talking about what is missing. I could fill up 10 minutes with what is missing and what I would like to see in a budget.

Under the family flextime arrangements with employers, there will be a maximum of three days of family responsibility leave and leave of up to 10 days for people who have been the victim of family violence. There has already been commentary on this, and we will undoubtedly hear good suggestions at committee. For example, I support what the United Steelworkers have said, which is why not have paid leave for people who are the victims of violence, including family violence? I say this because it is traumatizing. Obviously, anyone who has been the victim of violence within the family, including if one's child has been the victim of violence, cannot go to work the next day. These are very compassionate and important changes to the Canada Labour Code, but we might want to go further and consider paid leave. I certainly would.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Kerry Diotte Conservative Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, does the member have any comments about what the previous speaker talked about, the $25 billion that is soon to be recovered by the government from tax cheats and whether she thought that perhaps some of this might be related to any of the people named in the paradise papers, including the Liberal Party's fundraising chair?

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November 7th, 2017 / 11 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, globally we have had a real epidemic of the super-rich deciding to be super irresponsible. The super-rich, the 1% globally, hide wealth in offshore accounts in ways that ensure they are not taxed. That is so irresponsible. We have been in the grip of neoliberal theories of the trickle-down economy, which argue that when the rich do really well, we will all do well. Gus Speth, the former head of the United Nations Development Programme, has said that in the context of the trickle-down economy, a rising tide “lifts only yachts.” I think that is the case with that particular economic theory.

We seen those who are doing super well not paying their fair share. In the post-Depression era in the U.S., when there was huge economic growth under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the top tax bracket was 80%, yet they had stunning economic growth figures. I will not comment on anyone personally, although the hon. member for Edmonton Griesbach has invited me to do so. What I will say is that anyone who is a tax cheat should have their assets discovered and pay their fair share regardless of whom they know or where their friends in high places may be.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:05 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the Leader of the Green Party for her speech. Given her vision, which is the most unifying possible, I would like to ask her a question.

Is she comfortable with the idea that, with respect to the items that were not included in the initial budget or the supplementary documents, it would be a good idea to afford the Speaker the possibility of dividing the vote on these items? I think that is of interest to my colleague as well.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:05 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. He is right as always.

In the House of Commons, we now have the new Standing Order 69.1, which allows the Speaker to divide the elements. The elements that were already in the budget can be voted on in an omnibus bill. However, with respect to the measures and elements not mentioned in the budget, I believe it is a good idea that the Speaker allow separate votes for the distinct elements that were not included in the actual budget.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:05 a.m.
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Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-63, which would implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament in March, 2017. Before I get to the crux of Bill C-63, I would like to set the broader context in which it has been introduced, because it is important for all of us to understand how our government's actions to date have impacted the Canadian economy.

As my colleagues know, every month, Statistics Canada releases a labour force survey that includes a selection of data about the performance of the Canadian economy, including the number of jobs added that month and the rate of unemployment. For decades, once every 30 days, governments of the day have awaited with bated breath to see just what Statistics Canada had to report.

Allow me to read the opening paragraphs of the most recent labour force survey, released this past Friday by Statistics Canada. They read:

Employment increased by 35,000 in October, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 6.3%. Employment gains in the month were driven by full-time work (+89,000), while fewer people worked part time (-53,000).

On a year-over-year basis, total employment rose by 308,000 (+1.7%), with full-time work increasing by 397,000 (+2.7%) and the number of people working part time declining by 89,000 (-2.5%). On a year-over-year basis, total hours worked were up 2.7%.

The unemployment rate trended downwards in the 12 months to October, falling 0.7 percentage points over this period.

Those are the numbers from Canada's national statistics agency on Friday, and they speak for themselves. More broadly, since forming government we have added 500,000 new jobs to the Canadian economy. October marked 11 straight months of job growth, and 90% of new jobs created are full time. Meanwhile, unemployment is at its lowest rate in nine years. It is clear that our government's plan to create jobs and grow our economy is working.

Budget 2017 and Bill C-63 are the continuation of that work, the continuation of our demonstrably successful efforts to spur inclusive economic growth.

Now I would like to turn to some of the details of the plan, beginning with enhanced support for workers and skills training.

Sometimes our lives change suddenly and our work schedule needs to change significantly in response. Our government is giving Canadian workers the flexibility to adapt when these changes arise. Bill C-63 would make substantial improvements to employment insurance. We are providing $310 million in additional tax relief to support Canadians who have taken on the important responsibility of caring for a loved one. We are investing $886 million to increase flexibility in parental and maternity benefits, extending the benefits to 18 months from 12 months, so new parents have the flexibility to meet their diverse needs.

We are also making substantial investments, $2.7 billion, to be precise, to boost skills training and employment supports for unemployed and under-employed Canadians. Because we hear from so many Canadian workers who are choosing to pursue new skills in today's rapidly changing economy, we are going to invest $132 million to expand the flexibility of employment insurance for those who seek to fund their own personal skills development.

These efforts are complemented by a range of initiatives by our government to support workers, including our recent announcement that we are enhancing the working income tax benefit, or WITB, for low-income workers. For a single mom, a more generous working income tax benefit, combined with a stronger Canada child benefit, will mean more money for books, skating lessons, or warm clothes for winter.

Let us now speak about the budget's focus on affordable housing. I come to the House from an exciting career as a city planner. One thing I learned from that work is that without secure, stable, and affordable housing, every other goal our citizens strive to achieve becomes secondary. Without adequate shelter, families struggle to raise their children, to get educated, to find and keep employment, and even to stay healthy.

One of the many communities I am proud to represent in Halifax is called Mulgrave Park, a public housing neighbourhood. It is a vibrant community in our city's north end that really embodies the best of what our city has to offer: neighbours offering caring and loving support for each other. This past winter, I was proud and deeply moved to announce that our government would be investing $5 million dollars toward much needed improvements in their community infrastructure. These investments will make a real difference in the day-to-day lives of the people who live there, and they have told me as much with their smiles and their warm embraces.

Indeed, investments in affordable housing are always worth it. That is just one reason I am so thrilled that budget 2017 drastically increases the government's spending on affordable housing to $13.5 billion. Just imagine the lives it will change across this country.

I will turn now to the government's innovation agenda. Many will recall that back in March, some dubbed budget 2017 the “innovation budget”. The budget does focus very intentionally on innovation, and for good reason. The nature of our economy is evolving and we must ensure, as it evolves, that it works for all Canadians. The budget demonstrates that we are focused on building up Canada as a world-leading innovation economy to create jobs and grow the middle class by supporting innovators and equipping Canadian workers with the tools they need to succeed.

For example, the budget invests $1.26 billion in the strategic innovation fund, giving Canadian innovators access to a simpler and quicker funding application process to attract new, high-quality business investments. This is of great value to all Canadians, including my riding of Halifax. I have said many times that I believe Halifax has what it takes to put Atlantic Canada on the leading edge of innovation. Look no further than our growing tech and clean-tech sectors or the runaway success of our oceans sector, which last month became a finalist to become a supercluster under the government's innovation supercluster initiative. These are the kinds of projects that will help Canada be a leader in the industries of tomorrow and why every dollar the budget puts toward innovation is a dollar well spent.

Members may be wondering how the budget would better protect our environment. Meaningful and timely action is required if we are going to protect the majestic natural environment that defines and nurtures Canada. One of the most significant ways we are addressing environmental challenges in this budget is through green infrastructure, with an investment of $21.9 billion over the next 11 years. This major investment would allow us to mitigate and adapt to climate change through projects that reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean air and safe water systems, and uphold renewable sources of power. In particular, it makes a substantial investment of $83 million to enhance climate resilience in indigenous communities, as well as $18 million to implement a climate change and health adaptation program for first nations and Inuit communities.

As someone who does in fact believe in the science behind climate change, I am particularly excited that the budget includes $73.5 million to establish the Canadian centre for climate services. This centre of expertise would make climate science more accessible and support decision-makers as we address climate change.

The last topic I must address today is how our budget will foster what we call “inclusive growth”. Our government was elected on a promise to create the economic conditions for every Canadian to succeed and to leave no one behind. Investments in inclusive growth include $7 billion over 10 years in affordable child care, an investment that would create 40,000 more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across Canada. It includes funding to improve gender and cultural sensitivity in the judiciary, $100 million for a new national strategy to address gender-based violence, $74 million to enhance the career transition services program for veterans, and $17.5 million to establish a centre of excellence on PTSD.

For our youth, it includes $12.5 million to reduce barriers to education through the Canada learning bond program and $38 million to help low-income youth transition to post-secondary education and work through Pathways to Education Canada.

For indigenous communities, it includes $89.9 million for indigenous languages revitalization, $828 million to address health challenges in first nations and Inuit communities, and $165 million to support indigenous students by increasing access to post-secondary education and skills training.

These are the kinds of investments that will transform Canada for the better, along with the others I mentioned in my speech today, and countless additional initiatives I did not have time to address here today. I hope my colleagues from all corners of this place will agree that our plan is working for Canadians and will vote to keep this spectacular momentum going by voting in favour of Bill C-63.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

He started by talking at length about the job market. We are all seeing a certain uptick in a number of ridings, and mine is no exception. The unemployment rate is falling, which means more people are working and paying employment insurance premiums.

Since this should mean a corresponding increase in revenues, why are we still facing a situation the government does not seem to have considered, namely that fewer than four out of ten workers qualify for employment insurance when bad luck strikes and they lose their jobs?

Why does the bill before us not address this issue?

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as the parliamentary secretary mentioned, an incredible investment has been made in the employment insurance program. When investments like that are made across the country, it will in fact be a benefit that accrues to all Canadians, as the economy as a whole is raised up by that. This, in conjunction with the tremendous investments in workforce training for those seeking a transition to a new job or those seeking to transition into the workforce in the first place, will have a tremendous effect in every corner of our great country.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting to read in the Toronto Star today, which is very often the public mouthpiece of the Liberal Party, that the revelations contained in the paradise papers that key Liberal insiders and bagmen were gaming the tax system added to the still unanswered questions about the finance minister's practices and actions and “reinforce the impression that this government is [not only] out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Canadians...[but quite possibly] in league with those who would rig the game in their own self-interest.” It concludes that the Liberals were happy to allow the rich to play by their own set of rules.

Does my hon. colleague agree with the Toronto Star?

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, I find it highly ironic that the question is coming from the member. Under his government, there was a 10-year period where the poor in Canada became poorer, the rich became richer, and the middle class were ever more squeezed with a flat or negative income growth. I can understand the opposition party's obsession with such reports, as he referred to today, given the tremendous economic success our party is having in Canada right now. Of course, those members are looking for a distraction from all of that.

Particularly, in the case of the story mentioned by my hon. colleague, it is also understandable that when a party sees another party coming up in its fundraising rearview mirror, it might have a distraction to offer for that as well.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:20 a.m.
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NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the questions around what is technically by the Liberals' own definition an omnibus bill, I suppose we can often ask what is in it and what is not in it. We see in the 300-some-odd pages that the Liberals have not found the space to keep their commitment on closing an important loophole for Canadian CEOs. It may not be obvious to many middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it, that when people are paid in stock options, they pay a much lower tax rate.

The Liberals actually campaigned two years ago to begin to close that loophole to make it much more restrictive and to only apply that to innovation companies when it was a true incentive as opposed to what it usually was, which is a tax dodge. The Liberals tried to characterize the small business sector that way.

Therefore, my question is this. The Liberals did not find room in the 330 pages in this omnibus bill to close the loophole and keep their commitment. Could my friend give us a time when he actually thinks the Liberals will follow through on the promise they made to Canadians over two years ago?

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, although we are able to walk and chew gum at the same time, we are not able to do everything at the same time. Clearly, right now our focus is on the middle class. As we all know now, Canada has the lowest small business tax rate in the G7. We have the fastest-growing economy. The effort that the Liberal government is undertaking to grow the economy and create more jobs is working brilliantly in Canada. We look forward to always doing better in the future.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to speak today on what is proving to be one of the least popular budget bills in modern Canadian parliamentary history, although I regret not having the opportunity to address the ill-conceived Canada infrastructure bank directly, since it has been embedded in one of those omnibus bills and legislation. I will therefore dedicate my remarks to talking a bit about another Liberal boondoggle.

Bill C-63 is a continuation of the decline we have seen the government taking Canada on since it was first elected. Why is this a surprise? It is the Liberal way to tell Canadians one thing at election time and then do something completely different while it is in power.

I remember the election campaign. The Liberals promised a small deficit of $10 billion to fund infrastructure. Many Canadians voted for a modest deficit, taking the Prime Minister at his word, in contrast to the fiscal responsibility promoted by my own party and also, quite frankly, by the NDP.

It did not take long for the concept of a modest deficit to fall by the wayside, and since then it has spiralled out of control. The last economic update did not even offer a plan for balancing the budget. No plan at all. It is unbelievable.

What is worse is the conduct of the finance minister in regard to his own affairs. In case anybody has forgotten, let me remind the House.

First, the minister failed to put his assets from his family firm Morneau Shepell, a human resources and pension management firm, in a blind trust, despite saying he would do so. These assets consisted of millions of shares, which are worth approximately $21 million in current stock prices.

Second, the minister continued to receive dividends on these shares, dated from the time he was elected. At a dividend rate of about 6.5¢ a share, the minister was roughly earning $65,000 a month over the past two years. For comparison, according to Statistics Canada, the median wage of an individual worker in the province of Ontario, the area I represent, is just over $44,000 per year. That is $20,000 less per year than our finance minister was earning per month from dividends alone. That is on top of his salary as a cabinet minister. Said another way, the average Ontario worker makes $20,000 less over the course of a year than the minister made per month. Now, there is a clear message for the middle class.

Third, we also learned that while the minister was calling small business owners tax cheats, he apparently forgot to disclose that he owned a private corporation, with a sole purpose of owning a villa in the south of France. I guess it is a small villa, maybe a “villette”. Why own a corporation to own a villa? To avoid paying inheritance tax, of course, the same tax the minister has proposed to the farmers of my riding when they transfer their family farms to the next generation of Canadians. We should be proud that the next generation of Canadians wants to farm our great country.

Fourth, we also learned that Morneau Shepell, the minister's aforementioned family business, had an $8 million contract to manage the pension and benefits of the Bank of Canada. What minister is responsible for the Bank of Canada? Why, the Minister of Finance.

To summarize, the minister continued to hold shares in a company he regulated, while the company signed a contract with a department for which he was responsible. It is really quite astounding. One would think that this minister would have been fired for this clear conflict of interest. The Ethics Commissioner, to her credit, has fined the minister for this breach. However, the Prime Minister continues to defend him and allow this attack on our farmers to continue while not dealing with his own minister.

Bill C-63 would simply continue the out-of-control spending of the Liberal government and would further hike taxes on everyone it has claimed to help. The Liberals are adding debt at the twice the rate that promised and the minister's own numbers project debt for every year in the future. Unfortunately for Canadians, someone has to pay for this Liberal spending spree, and it is middle-class Canadians. In fact, it is estimated that more than 80% of the middle class pay more tax today under the Liberals than under the previous government.

Regarding some of the specifics of the bill, the Liberals are now going to tax our beer. Breweries in my riding, whether it be Creemore Springs, Side Launch Brewing Company, Collingwood Brewery, or Northwinds Brewery, all create jobs. They attract tourists who are eager to sample their products, and they already pay enough tax.

However, it is not enough for the Liberals, who look at successful entrepreneurs as tax cheats and a source of revenue. In fact, the Liberals are so desperate for money that they are also targeting type 1 diabetics. They have now decided to deny type 1 diabetics their tax credits. Individuals who need help are going to help the Liberals get back into the black, I guess.

The Canada Revenue Agency itself confirmed that with respect to insulin therapy, new direction was given at the beginning of May regarding applications under the disability tax credit. This change in direction was unannounced, and it has caused huge confusion and suffering for those suffering from type 1 diabetes. It has resulted in hundreds of diabetics receiving less funding by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dollars.

What is worse is that the minister has the power to stop it today, but she and her fellow cabinet colleagues, her government, her colleagues on the other side of the House, have not reverted the directive. It is simple. A directive from her to her department will reverse the changes and allow those type 1 diabetics to receive their tax credits until further consultation could be done. I raised this in the House last Friday, but to my knowledge, the minister has yet to act.

Another item that would be created with this omnibus bill, Bill C-63, is another infrastructure bank support. We saw in the omnibus bill, Bill C-44, the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank. It is a $35-billion boondoggle. François Beaudoin, the former CEO of the Business Development Bank of Canada and witness at the Gomery inquiry into Liberal corruption, stated that this new bank is easily open to “political interference”. However, in the rush to create that fund, the Liberals ignored everyone.

This time there is a commitment to support another infrastructure bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, for an immediate investment of $256 million, and a further authorization in the future for the potential of another $480 million. The Liberals will have bought 1% of this bank. What do taxpayers get back? Nothing. We commit money as Canadians so that other countries can get cheaper loans and build their infrastructure. By bringing Canada into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Liberals would be sending hundreds of millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars to foreigners with no control over how the money would be spent or whether or not Canadian companies would benefit, let alone Canadian citizens.

As I have said previously, I am very confident in saying that Canadians want investments in our infrastructure here in Canada. Whether it be in my riding, Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Adjala-Tosorontio, Angus, or Alliston, we know that infrastructure is needed. Canadian citizens need it so that they can make their businesses more successful, and so that they can make sure their children get to school safely.

I was happy to be a part of a previous government that understood that we worked with our allies, the United States and Japan, and did not support this bank. We could not then, and the Liberals cannot now, ensure that the bank would follow environmental, social, and human rights standards that we expect of our institutions. Therefore, while they preach about human rights and environmental policy standards here at home and to others abroad, they are prepared to turn a blind eye when it suits their needs.

Bill C-63 is a continuation of a shameful decline in our government finances. I will be voting against it, and I encourage all members on both sides of the House to vote against the bill, which is one that invests in others outside of our nation's borders and not in Canadians.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the member truly reflects and embodies the Conservative Party in opposition, which is so much out of tune and out of touch with reality. The Conservatives have no problem distorting truths in order to substantiate a specific theme that they want to espouse. They have no reservations about character assassination, and they have no problem saying things that are just not true.

The member talked about Canadians wanting to see an investment here in Canada, and they are seeing that investment. There is far more investment than with the Stephen Harper government, in which she was a member and a cabinet member. We have record high amounts being invested in Canadian infrastructure. In every region of this country, this government is building. The commitment towards Canada's infrastructure is higher in this government than in decades and, I would argue, quite possibly in the history of Canada.

Will my colleague across the way not recognize the truth and say that we have a significant investment in Canada's infrastructure in these last two budgets? If she does not believe that, can she tell me of another national budget, in particular that the Harper government quite possibly introduced, where there was a stronger commitment to Canada's infrastructure? Tell me when that occurred.

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November 7th, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to state that if we want to talk about character assassination, why is it the Minister of Finance gets to tell the member for Milton that she cannot do math? What is that all about? The last I checked, the member for Milton is actually exceptionally competent and well qualified, and should not be diminished in this House.

The issues with regard to the Minister of Finance are actually public. The Ethics Commissioner has been clear.

With respect to my speech, and the things I spoke to, yes, this bill increases taxes on beer. Yes, this bill actually makes a choice to invest in infrastructure outside of Canadian borders as opposed to at home.

My question for the member would be, why is it that $2 billion in infrastructure money lapsed last year instead of being invested in places like Collingwood or Wasaga Beach, or Adjala–Tosorontio, where people actually need that infrastructure investment? That lapsed money could have made a meaningful difference not only in my riding but across the country. The Liberals do not have their act together, and do not feel that they can invest in small communities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

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

I would like to know if her position has changed. We in the NDP have long been concerned about tax evasion. In my opinion, my colleague's government missed multiple opportunities to address a situation that is unacceptable to middle-class Canadians. The recent events reported in the news are highly alarming. They clearly show that Liberal Party fundraisers are evading taxes with impunity.

Does the member think the government should be doing more to stop this hemorrhaging of money we so desperately need to provide services to Canadians who actually do pay their taxes?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my speech, I do have concerns about people who avoid taxes, one of them being our Minister of Finance. He has made a conscious choice to avoid paying taxes here, inheritance taxes.

The Liberals expect to place a higher tax rate on those individuals who are farmers, physicians, and small business people across our country. Tax avoidance is a problem in this country, and we have seen that most recently with these paradise papers. I do hope that the government acts swiftly and actually takes action, albeit we have not seen them take action on their own Minister of Finance. Why would we expect them to take action on anyone else?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Vaudreuil—Soulanges Québec

Liberal

Peter Schiefke LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Youth)

Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege for me to rise in the House today to support Bill C-63, the budget implementation act, 2017, no. 2.

On October 27, the hon. Minister of National Defence introduced Bill C-63, and we have taken the next steps to ensure we maintain the job and economic growth of the past two years. I will explain why I think Bill C-63 presents our government and the House with a way forward to provide for current and future generations.

The record growth that we have witnessed over the past two years is clear proof that this government's plan is working. Last Friday, Statistics Canada published their most recent labour force survey for October 2018. Our economy generated half a million jobs from the time we formed our government two years ago until this past weekend.

The majority of these jobs are full-time. In October, 90,000 full-time jobs were created in Canada. I am particularly proud to note that Quebec, which is home to my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, is leading the way when it comes to job creation in Canada. In October alone, 33,000 new full-time jobs were created in Quebec. What is more, Quebec's unemployment rate is now lower than the national rate.

This government's economic plan is working because we remained focused on Canadians' priorities, those that will have the biggest impact on our economic growth, namely investing in our families, lowering taxes for the middle class, and supporting the success of our SMEs.

I am also proud to say that employment was up in October, particularly for young people between the ages of 15 and 24. As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Youth, I am honoured to see that our plan to help young people is also working. Programs, such as Canada summer jobs, are working. They are giving 35,000 more young Canadians across the country work experience every summer.

The strength of our economy shows that more young people than ever are finding jobs and kick-starting their careers. We are helping young Canadians get the skills they need to succeed through new investments in innovation and job training. In September, we announced a $73-million investment to create 60,000 new student work placements over five years in co-operation with universities, colleges, and polytechnics.

To see that our investments in young Canadians are working is enough, in my view, to support the measures of the second budget implementation act as part of this government's broader economic strategy. However, our plan does not stop with our young people.

This government's strategy is comprehensive and focused on areas that matter most for our middle class. That is why our first-ever act as government was to lower taxes on the middle class and increase them on Canada's top 1%. It is why we introduced the more generous and tax-free Canada child benefit, and most recently indexed it to the cost of living as it continues to rise. For the same reasons we recently committed to lowering the tax rate for small businesses in Canada to 9% over the next 15 months. Because of these bold policies, Canada is now the fastest growing economy in the G7. We have the most competitive small business tax rate and the lowest overall tax costs for small businesses. With nearly 99% of companies in Canada being small businesses, it is important to ensure that we build an economic system that works for them, allowing them to grow and flourish for years to come. However, there is always more work to be done, and better is indeed always possible.

Therefore, to continue on the incredible success that we have seen in the last two years, we must work to implement key portions of the 2017 budget. Bill C-63 would do just that. Allow me to highlight some key points that will mean the most to my community of Vaudreuil—Soulanges.

The budget implementation bill no. 2 takes steps to implement our innovation and skills plan, which focuses some of our investments where they matter most in helping Canadians navigate the changing landscape of the 21st century economy. By doing so, we will create a labour force that works for Canadians.

Bill C-63 seeks to implement a $1 billion innovation and skills plan as part of budget 2017, with $600 million toward new financing for clean tech firms. This is welcome news and goes beyond the bold steps this government has already taken to protect our environment and grow a green economy in 2017 and beyond.

We have already tripled investments in clean tech since forming government only two years ago. This goes hand in hand with the government's commitment to a clean growth economy, including the $2 billion low-carbon economy fund and the $21.9 billion in green infrastructure outlined in budget 2017. By prioritizing clean growth, the proposed budget implementation bill pushes our government's plans for a green economy further than ever before.

By seeking a balance for our economy, Bill C-63 will keep our support on track for the middle class and those working hard to join it. It aims for balance in other areas of our economy as well. The budget implementation bill seeks to put in place measures to ensure that Canadian workers will have greater flexibility in achieving a healthy work-life balance, helping those with families and sick loved ones to spend more time at home when they need to.

I am lucky to be the father of two beautiful children, Ellie and Anderson. I am lucky to serve my community and build a better country for my children at the same time. I am also lucky to have an incredible partner in helping meet these challenges and finding that balance between my responsibilities as an MP and as a father.

This is challenging. It is a challenge that many Canadians, including those in my community, know all too well. More Canadian families than ever before must find new and innovative ways to strike that balance as parents who work to support their children and who spend time with them at home.

That is why this government extended parental leave in Canada from 12 to 18 months at 33% of the parent's income. The budget implementation bill takes the next steps in our plan and would give Canadians more flexibility in federally regulated industries to have a better work-life balance, allowing more room to take vacation and holidays when they need them, to take care of a family member, and to prepare to grieve after losing a loved one.

Canadians deserve the opportunity to live and work in a way that best accommodates their aspirations, their families, and their choices. It is our duty as MPs to help them any way we can.

Bill C-63 contains significant measures that are necessary to securing the future Canadians expect. Those measures include strengthening our green economy, more flexibility for federally regulated employees, and the implementation of certain measures in budget 2017.

I encourage all members of the House who share these values to support Bill C-63 and, in so doing, support the middle class, our small businesses, and our economy.

I encourage those who are still unsure to take a look at our government's economic update. We have the lowest overall tax rates for small businesses and the fastest economic growth in the G7. We have cut taxes for the middle class and provided support to middle-class families. Wages are up and child poverty is down. We have invested in our economy, and we have helped create over 500,000 jobs in the past two years.

Our plan is working. Now it is time for all of us to support Bill C-63.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Mark Warawa Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have three questions for the hon. member. It is very important that we have a budget that represents where Canadians are now, and takes us in the direction of prosperity for all Canadians. He is the parliamentary secretary for youth, and the Prime Minister is the Minister for Youth.

The first question is this. Does he think it is fair that previous governments had a minister for youth, but the Liberal government does not have a minister for seniors, who are the largest growing population? There are more seniors than youth. It is the largest growing demographic in Canada and yet it is being ignored by the government. Does he think that is fair?

The second question is about taxation. Does the member think it is fair that taxes are going up, but they say taxes are going down? Canadians are hard pressed, and it is a growing problem.

Third, does he think it is fair that the Prime Minister and the finance minister are not paying their fair share of taxes?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will first tell my hon. colleague that young Canadians are grateful that they have a Prime Minister who is taking a hands-on approach to ensure they have all opportunities available to them, something that, unfortunately, did not exist over the last 10 years, when we saw very minimal investment in young Canadians.

When we consulted young Canadians across the country, one question we heard most of all was where were their opportunities, the investments that previous generations had seen so they had opportunities to find jobs, start small businesses, and receive the tools necessary to succeed. We heard them loud and clear, and that is why we are investing record amounts in providing opportunities for young Canadians to go to university and get the skills they need to find the jobs they are looking for. We have invested in the Canada summer jobs program to ensure they have more opportunities to put money in their pockets and gain valuable work experience. We are also investing in skills training and co-ops, with the creation of 60,000 placements in our most recent budget.

That is what young Canadians have been asking for, and that is what we are providing to them after 10 years of minimal investment in youth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I have two very simple questions for him.

The Liberals keep saying that they are working for the middle class and they boast about the upturn in the economy, but there are two things worth mentioning here.

It would seem that if wealth is truly being created, then the distribution of that wealth is not entirely equitable. I am not sure how the Liberals define middle class, but in a riding like mine, where the median salary is roughly $32,000 a year, needless to say that no one will be getting any of the Liberal government's tax cuts.

Why did the Liberals not see fit to help these low income workers and put in place a plan to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

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

First, we not only lowered taxes for the middle class, but we also brought in the Canada child benefit, which is putting more money in the pockets of nine out of ten families and that money is not taxable.

In my riding of Vaudreuil—Soulanges, that represents $72 million for families. I am sure that the numbers are roughly the same in my hon. colleague's riding.

We have put in place a number of ways to lower taxes for the middle class and to invest in the middle class. That is what we will continue to do for the next two years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, today on the Hill there are many youth from Boys and Girls Clubs throughout Canada. I know that one person in particular, Abbie Matheson, is spending the day shadowing me. The minister of youth spoke this morning and welcomed them.

I am wondering if he could comment on how important this budget is to get it right for youth so that we can prepare the youth for tomorrow and so they fully have the opportunity to succeed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Peter Schiefke Liberal Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will join my colleague in welcoming Abbie to Parliament today.

It is very important that we get this right, and the reasons are simple. First, the rate of unemployment, before we came to office, for young Canadians was double the national average. We needed to do something about that, and we have, by investing in skills training, investing in growing our economy, and ensuring that there are more jobs in the Canada summer jobs program, as well as the co-op placements.

However, above and beyond that, we owe it to the next generation of young Canadians to ensure that they have all the opportunities that every single one of us in this House had, every member of Parliament, which previous generations of governments gave them by investing in their generation. That is what we need to do, and that is what we are going to continue to do.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, this summer and fall, there was bad news for Canadians all over, from this government.

We first had the spectacle of the government going out and talking about raising taxes for small businesses, the business community. The Liberals themselves have admitted that the business community is the driving force of our economy. This created a huge amount of uncertainty in the business community. We heard time after time how extremely angry the business community was getting over this so-called proposed tax. The government's own caucus members revolted and they gradually tinkered with the proposal, but it has still left an extremely bad taste among the business community.

Then we had the spectacle of the finance minister who took advantage of a loophole. We now understand he is the only minister on that side who took advantage of the loophole in not declaring all of his shares according to what is required by law and by practice.

What is important to note is that it was the Minister of Finance who did it. The finance minister is the individual who gives confidence to the market, who gives confidence to the economy. He is an important individual with respect to Canada's economy. If he himself cannot just follow the basic rules of accountability set out in Parliament, and uses a loophole, that has sent out a terrible impression. The government has lost a huge amount of confidence among Canadians.

Lo and behold, we now have the paradise papers coming out. The day before yesterday, we saw a picture of the Prime Minister and his chief Liberal fundraiser Mr. Bronfman hugging each other. What does that picture say? On one side, the Prime Minister wants to raise taxes on the business community, while on the other side, his chief Liberal fundraiser is hiding money so he does not have to pay taxes in this country. One is raising taxes on business and the other is trying to avoid paying taxes. Guess what. They are the best of friends. Is that the kind of message we want to send out to Canadians and people around the world as to the state of Canada's economy?

The Liberal member before me talked about what the government is doing. The Liberals forget the fact that our Conservative government laid the foundation for where our economy is going.

We did have some good news. There was a small deficit. Instead of reducing the deficit, the Liberals increased their spending. They have now put us on a course where we do not know what our grandchildren will be paying in the future for the Liberals' spending. One would think that, with their own children, the Liberals would at least be prudent. Have they been? No, they have not been prudent. They keep spending money that they do not have, with a deficit. They could have given Canadians a huge amount of confidence.

The point is this. Canadians are worried about the actions being taken by the Liberal government. They are very worried about their future. Contrary to the Prime Minister's “sunny ways”, Canadians are now worried about where the government is going. The Liberals do a little tinkering here and a little tinkering there, and then they say they are going to raise taxes and stop the credit for diabetics, until there is a backlash and we see them running away. Why can we not have a sound economic direction coming from the government?

When the Liberals were in opposition, they said they would do this and do that. The Prime Minister said on the world stage that Canada is back, but he has forgotten the fact that for 10 years we were all working very hard. The minister himself knows very well how hard we worked to get Canada on the world stage, and yet they go there and say that nothing had happened.

I just heard the minister of youth say the Liberals put money toward skills development. Hello. Excuse me. He just needs to look at the record and he will see who started that program.

It was the former Conservative government that started that program. The government is taking advantage of what the former Conservative government did and to mask that by saying it is the advocate of all of those thing. No, that is not the way it is.

Let us talk for a minute about the direction the government is going in. We should talk about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The bank was designed by China to increase its own influence in that part of the region. It is part of China's foreign policy. We do not have any problem with China's foreign policy, but why should the Canadian taxpayers be paying to promote China's foreign policy? Why should we be paying into this bank, which is primarily based in, and set up by, China? We have an Asian Development Bank that we are partners with and are on its board of directors. It does the same thing. I do not see any reason why we, as a member of the Asian Development Bank, suddenly have to give taxpayers' money to promote some other country's foreign affairs interests. That is another wrong decision by the Liberal government.

As we stand and look around, I am sorry to say that Canadians do not feel comfortable with the government's direction. We hear this time after time from business people and everyone else.

Now, the government is talking about the middle class. I just read a CBC article that discusses who is in the middle class. It says that the middle class are making almost $80,000. As my colleague just said, the average income in his riding is $35,000. Where the hell is the middle class the Liberal government is talking about coming from? People making $80,000 are the middle class. I am sorry, but that is not the situation of many Canadians.

The point coming from this budget is that instead of sunny ways, we are getting darker days coming forward. I do not know where the economy is going. We on this side of the House stand at every opportunity to point out to the Liberals what they are doing, what Canadians want, and why they are on the wrong track.

This budget will not in any way provide any kind of comfort to Canadians who are working very hard. Canadians pay their taxes. Ask Canadians, and they will pay their taxes. However, the friends of the Liberals, as we have found out from the paradise papers, are not paying their taxes. They are trying to hide from paying taxes. Who are these rich friends? Who do they belong to? They do not belong to the NDP Party. They do not belong to the Conservative Party. They belong to the Liberal Party, the party of the rich. It is the rich who are trying not to pay their fair taxes.

Let us look at one very simple thing. The chief Liberal Party fundraiser, Mr. Bronfman, is now the best friend of the Prime Minister. He hosts Liberal fundraising dinners for him. He calls his buddies, the rich guys, and tells them to come. Then they lobby the government, so they can find the loopholes to avoid paying taxes.

Is that the kind of government we want, where government officials and their friends use their influence to create those loopholes not to pay taxes? A prime example is the finance minister and his use of loopholes, and now Mr. Bronfman and all the others are using loopholes. They said they did not break any laws. It is not about breaking laws; it is about accountability and being honest. They are all taking advantage of what is available in Canada.

I say this to the other side: sunny days are over for Canadians. We will hold the government accountable, and in 2019 Canadians will speak.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, my colleague said at one point that he did not know where the economy is going. I do, and I can fill him in on that.

We have the lowest unemployment rate now. We are the leading economy in terms of growth in the G7. The government is investing in children. The government is investing in lowering the small corporate tax rate. The economy is heading in a great direction.

The member also mentioned that he believes the previous government laid the foundation for what we now have, for what we are experiencing now. I simply do not buy that. The Conservatives had 10 years. If they had held office for only two years and somehow had made the policy decisions that we have, I might be inclined to believe that. However, the Conservatives had 10 years and they were unable to accomplish it.

How does the member justify that comment?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Madam Speaker, it is straightforward and simple. They have been in government for only a year and a half. A government does not suddenly come to power and cause massive change in that short time. The foundation of these policies was laid by our Conservative government before the Liberals came to power.

No matter what the member says, whether he believes it or does not, the facts do not change that it was the policies of the Conservative government that laid the foundation for the very strong economy these guys are trying to take credit for.

My question for him is very simple. Where is the Prime Minister? Canadians are upset. Canadians do not know where this economy is going. He should be telling Canadians what he is going to do about it, instead of raising taxes, having his friends hide their income from taxes and his finance minister not even following the accountability laws of our country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

Unfortunately, I missed part of it. Perhaps he spoke about the fact that we were discussing this morning, among other things, the possibility of the Speaker of the House separating out certain elements that were not included in the initial budget. An omnibus bill is always a complex matter for us, and we are wondering whether we should support it or not. The question is whether the subjects that were not announced in the budget initially could be voted on separately.

I would like my colleague to comment on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Madam Speaker, no matter if it is an omnibus bill or anything else, we have an opportunity to talk about the issues we want to talk about. We can pick up the issues that we feel the government is wrong about and talk about them. It is not a very big hurdle if we are debating a question that we feel is important.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member referenced the Asian infrastructure bank buried deep within this omnibus bill, a type of bill that I remind the House the Liberals said they would not put forward. The Liberal government plans to give $500 million to that bank. Could the hon. member speak to the risks associated with Canadian taxpayers investing money in that bank that will go to China?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Deepak Obhrai Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Madam Speaker, it is simple and straightforward. There is no benefit for Canada going into that bank. That bank is an arm of China to increase its influence in Asia, because that is where that money will go. It has nothing to do with the Canadian taxpayer. We get nothing out of it. We are just putting money in there. What is the point?

We are already partners with the existing Asian Development Bank and are doing the same things with it. There is no need for us to do anything with the newer Asian infrastructure bank that is promoting the foreign interests of the Chinese government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, today I have the great honour and pleasure to speak to Bill C-63, the budget implementation act, 2017, no. 2.

In recent days, we have seen that there is a great deal of interest in the budget, and for good reason. In 2015, Canadians made a choice. They could choose between a government that would continue to slash investments in Canadians or a government that would invest in Canadians.

We made the very well-thought-out decision to invest in Canadians. From the outset, we cut taxes for the middle class and we raised them for the wealthiest 1% in Canada. The choice was crystal clear: we chose to take this money and reinvest it in the middle class.

Furthermore, in our election platform we promised to provide a significantly higher Canada child benefit.

The increase in the Canada child benefit is having a major effect on the Canadian population. The investment is providing middle-class Canadians and Canadians who have a hard time making ends meet with more money to invest in their children and their families.

In my riding of Sudbury alone, we are seeing 7,100 payments a month, benefiting over 12,270 children. The total investment coming into my riding every month as a result is more than $4 million, and that is repeated across Canada. We are seeing this on a monthly basis. The effect is significant, because with the old system the Conservatives had put in place, everyone received the same amount of money. In my riding we would only have received $1.3 million of investment a month under it. We are now seeing $4 million. It also has an effect on small businesses.

People can play sports now because they have more money. They are able to invest in their children's education and activities. Just putting bread on the table, ensuring a healthy lifestyle, is important. I am really proud that we are seeing that on a daily basis.

As we conveyed this month, we also want to continue investing in small business.

Small business is the backbone of our economy. That is why a few weeks back the Minister of Finance announced reductions in the taxes on small business from 10.5% to 10% next year and 9% in 2019. That will be the lowest tax rate on small business in the G7. Many other countries do not have this low rate of tax.

The reason we want a low rate is very simple: we want small business to continue to invest, grow, and expand their businesses across municipalities, provinces, and nationally. It is key for our economy that we allow small business owners to continue investing and growing, because it results in middle-class jobs that stimulate the economy.

We are seeing the effects of the increased Canada child benefit and reduced taxes on the middle class. The middle class are reinvesting money in our economy. Over the last few years, we have seen 450,000 new jobs created in Canada alone. The unemployment rate has been dropping since, and is actually at its lowest level since 2008. In my riding of Sudbury as well, we are seeing the lowest unemployment rate in years, even though we have the mining sector in my area, which is not doing that well. However, we are pulling through and the economy is doing well. We are looking forward to the mining sector coming back up, and the effect it will have on our economy in the natural resource industry in Sudbury and northern Ontario.

I am also quite proud of the fact that we have invested in veterans. The previous government had cut services and benefits for veterans drastically in the hope of trying to balance its budget. We believe in reinvesting. We have done that by starting over and bringing back a lot of the veterans' services offices, investing in caregivers for veterans, and investing in the possibility of veterans furthering their education. This is going to have a profound effect on veterans, and we are not done. We will continue to invest in our veterans in Canada.

Another thing I kept hearing about on the campaign trail was infrastructure and housing, and how there had been lack of investment and direction by the previous government over 10 years. It did nothing on the housing side, which had become almost a crisis situation in Canada. We are investing a record amount of capital to ensure that the housing services industry in Canada for the people who need it the most is operating properly and efficiently. That is why $11 billion was announced in the last budget, which is in addition to the money already invested in the 2016 budget. We are continuing to invest in housing in Canada, and that has played a major role in the social determinants of health, which has a major and important impact across Canada.

In that housing envelope, it is key that we are also investing in off-reserve housing for indigenous individuals. I am seeing that in my riding of Sudbury. People had come to me pleading that we continue the investments in housing in Sudbury. The the last budget addressed that properly. The envelope for off-reserve housing alone was increased to $225 million.

When we talk about indigenous peoples, an additional $3.4 billion was tabled in the 2016 budget. Where will this money go? It will go to infrastructure and health. We know there is a complete lack of investment in these sectors. The indigenous population is increasing and we need to invest in them. That is why I was so proud that we are doing what we said we would do on the campaign trail and investing in the infrastructure and health of indigenous communities. This is not just a one-time thing: it has to be a continuing investment over the next generation. I hope it will continue.

Another important investment made was with respect to youth employment. We promised to increase youth employment across Canada, and youth unemployment is now at an all-time low in Canada. In my riding alone, we have seen over 280 jobs for youth created in 2017 alone. On top of that, we want to ensure that the necessary conditions for youth employment are done properly. That is why we eliminated unpaid internships. Basically, if someone is going to be doing internships, they have to be rewarded properly for the work they do.

During the election campaign, we promised to invest in the economy, in infrastructure, and in first nations and veterans, and we are keeping our promises to Canadians.

I would also like to mention the major investment we are making in superclusters. Canada is currently holding a competition to choose five Canadian groups to receive an investment of more than $900 million over the next few years. By investing in five different engines of growth in Canada's economy, we hope to double the jobs they create.

Our party wants to create more jobs for Canadians and improve the quality of life for Canada's middle class. We are going to continue working on this goal. That is why the supercluster program will really have a positive effect. We want to help Canadian groups in the agriculture, mining, forestry, and fisheries sectors. We have received more than 50 funding applications from groups in these sectors. There are now nine groups across Canada in the running for the funding announced in the budget.

These are the things that will transform Canada and create the jobs we so sorely need. Our goal is to create that wealth. That is why I am very proud to support Bill C-63, to ensure a brighter future for all Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, the government is investing $500 million in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That bank is currently funding two pipeline projects, one in Azerbaijan and another in Bangladesh, while the government has worked to kill northern gateway. The Prime Minister says one thing and does another with respect to Trans Mountain. The government's mismanagement of the energy sector has resulted in the cancellation of energy east.

Would the hon. member for Sudbury not agree that, instead of funding pipeline projects in Bangladesh and Azerbaijan, it would be better to build pipelines here in Canada to get Alberta energy to market?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, clearly the hon. member forgets the last 10 years when no pipelines were built by the previous government. We are on the cusp, and have certainly allowed Trans Mountain to move forward. We need to realize that industry will decide if it wants to invest in pipelines across this country. We want to make sure that the regulatory framework is there, and that it is a solid framework that Canadians can believe in. We have done that. We made sure that all aspects, environment, social, and indigenous communities, were properly consulted, something that had not been done by the previous government. We have done that, and now it is up to industry to decide if it wants to build its own pipelines.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like to talk about the environment. As members know, Fiji is presiding over COP23 in Bonn, which is in its first week.

An article currently in Le Devoir is headlined “Commitments too weak to avoid climate disaster.” It issues a warning about our weak greenhouse gas emissions reduction commitments, which could result in disaster situations.

There is a tiny measure for geothermal projects, but does the member not think we should be going much further? For starters, the government needs to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. It is ridiculous that we are still spending billions of dollars on fossil fuel subsidies, when we made an international commitment quite some time ago to eliminate them. There is nothing to encourage greater emphasis on the energy shift towards renewables.

Why did the update not include a more serious plan? We are currently at COP23, in the middle of a conference on climate change.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his important question.

With regard to the investments that we proposed in budget 2016-17, I would like to say that, when we talk about superclusters, we are talking about economic sectors that we want to transform in order to make them greener and more successful.

That will help us to meet our targets with respect to the environment. It is important to continue to invest because we firmly believe that investments in the environment go hand-in-hand with the economy. We need to strike a balance. That is what our government is proposing to do, and that is what we are continuing to do right now.

I am proud of the many initiatives that have been put forward, including those involving superclusters, which will create jobs while helping to make Canada's economy greener.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask a question about the form of the bill. It is a mammoth bill, with many pages, that affects a number of departments. However, the Liberal Party promised during the election campaign that it would not introduce any omnibus bills like this.

Is my colleague disappointed with the form of this omnibus bill?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, I rise this afternoon to speak on Bill C-63, the budget implementation act.

During the last election, the Prime Minister criss-crossed the country, running on a platform entitled, “Real Change: A new plan for a strong middle class”. Given that BillC-63 would directly impact the middle class, as the policies and actions of the government over the last two years have, it is a fair time in this debate to ask how the middle class is faring under the Liberal government.

To begin with, the taxes of the middle class are going up. I know the mantra of the government is to say that it has cut taxes for the middle class while increasing taxes for the wealthy, except that is plainly false. According to one study recently issued by the Fraser Institute, 81% of middle-class Canadians have seen their taxes go up, on average, by $840 a year. For every tax reduction that the government has announced, supposedly targeted at the middle class, those cuts have been offset by tax increases elsewhere. In other words, this is a government that gives with one hand and takes with the other. What the bottom line means for the pocketbook of the vast majority of middle-class Canadians is that their taxes have gone up, not down. So much for a plan to strengthen the middle class. Instead of a plan to strengthen the middle class, what we really have seen from the government is a plan to nickel and dime middle-class Canadians.

The Prime Minister, who portrays himself as such a champion of middle-class Canadians and ran on a platform that was centred on the middle class, has led a government that has done such things as eliminate the public transit tax credit. I do not think there are many multi-millionaire CEOs who get around on public transit. Perhaps there are some and for those who do, the public transit tax credit pretty much meant nothing to them, but for the tens of thousands of Canadians who go to work each and every day by public transit, the public transit tax credit meant something to them, something that the Liberal government has taken away. So much again for a plan to strengthen the middle class.

Then there was the mean-spirited attempt by the government to tax employee discounts. In other words, the government decided to go after waiters and retail workers who might have gotten a discount on a pair of jeans or maybe a cheeseburger at the end of a long shift. I guess that is what the Prime Minister means by being compassionate. I guess what the Prime Minister means by standing up for the middle class is going after retail workers, going after waiters, and going against the most vulnerable members of our society.

Of course, we now learn that the Prime Minister has a new target, namely, diabetic Canadians, because the government is making it harder for diabetic Canadians to take advantage of a disability tax credit. Before the Liberal government was elected, about 80% of applicants received that tax credit. Today, it is the exact opposite: about 80% of Canadians are denied that tax credit. The average cost to a diabetic Canadian annually, in terms of cost for care and so on, is about $15,000. I know that for the silver-spooned Prime Minister and his multi-millionaire finance minister, $15,000 is chump change.

However, for the vast majority of Canadians, $15,000 is a lot, and $15,000 on anything can make the difference between putting food on the table and paying down a mortgage to stay in one's home. Instead of helping those diabetic Canadians who incur, on average, $15,000 in expenses annually, and instead of helping to make their lives as littler easier, the government is making it more difficult for them to receive that tax credit. It is absolutely shameful. It is just disgusting.

Of course, in the last few months, the Prime Minister announced that he was going after another group of middle-class Canadians, namely small business owners and farmers. He insulted them. He called them tax cheats. The Prime Minister's solution to deal with these middle-class tax cheats, as he called them, was to, without consultation, try to ram through some of the largest changes to the Income Tax Act in more than 40 years, which in turn would result in massive tax increases on small business owners and farmers, mostly a middle-class group of people that the Prime Minister calls tax cheats.

Well, as it turns out, the real tax cheats are not hard-working, middle-class small business owners who create jobs and take risks. No, the real tax cheats are the Prime Minister's friends and cronies, including none other than Stephen Bronfman, who was the Prime Minister's leadership campaign chairman. He was the chief fundraiser for the Liberal Party. We know from the paradise papers that he has been funnelling millions of dollars to tax-free offshore accounts in such places as the Cayman Islands. If the Prime Minister is looking for tax cheats, he should not look to the middle-class small businesses and farmers, but he should look among his own friends. I think he would find plenty of tax cheats among them, including his chief fundraiser.

What is the deal in terms of hiking taxes on middle-class Canadians, shaking down waiters and retail workers, declaring war on small business owners and farmers? There is really a very simple explanation, which is that over the last two years, the current government's spending has been absolutely out of control.

We all remember when the Prime Minister made the commitment to Canadians that he would run short-term deficits of no more than $10 billion in the first year and no more than $10 billion in the second year, but not to worry, because Canada would return to a balanced budget in 2019. However, what we have seen from the government instead is a deficit in the first year that was more than twice what the Prime Minister promised. This year, it is going to again be twice as large. Instead of a plan to return to a balanced budget, we see no plan at all. Indeed, there is no end in sight to the writ red ink. The government is projected to add as much as $70 billion in new debt by the end of its term in 2019. Talk about fiscal vandalism. As a result, the government has tried to find revenue wherever it can.

The Liberals have been looking to shake down and squeeze hard-working middle-class Canadians. The Prime Minister offered Canadians a new plan to strengthen the middle class, but what he has actually delivered is a plan to shake down middle-class Canadians. Bill C-63 is all about that. Sadly, it should come as no surprise. We have seen a Prime Minister who has not kept his word, who breaks promises, who says one thing and does another, and who genuinely believes there is one standard for middle-class Canadians and another standard for Liberal elites, himself and his finance minister. It is why he was so busy working overtime to target middle-class small-business owners, while doing absolutely nothing to increase taxes on big multinational publicly traded companies.

Bill C-63 deserves to be defeated.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy hearing my colleague speak, including during question period when he is not asking a question.

I want to address something the member said at the beginning of his speech. He talked about the middle class and how it was not being helped out. He said, “so much for strengthening the middle class”. However, we know the economy is thriving. We are the leading country in growth among the G7 countries. More is being invested in the middle class, as we can see. This party believes that when the middle class is doing well, the economy is doing well.

Given the fact that the economy is doing well, does the member not believe that creating a strong middle class makes a strong economy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, the government inherited a strong economic foundation as a result of nine and a half years of prudent Conservative economic policies. Quite frankly, over the last two years the Liberals have been doing everything to screw it up. That is really the fact of the matter.

The member talks about the economy doing so well, but in fact there has been a slowdown in GDP. GDP is expected to be less this year than it was in 2015. With respect to jobs created, nearly half of those have been created in the public sector rather than the private sector, which is not sustainable. With respect to the relatively minor drop in the unemployment rate, a large part of that is attributable to the fact that labour participation rate has decreased.

Therefore, I beg to differ when the hon. member for Kingston and the Islands says that the economic picture is rosy. It, in fact, is cloudy and stormy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is going to vote against the budget implementation bill, mainly because of the way it was introduced. Bill C-63 is a 318-page omnibus bill. It amends 19 acts and creates a new one. Some of the measures are budgetary, but others have absolutely nothing to do with the budget. What is more, they are all mixed in with such a hodgepodge of technical measures that we cannot debate the bill properly. Here is what the Prime Minister had to say about omnibus bills during the election campaign, and I quote:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will...bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

What a great promise. Yes, this is an undemocratic practice, and I am not the one who said it. Members can read it for themselves on page 30 of the Liberal Party's election platform. However, we are starting to get used to the government's shell games.

Every time the Liberals introduce a new bill, it is the things they do not say that we need to be careful of. For example, six months ago, they hid a measure in their last mammoth bill, Bill C-44, that would do no less than give investors in the Canada infrastructure bank the power to disregard Quebec's laws. There was no agricultural zoning, no environmental protections, and no municipal zoning. Under the bill, Toronto bankers were considered agents of the federal crown and could do whatever they wanted in Quebec.

Six months before that, the Liberals sought to give Toronto bankers another gift with Bill C-29, another mammoth bill. On that occasion, the government was seeking to allow bankers to circumvent Quebec's consumer protection legislation. To heck with consumers and the little people who are getting ripped off, we know that the government reports to Bay Street.

Today, we are being presented another omnibus budget implementation bill. Once again, the government has a nasty surprise for us. On page 277 of the document and on the following pages, we see that the government is amending the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. With this apparently innocuous, or at least highly technical, amendment, it is establishing the legislative architecture for imposing a federal tax on cannabis.

We all know that cannabis will be legal in eight months. From that point on, the federal government will no longer have a role to play. All it will have to do is pocket the tax it is setting up in this bill. Healthcare services, prevention, drug treatment and public safety will all be under Quebec’s jurisdiction. It will be very expensive.

In other words, the government is creating a problem, telling the provinces to deal with it and making money all at the same time. Quebec and the other provinces are saying that they need more time. We understand that the Prime Minister is really intent on rolling his joint in front of the cameras on Canada Day 2018, but the government’s attitude toward Quebec is nothing less than scandalous. It is shovelling problems into Quebec’s and the other provinces’ yards, and has the gall to make money as a result.

The government cannot hide behind the fact that Quebec can impose further taxes if it so desires. It does not work that way. There is a maximum price beyond which black market cannabis will be less expensive for consumers. The Parliamentary Budget Officer said so. He issued a warning. If the government tries to make marijuana a cash cow, it might very well foster organized crime. In Bill C-63, the government is opening the door to this possibility.

The Bloc Québécois recently introduced a bill to prevent outlaw motorcycle clubs from acting like rock stars, waving their banners, intimidating citizens and making a show of force. However, the Liberals and the other parties did not even want to read the bill, and rejected it out of hand. I am therefore not surprised that the government is not concerned about organized crime. However, with Bill C-63, it will be giving organized crime yet another break.

The provinces will have to lower taxes and forgo revenues so that the Hell’s Angels’ cannabis is not a better deal than cannabis sold legally. For that reason alone, I encourage all hon. members to oppose the bill. It is scandalous.

However, there is more. The main reason why we are disappointed with Bill C-63 is because of what it does not contain. There is nothing at all in the bill to solve the problem of tax havens.

Madam Speaker, you may not have noticed, but we are celebrating an anniversary today: it has been exactly four months since the government signed the OECD’s multilateral convention to prevent tax evasion and tax havens.

Canada signed the BEPS Project agreement on July 7, but it has not yet ratified it, because Canadian law, essentially the Income Tax Act, does not meet the agreement’s requirements. Today, four months later, how many measures from the international agreement are included in Bill C-63? Not a single one.

We are extremely disappointed, but not particularly surprised. I have been a member of the House for two years now. Almost every day, I see the exceptionally powerful lobbying of the five major Canadian banks on Bay Street in Toronto. The Minister of Finance, himself a major shareholder of Morneau Shepell, uses tax havens, is involved in financial schemes and advises people to use tax havens to divert money from Canada.

For example, his company advised the Bahamas on how to better attract Canadian insurance companies. It is written on the website of the Minister of Finance’s company. It is also written that he advised Barbados, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands in methods of fostering access for his client companies.

In terms of economic policy, there is not much difference with the previous government. The Prime Minister is a great communicator, but the fact remains that this is an old government that is more interested in finances than in Canadians. The financial lobby runs Ottawa when it comes to economic matters. This is nothing new. Paul Martin had a shipping company registered in Barbados so he would not have to pay income tax.

If you look at the Income Tax Act, the Bank Act or the Canada infrastructure bank, you can see that Canada’s economic development is wholly based on the interests of the financial lobby in Toronto. After Barbados in the 1990s, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government legalized 22 more tax havens in 2009 by signing tax information exchange agreements.

Last spring, the Liberals added the Cook Islands to the list. That is the history of Canada. The financial community has the government’s ear, and, really, who is governing who? The Minister of National Revenue keeps repeating that we are investing historic amounts, “zillions and zillions”, in the fight against tax evasion and that the net is tightening. I am all for prosecuting fraud, but the problem lies elsewhere. Essentially, the use of tax havens is perfectly legal in Canada. That is the real problem. As legislators, that is the problem that concerns us here in the House.

When the minister says that the net is tightening on those who abuse the system, she is mistaken. It is still wide open. For example, Canada accounts for 2% of global GDP, and yet, last summer, the IMF reported that three Canadian banks, the Royal Bank, Scotiabank and the CIBC, represent 80% of all banking assets in Barbados, Grenada and the Bahamas. In the eight other tax havens that make up the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union, Canadian banks own 60% of banking assets. That is considerable.

Canada is not an economic superpower, but it is a superpower in tax havens. Nothing in Bill C-63 addresses this problem. Every Canadian has to pay the income tax that these freeloaders are not. The middle class that the government is so fond of talking about will be footing the bill. The regulatory framework was written specifically to allow banks and multinationals to avoid paying income tax in Canada.

I say “regulatory framework” because the problem is in the regulations. No tax treaty condones the use of tax havens. Even the treaty with Barbados does not cover the empty shells that enjoy tax breaks in that country. As for the other tax havens, Canada has not signed tax treaties with them. When you look at the Income Tax Act, it does not condone tax havens, either. When Parliament passed the act and adopted the treaties, it never condoned tax havens. Members of Parliament did their job and prohibited them. It is the government that failed in its task. In obscure regulations, it contravened Parliament’s decisions. It decreed by regulation that the act and the treaties adopted by Parliament do not apply, and that bank profits can be exempted by having them go through the West Indies.

For this reason, and because of what this mammoth contains and does not contain, we will be opposing it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Joliette for his well thought out speech.

He spoke about tax havens, and I would like to remind him that several experts have mentioned that they are in effect a legalized scam. I still cannot believe that more information has been revealed last Sunday. After the Panama papers, we now have the paradise papers. We now know that the Liberal Party's top bagmen, the people very close to the Prime Minister, profited from tax schemes that can be described as a legalized scam. The hon. member mentions that it is unbelievable that this is not included in the economic update.

In his opinion, what does it mean that there is nothing in the bill about doing away with tax havens?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummond for his intervention.

The paradise papers reveal a huge scandal. As far as I know, it is the largest document leak we have ever seen pertaining to tax havens. What do they reveal? Thousands of Canadians are using this scheme lawfully, or right up to the very line of legality. What do we learn from them? We learn that former Canadian prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, are on that list and that the Prime Minister's bagman and close friend was caught red-handed.

Now we begin to see why the Liberals seem so unwilling to address this problem. Their own cronies are the ones benefiting from it. This has to change. Canadians needs to stand united, challenge the government, and speak out. We need to demand change. The government is increasing its debt load and slashing services, while claiming that its hands are tied and it has no other choice. Meanwhile, its millionaire friends head down south to tax havens with their golden tickets. This has to change.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his good question.

The Minister of Finance is supposed to pass legislation affecting the economy and guide his government on economic matters. We now know more about his business interests and might wonder whose interests he is serving. Is he governing for the entire population or for his company?

Just before being appointed Minister of Finance, he was still a senior executive at his company. He recently announced that he would sell millions of shares, but for the past two years were his decisions primarily motivated by how they could potentially benefit his company financially?

When I moved a motion to combat tax evasion in Barbados, every member of the Liberal Party voted against the motion with one exception. We wonder whether the Minister of Finance had a say in that. We know that his company has a subsidiary in Barbados. On the company's website it says that its work on Canadian pension funds includes arrangements in Barbados and people are invited to contact the company. When the Minister of Finance, the Prime Minister, and the entire government are making decisions, whose interests are they serving? That is the question. This seriously undermines our trust in him, that is for sure.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to have the opportunity today to speak in this debate about Bill C-63, the second act implementing the budget tabled last March in this place. It is a big bill. It is 329 pages and would amend 19 pieces of legislation. It is unfortunate that in recent years budget implementation bills have become so enormous, and the government has allowed so little time for their debate and study, that we cannot possibly discuss them effectively.

This bill changes labour laws. It lays the foundation for Canada's membership in the Asian infrastructure bank. I know there have been points of order raised about whether the bill can be legally considered an omnibus bill under the new Standing Order 69.1. I will not comment on that, but its sheer size is concerning.

One would think that in all those pages, there would be a lot of good news for Canadians. There are a few bits of sunshine there, particularly in provisions that would change the labour code to make the workplace a more flexible place and put in place some protections for unpaid interns. We in the NDP would like to see some of these provisions go a bit further, but in general, we salute any measures that recognize the difficulties workers face these days. These changes are certainly a step in the right direction.

There are some other things I was happy to see, such as support for geothermal projects, although it is tepid, as my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands said. There is a reduction in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry.

There are some good issues raised in the bill, but really, there could have been so much more good news in such a huge bill. We are very disappointed about what is actually missing.

Before the budget was tabled last March, the NDP sent the finance minister a letter outlining some of the things we thought could and should be done to really help average Canadians, really help the middle class and those wanting to join it.

I would like to talk a bit about the items that are missing from the budget. These are truly missed opportunities to help Canadians. First is pharmacare. I know the parliamentary budget officer came out with a report only recently that showed that we could save over $4 billion a year in Canada if we instituted a universal pharmacare program that offered free prescription drugs to all Canadians. That is right. We could save billions of dollars while providing free prescription drugs. Canadians would be wealthier and healthier.

The finance minister did not have access to that report, so perhaps that is why he did not include it in the budget, but there were other, earlier reports, just as credible, that estimated even larger savings, more than $11 billion a year, under the same program. The Liberals voted against an NDP motion last month that simply called for talks with the provinces to begin within a year to look at how such a program could be structured. I am hoping this is not a case of the government not wanting to give credit to the NDP for such a good idea, which would make life better for all Canadians, and that by next spring they will quietly slip universal pharmacare into the 2018 budget. Better late than never.

Another item the Liberals forgot to include in the 2017 budget, and the 2016 budget for that matter, was their promise to do away with the CEO stock option tax loophole. That would have saved Canadians over $750 million a year. The Liberals promised that in the last election. They decided not to go after CEOs. Instead, this summer they went after small businesses across the country. They are going after the small fry, the minnows, instead of the big fish.

Speaking of big fish, we also asked the finance minister to enact legislation in the budget to close down offshore tax havens. Now the paradise papers have shown us why they might not have wanted to do that. It was to protect the Liberals who are using these offshore tax havens to avoid paying their fair share of taxes in Canada.

It is a little ironic to hear the Conservatives asking the finance minister about Morneau Shepell's tax shelter in Barbados, when it was their government that signed the tax treaty with Barbados to allow Morneau Shepell to avoid paying its fair share. However, the inaction on the part of the Liberals is just as disappointing. In fact, they keep on creating offshore tax havens. They just signed a new treaty with the Cook lslands.

We also asked the finance minister to institute a $15-an-hour minimum wage for federal workers. This would have been a great signal to the country that the federal government recognizes that many hard-working Canadians cannot possibly live on the minimum wages they receive for their work. Now the move for a $15-an-hour minimum wage has been taken up by the governments of B.C. and Alberta, and hopefully that good policy will spread across this country. Hopefully, the federal government will make that move for federal workers in next year's budget.

We also asked the minister about the eco-energy retrofit program. I would like to spend some time on that subject. It is one that is close to my heart. I actually tabled a private member's motion that called on the government to reintroduce the eco-energy retrofit program, because it is one of those government initiatives that is actually a win-win-win-win for the government, the economy, homeowners, and the environment.

This popular program ran from 2007 to 2012 and helped hundreds of thousands of Canadians retrofit their homes, lowering their energy bills by 20%. It created thousands of good local jobs and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by three tonnes per year for each house.

While the program cost the federal government $900 million over five years, it leveraged more than $4 billion in retrofit investments by Canadian families. The government got five times the economic impact from its investment. When homeowners invest in new windows, insulation, and other energy-saving projects, when they shop at building supply stores in their own communities, that money circulates through their communities and across the country.

When I talk to the Canadian Home Builders' Association here or in my riding, they remind me of the huge positive impact that program had on their members and homeowners everywhere. They really noticed the negative impact when the program was, unfortunately, cancelled.

The government wants infrastructure investment. It wants to reduce carbon emissions. It wants to help the middle class. The eco-energy retrofit program would be a perfect way to do all of that, a proven way, something the federal government could get started on right away, because it has been done before. I know it was the Conservative government that did it before, and the NDP have been reminding the Liberals that it is a good idea, but it is really too good an idea to let partisan politics get in the way.

I could go on, but I think I will stop here. Suffice it to say that Bill C-63, like the budget itself, has been a huge missed opportunity for the government and for all Canadians. We will all have to wait until next year for an improvement, but it will be more than a day late and a dollar short.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.

I would like to ask my colleague to clarify something for me. Since coming to power, the Liberals have been talking ad nauseam about the middle class, which has a very different definition depending on the speaker.

In my riding, the average salary is about $32,000 a year. When I take a look at the various Liberal measures to support the middle class, it seems that people need to earn between $80,000 and $100,000 a year to benefit from them. I am referring to, among other things, the tax cuts that do not affect low earners, or most of my constituents.

Given the positive economic times we are currently experiencing, wealth is being created, but why are the Liberals not doing a better job of distributing this wealth by implementing such measures as the $15-per-hour minimum wage, which would give those who earn the least some room to breathe?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, the Liberals, as we hear ad nauseam, talk about how they want to help the middle class, and then they introduce tax measures that lower taxes for people who make $80,000, $150,000, or $200,000 a year. They do almost nothing for people who make $50,000 a year and do nothing for those who make less than $45,000 a year.

That is a huge number of Canadians. I do not know the exact number, but probably the majority of Canadians make less than $45,000 a year. One of the first times I rose in this House a couple of years ago I asked a Liberal colleague that question. He went on about how his constituents were applauding him for that move. I looked online to see what the average income was in his riding. I found out that 80% of the people in his riding would not benefit at all from that tax measure.

It is amazing that the Liberals think they are helping the middle class, when they are doing nothing for them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I am quite puzzled by my colleague's lack of interest in some of the initiatives in the bill.

Let me reference a couple of the things the bill would do. The bill would put measures in place that would give greater flexibility for Canadians working in federally regulated industries to balance work and family responsibilities. It would increase flexibility for annual vacation days and holidays, provide more bereavement days, and provide more unpaid leave for family responsibilities.

The member is a New Democrat. He is a member of a party that touts itself as being progressive in the House. How can he stand up and vote against these initiatives when the time comes to vote?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, my colleague was not listening to my speech because I specifically mentioned those issues are some of the few things that the NDP really likes in the budget. We support them, but Bill C-63 is an omnibus bill. We only have one choice and that is to vote yes or no to the whole bill. That is the real tyranny of omnibus bills. If we could fix that, it would help us support those issues.

We would love to support them. We want workers to have more flexible workplaces. We want to protect unpaid interns but we cannot do that when it is one of the few little nuggets of gold amidst this huge pile of stuff that we really do not like. We do support those things but they are in an omnibus budget bill so we are forced to vote against the bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his speech. He is obviously very familiar with the circumstances of the people in his riding. That is to his credit.

I would like to ask him whether he is optimistic that the NDP will be successful and the Speaker will rule that it is possible to have a separate vote on the elements that were not announced in the initial budget.

That would be a good thing because when we hear the comments of our colleague opposite, we lose hope and that fuels cynicism.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, I am hopeful, because if we could split these huge bills into smaller parts, it would improve the way that we work in the House. There are just so many different things in these huge budget bills, for example, 19 changes, 19 statutes. It is very difficult to vote for them en masse in any real meaningful way.

Yes, I am hopeful that we will come to a good resolution with respect to this legislation and others like it will be split.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, it is an honour today to rise to speak on Bill C-63, which would amend the Budget Implementation Act.

Before I get started, I want to give a quick shout-out to my mother. It is her 70th birthday and I am far from home. I say, “Thanks, mom”.

A year ago, I tabled a bill, Bill C-312, for a national cycling strategy. In our country, we have seen soaring health care and infrastructure costs and we need to address our greenhouse gases. In the spirit of Bill C-312, I biked across my riding this summer. My riding is 8,500 square kilometres that consists of 10 nations, seven municipalities, and three regional districts. I had an opportunity to engage people in communities. I visited over 28 communities and had over 20 town halls. My speech today is really a reflection of what people wanted to see in the budget, what they want to see happen in their communities, and what they did not see.

The government likes to talk about a robust economy, job creation, and a growing economy, but that is not being seen in my riding of Courtenay—Alberni. In fact, it is the opposite. Raw log exports have gone up tenfold in 10 years in the Alberni Valley, for example. Port Alberni has been identified as the city in British Columbia with the highest poverty rate. A third of children are living in poverty.

My riding needs a marine economy that works for it. We need to rehabilitate the sockeye salmon fishery. It was in a critical stage last summer and the decline of the stock has cost the local economy millions of dollars, but the multiplier effect is in the tens of millions of dollars. We need urgent investments in stock enhancement, rehabilitation, and salmon protection. The government likes to tout its oceans protection plan, but in its coastal restoration fund, it forgot places like the Somass River, which is critical for the sockeye in British Columbia. It is the third-highest returning river basin in coastal British Columbia.

There are great opportunities to create jobs in the port, which is the only deep-sea port on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Port Alberni Port Authority has put forward some excellent projects that we hope the government will consider. They would create thousands of jobs in my riding. This is a place that had the highest median income in Canada in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, and now has one of the lowest median incomes in Canada. The people of the Alberni Valley sent buckets of money to Ottawa when times were good. They are hoping they will get the same return, and they are not seeing that when they need it the most.

There are excellent opportunities in the aerospace sector. In my riding, there is a global leader, Coulson Aviation, which is selling firefighting expertise and technology around the world. It is that Canadian story, where it is not doing business here in Canada because of regulation and because the government is not doing local procurement. We need government to act on opportunities within our communities.

My riding has a great university, the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences, which is helping to unlock the potential of the 1.2 million Canadians who are out of work or injured in the workplace. We need to make this a priority. This would grow the GDP in our country, help empower people, give people hope who need it the most, and get workers back to work who have been injured in the workplace.

Seniors in my riding and across the country are demanding support for pharmacare, health care, affordable housing, and home care. My riding has an aging population, one of the highest median ages in the country. It is an urgent situation and we need support for initiatives and these important needs. Affordable housing is a huge issue in my riding as well. The spillover from Vancouver is going to Vancouver Island, Victoria, and Nanaimo. It is now going to rural communities, where housing affordability is becoming the biggest issue. The government made an announcement that it is investing $11.2 billion over 10 years in affordable housing, but when we look at it closely, it is $20 million in the first year and $300 million by the next election. That is giving people false hope about the government's real commitment and real change to grow the middle class and help those who are not in it. This is urgent.

There are situations that are of serious and immediate concern. We have an opioid crisis, a fentanyl crisis, that is impacting our communities. In Port Alberni, for example, the Port Alberni Shelter Society, which is a group of people who are relying on local funds to open an overdose protection centre, needs urgent funds from Ottawa to keep that going. It is calling upon Ottawa to make sure this is identified as a national health emergency so that we can help combat that crisis.

We have great people in our communities who are working with people on the street. I have cited case studies here in the House about the cost-effectiveness of putting a roof over someone's head versus having someone live on the street. We know it makes sense.

People are concerned in my riding. They are concerned about the economy. They are concerned about social development and infrastructure. They are concerned about climate change. Floods, forest fires, storms, and seasonal changes are having a significant impact on our environment and our economy.

One thing that I noted on my journey, when going to the remote indigenous communities in my riding, was the people who are earning $235 a month on income assistance in rural communities with 70% unemployment. That is unacceptable. In many of these communities, people have to travel to the grocery store, which is 45 minutes to an hour and a half away. Therefore, for people living in Hesquiat, it is $50 each way to go to the grocery store just to buy groceries. That leaves them $135 to get by on for clothing, medicine, and to survive. This is taking place here in Canada.

Fortunately, on October 1, John Horgan and the B.C. provincial government implemented an increase of $100. However, people are still left with $335 to pay for the water taxi to get to the grocery store, and we know they are not buying fresh food because they cannot afford it. This is at the same time that the Nuu-chah-nulth communities have been in court for over a decade. They had won their court case for the right to catch and sell fish, but the Government of Canada appealed that decision. It appealed that decision twice, not once, and twice it was thrown out by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Instead of doing what it promised to do, which was to work on a nation-to-nation basis, it appealed and fought first nations in court. This is the same government that says that its most important relationship is with indigenous people, yet it is fighting them in court.

People earning $335 a month are not looking for a handout, they are looking to do business with Canada and be a partner in Canada. That is the word from my friend Curtis Dick. My friend Ken Watts quoted his father the late George Watts, who said that they are just looking for “their rightful place in this country”. These are communities that cannot access the fish that are swimming right by their villages. They can be part of this great story of Canada. They just want to feed their families. They want to grow an economy that works for everybody, and be a partner in this nation. They run on the principles of isaak, and that is respect. That is how they have approached Canada.

Canada needs to come back to the nations with the same respect. They need to get to the negotiating table and invest money. However, in this budget there is no money to give back to the nations. They have spent $12 million instead of investing in programs because their food, economic security, and rights are a priority for them. Why will the government not, as an urgent priority, at least get the money they have spent in court back to the nations and stop spending taxpayers' money? Canada must have spent tens of millions of dollars fighting the very people with whom it says it has its most important relationship. As a priority and a way of life, the people of Nuu-chah-nulth live by “hishuk ish tsawalk”, which means “everything is one”. In their traditional territories, which they call their ha-houlthee, they treat everyone as one, and everything is interconnected. When the Leviathan II went down, these same people were pulling $5 and $10 out of their jars to buy gas to go and look for people from another country who were missing, because we are all interconnected.

It is time for Canada to do the right thing, to invest in ending poverty in these nations, and end these discriminatory policies of the past. I hope the government is listening today.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I want to join him in wishing his mother a very happy birthday. She has every reason to be proud of her son's work.

We know that making a budget is all about making choices, whether it is a personal budget or a government budget. There are always more expenses than income. However, the Liberal government deliberately chose not to crack down on tax havens, which is causing us to lose at least $8 billion a year, each and every year.

Is retrieving that money not the key to providing the funding necessary to meet the member's many goals?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, a part of the speech I wish was able to get to about governing and choices. It is about choosing to ensure people have roofs over their head. It is choosing to resolve a court case with indigenous people to ensure they can access the rights we know they already have, and have won in the courts.

Instead, the government is choosing to protect CEO stock option loopholes, Bay Street, and tax havens. This is shameful. People in my community are dying. People are living without hope. We need to re-instill their hope by ensuring they are put first and foremost, which the policies of the government have not demonstrated.

The middle class-tax break has been forgotten. The government forgot about everybody earning $45,000 a year or less. However, people can put their money in offshore tax accounts. The government protects CEOs on Bay Street, instead of doing the right thing.

I appreciate my colleague and his important values. Canadians know this is wrong and fundamentally unacceptable.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Madam Speaker, in 2015, the NDP promised to balance the budget. The member talks about tax evaders and whatnot. We have invested a billion dollars to go after the tax cheats and offshore tax evaders. I am curious to find out if the member tells his constituents that if we had balanced budget, we would not have been able to do that.

We are not sure yet if his new leader will promise to balance the budget as well, which effectively means those members would not be able invest any dollars to go after tax evaders. Have the New Democrats changed their policy or do they still have the “steady as she goes“ policy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, it is really rich to hear my colleague from the Liberal government ask me about balanced budgets. The Liberals are running soaring budgets and creating policies to protect the very wealthy. Instead, they could be closing tax havens, investing that money into paying deficits, or into projects and opportunities for my community and people who need a lift up. Rather, the government is protecting its friends on Bay Street. We have seen that time and again.

Why would the Liberals not follow through with its promise to close CEO tax loopholes, and not support their commitment through an motion the NDP to close tax havens? They are sitting idly by while people have no roofs over their heads and are living without access to medicine. They are not dealing with their real promise to make Canada's indigenous peoples their most important relationship.

If the member came to my riding to see how the government is treating indigenous peoples, he would be ashamed, and so would the government. The Prime Minister has been to my riding and has met with the nations. He made a promise that he would resolve this court case, but he has not followed through on that.

The Minister of Fisheries and Oceans said this would be a priority. However, the Liberal government has dragged its feet, just like the Conservatives and the Harper government did. The Liberals are leaving people to struggle every day to put food on their table and get to the grocery store.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member talks about reducing of poverty. The government came forward with the Canada child benefit. It has had a significant impact on child poverty, and it will be indexed to the cost of inflation in this new budget implementation bill. I know it will improve the lives of my constituents who are struggling.

Could the member comment on this great new policy that has helped lift 40% of children out of poverty?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I invite the member and his government to visit my riding. I live in a place with the highest child poverty in British Columbia. One-third of the children live in poverty. The member could come and learn what a national child care plan would do for people in our communities, what it would do to end indigenous children being in care or what giving money to the nations would so they could move forward and stop more children living in care. This was an opportunity. The child care tax benefit does not solve that. However, a national child care strategy and working with indigenous people would do just that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to the budget implementation act. The bill is supposed to be the Liberal government's plan going forward for managing the country's finances and for implementing policies that will make Canada a better, stronger, and more cohesive society. However, Canadians who elected the Liberal government to achieve that will be sorely disappointed. In fact, the bill would do the exact opposite.

Members may recall that when the Prime Minister ran for election, he promised Canadians many different things. He has failed to deliver on many of those. For example, he promised Canadians that he would run a prudent government, that he would run only small deficits of about $10 billion. We know that promise is out the window. We know the Prime Minister promised solemnly that he would balance the budget within his term of government. Over a period of four years, he would run a few what he called small deficits and then he would return to balance. We now know the Prime Minister has no plan whatsoever to return to balanced budgets.

The budget implementation act would normally be a bit of a pointer, a signpost to the future, indicating that on such and such a date the government expected to be back to balance and to manage the finances of our country in a way that would not burden future generations with huge debt. We all know that when we run a deficit, at the end of the year, we are short some money. This money is either going to come from taxpayers or it is going to come from borrowing. Sadly, the government is committed to doing both. It is going to borrow heavily to finance its deficits and it is increasing taxes on so many different things, contrary to the promises the Liberals made to Canadians. Now we are at the end of the year and the government is even further in debt. Every year a deficit is run, the debt grows larger. That is what the budget implementation act would do. It shows Canadians, quite starkly, that the government does not know how to manage its finances.

The Prime Minister is now saying to future generations of Canadians, our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, that the government will spend widely today on itself and it will let future generations pay all that money back. By the way, he does not have a plan to balance budgets any time soon. It might be 10, 20 or 30 years out, but those kids can bet their boots that when they grow up, when take over the reins of power and when take their rightful place within Canada, they will have a huge debt hanging over their heads and they will have to repay it somehow, with interest.

That is the story of this budget implementation act. The act effectively would solidify the Prime Minister and his government as being spendthrifts and tax-and-spend Liberals. We have often hear the phrase tax-and-spend Liberals. It is true. It is in the DNA of the Liberals to tax Canadians to death and spend their money on their own priorities rather than on the priorities of Canadians.

This is an example of taxing to death. Since the Prime Minister was elected, he has increased taxes on hydro, gasoline, home heating, and health and dental benefits. Recently, he went after employee discounts. Imagine a McDonald's worker late at night, finishing off a shift, having a Big Mac and some fries. Now the Prime Minister is stepping in with his finance minister and saying that the burger will be taxed because it is an employee discount.

It goes on. The Liberals have eliminated income splitting for couples. Shame on them. This was a way of recognizing that Canadian couples deserved the kind of treatment afforded to single people.

The Liberals eliminated post-secondary tax credits, which helped parents educate their children so they would have good-paying jobs when they came out of university or trade school. They are even going after diabetics. Members will recall in the last few weeks that the government was caught with its finger in the cookie jar so to speak. It was disclosed that it is going after diabetics by taking away their ability to apply for the disability tax credit. The following week, it was disclosed that the Liberals were going after the mentally ill. We know that for half a year, they have been going after small business.

The Prime Minister promised solemnly that he would go after the rich fat cats and stand up for the middle class. Clearly, the middle class does not include small business people, diabetics, those who receive employee discounts, or the mentally ill. It is a scandal what the Prime Minister and his government are doing. They are breaking promise after promise to stand up for the middle class.

Today, 80% of middle-class Canadians pay more tax than they did before the Liberals came to power. It works out to about $840 more each year that middle-class Canadians pay in tax. The Prime Minister will not acknowledge that during question period. He hides behind talking points. He talks about the middle class and those working hard to join it. He never defined the middle class, which certainly does not include diabetics, those who receive employee discounts, the mentally ill, or the autistic. It does not include small business people, like the pizza shop owners in my community of Abbotsford. They have kids who work hard in those pizza shops, trying to make a living. At the end of the day, the government told them that it wanted to tax them even more. If they left money in their company, it would tax it at a rate of up to 73%. Imagine, 73% of tax on hard-working small businesses.

Then there is the scandal of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, or AIIB. Instead of investing billions of dollars in building our own infrastructure, whether it be roads, bridges, urban transit, our ports, airports, inland ports, and seaports, the Prime Minister recently announced that Canada would join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is a Chinese-led bank that will invest exclusively in Asia, not in Canada. There are no investments in Canada. They are all in Asia. He said that it would create jobs in Canada.

I would like to see the Prime Minister's plan for using the AIIB to make infrastructure investments in Canada and to create jobs. There is no guarantee that will happen. In fact, today Canadians already have the right to bid on jobs that are funded by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The reason Canadian companies do not get those jobs is because many of those bidding processes are ripe with corruption. Therefore, Canadians have difficulty competing in that marketplace. This will not change with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Half a billion dollars of Canadian taxpayer money is what the Prime Minister has put into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This money will be spent in Asia, not creating jobs at home, not building infrastructure here.

We know the Prime Minister is immensely fond of China. This basic dictatorship that is China he has lauded, because it is efficient. It gets things done. Imagine that. He should be lauding Canada and how we are getting things done, and we are doing it by respecting human rights and the highest environmental standards.

Then we can talk about the broken promises on electoral reform. Remember that process?

The Prime Minister promised that the last election would be the last one under the first past the post system. He broke that promise. He held consultations across Canada that were a sham, and then he dropped it all. The Prime Minister misled Canadians, and come 2019, Canadians will hold him accountable.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, the hon. member talked about the debt, and I will come back to that a bit later. We have made significant investments in the middle class and in infrastructure, have reduced taxes on the middle class, and made enormous investments in infrastructure. All of that is paying off. The GDP growth rate is the best among the G7 countries. In my riding of Nepean and in Ottawa, the unemployment rate is the lowest in the last 10 years. Last month alone, we created 35,000 full-time jobs in Canada.

When we look at Canada's debt from 1997 to the current date, only between the years 1997 to 2008 did it actually go down. We have made a commitment to keep the debt to GDP rate low and are willing to do that. Can the hon. member comment on the growth rate we are achieving and our intention of maintaining a lower debt to GDP ratio?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, the fact that Canada is experiencing growth and job creation today is because of a Conservative government that invested heavily and responsibly in infrastructure before 2015. It kept taxes low on Canadians, moved infrastructure projects forward, and was supportive of the resource sector.

Today, we know there are lots of red flags in our economy. We know that foreign investment is fleeing Canada. It is avoiding Canada because we do not have regulatory certainty anymore. When a company from abroad wants to invest in Canada, it asks how long it will take to get its project approved, and it is told that it could be many years, or maybe never. Therefore, it is not going to be investing in Canada.

That is the sad part of this Liberal government. It has overturned all of the goods things our previous Conservative government did to lay the basis for a sound economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Tony Clement Conservative Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like the member to return to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank for a second. As a former trade minister, the hon. member knows a lot about how these international commercial arrangements in fact work.

I find it strange that a government that promised infrastructure in Canada for Canadians is now resorting to promising infrastructure and legislating infrastructure for Asian billionaires. Can the hon. member expand upon this, based on his tremendous experience with commercial agreements and international trade?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, when we were in government under Stephen Harper, we looked very carefully at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and said no. Why? It was because it did not promote Canada's interests. It was not going to create jobs in Canada. As my colleague said, it would be creating jobs in China for Chinese billionaires.

Another thing that will happen as we help the Chinese build out their Asian infrastructure is that we will improve their competitiveness and that of other Asian economies and undermine our own. We should be investing in Canada. That is the sad thing about the Liberal government: it invests in infrastructure in foreign countries, which will create an unlevel playing field between them and Canada when it comes to competitiveness.

The government takes $2.6 billion of Canadian taxpayers' dollars and puts it into something called the green climate fund at the United Nations that is supposed to help other countries mitigate or adapt to climate change. There are no safeguards; there is no oversight of this money. When this money gets sent abroad, guess what happens? In many cases, it falls through the cracks and disappears without any accountability. That is not the kind of government we ran. We were a strong Conservative government that was financially accountable, and accountable to taxpayers. That is what we are not seeing from the Liberal government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise today to support Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the 2017 budget.

We have come a long way since we were elected in 2015. I am proud of the record of our government, which is now more than halfway through its term in office. When I was the president of the Regroupement des gens d'affaires de Boisbriand, I remember that the economic conditions were bleak and sluggish. Now that the 2008 economic crisis is behind us, let us be proud of our economic numbers. Canada weathered the 2008 economic crisis better than any other G7 country, and that is something Canadians can be proud of.

During the last election campaign, we proposed an ambitious plan for Canadians. This plan was based on solid evidence and a belief that the entire economy would benefit if we invested in the middle class, in our workforce, and in training for our young people and workers. The numbers now speak for themselves and show that this inclusive plan is working.

Statistics Canada’s labour force survey of October 2017 shows that our economy created more than 500,000 new jobs since we came to power. The Canadian economy is growing faster than it has in more than a decade, and the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point since 2008. There is more good news: the most dramatic rise in employment was in Quebec, with 18,000 net new jobs in October 2017, mainly in the manufacturing sector.

Our plan is working. Today, more Canadians are employed, and the situation will continue to improve thanks to a plan that works. I would like to mention a few measures that directly affect the people in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. They include a tax break for 9 million middle-class Canadians, the introduction of the new Canada child tax benefit, and the improvement of the Canada pension plan, to ensure that future generations of workers can enjoy a dignified retirement.

Since its introduction in July 2016, the Canada child tax benefit has put more non-taxable dollars in the pockets of thousands of Canadian families. When the Canada child tax benefit was established, the additional money in parents’ pockets had an immediate effect on consumer confidence and economic growth. The increased confidence this money gives families had an immediate impact on economic growth. This is excellent news.

The credit also benefits all children, unlike the tax credits for child fitness and children’s arts proposed by the previous government. In Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, 10,300 families are receiving more money thanks to the Canada child tax benefit. Also, 18,870 children directly benefit from a $530 monthly payment per family. This amount is non-taxable.

These numbers speak for themselves. The Canada child tax benefit has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty, and we are moving forward with improvements to our government’s key measure. That is why we intend to increase the Canada child tax benefit annually to keep up with the cost of living starting in July 2018, two years earlier than planned.

I will give an example: for a single-parent family with two children and a yearly income of $35,000, this increase represents an additional non-taxable $560 next year, which can be used for books, skating lessons, or warm clothing for the winter.

Another of our government’s key measures in Bill C-63 is obviously the lower income tax rate for small and medium-size businesses. Once again, no sooner said than done. As promised in our 2015 election platform, we are delivering on our commitment to lower the income tax rate for small and medium-size businesses.

That rate, which was 11% in 2015, will drop to 9% in 2019. That is excellent news for the Rivière-des-Mille-Îles businesses and business people who were more than willing to participate in a pre-budget round table with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance when he was in my riding in January 2016.

This great news will give our dynamic businesses more breathing room, allowing them to make capital investments, do renovations, buy new equipment, and even hire more staff.

A number of high-profile Quebeckers also welcomed the news. Here is what Michel Leblanc, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, had to say:

The tax cut announced by the Minister of Finance this morning is excellent news for small and medium-sized businesses in all sectors. Our economy is strong, and this announcement will make it even stronger. It is important to keep stimulating investment and making our businesses more competitive. Small businesses are the economic backbone of Canada and metropolitan Montreal. Reducing the tax rate will have a positive impact on our economy as a whole.

I fully support that statement because, when I travel around the four cities in my riding, business people tell me that this measure will help them.

Finally, budget 2017 puts the skilled, talented, and creative people of Canada at the heart of a more innovative economy of the future, an economy that will create jobs for the middle class of today and tomorrow.

For our government, relying on innovation also means relying on the know-how of Quebec and Canadian society. The role of elected officials is now to focus on the economy of the future, invest in their fellow citizens, and give the workers of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles the tools they need to succeed in this economy. It also means educating businesses to help them benefit from new free trade agreements like CETA.

Many measures have been taken to put Canada in a leadership position within the global economy. First, we invested $225 million over four years to identify and address skills gaps in the economy and help Canadians to be as prepared as possible for the economy of the future. Next, we created a new strategic innovation fund that will serve to attract, support, and grow Canadian companies in dynamic and emerging sectors, such as agrifood, which is a very strong sector in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, digital technology, green technologies, and advanced manufacturing, thanks to an investment of $1.26 billion over five years. We also offered greater support to superclusters of companies that innovate in key sectors such as digital technology and green technology and that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth, thanks to an investment of up to $950 million over five years starting in in 2017-18.

I have always been proud to say that the greatest strength of Canada and of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles lies in its skilled, hard-working, and creative workforce. I am very proud of the measures in budget 2017 and their positive impact on my community.

I am confident that our plan will help our country prosper, both now and in the years ahead.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, one thing I did not hear was any mention of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

It just seems strange to me that up until this point, and I have not been in the House for all of the debate but for a fair bit of it, none of my Liberal colleagues have commented on the fact that we are spending all these dollars for infrastructure in Asia, which taxpayers in Canada will be forced to pay for.

I am happy to invest in infrastructure; we all are, but my children and grandchildren will pay for that infrastructure in Asia. That is a bit of a question for me.

Could my colleague enlighten us as to why we are spending money on infrastructure in Asia?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for talking about infrastructure.

He knows that we need to invest in infrastructure, and it is one of our key measures. In my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, construction will soon begin on the REM project, the Réseau électrique métropolitain, a 67-kilometre urban transit system with 27 stations. It is a significant investment in terms of infrastructure which will ensure the people's mobility in the greater Montreal area.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech but I did not hear anything about a certain issue that is making headlines.

There has been a lot of talk about the Panama papers, but last Sunday, people got the shock of their lives. Canadians are appalled by what the paradise papers reveal. These documents show us that the Liberal government's chief fundraiser and the Prime Minister's great friend was caught in what experts are actually calling a legalized scam.

When will my hon. colleague tell us their position, then? Why does the update feature no clear position on combatting tax evasion? Could it be because friends of the party are off limits?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Drummondville, a fellow member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages. We always really enjoy working together. Here is my answer to his very relevant question.

It is very important. Our government has invested in putting a stop to these tax schemes and to tax evasion. We are making sure the tax system is fair to everyone. We will find out who is hiding income and assets abroad and who is trying to avoid paying taxes, and we will make them face the consequences.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Chandra Arya Liberal Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague came out with some excellent points in her remarks. In my riding of Nepean, 23,000 children benefited from the Canada child benefit program, with an average amount of $490, totalling about $6.2 million.

I would like my hon. friend's comments on the investments we have made through cutting income taxes for the middle class, the investments we have made through the child benefit program, and investments we have made to infrastructure, which has allowed GDP growth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, as my colleague said, this is a key element of our budget and our platform.

I care about helping the families and businesses in my riding succeed. I am proud to say that, since coming into effect, the Canada child benefit has helped 18,830 children in my riding by giving 10,300 families an average of $530 per month tax free.

When families have more money in their pockets, the whole economy benefits. Jobs are up in Quebec and across Canada. That alone shows that our approach is working.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, in the last election the current Prime Minister looked Canadians in the eye and promised that, if elected, the Liberal Party would run budgetary deficits of $10 billion per year for the first three years and then return Canada's books to balance in 2019. What a far cry from the reality we are living in today. The government's spending is completely out of control. It is running deficits two and three times larger than initially promised, and it has absolutely no plan to get back to balance. This is not what Canadians voted for.

Our Conservative government left office with back-to-back surplus budgets, a growing economy, and a record that included the best recovery from the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. We on this side of the aisle are proud of that.

During the election campaign, the Liberal Party promised that its $10 billion deficits would be spent primarily on two things: infrastructure and tax cuts for the middle class, oh, and for those working hard to join it. I am afraid that my colleagues in the Liberal Party might be suffering from collective amnesia, because not only have they spent far more than they promised, but they have done the exact opposite of what they promised.

First, let me talk about the government's poor record on infrastructure investment.

Bill C-63 includes half a billion dollars spent by the government on infrastructure in Asia. Yes, members heard me correctly: not Canadian infrastructure but Asian infrastructure. Bill C-63 provides Canada with a less than 1% stake in the Chinese- controlled Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The projects in which this bank will invest are determined by the interests of the Chinese government. Considering the sort of virtuous signalling we have seen from the government during the NAFTA negotiations, it comes as a bit of a shock that it would be willing to hand over half a billion dollars to China to spend as it wishes. Do not take my world for it. The following is taken from the Toronto Star about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank:

The United States opposes the institution, warning that it would provide loans to developing countries without requiring any caveats about the environment, labour rights or anti-corruption reforms, as are typically included...from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

I would have thought that the Liberals, who spend so much time on their image, would like to be seen as standing up for the environment, standing up for labour rights, and standing against government corruption, but I guess when push comes to shove they focus on their own best interests.

I understand that trade with China is a priority for the Liberals. The Prime Minister has made that clear by his several cash-for-access fundraisers attended by high-ranking Chinese officials. However, is it really worth forking over this sort of money with no guarantees?

There is all this talk about Chinese infrastructure, but what about Canada? This week we learned that there are massive delays in federal infrastructure spending. Billions of dollars are being carried over year after year in unspent funds as the Liberal government cannot figure out how to get shovels in the ground and get projects under way.

It seems clear to me that it is becoming increasingly clear to Canadians that the Liberal government is spending more time trying to build bridges, fix roads, and prepare water pipes in China than it is here at home in Canada. Again, this is not what Canadians voted for in the last election.

One other thing that Canadians did not vote for in the last election was the Liberal government's attack on middle-class Canadians, the very people it claims to want to help.

We all know that small business in Canada employs 70% of private sector workers. In Canada, 55% of businesses have fewer than four employees. An attack on small business is an attack on ordinary hard-working Canadians. Where would the jobs be if it were not for small business?

This summer in an attempt to quietly sneak by Canadians, the Liberals introduced a number of tax measures that would have had devastating effects on Canada's farmers and small business owners. The backbone of our economy, small business owners, were targeted as tax cheats.

For weeks and months after the plans were made public, my office was inundated with calls, emails, and visits from my constituents, who could not believe that the Liberal government would be increasing their taxes so high that they might have to fire staff, close up shop, or relocate their businesses to other countries. I am sure my colleagues in the House all were recipients of those emails and phone calls.

I heard from one constituent who lives in Elmira. He runs a financial service practice in the greater Waterloo region. He shared with me this email, which states that, for the first 12 years of his self-employed life, it was a real struggle. Trying to run a business and balancing a young family of four children, it was not easy. In 2011, after a particularly bad day, he considered packing it all in, but he didn't. He continued to persevere and try new ways to build his practice. In the summer of 2012, he took the biggest risk ever and he bought a practice from another adviser. That meant taking on a $250,000 debt to do that. He also incorporated at that time, on his accountant's advice. He then took an even bigger risk, hiring two staff members to help him run a more efficient practice. In 2015, he had paid off the $250,000 loan, bought another practice for $500,000, and hired another staff member. He feels he's paid his fair share of taxes, both corporately and personally, over the years. Now he is being told that small business owners are wrongfully using the tax system, unfairly and perhaps crookedly. That is not right, he says.

I also heard from a veterinarian operating a clinic for large animals. His clinic not only employs Canadians but also sponsors four local fairs, two soccer teams, a baseball team, two hockey teams, three plowing matches, two 4-H clubs, a dance studio, and a local volunteer fire department. He sent me an email, which states that, as a veterinarian, he has worked hard over many years to reach the pinnacle of his profession. He's spent many years in university studying veterinary medicine and many more years building his practice and working very hard to serve his clients and their animals. The government referring to his use of the tax laws as a manipulation of loopholes makes him feel ashamed of the success he has strived to achieve. He asks if he is expected to apologize for the success and the rewards he has earned. He says this is divisive, inflammatory, and flies directly in the face of the Canadian dream many of us share: that from hard work comes success.

I heard from a farm family in Elmira who are afraid of what these changes will mean for a farm that has been in the family for generations. The owner wrote as follows:

These proposed changes, will add uncertainty and complexity to farmers and small business owners across the country. I am particularly concerned with the impact these changes would have on succession planning. It is unacceptable that the government of Canada would make it easier and more beneficial from a tax perspective for a farmer to sell their farm business to a stranger, rather than their own child or grandchild. This type of policy threatens the tradition of the Canadian family farm.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I did not mention my friend Mike from Tri-Mach. I was glad the Leader of the Opposition, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, visited Mike last month to share our positive Conservative plan to lower taxes on the middle class and small business. Tri-Mach employs more than 100 Canadians and has been considering—

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I was so politely interrupted, I was talking about my colleague Mike from Elmira who operates Tri-Mach. Tri-Mach employs more than 100 Canadians and was considering expanding its business in my riding, but it has halted those plans as a result of these proposed tax changes. Additionally, he and other business owners I have heard from have been contacted by American investment firms to expand their businesses in the United States rather than in Canada due to these tax increases. The uncertainty these proposed tax changes have created will not go away easily. The damage is done.

Canadians have been sold a bill of goods. In 2015, the government said it would do one thing and has spent the past two years doing exactly the opposite. It is time for it to rein in its out-of-control spending and end its attack on middle-class Canadians. The interest costs on this debt alone are exorbitant. This year, over $24 billion goes to just pay the interest; that is billion with a b. That number increases by another $9 billion per year by 2021, just four years from now, to $33 billion each year just to pay the interest. This is not even reducing our national debt by one nickel and just goes out the window as interest.

Think of where that money could have been better spent. Even our defence budget is not that high, and there are dozens of other initiatives that should be receiving this support. Why not invest some of that money, for example, to stand up against persecution and for religious freedom in the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, and North Africa?

In 2003, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq, but today there are only around 150,000, yet the Liberal government eliminated the office of religious freedom. What amount was saved by that? Five million dollars, or .02% of the amount we spend on interest. The government has many misplaced priorities.

There is far too little effort going into Canadian infrastructure, into restraining spending, into reducing the tax burden on my children and grandchildren, and into encouraging small business success. I simply cannot, in good conscience, support this irresponsible economic policy.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I believe the member made reference to Tri-Mach as the company with concerns in terms of future employment and so forth. I would like to assure the member that different businesses have different approaches. Overall, when we take a look at what is trending in Canada today, what we will find is a high sense of optimism and hope, and that is realized in very tangible ways.

The member just commented on one business with which he has concerns. What we do know is that close to half a million jobs have been created in the last two years, most of which was done in the last year. We have seen a tangible commitment to have small business tax reduced down to 9%. There are so many wonderful things within this budget implementation legislation in terms of the prospect of future jobs the member commented about.

He might want to rethink how he is going to vote if he believes, as I do, that Canadians want to see the generation of the type of job numbers we are seeing today. That is a strong positive. Obviously, there is a far better sense of opportunity. We have far more jobs being created today than Stephen Harper ever created in his 10 years. They got about one million in 10 years, while we are talking about close to half a million in two years. That is good news for Canada's economy and having an overall healthier middle class.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not sure where to ramble on with my answer to that rambling question. I would like to remind my colleague that they often speak on the other side about the incredible growth in the last couple of years. We all understand that the global economy is doing very well right now.

When we were in government, we also experienced the best job growth in the G7. However, because the numbers were not as high as they are now, the members opposite point to that as failure. The time we were producing those jobs through our government policies was through an economic recession. Currently, we are not in a recession and there is no reason to keep spending and spending, especially when we are borrowing the money on the backs of future generations.

Then he talked about the small business tax reduction. That is a bit of a joke, because we all know in this House that there is no way the Liberal government would have followed through on that commitment were it not for the extreme pressure put on it by ordinary Canadians asking for this reduction, as well as the pressure put on by all the opposition parties, recognizing the Liberal government had not lived up to its campaign promise. The Liberals knew that if they did not do that they would have to answer for it.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Earl Dreeshen Conservative Red Deer—Mountain View, AB

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague spoke about the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and about being able to build infrastructure in Asia using Canadian funds.

When we look at having an opportunity to use Canadian investment dollars to build infrastructure here, unfortunately we find, with projects such as LNG and other opportunities to move our natural resources to other places in the world, that it is a bit ironic that we are holding back our own natural resources while helping other countries build ports, so that they can move other people's natural resources into their communities.

Could the member talk about some of the serious issues concerned with this Asian infrastructure bank?

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the glaring questions we are dealing with is the investment of nearly $500 million in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, with virtually 1% control over what that money will be used for. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that, if we invest money in infrastructure in Asia, paid for by hard-working Canadian taxpayers, that is infrastructure spending that cannot happen here.

In my own riding I have bridges, water treatment facilities, and roads that could be resurfaced. We have the light rail transit system, which is nearing completion in the Waterloo region. Currently it is scheduled to go from the north of Waterloo to the south of Kitchener with an extension of the bus service down into Cambridge.

If this money that is available for infrastructure were spent in my area, we could finish this project now. It is a misplaced priority, and that is the reason I cannot support this irresponsible economic policy.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:35 p.m.
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Whitby Ontario

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to Bill C-63. I am going to take a moment to go back to the campaign, before I get into my comments on this piece of legislation.

During the campaign, we put forward a really ambitious platform, one that focused on the middle class and those working hard to join it, one that focused on investments in people and in communities much like my community and home town of Whitby. We did this very strategically and very deliberately to ensure that Canadians knew they would be electing a government that would have their best interests at heart, that would look out for them, that would ensure we had a strong middle class, which is a sign of a thriving economy, but also to look at the most vulnerable in our communities and ensure we were looking out for them in the plans that we brought forward.

I have been listening to the debate on Bill C-63, and there were a couple of points that I will address in my comments, which require some clarification. Three points were brought up quite a bit yesterday: criticism of our feminist budget; the fact that this is an omnibus bill; and concern about our investment in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. I am going to tackle each of those items in my comments.

First, what is most disheartening was the criticism around the fact that this is a feminist budget, that we have approached it in a very feminist way. The fact that the 2017 budget was the first time we had a gender statement in a piece of legislation, especially as important as budget legislation, is critically important. It is a sign of a government that understands that policies we put forward have a disproportionately negative impact on women, and as the vulnerability of women increases, so does the impact that they could possibly have.

I really want to emphasize that women of colour, racialized women, indigenous women, women with disabilities, women with different sexual orientation, women who belong to religious groups, and women who are too old or too young face significant barriers in this country. To have a budget that looks at the intersectionality of vulnerable groups and applies a lens to decide and evaluate how those policies can impact women of various groups negatively, and how we can adjust the policies to ensure that they are benefiting from the policies we put forward, is a really important component of this piece of legislation. I am particularly proud of it because it has this intersectionality lens that has been put forward. It really speaks to the fact that not everyone is part of the middle class and it is incumbent upon us, when we look at a gender-based analysis, when we look at the intersectionality of other components that provide barriers for women, that we do so cognizant of the fact that we have individuals who are not part of our middle class, who are seriously working hard to join it, who are struggling on a day-to-day basis, and we have made sure we are looking at those individuals.

I now want to move to the conversation around this being an omnibus bill. I could reassure members that it is not. Everything in the bill relates to the budget. It is about growing communities. It is about growing our country. It is about investing in Canadians, investing in young people, investing in our future. It is about investing in innovation and skills. We know that making investments in these things today will ensure longevity, a promising future for our children and for our grandchildren.

I am going to rewind a little. As we came out of our election and looked to implementing our budget, we did a couple of things. We cut taxes for middle-class families and raised them on the top 1%. Many of the families in Whitby are middle-class families. Many of those families have children.

When we introduced the Canada child benefit, it was for families to be able to use that money, not to wait to get a tax rebate later on. They were able to get that money right away, so they could use it for books, sports programs, good nutritional food, or daily activities. The Canada child benefit has helped nine out of 10 families, providing more money to those families to pay for they things they prioritize, and has raised hundreds of thousands of kids out of poverty.

When we look at the impact of the Canada child benefit in Whitby, 12,000-plus payments have been made, benefiting over 21,000 children in my riding alone. Let us look at that across the country, when we are talking about making investments in our future. We have done so with the most ambitious social policy in the Canada child benefit.

In Whitby and in the Durham region, we have invested in public transit. We have invested in clean water and waste-water infrastructure. We have invested in our colleges, Durham College and UOIT, and in our seniors.

This plan is working. Two years in, we have the best fiscal growth in the G7, and since being elected have created 500,000 new jobs, most of them full-time jobs. When we talk about our young people really struggling to get out of college or university and to do things with their life they want to do, these kinds of numbers, including decreased unemployment, really give a boost to Canadians and give them confidence.

I will take my last couple of minutes to wrap up and talk about Canada's leadership globally, and the investments in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We are engaging in multilateral infrastructure efforts. We are renewing our commitment to engagement around the world.

When we look at our sustainable development goals, sustainable development goal no. 17 is around partnerships. We understand as a country that we cannot achieve the sustainable development goals of 2030 agenda to leave no one behind if we do not take the time to make those investments and to develop those very strong partnership. We have taken leadership to do so. We will continue to do that, because those 17 goals and 169 targets are very much interconnected. We understand that, and through that investment, we will help to ensure that the most vulnerable in our world also thrive.

This piece of legislation is really about ensuring that we have a sustainable future for our children and our grandchildren. We are making smart, strategic, green investments in our communities at home. We are ensuring that we are growing the economy. Our plan is working. We are putting more money in the pockets of Canadians and ensuring that we are taking leadership on the world stage.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member is certainly raising matters that my colleagues and I would like to see the government committing our budget dollars to.

Regrettably, we are in fact falling down on the commitments that we have made. So far, we have only committed a little over half of what we committed for international aid, for climate mitigation adaptation. We committed to having a 50-50 balance in our global assistance for adaptation and mitigation, and that most of that would go to grants, not to loans, and through public dollars, not through private dollars. However, Canada is taking the complete opposite direction.

We have just heard that the head of the OECD is deeply disappointed in Canada's falling far behind in our commitments to reduce greenhouse gases.

I wonder if the member could speak to what she sees in this budget that will in fact shift us toward what we committed to.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes Liberal Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, we decided that we were going to put a price on carbon pollution, to put a price on the things that we do not want. We decided to invest in green infrastructure. We wanted to ensure that we have communities, roadways, and bridges. We wanted to ensure that we have infrastructure that we can use now, and infrastructure that is sustainable into the future. Those are the investments we have been making in communities to allow us to meet the climate target.

Our government has made investments, as I mentioned, of over $700,000 in clean water and waste-water treatment in Whitby. It might not seem like a big deal, but we are ensuring that our communities are safe, that our water is safe. We are making investments that are sustainable and forward-looking.

These are the types of investments we have made through this particular piece of legislation.

We must keep in mind that it is not just about one component. It is about investing in skills and innovation. It is about investing in an innovation agenda that allows us continuously, with a dynamic approach, to look at climate change and at ways in which we can reduce our impacts on and footprints in the world.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the wonderful speech she gave today about how the government is empowering Canadians and lifting them up at a time when they need our help, at a time when they need their government to be reaching out to partner with them and not be dictatorial in how we approach things.

My colleague has travelled internationally. She has represented our country at a number of engagements around the world. I ask her today, in all that we do in this country and how we are seen globally, is our government on the right track in being there not just for our citizens at home but also for those who depend upon us around the world?

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Celina Caesar-Chavannes Liberal Whitby, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, I can tell the House that we have recently introduced our feminist international assistance policy. We are certainly taking a leadership role in how we work and demonstrate Canada's strength around the world.

I have had an opportunity to travel to many different places, where we speak very strongly about human rights, where we speak very strongly against female genital mutilation and about the fact we do not want girls forced into marriage. We want our children in schools. We want to ensure that we are making investments that will help countries not only to develop in a way that will allow them to combat climate change but also to grow and become economically viable so that one day they will be able to trade with Canada.

We are focused on ensuring that women and girls stay at the centre of our policies. We cannot eliminate poverty and we cannot reach our sustainable development goals if we leave 50% of our population behind.

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November 7th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to this particular bill. As members know, Bill C-63 looks at different provisions within the Government of Canada and the budget tabled in the spring of this year. It looks to see what needs to change for government to respond effectively to Canadians, and to ensure that their requests and expectations of their government are being met.

I know that many of my colleagues on both sides of the House have already spoken and given tremendous applause for this budget. They have certainly recognized that the investments we have been making as a country are smart investments, long overdue in many cases, but very smart, wise, and strategic with respect to meeting the growing needs of Canadians for jobs, infrastructure, and business development, allowing everyone the opportunity to move forward in this country. That includes many aspects of what government is involved in.

We talk a lot about skills training and trades, providing education to people who need it, and supporting our educational institutions. We talk about innovation and research, new models, and new ways of doing things for Canadians, always helping them to find better ways of making that a reality. We talk about how we need to do more with respect to social infrastructure, housing, and supporting families and children. Those have been the key policies of our government since the day we took office. The Prime Minister has made no apology about the fact that we are a government that came to office to lift up Canadians and the middle class, and to provide the long overdue infrastructure and supports they need in this country to be able to continue to grow and contribute.

We know that we are a strong nation. We know that, as Canadians, we are strong people. However, we always know that we can do better. No matter how good that job is today, we know we can do better tomorrow. That is what makes us the great country that we are. Therefore, when we talk about providing for child benefits in Canada, we may already have had a system that has contributed benefits to Canadians, but we can always do better, and that is what our government did. Will there be other ways to change and improve as we go along? Whenever we see a need to make that happen, and there is a better way, we are a government that has always been open to doing that.

We talk about how we are able to invest in our communities. I know that opposition members will sometimes say that the government is spending too much money. In many of our communities across Canada there has been tremendous neglect of infrastructure over a long period of time. If we want those communities to grow and contribute to the country that we are building together, then we need to invest in them. We need to invest while believing that they too can do better, and they know they can.

When we talk about all of these things, they are broad strokes. However, I am a member of Parliament who came to office to represent a riding that was neglected and left behind. Why? It was because it was rural, remote, indigenous, and was so far away from the centre of power that its needs were often not recognized. There are many areas like the riding I serve, the great riding of Labrador, that exist across Canada. Many of those ridings have been neglected. Why is it that when we came to office there were hundreds of boil water advisories on reserves and inadequate housing after 50 to 100 years of governments in Canada? Why is it that we came to office realizing that those who are rural and remote in Canada still do not have connectivity, who cannot access online services or be a participant in the global economy we are building? That is not building Canada together; that is about building a country and leaving distant people behind. If we are going to build this together, we have to work together and invest together.

I have a riding that is getting paved highways to remote communities for the first time. When I came into politics a number of years ago, no road existed to these communities. It was through the support and lobby of governments and partnerships that roads were built to connect these communities. In the last two years, we have invested nearly $100 million to pave those roads and bring those communities together.

We have launched a program to provide infrastructure to connect rural, remote, and indigenous communities. We have allocated $500 million for broadband across Inuit regions, regions like the one I represent. Today, people in many of these communities cannot go online. They cannot send me an email today if they want to, because they do not have the ability or the infrastructure in their communities to do so. Is that how we want to continue to run a country? No, it is not. As a government, we have seen the need to invest in every corner of the country to allow people to rise up and participate.

We know there are challenging issues. I talk about connecting communities with roads, bridges, and technology, but there are so many other challenges faced by rural and remote areas around the country, which our government has had to tackle. Many of these challenges, as we know, have been around the trauma that has impacted many indigenous Canadian, many of whom I represent. This government recognizes that the residential school survivors in Newfoundland and Labrador were left behind.

When the apology was made to the survivors of residential schools, those I represent were left behind by the Government of Canada. Now they have been included. In a couple of weeks, the Prime Minister will go to Labrador to personally apologize to the survivors, to right a wrong in Canadian history. That is what we should be doing in government. If we are to lead, we have to own up to the black marks on our record as a country and make those things right. When we are talking about reconciliation, we are talking about making those things right.

I went to a reception a few minutes ago in the Speaker's lobby for the Indspire Awards across Canada. I met a young Inuk lady named Donna. She is a doctor. I met another young first nations lady named Ashley. She has been a role model for youth. I look at what those two ladies have accomplished, despite the many challenges they have faced in indigenous Canada, and what tremendous role models they are. They are so many more out there who are unrecognized.

I want to highlight some things in my own riding. When I came into office, 5 Wing Goose Bay, for example, had no official mandate from the former government. It lived in fear every day that the military base would close. It did not have a contract that was extended more than two years in a 10-year period. Now 5 Wing Goose Bay has a mandate and investment under this government. The investment in two years at that base has grown from $15 million a year to $30 million a year. We have been able to establish full Inuit-crown relationships and invest in many of the social issues that have plagued Canadians around the country, including some in my riding.

There have been unprecedented investments in indigenous housing projects, infrastructure, fisheries development, in all the pieces that are so valuable in building communities. However, we still have a lot of challenges and we need a government that has vision and leadership to lead us through those challenges. When I think of what is happening with Sears workers today, my riding went through the same thing with Wabush Mines, where 1,600 pensioners lost 24% of their pensions.

Are there things we can do to continue to improve upon our record as a government and make life better for Canadians? There certainly are, and we will work together to make that happen.

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November 7th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have posed questions to the parliamentary secretary around a court case the Nuu-chah-nulth has been involved in with Canada for over a decade.

Over 10 years ago, the Nuu-chah-nulth and Canada went to court. The Nuu-chah-nulth won and reaffirmed their right to catch and sell fish in their territories. The Government of Canada, the Conservative government, appealed and delayed, and appealed and delayed. Both times in the Supreme Court of Canada, it was thrown out in favour of the nations and the government was ordered to get to the table and negotiate.

The current government has not done that in a meaningful way. In fact, these nations are often in remote areas. They cannot access the very fish running by their communities. Most of them are living on income assistance, which up until a month ago was $235 a month. To go and get groceries for some them, it is $50 each way, leaving them with a mere $135 to buy food, medicine, and clothing.

They want to find their rightful place in our country. They want to be out fishing and not in court. Therefore, when the government talks about its most important relationship, why is it fighting its most important relationship in court?

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November 7th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member opposite, because it gives me an opportunity to talk about how our government has preferred negotiation over litigation. There are dozens of examples of how we have been able to resolve cases outside of the court system so people can move forward, especially in indigenous regions of Canada.

The unfortunate thing is that indigenous people have not had the fortune of having a historical attachment to resource development. I firmly believe it is a trend we need to change going forward. I have been very active in saying to the Government of Canada that new allocations around things like fisheries resources need to be looked at in the context of the aboriginal governments and indigenous people to see how these people can benefit from a resource that is directly on their shores.

Historically, governments of the past have allocated these resources to other interests. In my case, there are resources off the coast I represent adjacent to indigenous communities that are fished by people from other regions of Canada, and even quotas are owned by fishers who live in the United States. How did that happen in Canada?

I agree it is a historical trend that has to be corrected going forward. However, I am never convinced the courts are the way to do that. The way to do that is to work together to ensure these things do not happen in the future.

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November 7th, 2017 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to add a perfect example of what the parliamentary secretary just said about not being in accord with Bill C-17, which hopefully we will get passed soon and have this dealt with that way.

It was great she mentioned access to resources. The Prime Minister was recently in my riding and announced $247 million, maybe the biggest announcement ever, for infrastructure. For time immemorial, the northern premiers and politicians have been arguing that the resources are there but we cannot access them.

On top that, for a lot of the rural and remote communities, there are infrastructure projects for almost every community I have announced so far, which have put so many people to work. We now are basically at full employment economically.

Has the member had the same experience in her riding with investment in infrastructure and the great economic benefits that has had?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to work with the member for Yukon the last couple of year in the House of Commons. At one point, he was actually my seatmate. I know how passionate he is about his riding and the north.

What the member has said is absolutely accurate. Many ridings like his in Yukon and mine in Labrador and other remote indigenous ridings across Canada have been left behind for a long time. When the Government of Canada steps up and invests $270 million in infrastructure in Yukon or $200 million in infrastructure throughout my riding of Labrador, it creates jobs. It not only creates jobs, but it allows people the opportunity to go back to school, to do skilled trades, to become equipped for those new opportunities that are now on their doorstep. It is really giving a tremendous sense of hope that has not existed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to debate Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures. I find the “other measures” part interesting. It almost indicates that it may be an omnibus bill, despite the protestations to the contrary. It certainly seems like an omnibus bill. One would have hoped we might have been able to apply the provisions of Standing Order 69.1. Of course, the government carefully worded that Standing Order change to specifically eliminate the provision to budget implementation acts. However, I digress. That is certainly a debate that would be joyfully had on another occasion.

This bill further indicates the problem with the Liberal government. It has a spending problem. Time and again, we have seen the Liberal government commit to tiny deficits of $10 billion, small one-time deficits over three years, and to quickly return to balanced budgets by 2019. However, that is not happening and yet we see reckless spending time and again, like, for instance, $212,234 on a budget cover. We cannot invest in the priorities of Canadians when money is recklessly spent by the Liberal government.

Looking at the projections going forward, we see at least $100 billion in new deficit spending over the next six years, far beyond what was promised by the Liberals in the last election campaign.

It is intriguing. On the day before Christmas eve of last year, the government, through the Department of Finance, released its long-term economic and fiscal projections. Already the Liberal finance minister has projected that he will once again release these figures later in the year. I suspect we will all be feverishly refreshing finance.gc.ca to see these new figures released, perhaps on Christmas eve or perhaps on New Year's Eve. Either way, I am sure it will not be done with much fanfare.

When the figures were last released on December 23, 2016, we saw that the government would not be able to balance its books until at least 2055. That means high school students graduating this year, at the age of 18, will not see a balanced budget until they are 56 years old. They will spend nearly their entire working career dealing with the reckless spending of the Liberal government. That is 30 years. My children, who are now three and one, will spend this time paying for the reckless spending of the Liberal government.

It is not just Conservatives who are saying this. In fact, the parliamentary budget officer is saying similar things.

In the October 31 report entitled “Economic and Fiscal Outlook”, the parliamentary budget officer predicts that program spending will continue to rise every year until 2023. Public debt charges will also rise, surging from $24 billion this year to $38.5 billion by 2023. A lot of hard-earned taxpayer money will be going to service debt. The parliamentary budget officer predicts that the federal debt itself will also rise every year, reaching a total of $700 billion by 2023. It is unprecedented for our national debt to grow so steeply in the absence of a world war or global economic crisis. Moreover, such incompetent fiscal management is both inexcusable and intolerable.

Throughout the debate on the original budget tabled on March 22, I received a number of emails, phone calls, and letters from people in my riding. They were concerned that taxes were being raised on families, students, small business and, particularly in my riding, on family farms. Now, we see this going even further, with taxes being raised on those suffering with type 1 diabetes. This is all being done to garner more money for the government's out-of-control spending.

Last spring I received an email from a constituent in Arthur, Ontario. I should mention that Arthur, Ontario, is known as Canada's most patriotic village. As we lead into Remembrance Day later this week, I want to comment on the bravery of our brave men and women who serve today and have served in the past.

A constituent from Arthur wrote,“I feel compelled to pass on this feedback in regard to personal income tax, as I recently filed our taxes. We're virtually a single income family, as my wife makes less than the personal basic amount. We saw very limited changes in our income and deductions in 2016 relative to previous years. However, our tax refund is 50% less than it was in 2015. I know we are not alone, as others have told me similar stories.”

This is reflective of the changes the Liberals undertook in their first two budgets, which included cancelling the fitness credit for kids in sporting activities, the arts credit, the textbook credit for those undertaking post-secondary education, and the public transit tax credit. Time and time again, the Liberal government has made hard-working Canadians pay for its fiscal mismanagement.

What is more, the burden is being placed on the middle class. A recent study found that 87% of middle-class taxpayers are paying more in income tax now than they were just two years ago, as much as $800 more per year.

In division 2, clause 176, of Bill C-63, we see the government sending money overseas. In fact, the Liberals are sending nearly half a billion dollars to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Canadians may have heard about the bank, but for those who have not, let me read from the Department of Finance backgrounder. It says:

Founded in January 2016 and based in Beijing, the AIIB is an international financial institution focused on addressing the estimated US $8 trillion infrastructure gap in Asia.

Just last week we found that the Liberals will be delaying $2 billion in infrastructure spending here in Canada, yet half a billion dollars would be sent for overseas infrastructure projects. I think of my riding of Perth—Wellington and so many of the important infrastructure investments my municipalities are calling for. I look at places like West Perth and the town of Mitchell, which are looking to put in a second bridge and a second water crossing to connect the two sides of the town and to allow the flow of the water system to be more efficient and with a better flow capacity. There should be funding for that, but we have yet to see the government reopen the new building Canada fund to allow for investments in important infrastructure, such as roads and bridges.

I think of places like Arthur and Drayton, which have important waste water projects that need to be undertaken to allow those communities to continue to expand and development. I look at places like Perth South and the town of St. Marys, which are continually updating their roads, bridges, and important infrastructure to make sure those towns remain viable.

I look at places like Stratford, where there is strong cultural infrastructure and they are looking for funding through the Government of Canada, yet we see $2 billion in domestic infrastructure spending being delayed. The government sees fit to send half a billion dollars overseas, rather than investing in important projects in Perth Wellington and across Canada.

I was very pleased recently to be named by our leader to serve as the shadow secretary for interprovincial trade. I note that division 10, part 5, of the budget implementation bill deals with the implementation of the Canada free trade agreement. This alone could take hours and days of debate in the House, but we are not being given that opportunity. The free trade agreement is 353 pages long but has 147 pages of exceptions and exemptions, especially those related to the sale and import across provincial boundaries of beer, alcohol, spirits, and wine.

The government has not acted on interprovincial trade, and this sham of an implementation of the free trade agreement does not address the true interprovincial trade barriers that exist within Canada. We must work together to remove those trade barriers to see our communities and small businesses prosper.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member was a little all over the place in the number of points he was trying to make, but I want to clarify something. At first there was mention of a reduction in taxes, but then it was half a refund. We all know that a refund really has nothing to do with a reduction in taxes, so we need to clarify that.

One of the things that is important is the increase in the Canada child benefit and the indexing of that benefit. I do not know about the member opposite's riding, but that benefit brings about $6 million a month into my riding. When we talk to local businesses in my community, they tell us it has been a boon for them, because those people in my riding are shopping locally and are helping those small businesses.

Speaking of businesses, the member mentioned the global economy. Certainly the larger businesses in my community, such as Team Eagle, Horizon Plastics International, and National Shunt Service, are all working very hard to compete in that global economy, and they appreciate the work we are doing on the international stage in securing trade agreements that are good for Canadians.

Can the member speak a little about the international trade agreements and the Canada child benefit?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned that I was a little all over the place. It is tough to get in a lot in 10 minutes. I note that she was a little all over the place as well in her question. However, she had a couple of points. Let us talk about free trade deals. I am very proud to be part of a party that implemented trade agreements with over 50 countries when we were in government, including the European Union, which is one of the largest and richest trading markets in the world.

She talked a little about small businesses. That is awfully rich coming from a Liberal member, after the Liberals spent the last three months calling small businesses tax cheats and accusing them of hiding their money and trying to cheat the tax system, when all the while we knew it was this finance minister and his Liberal friends who were really the ones doing all they could to avoid paying taxes. It was this finance minister who held shares in a company he regulates. It was this finance minister who forgot about a corporation he owned in France that housed his French villa.

It is rich to hear the Liberal government talk about small businesses, when in fact, for the past three months, it is the one that has been accusing them of being tax cheats.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my riding, tackling climate change is of the utmost priority, especially in the Comox Valley. We have heard loud and clear support for an eco-energy retrofit program, similar to what the Conservatives had in the last government, which they killed because it was so successful. It was one of those things the NDP had in common with the Conservatives when it was up and running. We would have liked to have seen it extended. In fact, we would like to see the government of the day take it on and bring that program back.

I received an email last night from Jason Jackson, who is an energy systems designer at Hakai Energy Solutions. He said, “As our company hears the thoughts and motivations of homeowners, we understand that those ready to invest in renewable energy are immediately demotivated by the fact that, unlike other regions of the world, Canada has no public strategy and provides no financial incentives directly to home and business owners that want to participate in the clean energy economy.”

The opportunity is right in front of us for people to actually have self-determination over their energy dependence and also to help move us forward in tackling this huge challenge we have. Does the member support bringing that program back to where carpenters and electricians could get into homes to help install clean energy? Does he support the NDP's call to bring that program back and to call on the government to do so with urgency?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

John Nater Conservative Perth—Wellington, ON

Mr. Speaker, regarding the eco-energy retrofit program, certainly in my riding of Perth—Wellington, it was a very popular program, as was the home renovation tax credit. Both were very popular and important to organizations, carpenters, and home builders.

Recently, members of the Stratford & Area Builders' Association have brought up this very topic, whether it is a home energy retrofit or a home renovation tax credit, like the one provided in the Conservative platform in the last election. Both programs were hugely valuable to Canadian families and those in the industry. It also worked to help drive the underground economy into the public. These types of programs force those who would normally operate underground, under the table, to go into the public sphere to file things legally and on the up and up. It allowed these families to receive beneficial tax credits but also encouraged those within the industry to do so legitimately.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:20 p.m.
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Scarborough Southwest Ontario

Liberal

Bill Blair LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to the Minister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to have the opportunity to rise today. I intend to focus the majority of my remarks in the brief time that is available to me in speaking specifically to part 4 of this bill. It states:

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.

Before speaking to the rationale and requirements of that part of the bill, I would like to make an observation on behalf of the constituents of my riding in Scarborough Southwest. My community is a working-class neighbourhood where many families struggle making ends meet, particularly families with young children. Census Canada tells us that nearly 57% of the children in some neighbourhoods are living below the poverty line. I have gone into those communities and seen the remarkable, and often unrealized potential of those children. We have not done enough for them over decades.

When we introduced the Canada child benefit, we were able to substantially increase the amount of funds that went into those families on behalf of those kids and in those communities. I want to share with every member of this House the positive impact that it has had. That money did not go into savings accounts or investment instruments. It went into the fridge, new shoes, new programs, and opportunities for those kids to participate in their community. It created new potential for those kids.

I wanted to say thanks to this House, and to all those who supported that investment, because it has made a huge difference to those families. Over 90% of the families in my riding benefited substantially from the implementation of the Canada child benefit. It has made a difference in my neighbourhood even beyond those families. Others have benefited substantially from this investment, such as those running small businesses in my community like a barber shop, grocery store, or kids' shoe store, and those who provide a place where someone might go and get a little recreation or fast food.

Of all the things the government can do, changing the lives of children and the quality of life in neighbourhoods is something that we can all be proud of. I want to share that pride and my appreciation with every member of this House. It is something we can agree is the right thing to do.

Speaking of the right thing to do, I want to talk a bit about the implementation of the cannabis bill. Members of this House have often heard me rise to speak to this. I want to provide a little insight into how the taxation scheme and investment at all three levels of the government are important to achieve the public purpose goal of changing the way cannabis is controlled in this country.

Currently, we have a system of cannabis control that is predicated almost entirely on criminal prohibition with significant legal consequences for those who break the law. We have seen the failure of that system where the young people in our country use cannabis at the highest rates of any country in the world. The cannabis they use is produced and sold by individuals involved in a criminal enterprise who have no concern for the health and safety of our kids, and do very little, with the billions of dollars in profit, that is helpful to our communities. Rather, they invest in other harms.

Our purpose is that we need to do a better job. I think that would be agreed across this country. We may have different ideas on how to achieve that, but I believe there is overwhelming consensus. We need to do a better job of protecting our children from the potential health and social harms resulting from the early onset use of cannabis, or from using cannabis of unknown potency and purity, or from buying cannabis from a criminal enterprise.

We also recognize that one of the harms that has been far too often visited upon young people in our society is criminalization and the impact of a criminal record. When I talk to parents across the country about the fears they hold around cannabis, they fear for the health of their kids, and whether they will achieve healthy social outcomes, complete school, or hang around with people they do not want around their kids. They are also afraid that late at night the kid may be pulled over by the police and end up with a criminal record.

We have tried our very best to respond to those things, but we do not believe that a prohibition, whether criminal or civil, is sufficient. The right way to manage all of the potential social and health harms of this substance is by investing in a significant regulatory framework predicated on public health principles intended to reduce those social and health harms. Based on the experience of other jurisdictions, we believe the only way to achieve that public health framework is by lifting the prohibition.

I have heard people ask why we do not just merely decriminalize it, but that leaves the prohibition in place. We cannot regulate the distribution or the production of a substance that is merely decriminalized, because it remains prohibited, so we have brought in a different system. Simply regulating a substance and its production and distribution will not achieve everything that needs to be achieved.

It is necessary for a government to make investments in such things as public education, because there is so much misinformation, ignorance, and myth associated with this substance. We need to clear up that fog. We need to make sure people have good information. We need to make sure our young people know the facts and know what will make a difference for them.

Our government has committed to investing $46 million in a public education campaign to make sure that information is available to our kids, to their peers, to their parents, to teachers, and to health professionals. That is an important investment that needs to be made.

We also want to ensure that we invest in those organizations that are given the responsibility of enforcing these new regulations, to administer this new system and the testing that needs to be in place. We have invested close to $440 million in Health Canada. We have invested another $161 million in law enforcement for those things. In order to make those investments, we have had to make them up front.

Part 4 of the bill also enables us to enter into negotiations and discussions with our provincial counterparts through our minister to ensure that a taxation system is imposed upon a regulated supply of cannabis, which will ultimately result in a price that is both competitive with organized crime's price and also would not provide an incentive for individuals to begin to use this drug.

Those are important discussions that need to take place between the Minister of Finance and his provincial and territorial counterparts to establish a harmonized taxation regime, so that discussion has begun. Our finance minister has met a number of times with his federal, provincial, and territorial counterparts. Senior officials in our government have met with provincial government officials to begin those discussions, and a consultation process will begin shortly, which will be public. We will engage with all stakeholders on this important issue. We believe in public consultation.

That is why part 4 of the bill is so important. We want to make sure the resources are available to those who are given the task of regulating, managing, and administering this system—putting that infrastructure in place, making sure it is appropriately funded, and making sure we make the investments that put substance behind our words and reality behind our intentions.

If our intentions are to do a better job of protecting our kids, if our intentions are to take this criminal opportunity away, take those billions of dollars away—the easiest money organized crime ever made—and create a harmonized taxation structure that would support those goals but also produce the revenue that could be reinvested in prevention, research, treatment, and rehabilitation, those are the things that make this amendment and part 4 a worthwhile endeavour, an appropriate investment.

I would ask every member of the House to support that initiative so that we may achieve the things that we all agree on. We need to do a better job of protecting our kids. We need to protect the health of Canadians. We need to take opportunity away from organized crime. We need to protect our kids from the threat of criminal sanctions. All those things could be achieved through appropriate investments and changing the legislation.

I thank members for their thoughtful attention to my remarks.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was going to ask a question about the Liberals' infrastructure bank, which I truly believe does not work in favour of rural Canada at all, but given the flavour of the hon. member's words, I will ask him a question about marijuana, which I asked in the House last week.

First, let me say that I absolutely agree that its use should be decriminalized and that we need a strong educational program as this moves forward. There is still a debate in my riding about whether it should or should not be legalized, but I know the government is heading down that path.

The people in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia want to be part of the future from an economic perspective and have formed a co-op in the West Kootenays to provide a solid way of moving forward with outdoor growing of marijuana through a co-op, so it would be a single source that the government has to deal with. There are about 120 people who have expressed interest in being part of that co-op. When we look at concerns about things like how to manage quality control, there would be a grading system in place to know what the percentages are for the health part versus the euphoria part. It is manageable, but so far it appears that the Liberal government only wants to include large corporate growers as part of the economic future for marijuana.

Will the government try to provide opportunities so that small growers who work together co-operatively in a co-op can be part of the future? I can pretty well assure the member that, if that is not the case, the illegal growing of marijuana will continue in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, at some point in time, we could perhaps have a greater debate on the merits of legalization versus decriminalization, but I would simply and succinctly say that experience has shown us that one cannot regulate that which is prohibited, and decriminalization maintains a prohibition. It simply replaces a criminal sanction with a civil sanction, but the prohibition remains in place, and as long as there is a prohibition, there cannot be a regulated supply or distribution system. That is why I believe so firmly that, in order to get this right, we have to lift the prohibition in order to implement a proper and comprehensive framework for the regulation of production and distribution.

With respect to the specific question that he asked about the opportunity for small growers and craft growers, I can assure the member that the regulations Health Canada has brought forward do not in any way impede the participation of small business. In fact, the overwhelming majority of licences that have currently been issued have been to companies with fewer than 100 employees and, therefore, qualify as small businesses.

There are, of course, very strict regulations in place to ensure that the purity and potency can be known and verified before anything moves to market. Those standards are in place to protect the health and safety of our citizens, so we will not compromise on those, but we will not, in our regulations, impede the participation of the small business owner or the small craft producer. As long as they are willing and able to abide by the strict regulations that are being put in place, they should be able to participate in the market.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member has been a public servant his entire life, serving his community in Toronto and rising to chief of police. I was wondering if he could tell the House what he has heard from other chiefs of police and what the government is doing to assist police forces in implementing the legalization of cannabis.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Bill Blair Liberal Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have been very much engaged in consultation with my former colleagues in public safety. What they have told us unequivocally is that, in order to address law enforcement capacity issues for the enforcement of these regulations, they need training, access to technology, and resources. We have listened, perhaps better than any other government, in my experience. I have been doing this for 40 years, and I can say that from my experience, I can recall dozens of times where very complex legislation was basically thrown over the fence to us and we were wished good luck with it. Instead, we have been working with law enforcement leaders in this country for over two years. We have listened to what they said they needed, we have responded to that, we have announced up to $274 million to make those investments in training, technology, and resources that they said they needed, and we will be there to help them be ready.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, this has been a very wide-ranging debate today on the budget bill, as it should be. I am going to add to that wide-ranging discussion of what we are faced with here in the House. I am speaking to Bill C-63, and it is the second budget implementation bill. I regret to say that I will be voting against the bill, and I hope to outline in this speech why that is the case.

In a nutshell, there are many things in this bill. It proposes to bring into effect new spending and new regulations with which I do not agree. There are many things that are not in this bill that I would like to see; for example, money for a national pharmacare program or more money for housing, which is of such critical concern in my riding of Burnaby South. However, that money is not there.

I want to bring to the attention of the House today that I am voting against this bill in part to protest and bring attention to the way the current government presents information to the public. In many cases, data are used to promote certain economic activities; the data that are used by the government are badly distorted, whether on purpose or through incompetence; or it is just plain wrong.

In the last Parliament when I would get up and talk about budgets, especially on the science portfolio, which I oversee for the NDP, I would ask for the presentation of data adjusted for inflation, for example, if they are looking at longitudinal data. I remember the Conservatives telling me that was some socialist voodoo economics, but in fact it is just a realistic way of looking at how money is spent over time.

I have not heard back from the current government, but I expect to be heckled a bit as I go through this talk today.

I would like to bring attention to the way the government throws around job-creation figures. As we did with the Conservative government in the last Parliament, we often get hyper-inflated numbers of job creation that always tie back to the budget, the spending, and those types of things. The Prime Minister's cabinet members are talking about jobs associated with their plan to ram a pipeline through British Columbia. That is of course the Kinder Morgan pipeline. If members will recall, this project was approved and the Prime Minister broke his promise to British Columbians and said that he would thoroughly review the project to see how many jobs and what would be the effect on the environment. However, he did not do that, and the Liberals are pushing it through against the wishes of the provincial government, most first nations communities, mayors and councils, and millions of British Columbians. Therefore, what I take specific issue with is the way the Liberals portray their job-creation numbers, not only in relation to the budget but in this specific case.

When the Prime Minister announced the approval of the pipeline, he said he would create 15,000 new middle-class jobs, and we see this in the budget document where we hear about all the jobs that the spending would create. However, in this case with the pipeline, the Prime Minister and his other ministers and parliamentary secretaries have said that this would create “15,000 new middle-class jobs”. This is repeated over and over. This is a lot of jobs; 15,000 jobs is a big number, and people might be tempted to overlook the environmental damage and the damage to relations with first nations that this might create, and they might support the project if, in fact, the figure of 15,000 jobs were true, but it is not. Really, the number is straight out of the mouths of the pipeline company proponents, the spin doctors, right onto the lips of the Prime Minister and of the parliamentary secretaries who defend the pipeline, and of the entire Liberal caucus in British Columbia, which is also solidly behind pushing this pipeline through our province.

The Prime Minister's ministers in cabinet repeat this number over and over again, so I feel it is important to delve into the number because it exposes the incompetence and duplicity of the current government when it comes to its economic statements. The first thing to note is that 15,000 jobs that the pipeline supposedly is going to create is just plain wrong, according to many analysts—for example, Robyn Allan, who has written extensively on this and testified both as an expert to the National Energy Board and on her own in many publications, is taking on this number firmly and convincingly.

Ms. Allan is no slouch. She is a former president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, the vice-president of finance at Parklane Ventures Ltd., and senior economist for the B.C. Credit Union. She is an expert witness on economic and insurance-related issues right here in Ottawa. She has taught money and banking, public finance, and micro and macroeconomics in universities. She has written numerous articles and books. If we were to call a witness to talk about how many jobs a project or a budget would actually create, this is the type of person we would want to advise us.

According to Ms. Robyn Allan, this number of 15,000 jobs associated with the Kinder Morgan pipeline is six times the number of temporary construction jobs actually presented by the company in its National Energy Board application. The Prime Minister, the parliamentary secretaries, the cabinet, and the B.C. caucus are all saying that the Kinder Morgan pipeline will create 15,000 jobs during its construction. However, that is contrary to what the company presented in its documentation to the National Energy Board. Therefore, the government has inflated this number sixfold. If we extrapolate that over other parts of the budget and other parts of the claims by the government, this makes us doubt almost everything that it is putting forward.

The 15,000 jobs number comes from a fantastical calculation based on a doubling of the amount of construction time this proposed pipeline is allowed to take. The pipeline is supposed to be constructed over two years. This 15,000 job number comes from a four-year construction period. Therefore, according to Ms. Allan, “Trans Mountain's estimate of 15,000 construction workforce jobs is a scam. The more realistic figure is less than 20 per cent of that size.”

Therefore, when Canadians are here listening to this debate in the House about the Liberals and their fiscal plans, the latter are flat out telling falsehoods about what we can expect with respect to one of the biggest projects in the country. They downplay the environmental damage that just one spill from this pipeline or its construction would create in communities right across British Columbia and have artificially inflated the number of jobs that will be created.

What is also important is the second part of the Prime Minister's statement that these jobs will be middle-class jobs. These 15,000 jobs the government claims will come from this pipeline are not permanent. This is of course from documents submitted by the company to the National Energy Board, which state, “Once the proposed Expansion Project is complete, operating and maintaining...[this] Pipeline system will result in approximately 90 new operating positions”. In fact, we will never see the Prime Minister stand up and say that he has justified this pipeline because it will create 90 permanent jobs; rather, he uses the inflated number of 15,000 jobs, which is clearly wrong.

The idea that these jobs are middle class is also wrong. Kinder Morgan president Ian Anderson was here at committee and admitted that he hires temporary foreign workers, and that those are the workers who will be hired to build this pipeline. Therefore, these 15,000 are not full-time middle-class jobs, but 90 full-time jobs, and perhaps 2,000 or 3,000 temporary construction jobs filled by temporary foreign workers.

What is worse, Kinder Morgan has contracted with CLAC, which is not an official union. It is not, for example, the BC Building Trades union. Therefore, it is skirting the unions in British Columbia that would ordinarily protect workers in order to make this happen.

Once we actually start looking at the facts from the company and the National Energy Board, we see that this 15,000 job claim is wrong. We have temporary foreign workers, we have temporary jobs, and we have 90-full time jobs. That is hardly worth rupturing our entire relationship with first nations people or local communities. In fact, 45% of British Columbians oppose this pipeline, and 30% are strongly opposed and are willing to take action to stop it. Many people who have not been to British Columbia are not aware that we do not have treaties with the first nations there, and they have significant rights. We are seeing this play out right now. We have 18 court cases, many of which were filed by first nations, including one yesterday by the Squamish Nation challenging the legitimacy of the review process for the pipeline.

Therefore, I would suggest that the government go back and take a look at these numbers for real and come back with realistic numbers that we could debate more fully.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Chris Bittle Liberal St. Catharines, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member about the indexing of the Canada child benefit in the budget implementation act. We know the Canada child benefit has had positive impacts across the country, including in the hon. member's riding. Could he could tell us what he has heard from his constituents about its benefits for low and middle-income Canadians, such as reduced child poverty, and if he is happy to hear it will be indexed in the future?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to tell the hon. member about what my constituents are saying about what I was speaking about. In fact, in 2014, 125 of them were arrested for trying to stop the pipeline. Thousands and thousands have protested against it. I polled my own riding, and 75% of those in Burnaby are against it.

They are really mad at the government, which keeps outlining in false way the benefits from this pipeline in order to spread the mistruths the company itself puts forward. I definitely listen to my constituents, and they care about this.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am going to do something I rarely do, which is to forgive the hon. member for Burnaby South for not speaking to the bill before us, because I passionately share his opposition to this wrong-headed project.

I would like him to expand on the theme. He carefully laid out how Kinder Morgan's claims that it will create vast numbers of jobs are completely erroneous, but what was not mentioned in his speech was the threat to jobs by building Kinder Morgan. The largest trade union in northern Alberta representing oil sands workers is Unifor. It attempted, as I did, to intervene in the process. It attempted to enter evidence into the record before the National Energy Board that Kinder Morgan threatened jobs as a direct threat to the Chevron refinery, which I believe is either in the member's riding or very close.

Could he comment on the threat to jobs at the Chevron refinery if Kinder Morgan proceeds?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy the member's interventions and really appreciate her support on this issue.

Of course, the threat to jobs in Burnaby or the rest of British Columbia is not covered by examinations at the National Energy Board, because the government relies on the process created by the Conservatives, which is to limit debate and stop cross-examination of companies. As a result, we really get a very pro picture of almost all projects.

The Prime Minister had said he would change the process and would send the pipeline proposal back to the drawing board. He immediately broke his promise, did not revise the process, and here we are.

Getting to the hon. member's exact point, we do have a refinery in Burnaby that I support. However, what has happened is that Kinder Morgan is pinching off supply to that refinery and it is in danger of closing. I fully support those jobs, which are good, union-paying jobs. It is a shame the government is not paying more attention to the welfare of people in British Columbia.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for talking about jobs. As someone from a coastal community who ran a chamber of commerce, I understand how important it is to protect the marine economy for our jobs. There are over 100,000 people who rely on a clean ocean for their jobs in coastal British Columbia.

As my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands just mentioned, we need to do everything we can to protect jobs in coastal British Columbia. We also have an opportunity to build a marine economy for the future. Where I live in Port Alberni, we want to build a marine economy through enhancements and investments in our ports, through investments in rehabilitating our salmon, investments in salmon restoration, and habitat protection and salmon enhancement.

Perhaps the member could talk about the jobs that are being threatened by this proposal and future opportunities for coastal British Columbia, which British Columbians are going to stand up and fight for, and how important it is that we listen to British Columbians. If we underestimate the will of British Columbians, we will find out what people in my community know, that when logging was taking place in 1993, the largest civil disobedience in Canadian history took place when good jobs and the future of the economy we created in Clayoquot Sound were threatened.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Kennedy Stewart NDP Burnaby South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government says that it is an evidence-based government that makes policy based on evidence, but basically it decided that this pipeline was going to go through no matter what, and then it fit the facts to support its case. Of course, one would perhaps expect that from an undergraduate writing their first paper, but not from a government that is supposed to run the country. The Liberals need to take in more evidence and, in fact, they need to cancel this project.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is my great pleasure to speak to Bill C-63 today. The budget implementation act, 2017, no. 2 includes key measures from the government's second budget, which outlines the second phase of the government's plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for every Canadian to succeed.

Thanks to these smart investments and an overall commitment to equity, the government is ensuring that Canada's best days are still ahead.

Before I get into the budget implementation bill, I want to talk about the measures the government has taken so far to give all Canadians, including those in the middle class and those working hard to join it, the opportunities they need to succeed.

To begin with, we asked the wealthiest 1% to pay a bit more in taxes in order to be able to give the middle class a tax cut. That tax cut for the middle class benefited nine million Canadians, and we are very proud of that.

Then we brought in the new Canada child benefit, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. As a result of our CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families are getting more in benefits than they did under the previous system. Compared to the previous system of child benefits, the CCB is more generous and better targeted to those who need it most.

In the fall economic statement released on October 24, the government announced that it would strengthen the Canada child benefit by indexing it to annual increases in the cost of living as of 2018, which is two years earlier than planned. What does that mean in practical terms? For a single parent with two children and an income of $35,000, the enhanced Canada child benefit will contribute an additional $560 in the 2019-20 benefit year towards the cost of raising his or her children. That means more money for books, winter coats, and skating lessons. The added confidence that the Canada child benefit brings to families can have a positive impact on economic growth.

Our government has also enhanced the Canada pension plan in order to provide Canadians with financial security when they retire from their hard work life. Enhancing the Canada pension plan ensures that Canadians will have more money in retirement so they are less worried about saving and can focus more on enjoying the good times with their families.

Starting in 2019, we will be enhancing the working income tax benefit by an additional $500 million per year. This will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers, including families without children and the growing number of single Canadians. The enhancement will be in addition to the increase of about $250 million annually that will also come into effect in 2019 as part of the enhancement of the Canada pension plan.

These two actions alone will boost the total amount the government spends on the WITB by about 65% in 2019, increasing benefits to current recipients and expanding the number of Canadians receiving this essential support.

This extra money could pay the family grocery bill or buy warm winter clothes. The improved benefit will help low-income Canadians make ends meet.

The government is also showing that it is committed to helping small businesses invest, grow, and create jobs by lowering the small business tax rate to 10% effective January 1, 2018, and to 9% effective January 1, 2019. This will provide a small business with up to $7,500 per year in corporate tax savings to reinvest in and grow its business. These kinds of savings are crucial for businesses to grow and prosper.

Lastly, the government intends to make important changes to the tax system that will ensure Canada's low corporate tax rates serve to support businesses, not to provide unfair tax advantages to the wealthy and the richest Canadians.

The steps taken to date are having a real positive impact on our economy and for Canadians. Optimism is on the rise, and with good reason. Job creation is strong with over 450,000 new jobs created in the last two years. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008. Youth unemployment is at a historic low.

Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7 by a wide margin, growing at an average rate of 3.7% over the last year, which is the fastest pace of growth since early 2006. Growth is forecast to be 3.1% in 2017, significantly above the expectation at the beginning of the year.

The fiscal outlook has improved by more than $6.5 billion annually on average from what was projected in budget 2017 last March.

The tax measures that we have taken for the benefit of families and children are having a real impact every day in my riding, Montarville. Approximately 97% of the people of Montarville clearly define themselves as being part of the middle class. These positive impacts are reported back to us regularly. They are felt in a very real and tangible way in peoples' wallets. This kind of investment is crucial, perhaps even a game-changer, in giving people assurances of a better life that is easier to manage because their budget is easier to manage.

For example, the city of Saint-Bruno, where I live, has been named the best place in Canada to raise children.

This kind of tax break is key to giving families the help they all need, just as families are having more and more children. A young family with three very young kids lives right across from me. That family is benefiting directly from this kind of help. This help is making a real, tangible, and practical difference at the end of every month.

Another measure I find quite interesting among the budget measures is the government's decision to legalize and regulate cannabis, as well as the economic spinoffs that can be generated by such a measure.

Our government plans to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis. This policy is necessary and desirable and has two objectives: to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, and to deprive criminals of any profits from illegal cannabis sales.

In advance of the government's plan to legalize cannabis, budget 2017 allocated several million dollars to public education programming and surveillance activities. On that note, I would like to inform the House that during the consultations I participated in, and even had the chance to lead in Quebec, one important concern was raised with regard to training, information, and above all prevention. Now that the system is regulated, the government can use the sales tax revenues it generates to take concrete action in certain areas, including prevention programs.

Taxation is one of the key factors that will play a major role in ensuring the objectives of legalization are met. As the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have clearly stated, in order for legalization to be effective, taxes must be low from the beginning, and the federal, provincial, and territorial governments must continue to work together to guarantee a coordinated approach. Co-operation is critical, and the federal government wants to engage our provincial and territorial partners in order to develop a coordinated approach to cannabis taxation.

I would like to remind all members that taxation is not the main objective of legalization. On the contrary, this is an essential health issue, given that the status quo has failed so spectacularly. That being said, by taking responsibility and legalizing cannabis, we will generate indirect tax revenue that will benefit Canadian society as a whole.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, we hear the government talk about the child benefit. I want to know if the Liberals have addressed the results that we are finding in places like Fort McMurray, where many of the families have lost the child benefit because of increased incomes, but the high cost of living is not being taken into consideration. Also the fact that so many people are losing their jobs as well as their homes is not being taken into consideration.

What is the government doing to address those issues where families have a new situation and the government is not there for support at all?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the election campaign, the Liberals made a promise that they were going to invest in language revitalization for indigenous peoples. We have been through two budgets, a budget implementation act here today, and again, there is nothing for indigenous language.

Right now we are in an emergency situation when it comes to languages. We lose more and more elders and the holders of that language. Cliff Atleo, who is one of our Nuu-chah-nulth elders at the council of the Ha'wiih, which is the hereditary chiefs of the Nuu-chah-nulth, says that their language is their identity. When they lose their language, they lose their identity.

If the member supports language revitalization and investments in the holders of the language, there are young people like Victoria Wells and Ivy Martin who want to carry on the legacy of their language and their culture, and holders of the language like Levi Martin, who want to share that knowledge, but we need assistance to help them carry on their culture and their traditions.

Will the government take urgent action on language revitalization as the NDP has repeatedly asked it to do?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, initiatives for reconciliation with the indigenous peoples are at the heart of our commitment. I am a member of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security with opposition colleagues, and all the members are unanimous that the first nations need as much collaboration as necessary to improve their situation. When it comes to identity or security, no stone is being left unturned.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, increasing the Canada child benefit, for instance, for lots of low-income aboriginal people, indigenous people, and others in my riding is crucial. As the member said, it is not taxable. There are 5,840 children in Yukon who receive this, an average amount of $6,240. Will the increases we gave to low-income seniors, low-income students, and the working income tax benefit contribute to the economy? Obviously, all of these people are going to reinvest that money right away. They really need it.

I will clarify what two opposition members said on northern benefits. We have increased the northern benefit so that people living in the far regions of the north get an increase, which was delightful for the north. Over three years, we will put in $89.9 million for indigenous language and cultures, so we agree with the NDP on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Michel Picard Liberal Montarville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to share something that happened to me one day when I was talking to my constituents. A woman came up to me in front of the grocery store and showed me what she bought. The total came up to about $5 or $6. She said that would probably be her food for the day, which was rather discouraging. She clearly did not have enough for three meals.

The government assistance being provided is probably not enough to make everyone rich, but it is meant to help meet basic needs. It is not enough money to invest. People need this bit of extra money on a daily basis.

This money is being invested in the public and in turn it will be reinvested in our market. It is reinvested in our grocery stores, our schools, our shops, and our services.

Our constituents confirm that this money is helpful. They are very clear, definitive, and consistent about it. They need this money and are very appreciative of this type of initiative.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have a chance today to discuss the latest iteration of the Liberals' budget implementation legislation, Bill C-63.

When the Liberals were running their election campaign back in 2015, they made a number of promises to Canadians. One of those promises was that they would incur a small deficit of less than $10 billion. During that same time, they also promised they would balance the budget by 2019. We now know that neither of these things are true, and that every time the Prime Minister gives with one hand, he takes more with the other.

As the Liberals like to make up words and change their meaning, I have made up a word for this action. It is “dispocketnesia”, which means using one hand to take from one pocket to the other and forgetting about it.

When the Minister of Finance tabled the government's fall economic statement just a couple of weeks ago, he confirmed the Liberals were borrowing $20 billion this year to pay for their out-of-control spending; that is $20 billion this year alone. That means the current deficit is more than double what the Liberals initially promised. This also means, as confirmed by the government, that the budget will never be balanced under the Prime Minister.

Of course, with reckless spending comes the need to increase taxes, which is in part what Bill C-63 would do. Since the Prime Minister is adding debt at twice the rate he promised and since his government projects that debt will grow every year into the future, someone needs to foot the bill. Unfortunately for my constituents and for all Canadians, it is the taxpayer who will bear the burden of the government's irresponsible spending.

I say all this because the Liberal track record of the broken promise after broken promise has fostered an environment of distrust and skepticism among the residents of my riding, and certainly across the country.

The Liberals constantly say that they are helping the middle class and those who wish to join it, yet over 80% of middle-class Canadians are now paying more taxes than they did before the Prime Minister took office. Bill C-63 would not help these people, but rather would push our country further and further into debt.

The 80% figure I just quoted does not even include a measure that will drastically affect my constituents in a multitude of ways. That measure is a carbon tax, or do the Liberals hope Canadians have forgotten about that, because that is 54 days away?

The good people in my riding just simply cannot afford another tax, certainly not one that will affect so many aspects of their lives. They will now need to pay more to heat their homes, to drive their cars, run their tractors and combines, get to work or see their doctor, and operate their businesses. What do these people get from their government in return?

I would like to say my riding is currently booming with government-funded infrastructure projects that it sorely needs, but that would be a lie. I would like to tell my constituents that in return for the increase in their household bills due to a carbon tax, they would have a government that cares about western Canada, but I definitely cannot say that under the Liberals.

I would very much like to tell the small business owners in my riding that the government will start making life easier for them by not changing the tax rules to the point they are unsure if their businesses will even be viable in the future. Alas, I cannot do any of these things. The government lacks the credibility, as shown by their dismal track record, and Canadians expect better.

One of the major measures contained in Bill C-63 that I would like to touch on is the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the effect this investment will have on Canadians. The Liberals are investing $500 million, half a billion dollars, to be a part of an investment bank in another country. We would think that an investment of that size would be overwhelmingly beneficial to the Canadian public, especially given the fact that the federal government is not exactly swimming in dollars at the moment.

Unfortunately, there will be very little direct benefit to Canadians as a result of this investment, and those who do benefit are the wealthy 1% who are the only ones who can afford to consider bidding on contracts through the infrastructure investment bank. We do not know how our investment will be used. We do not know what it will be used on or whether it will be to fund a pipeline. No, not a pipeline in Canada, despite the fact energy east was cancelled, but rather a pipeline in Asia. Instead of making it competitive for Canadian companies to see their oil, this makes it easier for foreign countries to compete against us.

How can the Liberals claim to be helping and representing the middle class when they are investing in measures such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank rather than using even a portion of that money to helping Canadians at home? The Liberals love to spend and we understand the need to create strong relationships and international partnerships through initiatives like investment banks, but it should not be at the cost of the Canadian taxpayer who will see no direct benefit. This is yet another reason why my constituents tell me they have completely lost faith in the government's ability to spend money responsibly.

It appears that the Liberals have a hard time understanding the needs of the middle-class Canadians for whom they say they are working. This is not surprising, given that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have never actually been middle class. The finance minister cemented this general lack of faith when it was recently discovered that he failed to disclose financial assets to the Ethics Commissioner. He should have done this as soon as he became a minister, and yet it was overlooked.

If average Canadians failed to disclose their assets to the appropriate government body, they would be punished accordingly, but when it is the Prime Minister's right-hand man, the problem seems to simply disappear. How are Canadians supposed to trust the finance minister with control of our country's finances when he cannot even properly take care of his own?

The finance minister also refuses to disclose whether he recused himself from important conversations surrounding legislation that would have an effect on his multi-million dollar company, Morneau Shepell . As far as we know, he took part in discussions surrounding Bill C-27. Was he involved in the talks on pensions for Bombardier and did he fail to recuse himself from discussions on the Bermuda tax treaty? Thankfully, he was unable to recuse himself when the Ethics Commissioner came calling. He paid the $200 dollar fine for his actions, but this leaves the question of just how open and honest our finance minister really is.

Canadians expect the Liberal government to do better and be better. We expect that cabinet ministers will uphold the rules to the letter of the law and will also do the right thing. The government has shown that the conduct of its cabinet ministers is not befitting the expectations of the people they represent. Not only are they unable to follow the rules themselves, but they expect the support of Canadians who are being punished for doing just that, as they stated in their messaging surrounding the tax changes to close perceived loopholes.

Those tax changes are going to hurt Canadians, especially in my riding where there is a plethora of small businesses, including farms. There are huge concerns over the cost to transfer a farm down from one generation to the next, something people in my constituency have been doing for over a century in some cases. The cost of doing business is going to go up for all business owners too, not just farmers.

Who is the cost not going to go up for? The Prime Minister and the finance minister, whose family fortunes are safely tucked away and will be unaffected by these tax changes. This just goes to show how out of touch the Liberals are when it comes to the needs of hard-working middle-class Canadians.

Bill C-63 contains many provisions given that it is an omnibus bill. Unfortunately I am failing to see how this “sunny ways” legislation will actually help the people in my riding. My hometown of Estevan is known as the “Sunshine Capital of Canada”. Even with that moniker, everyone knows the Liberals are not building green transit lines in rural Saskatchewan.

On this side of the House, we believe in responsible government spending, lower taxes, and making life more affordable for every Canadian. We have learned that we absolutely cannot trust the Prime Minister to give Canadians a tax break. In fact, the only thing we can trust is that he will continue to break his promises and put us further and further into debt, one tax increase at a time.

This is not what my constituents want. It is not what Canadians want. We will continue to fight the Prime Minister's continued tax hikes every step of the way.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Anju Dhillon Liberal Dorval—Lachine—LaSalle, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively to my colleague's speech. Since our government came into power, we have had extremely good growth. Canada has one of the fastest growing economies in the G7, and there is no denying that. I think my hon. colleague cannot deny that fact.

Budget 2017 will continue in the same way to help our economy grow further and continue to cut taxes for the middle class, small businesses, and help us move people into the middle class. I think my colleague across the way cannot deny that either.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have had a number of conversations with my hon. colleague over the last two years, which I appreciate. I have always found her very open in her conversation.

To answer her question, the Liberals cannot on the one hand take credit for the economy and jobs and on the other hand go after small businesses, farmers, and workers and tell them they are tax cheats. They cannot have it both ways. They either work one way or the other. If they are going to take credit for it, then they need to take credit for the fact that they are going to try to close all these loopholes they are accusing small businesses of having, and that is going to hurt my economy.

The economy in Estevan in my riding has lost many jobs because of the downturn in the oil industry, and it has not recovered. Those people are not back to work. They are still suffering. Back five years ago, my home town had a vacancy rate of 0.1%. Today it is 30%-plus. People are leaving rural Saskatchewan. The jobs in this infrastructure suggestion will not put any work into my riding.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, what is the member's plan to deal with the climate change crisis the world faces? I will give him a minute to think about it, because it may not be the number one priority for his party. I will make two comments while he is doing that.

First, it is fascinating how the Conservatives can make a loss out of a great win, and that is on the deficit. It has gone down from what was predicted because of the flourishing economy, and that is a great news story.

The other point is related to the fact that employment is at the highest in 10 years, as is growth, which was called “dismal”. Therefore, if the adjective for that is “dismal”, I wonder what the adjective for the Conservative record is.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I did have a quick chance to think about the member's question.

First, I am not in government. The member is in government.

Second, when we talk about what we can do, it gives me the opportunity to talk about what is happening in my riding. In my home town of Estevan, we have the only working carbon capture coal-fired power plant in the world. Basically, it is equivalent to taking over 2.5 million vehicles off the road by what it is doing. It is capturing 98% of the carbon through emissions. It is capturing 100% of the sulphur, which is being reused. It is taking those carbon emissions and pumping them down into the ground, which is also helping oil enhancement. It is making it easier for our oil industry to access the oil at a cheaper cost, which makes us more competitive.

Therefore, yes, we are stepping forward on the aspect of carbon capture, and we are very proud of that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 7th, 2017 / 5:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Bob Bratina Liberal Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-63, a bill to implement certain provisions of the budget. I want to first say how proud I am to be a colleague of the finance minister and to sit in the government with him.

The finance minister has led what most people would understand as an exemplary personal life. He has used much of his fortune to assist people in various parts of the world. He has to suffer the innuendo that is being offered almost every day, that perhaps he joined public life in order to enrich himself. I do not think anyone would seriously believe that we would engage in the election campaign and be successful in public life in the hopes of leaving this place as much wealthier people than when we came. The other thing I want to say about the finance minister is that his area of expertise is critical to the future of so many Canadians, because we have an aging population, we have many issues with regard to pensions, and it should be seen by most Canadians as a benefit to have someone with the profound expertise in the world of pensions such as our minister has.

The biggest take-away from the finance minister and the government legislation that we have put forward is the economic success of the country. All the numbers show it, and we have heard about the job creation. In my own city of Hamilton, we have an unemployment rate of 4.2%, and for the seventh year in a row we have over $1 billion in new building construction.

I also want to point out the success we have had with the Canada child benefit. In my own riding in the month of July, which is the latest for which I have the final figures, 9,470 families received cheques that affected 16,560 children for a total of $5.8 million. In the entire city of Hamilton, all five ridings, 44,700 families were affected, 80,620 children received the benefits, and the total amount for one month in Hamilton was $27.4 million. This money not only goes directly to the families involved, but one would assume it would immediately be reinvested in the community, in the neighbourhood stores, and in the small businesses in the neighbourhood where purchases are made. Therefore, this investment in the Canada child benefit plan is paying dividends that are almost impossible to understand. It is worth saying that in my city there are 80,000 children who are benefiting from this policy that stems from our budget, which was created in part by the finance minister.

I also want to briefly touch on the notion that comes from across the way referring to the costs to be borne by future generations. As a former mayor, I can say that the cities of Canada are in a desperate situation with a huge municipal infrastructure deficit that they cannot solve through the local tax revenues that they generate. Therefore, what would it be like for our future generations if the roads and sewers were even further incapacitated in the years ahead? In our case, we have just made a significant investment in safe drinking water. These are problems that exist now, and fixing them will be to the benefit of those future generations, so I am proud of what we have been able to achieve.

I will leave it at that for now.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / noon
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to stand in the House today, 150 years since the very first sitting on November 6, 1867.

Before I move onto this, it is appropriate that I send our thoughts and prayers to friends, families, colleagues, and first responders who attended the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas. Our thoughts and prayers are with the friends, the families, and all first responders in that entire community. Just as they are grieving, we are grieving with them.

I thought about what I would say on the fall economic statement. Today, I will talk about our legacy because, at the end of the day, all of us will be remembered for something. In preparing for this speech, I stumbled across a couple of quotes that I thought I would enter into the records. The first is, “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” That was by William Shakespeare. Over the last two year, we have seen the Prime Minister's actions, his direction and his choice of how he will move forward in his mandate or what he believes is his mandate.

I coached for a long time. I would always tell our kids, when I was coaching hockey, or baseball, or soccer or when I was working with youth groups, that they would go through this life once. At the end of the day, all they would have was their integrity, their legacy. I would ask them what they would like to leave behind, or what would be their brand as they moved through life. When I would worked in schools, I would talked to kids. I would ask them what a brand was. They would say that a brand was the swoosh on a Nike shoe, or it was the great big A&W sign or the bear for A&W. I would tell them that their brand was what people would say about them after they left the room. The kids talked about the the swoosh or all those other items. These are logos and marketing tools, but a brand is really what people say about us.

If we compare governments and prime ministers over the years, Prime Minister Harper took us from back row and second from the left to principled leadership and the front row. That will no doubt elicit jabs from the other side, but I want to offer this. We had a leader who was principled, who put his thoughts always on Canadians, how our policy would impact those who elected us, how we were seen on the world stage with respect to Canada as a collective as one nation, and I have the examples to back it up.

There are those of us who are more concerned about how we are perceived through the lens of others than how our actions are perceived and what our legacy will be. I will use a very recent example.

We have a young Prime Minister who has been in Vogue. He has been seen planking, photo bombing through Stanley Park in my beautiful province of British Columbia. He has been seen with his shirt off. Far be it for me to criticize.

We had a leader who was known for his principled leadership. Now there is a leader who is known for fancy socks or for showing up in question period in a Superman Halloween costume underneath his clothes. I was in the House that day. Many on this side were wondering if he had a new haircut. Somebody said that he was trying to be Waldo. I said no. I said that if we had learned anything over the last two years, it was that he believed he was Superman. I said he was trying to Clark Kent. The Prime Minister left part way through question period and returned quickly. Shortly thereafter in social media was the Prime Minister coming down the stairs showing the large Superman logo. He thought that was very novel and that it would be on the front page of newspapers.

At a time when fishers, farmers, and small business people are suffering, the Prime Minister is being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner. The finance minister is embroiled in an investigation, one that I do not know we ever have seen before. He seemingly has profited since being in office. He introduced legislation that would benefit the companies in which he had assets. We now know that there are more hidden businesses, numbered companies, in the Bahamas. The latest leak in the last 24 hours is that there are more questions. Canadians are hearing about questionable actions, which are leading to more questions.

I come back to our legacy. When I ran in the election, I had an opportunity to speak to a few members of Parliament, a few MLAs, and leaders within the community, who I hold in high esteem. They are really my mentors and I respect them. They put our constituents first. I think the world of Mayor Lyn Hall in my riding. During the course of the wildfires, he led his team with actions, not just words. He helped alongside myself and some of the MLAs as our community grew beyond our traditional population base. We welcomed 11,000 evacuees into our community and looked after them. We opened up our hearts and homes and looked after them.

With true leadership, MLA Mike Morris, MLA Shirley Bond, and MLA John Rustad did whatever they could to ensure that those in our communities were cared for. We do that every day, not just when there are emergencies. Why? Because we care more for how those in the community who elected us are doing than getting a picture on the front page of a newspaper, wearing new socks, walking a red carpet, or taking a selfie. We care about those who elect us. We care deeply about our communities. We care deeply about Canadians.

We have a government that campaigned on promises to Canadians, that said they were ready to lead. They said real change will be coming. Have we ever seen real change. The Liberals announced in their fall fiscal update that they have no plan to get back to a balanced budget. They have no plan, because it is not their money. They have no idea.

When I talk about my family finances, I do not refer to them as my fortune. In my riding of Cariboo—Prince George, there are very few people who can stand before a mike or a camera and talk about their family's fortune. They would probably say they are worried about their family's finances or how they are going to make ends meet. They would probably say they are worried about the fact that Canada does not have a softwood lumber agreement in place.

There is a further concern in terms of one of our number one industries within the province of British Columbia. This past weekend, Tolko, one of the largest mills in my riding and located in Williams Lake, had a massive fire. This added further insult to the fact that we lost 53-million cubic metres of fibre in the wildfires this past summer.

The Liberal government has dithered away any opportunity to get a softwood lumber agreement in place, and hundreds of people have been waiting to see their government stand up for them and fight. Now there is further uncertainty in our communities. There is further uncertainty in our communities because of what the government has done. The Liberals like to say that Canadians are far better off, but the reality is that hydro, gasoline, home heating, health and dental benefits, employee discounts, personal savings, life-saving therapies, and local businesses have all been attacked by them, regardless of what they say.

People at home are listening to this debate today. People in the gallery are listening. I can say that everyone gets talking points. Government members get talking points. When we ask the hard questions that Canadians want us to ask, time and time again the Liberals will stand up and give the same repetitive answer, which turns out to be a non-answer. Why is that? It is because they do not believe they have to answer to Canadians.

There is another quote that I want to mention, “All good men and women must take responsibility to create legacies that will take the next generation to a level we could only imagine.” What level are we talking about for the next generation? Under the leadership of Prime Minister Trudeau, what is the government going to leave to the next generation? The debt we are incurring today, the money we are talking about today, is not free money. It has to be paid back. Who is going to pay that money back? It will be my kids. It will be their kids. The next generation will have to pay it back. That will be the Liberal legacy.

I have stood in the House a number of times since the summer. I have talked about the wildfires and how our communities managed to rally together.

Speaking about legacies, there is a gentleman back home who is very sick. I believe he knew how sick he was during the summer. Regardless of how sick he was, he continued to fight the fires. He continued to lead teams all on his own. He is a local logging contractor whose name is Lee Todd. He is legendary in the Cariboo. However, he was sick, and I am not quite sure how sick, but he flew his personal helicopter to try to spot where the first fires were. He led other local contractors.

In the Cariboo, we do not take no for an answer and we do whatever we can to get things done. Regardless of whether it is prescribed, we just get it done. We do not ask for permission, many times we beg forgiveness afterward, but we get the job done. Nobody knows what tomorrow is going to bring but, for me, one of Lee's legacies is going to be that regardless of his own health and well-being, he continued to lead and do whatever he could. For example, he opened his shop and fed the firefighters and contractors who wanted to save our community.

I throw that in because, again, when we are talking about legacy and moving forward, we have to be reminded time and again that this House does not belong to us. It does not belong to the government or to those of us on the side. It belongs to Canadians. We were elected to be here and be their voices. We have talked about parliamentary privilege over the last year. That privilege is not so we can get to the front of line, ride in fancy vehicles, or attend fancy events. Parliamentary privilege is there to protect the rights of Canadians. This has been forgotten.

We have a Prime Minister and a House leader who wanted to change the standing rules of the House because they thought it would modernize them. They have invoked closure on debate, time allocation, time and again. I know what is going to come from the other side. They are going to start pointing fingers and saying that when those guys were in power this is what they did. Well, I can only speak about my experience. I am a new member of Parliament, as people know. I am fortunate that the good people of Cariboo—Prince George elected me. I have lived every day of being elected with the mindset of asking what my legacy is, because I may only get the chance to be elected once. We do not know how long this opportunity is going to last. Whatever we do, we should try to impact and change as many lives as we can.

Hopefully, people see that they have a fighter and I am fortunate enough to be elected in the next election. Whether it is my bill, Bill C-211, that calls on the government to develop a national framework with respect to post-traumatic stress disorder; our work in talking about the impacts of impaired driving on families, which loss never heals regardless of time; working with my colleagues on this side of the House to hold the government accountable and fight for Canadians; working with colleagues across the way on team Canada approaches, and going to the U.S. to sit side by side with them and presenting team Canada, not being partisan, but team Canada; or whether it is through parliamentary trips, we always have to be mindful of what our legacy is.

I know my time is very short. I want to leave everyone with this last quote, and I have one question after that. John Diefenbaker said, “Freedom is the right to be wrong, [freedom is] not the right to do wrong.” I think that is so important. I am going to leave my colleagues with this. Before the partisan jabs come out, I want to ask everyone in the House what they want their legacy to be and what they want to be remembered for. Is it standing up for someone who is hiding assets and making it harder for Canadians? Fight, fight for Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, let me begin by making a comment. It is very easy to make personal attacks. It would be very easy for me to make personal attacks against the previous Prime Minister Stephen Harper. However, I will not do that, because that is not what Canadians want. What I will do is focus on the member's comments about a legacy. One thing that this Prime Minister has proven as part of his legacy is a confidence and a belief in Canadians. That is why this Prime Minister has held unprecedented levels of consultations, which have resulted in some of the measures included in Bill C-63.

Just as an FYI, it is not the Prime Minister who is asking to take selfies, it is Canadians who are asking to take selfies with the Prime Minister. That is a vote of confidence. That is an indication of a great legacy and a great brand.

I will provide the member with a few facts. There are over 450,000 more new jobs today than there were in 2015. In October alone, there were over 30,000 new jobs created. We have had the lowest unemployment rate since 2008. We have had the fastest growth in the G7. Are these not things that the member would acknowledge are a great legacy and that our Prime Minister and this Liberal team can be very proud of?

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

There we go, Mr. Speaker, she answered the question. That is exactly what I said the Liberals are worried about, their brand. She said that it was because of their “brand”. Oh my gosh, the arrogance is staggering.

Let me speak first to this “FYI”. It is not about the brand of the Prime Minister, it is about the policy that impacts Canadians. We know that 80% of Canadians pay more tax under the current government than they did with us.

Let me also talk about the consultations of the Liberals. Whether it is with respect to Bill C-63 or Bill C-55, Canadians are saying that the current government is not listening to them. Therefore, in my file on fisheries, oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, time and again, Canadians, whether they are our first nations, stakeholders, fishermen, or farmers, those people at the grassroots are telling us that the Liberals are not listening. They are more worried about their brand than they are about Canadians. That is the problem.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am so pleased that my colleague from Cariboo—Prince George has highlighted the legacy of failings of the Liberal government. Also, I very much appreciate that he highlighted that this is not about serving Canadians, it is about branding the Prime Minister. In fact, in the question just a second ago from the Liberal member, she commented on what a great legacy taking selfies was to leave behind. Can members imagine that being one's legacy?

I want to ask the member this. The long-lasting legacy of the current Liberal government will be imposing upon the next generation an unbearable debt load because of the Prime Minister's profligacy in spending. I would ask the member to comment on how our children and grandchildren are going to have to pay for our spending today. This is spending that is for our benefit but that future generations will have to pay.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague from Abbotsford. He knows I look up to him, and think the world of him. We are very fortunate to be in the House. We get to learn from and work with great people from all sides. The hon. member for Abbotsford has an incredible legacy that will live well beyond his time in the House.

He talked about the spending of the government. I do not know about you, Mr. Speaker, but I do not go to the casinos. I think we have done fairly well in our lives, but just going to a bank machine is like going to a slot machine. If I get some cash out, it is like I beat the house.

The Prime Minister has never had to worry about balancing a chequebook. He has never had to worry if he is going to have money in his bank account to make ends meet at the end of the day, or how he is going to clothe and feed his family. His government has spent more money on projects that do not benefit Canadians. The Asian investment bank will do nothing to create infrastructure here in Canada. Why is he spending that money? It is because it is helping his friends.

He has no concept that that money has to be paid back. Our kids, like the pages who are sitting with us, when they get out into the real world, do not understand they already have a huge amount of debt they have to pay off because of the government. It is not starting out on the right foot. It is starting out in debt. That is wrong.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to bring us to the topic of today's debate, which has been completely absent for the last half hour or so. That is Bill C-63, the omnibus budget bill.

This is my first chance to speak to this, so I would like to mention that I read it over the weekend. It is a bill of 275 pages, with 11 different divisions. As much as I am genuinely fond of my friend from Cariboo—Prince George, I was disappointed by his speech, because vacuous rhetoric around the Prime Minister's socks is not as valuable as actually diving in and discussing the bill.

I have read a lot of omnibus budget bills. As for the ones under the previous government, I can genuinely and honestly say that turning page after page of Bill C-38 I moved from anger to grief. I was crying by the time I finished reading it. I am very happy to say that having read Bill C-63, I was nearly very bored. That is a good sign when dealing with a budget bill.

I would like the member to tell me if he likes or does not like the amendments in division 8, part 5, which would allow for flexible work arrangements for employees, or further in that division, the part that would guarantee time off work for families who are victims of family violence.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands is also someone I very much respect in the House, and consider a friend. Usually, she is standing up and saying that was a good speech we did, or we had a good comment.

Our colleague brings up a good point. There are things in the bill that are good, but I would offer this to our hon. colleague across the way. She is a good person. She knows we are here to make sure we are representing and standing up for Canadians at all times.

My 30 minutes was not about the Prime Minister's socks. It was more about how we are more worried about a brand than policy, and how that impacts Canadians. She is a very smart and learned person, far smarter than I am. I apologize, perhaps it was my delivery of my speech, but my message was this. We seem to have gone away from what matters most, and that is Canadians, to what our Prime Minister is wearing. It is more that than what he is bringing to the table, and what he is doing for Canadians, and how far we have fallen. That was the crux of my speech.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives continue to be out of touch with what Canadians really want to hear. I would suggest to members that, while they focus their criticism and personal attacks, whether it is on the Prime Minister, the Minister of Finance, or the government as a whole, we will continue to remain focused on delivering for Canadians.

When the member talks about things such as “legacy”, I would suggest that the member might want to reflect on many of the positive initiatives of this government, whether it is historic agreements on pensions and the environment; a health care accord in regards to the fine work that the former minister of health has done on that; or tax reform or tax breaks. There is a litany of things that this government has done.

I have many individuals who have given me the distinct impression that this government has done more in two years than the former government did in over 10 years. I would ask the member if he would not, at the very least, acknowledge that there have been many different and positive actions that this government has taken.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

There we go again, Mr. Speaker, the Liberal arrogance.

The member should come out to the communities. Come out to the small rural ridings where the proposed tax plans are targeting the hard-working creators of our communities, the backbone of our economy, and the backbone of our provincial and regional economies. They are attacking them. Eighty percent of Canadians are far worse off under the current government than they were under our government.

In fact, the Liberals talk about all the money that they are spending to make things better. The parliamentary budget officer has even said that infrastructure grants and contribution promises are falling flat. They are not able to get the money out the door. What do the Liberals do? They point the finger at the communities, say that they are not ready, and say it is not them but somebody else.

I am asking colleagues across the way to stand up for Canadians. How do they want to be remembered? What is their legacy going to be? Will it be socks?

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on Bill C-63. It is an honour to do so.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, are the backbone of the Canadian economy. They employ 10.5 million Canadians and contribute to roughly 40% of the country's gross domestic product. They are indeed engines of job creation.

The government is committed to making sure that businesses have the resources that they need to invest, innovate, grow, and create jobs. The Business Development Bank of Canada, BDC, is helping Canadian entrepreneurs achieve their full potential by facilitating their access to tailored solutions, including financing and consulting at each stage of their development. BDC services support the start-up and growth of small businesses across Canada.

BDC is mandated to support Canadian entrepreneurship, with a particular focus on SMEs. It does so by offering financing and advisory services. BDC financing provides business loans with flexible financing options, such as principle postponements and pre-authorized working capital, which help to protect the company's cash flow.

Before I go any further, I would like to inform this House that I am honoured to be splitting my time with the member for Parkdale—High Park.

Through its investments in a broad range of services, from venture capital to quasi-equity and securitization, BDC supports innovative and high-growth companies as they expand operations and scale up.

BDC's advisory services, which include a broad range of business support and consulting provided through a network of consultants, help businesses scale up, improve productivity, and export. Through its pan-Canadian reach, BDC serves nearly 49,000 clients, active in all industries nationwide, through a network of 118 business centres located across Canada.

To further expand its reach to entrepreneurs, BDC leverages its support to SMEs through more than 290 partnerships, strategic relationships, and memberships. Among other things, these partnerships allow BDC to improve support for underserved entrepreneurs, including young entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses in Canada's north, social entrepreneurs, immigrant entrepreneurs, and rural entrepreneurs.

BDC also extends its reach and visibility to SMEs by organizing the annual BDC small business week, which was successfully held across Canada this year during the week of October 16. The BDC small business week celebrates entrepreneurship at local, provincial, and national events. It attracts close to 10,000 entrepreneurs at hundreds of events held across Canada.

As an instrument of public policy, BDC also responds to the direction from the government on areas with the most priority. For example, recognizing the importance of venture capital to Canada's economic prosperity, the Government of Canada introduced the venture capital action plan, VCAP, in 2013 and directed BDC to act as an agent of the government in managing the VCAP.

BDC also participates in the development and deployment of the accelerated growth service, AGS, which delivers coordinated, client-centric federal support, including financing, advisory services, and export and innovation support from participating federal organizations. As part of its role in the AGS, BDC collaborates with other organizations in the federal family to operationalize its concept, and to offer coordinated access to government services and programs.

The proposed changes in Bill C-63 to the Business Development Bank of Canada Act will allow the BDC to deliver on key initiatives in budget 2017, and thus improve access to capital for innovative SMEs operating in emerging sectors of the Canadian economy.

SMEs will be the Canadian job creators of the future. In particular, BDC will also be making available new financing to clean technology firms, including SMEs, to help them hire new staff, develop innovative products, and support domestic and international sales. Innovation in clean technology will lead to products and services that will have an impact on all sectors of the Canadian economy. Clean tech has the potential to create thousands of well-paying jobs for Canadians.

The legislative change will also allow BDC to administer the venture capital catalyst initiative, VCCI, which will increase the late-stage venture capital available to Canadian entrepreneurs, and help Canadian start-ups grow and succeed. Venture capital is an essential source of financing for innovative, growth-oriented firms, and VCCI will support the continued growth of Canada's innovative companies.

I am very pleased to see that the Government of Canada is making smart and responsible investments that will result in better jobs and opportunities for all Canadians. The amendment to the Business Development Bank of Canada Act will enable the government to make the required investments in BDC to allow it to implement these important initiatives.

As our economy evolves to a more innovative clean tech-oriented economy, it is important that we make investments today that will pay off for the future generations. Equally important, I believe, is Canada's growing trade economy. Canada's ability to export to foreign markets needs to be leveraged. It is the way the economy of the future will grow, and it is the way Canada and Canadians can diversify their customer base in a changing global environment.

My riding of Newmarket—Aurora is home to many SMEs. I have had conversations with a number of them who already access the services of BDC. It is an important tool and lever in the Canadian economy that, in my frank assessment, is underutilized at this point.

Many SMEs are not aware of the services offered by BDC. I believe that changing the Business Development Bank of Canada Act, creating investment, particularly venture capital investment, will be the way for those SMEs to tap into and access federal government support, and also to access venture capital support, both at early age as start-ups and as they mature when they need additional capital to expand their already successful operation.

I hope that all sides of the House will agree that supporting SMEs, supporting innovation, and supporting the creators of jobs today and what will be the creator of jobs in the future is something that we can all get behind. I urge all members to support Bill C-63, particularly those with an affinity and fondness for the proposed changes to the BDC, because these investments will improve the BDC, thereby improving the opportunities for SMEs across Canada.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Kellie Leitch Conservative Simcoe—Grey, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite was focused on one bank, but I would like to focus on another that is mentioned in this budget implementation bill.

The Liberals have made a choice to now make an enormous investment in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. This is a government that ran on a platform that it would make substantive investments in infrastructure development here in Canada. Whether it be Collingwood or Wasaga Beach, my home town of Creemore, or otherwise, that infrastructure is desperately needed to make sure that small businesses are successful and, quite frankly, to make sure moms can just get their kids to school.

The fact of the matter is the Liberal government has made a choice. It has chosen to invest close to half a billion dollars in a different place, in China. The last time I checked, China was not a province of Canada nor Canada a province of China.

Why is this investment in infrastructure being made overseas, not here at home where we really need it?

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's affinity for infrastructure investment. I was with her in her riding when we announced infrastructure spending at the hospital at CFB Borden. I was happy to be there with her and share some of the good news with some of her constituents, who I can assure members very much appreciated that investment in infrastructure. As the member mentioned, it is very much needed, not only in her riding but across Canada.

However, our investments in infrastructure and in the infrastructure bank, indeed any investments we make, as any Canadian does, are made with a look to getting a return on that investment. We need to look globally around the world for how we can leverage Canadian expertise and Canadian capital to get the best return on that expertise and capital. That is the benefit of investing globally. This not an either/or proposition. Of course, we will continue to invest in Canada and all the provinces of Canada, but we also need to keep investing globally to be a player in the global infrastructure world and to make sure there is a return on investment for Canadian investors, wherever they choose to invest their capital.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his attention to SMEs.

If the government of the day paid attention, it would see that world investment is shifting toward renewable energy, not fossil fuels. Yet the current government has been chastised by both the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development and the Auditor General for not only refusing to provide the schedule for how it is going to meet its commitment to remove perverse subsidies for the fossil fuel sector, but also for the pathetically tiny shift in fossil fuel write-offs in its budget, which we are debating here today. My understanding is that it simply would move from 100% write-off to a 30% write-off, and that this will continue up to even 2021.

Could the member tell us, given his interest in SMEs, his government's schedule to finally remove the perverse subsidies, which amount to almost $6 billion a year, and of that amount, how much is reduced in this bill?

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kyle Peterson Liberal Newmarket—Aurora, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always nice to hear from the member for Edmonton Strathcona. We had an opportunity last week to sit together at the special hearing of the international trade committee when the Prime Minister of Ukraine was here. It was nice to see her there. I know that we share either Ukrainian heritage or a large Ukrainian contingent in our constituency.

As a member of Parliament, not necessarily a member of the government, I do not have any inside information on that schedule. However, it is not an either/or proposition. This government supports both the oil and gas sector and clean, green technology. I do not think we should be ashamed of that. I do not think that is something bad. I do not think we need to make enemies of certain sectors in this country as a way of pushing a different agenda. There is room in the Canadian economy and the Canadian landscape for both industries. It behooves our government, and it is actually incumbent on us, to support industries that create jobs for Canadians, and I am proud to be part of a government that chooses to do that. I hope we do it for a very long time.

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November 6th, 2017 / 12:50 p.m.
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Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin today by acknowledging that not only are we marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation this year, but on this very day are also celebrating the 150th anniversary of the first meeting of this very Parliament. It is an honour to speak on such an auspicious occasion.

I rise today to speak about the second budget implementation act, Bill C-63. I will address key parts of this implementation act, which I know will have a positive impact on and benefit the residents of my riding of Parkdale—High Park.

Over the last two years, I have heard from my constituents on issues that affect them and their families daily. I have heard their concerns and what they would like to see addressed by the government. I know that the positive measurers included in this proposed act will help to resolve my constituents' most pressing concerns.

Canada has the fastest growing economy in the entire G7, and as a government, we are dedicated to reinvesting the benefits of that growth back into Canada to better the lives of my constituents in Parkdale—High Park and, indeed, all Canadians. Our government will lower taxes on small businesses, offer more support to families through the Canada child benefit, enhance the working income tax benefit, and also advance indigenous reconciliation.

There have been 500,000 jobs created since 2015. Over 1.5 million low-income workers will receive support to advance their careers and provide for their families. Canada's unemployment rate has dropped from 7.1% in September 2015, just before the last federal election, down to 6.2% in September of this year. Youth unemployment figures across the country are also at historic lows. Building on this positive growth, our government is enhancing the working income tax benefit by $500 million, which will benefit 1.4 million Canadians. Additionally, to encourage entrepreneurship and innovation in our communities, we are lowering the small business tax from 11% to 9%.

This is a strong budget that will benefit people from coast to coast, including my fellow residents of Parkdale—High Park. This will be done by ensuring tax fairness, thanks to this new budget implementation act. It will put Canada's most skilled, talented, and innovative individuals at the heart of our future economy, creating more jobs both in the short term and the long term. We will also be implementing an agenda that addresses the changing nature of the economy to ensure that it will work for all Canadians.

This legislation allocates $400 million for the venture capital catalyst initiative. This will directly benefit start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in Parkdale—High Park and right around the country. It is the small business owners, like those in the neighbourhoods of my riding, like the Junction, Swansea Village, and Parkdale itself, and Bloor west village that not only stimulate our economy but also support the families living in our very community.

In the last couple of years, it has been a pleasure to engage in conversations time and time again with small business owners in Parkdale—High Park, who make up the fabric of the fantastic neighbourhoods where we live, and shop, and raise our families. I also held a town hall with small business owners at the end of September. I listened carefully to their concerns and relayed those concerns back to cabinet and the minister.

Our government has responded. As a result of this important feedback, we are determined to limit any changes in the tax treatment of passive income to 3% of Canadian businesses who hold more than $1 million in their corporate accounts. We have also decided not to move forward with measures relating to the conversion of income into capital gains.

I know that many of my constituents work long hours, and sometimes maintain more than one job to advance their careers and to support themselves and their families. Therefore, I will address the working income tax benefit, because this zones in on so many millions around this country, the hard-working Canadians, whether they live alone, with families, or are supporting seniors. In fact, the working income tax benefit is particularly zoned in on those living alone, who are now, according to the most recent census, the most common type of household in the entire country. For those people, it will alleviate the stress of managing the cost of housing and living expenses throughout a given month. For a single person balancing escalating costs, it will ease the transition back into the workforce. It will also reduce income inequality and help to reduce poverty in this country.

In addition to assisting working Canadians, we are acting on our priority of supporting communities' most vulnerable people: children and families in need of additional resources. We are doing so through this budget implementation act by enhancing the Canada child benefit. Once we heard from families across the country, our government took measures to cut taxes on Canada's middle class, as well as to introduce the Canada child benefit, a much-warranted change that creates tax-free benefits targeted to help those who need it the most.

The new Canada child benefit has already been tremendously successful. In fact, it informs a lot of the economic growth I referenced in the first part of my remarks. As the result of this very program, nine out of 10 families already benefit from the CCB, and 300,000 children have been lifted out of poverty as compared to the year 2014-15. The impact of these measures cannot be underestimated. This impact is being felt by families who contribute to our communities and local economy by investing back into communities with things like piano lessons at High Park Music, swimming lessons at the Parkdale Community Recreation Centre, or simply by purchasing healthier food for one's kids at the various farmers markets in my riding.

As a result of the enhancements to the Canada child benefit, in 2017-18, more than 1.2 million will have benefited in the province of Ontario, my home province, and they will continue to receive additional support. Why? Because our government has made a commitment to further strengthening the Canada child benefit to make sure it keeps pace with the cost of living. Starting next July, two full years ahead of schedule, the tax-free Canada child benefit amounts for families with two children will go up by approximately $200. It does not stop there. The following year, those families will see about $500 more.

One of the major concerns I have heard in conversations with many of the parents and families living in my riding of Parkdale—High Park is the cost of raising a family. In order to effectively address this, we are allocating more support for families, through the CCB, to help meet the numerous ongoing costs of raising a family. As the father of two young boys, I understand what it means to raise a family. I have also heard from countless people in my riding about those challenges. We are working in a targeted way to address the needs of those people in my community and in communities around this country who need the help the most.

The stats are quite overwhelming. In my riding alone, 10,290 children benefited from the Canada child benefit in July. The average payment that month was $510 per family, for a total of $3.255 million distributed to families in the riding of Parkdale—High Park. In addition to the benefits received by my neighbours through the new and enhanced programs I mentioned, this budget implementation act also includes measures that would entrench and fortify our commitment as a government and nation to reconciliation with indigenous persons.

As Canadians, we must continue to take a critical look at our past as we contemplate the future of our relationship with indigenous persons. It is vital for all of us to establish a spirit of reconciliation so that Canada's next 150 years leave a positive legacy. I am honoured, distinctly in my role as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Heritage, to be working with the Minister of Heritage on advancing our government's efforts to preserve, restore, and revitalize indigenous languages. This goes beyond the celebration of our collective history. It is an opportunity to begin to correct the impact of harmful government policies like the colonial legacy of the residential school system has had on indigenous communities.

Recognizing this, the budget implementation act would invest $90 million over the next three years to support indigenous languages and culture. That includes $69 million in new funding to support things like language classes and culture camps, developing learning materials, and recording indigenous languages through the aboriginal languages initiative. Funding would also support the use of technology to preserve oral histories and the creation of other interactive educational materials. These investments would build tangibly on our government's commitment to working with indigenous persons to co-develop, in the spirit of true reconciliation, an indigenous languages legislation that would help to preserve, protect, revitalize, and promote indigenous languages in this country.

We are investing, as a government, based on the positive gains that have come as a result of Canada's fastest economic growth in nearly a decade, by enhancing the measures that support our small businesses, families, and hard-working people, and furthering our commitment to reconciliation. I urge all members of this House to vote in support of this bill to advance these important initiatives.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, I too feel very honoured to be standing to speak on the 150th anniversary of the first sitting of this place, and it is important that we are talking about the budget implementation act.

The one thing that is not clear to me as of yet is this Chinese infrastructure bank, where we are spending half a billion dollars. I know the communications adviser for the minister suggested that it is going to create jobs here at home. I am not sure what fantasyland that is from, where spending half a billion dollars in China building infrastructure is going to create jobs here at home for the middle class.

I would appreciate hearing a strong rationale, in terms of why the investment of half a billion dollars of taxpayers' dollars is going to help the middle class here at home and create jobs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, the short answer is that by improving our relationships with foreign nations, including diversifying our trade and investment portfolios, we are stimulating the economy here at home. Our commitment to infrastructure is unprecedented. Our commitment to infrastructure investments is unprecedented. What we are doing with the Asian infrastructure bank is indifferent in terms of what we are investing here. We are working toward building the economy by promoting infrastructure development. That includes developing greater ties with diverse partners around the planet, including the Asian side of the equation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have been calling attention, along with colleagues from the other side, to a particular part of the budget implementation act around the unpaid leave for victims of domestic violence. I would like the member to comment on perhaps an unintended consequence of an unpaid leave for domestic violence. Many people will not be able to access an unpaid leave in a situation of domestic violence, because often victims are controlled economically by the abusive partner at home. Therefore, coming home with a paycheque that is less than it was before and then having to explain to an abusive partner why it is not the same amount, I think my colleague would understand how that would be a huge barrier to victims accessing this leave. I wonder if the member would agree that it needs to be a paid leave for this instance.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for the intervention, because it highlights an extremely important issue. We have heard time and again about the importance of leave in the context of the domestic violence situation and gender violence in this country and around the planet. Our government takes this issue very seriously, in terms of ensuring there is flexibility in terms of arrangements, that people are empowered and not unempowered, and that people do not fear reprisals to accessing leave. It is something that needs to be studied and examined by our government. I would hope that this kind of important intervention gets studied closely at committee when the budget bill is being evaluated.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on one thing that the member mentioned at the beginning, and that was the change in the economy in Canada, in particular being the fastest growing economy in the G7. This speaks directly to the budgets that have been presented by this government and what this government has been doing over the past two years. I wonder if the member would like to elaborate on that point.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, in my brief response, I would say that it is demonstrating that the notion of investing in an economy to stimulate it has proven to be a successful formula. That is exactly what the head of the IMF said when she came here, that she hoped the Canadian experiment would go viral around the planet. The fact that we are doubling five of the G7 nations and are 40% larger in terms of economic growth than our American neighbours demonstrates that when we took the courage of conviction and campaigned upon a platform to invest in an economy, we did just that. It can be proven to work, and it can be proven as a winning formula that helps us succeed in terms of building the growth that we all desperately want. That is not a partisan issue. Creating jobs and boosting the Canadian economy is something we all share. How we are going about doing it is something we are responding to in terms of what Canadians told us. We believe strongly in that conviction, and we will continue to do so.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that I did not get under the wire for my 20 minutes, but I will try to keep my comments confined to 10.

I am pleased to speak to the budget implementation act, but I would like to create a bit of context before I get into a couple of details contained within it. In the 2015 election campaign, the Liberals made specific promises to Canadians. They promised that they would have tiny deficits of $10 billion a year and that they would get back to balanced budgets during their time in office. They also indicated that dollars would be spent predominantly on infrastructure in the provinces and territories.

The first thing we have to recognize is that everything they have done since, in terms of the budget and budget implementation acts, has violated their promise to Canadians. The Liberals made a promise about what they were going to do with respect to deficits and how they were going to spend Canadians' money. That was an important promise, and it is shameful that they are breaking that promise.

The Liberals are breaking their promise at a time when it is not necessary. I will acknowledge that had the economy been struggling, they might have had to provide a bit of stimulus. However, they took office with a surplus budget and a growing economy. The Liberals are quite proud to say that the economy is going well, so why do they need to spend all of this extra money? That is an important place to start.

There are three areas that the government directly controls. It controls the creation of an environment that would be positive for jobs, opportunity, and growth. It controls bringing money into its coffers through our tax system, and it obviously controls how to spend that money. I would suggest that these three functions need to be carefully aligned. In this budget, which deals predominantly with the expenditure side of things, the government is completely out of alignment with the other three features. We need an environment that is going to create success. We need a fair tax system, and we need to have a reasonable spending plan.

I would like to touch briefly on tax generation. Not only do the Liberals want this $20 billion deficit with no plan for getting back to balanced budgets, but they are desperately looking for ways to get more money. The interesting thing is that they have floated out a whole bunch of ideas, but they have never done anything that would impact the personal wealth of the Prime Minister, the finance minister, or their Liberal friends who are enjoying some tax benefits that most of us do not enjoy.

The small business tax was an idea that was floated out by the Liberals. It would have hurt our small businesses in terms of how they dealt with passive income and how they would grow their companies. However, the Liberals did nothing with respect to tax avoidance schemes that are used by their wealthy friends.

The Liberals floated out the idea of taxing the health benefits of teachers who make $80,000 a year, yet they are not going to worry about shares that are held in a company like Morneau Shepell and the finance minister's introduction of legislation around pensions.

The Liberals also talked about taxing employee discounts. They realized that the accounting nightmare of charging taxes on the value of a Big Mac would be a little over the top, so they walked away from that idea very quickly.

The Liberals are denying disability tax credits to people who have diabetes. They said they would hire more nurses who would review the paperwork that has already been done by doctors and nurse practitioners. They were considering hiring nurses for the Canada Revenue Agency to review the paperwork, so they could justify their denial of disability tax credits for diabetics.

Free advice for the government would be that it perhaps should be spending those dollars for nurses on more people to look at tax havens and tax-avoidance issues. Very clearly, there is one set of rules for the Prime Minister and his friends and another set of rules for the rest of us.

I will now go to tax expenditures, the other part of the budget. I will start small and work up to some of the larger issues. Money matters. How Liberals spend hard-earned tax dollars really matters. I have some examples of how they are choosing to spend money. If people were to walk a one-kilometre circle in this area, they would see a cup, which apparently cost $2.5 million. It is some sort of structure sitting on Sparks Street. They have chosen to build a $5-million hockey rink. If people were to walk a little further, they would know that City Hall has a beautiful skating rink all year round, but Liberals chose to spend $5 million for a hockey rink that I believe is going to be open for about a month.

Just yesterday, we heard that $10 million is going to a private business to build a Club Med in Quebec. There are many in my riding who would say that if the government is going to subsidize and support the resort industry, there are many who be very happy to be at the table and receive $10 million. However, there was a reason, when Conservatives were in government, that we did not do that kind of thing. It was because we did not believe that kind of corporate handout was to the benefit of anyone.

I have to speak about something in this particular bill that I have had no reasonable explanation for. Nothing has been said by the Liberal government that gives me any comfort that this will be money well spent. That, of course, is the half a billion dollars going to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. That is in division 5, part 2. The original explanation from the finance minister's communications person was that this is going to create jobs here at home and will help the middle class. What fantasy world would someone have to live in to believe that giving half a billion dollars to an Asian infrastructure bank that is building bridges and roads in Asia is going to create jobs here at home and help the middle class? I would note that if there were opportunities abroad, Canadians are not precluded from bidding on those jobs anyway. There has been no reasonable explanation for that half a billion dollars. When I was in Yellowknife not so long ago, I saw a huge need for infrastructure there.

This leaves me a couple of minutes to talk about creating an environment for success. The north is a great example. It created a moratorium on oil and gas drilling and decided to turn significant areas into parks. The premier of the Northwest Territories said that southerners want all of the north to be their park. Southerners are taking away their dreams and hopes, and creating a nightmare for them. They are putting a carbon tax on them and they are going to be not only the most impacted by climate change, but the ones most impacted by a carbon tax, with nothing to support the impact that is going to have. They are taking away jobs and opportunities, imposing additional costs, and destroying a community.

In conclusion, I suggest that the budget implementation act is a follow-through on broken promises from an election campaign. It would go after law-abiding small businesses to grab dollars wherever the Liberals can and create an increasingly negative climate for investment. Although there may be a couple of measures that are reasonable and supportable, the BIA 2 would simply continue a very flawed fundamental approach by the government to the finances of our nation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality of the situation is that Canada's economy is growing the fastest of the G7 countries. This government has made serious choices investing in people, investing in children, and investing in infrastructure and programs. The result of what this government is doing that we have seen over the last number of years is an improvement. Our economy is stronger than it ever was during the time of the Conservatives.

My question for the member is very simple. Is she as excited as I am that Canada's economy is number one, in terms of growth, in the G7?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, what I talked about was having a government that sets a structure for success. If the Liberals want to suggest that things that happened two years ago were to blame for it, then I think they had better also give us credit for what happened two years ago, because we saw this country through the global recession, we created many free trade agreements, we got rid of red tape, and we moved things forward in a positive way. Certainly, they can thank us for that, as they are enjoying that benefit. However, what I did indicate was that I am really worried that what they are doing and how they are spending money will take us right back to where we started from and put us in a very difficult position.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, earlier when responding to a question, the member mentioned division 2 of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank agreement act that is being created through this BIA. We know from experience that previous governments have refused to join this. There is a Japanese-led Asian Development Bank, Japan being an ally, that we would like to collaborate with. For the half billion dollars that the government is putting into this, we get a 1% share of the votes, which is barely anything. Now we learned that last year, in 2016, this infrastructure bank, led by the Chinese government, is actually financing two pipeline projects, one in Azerbaijan and one in Bangladesh.

I would like to hear the member speak about this cognitive dissonance we see from that side of the House, where the Liberals would actively impede the success of the Canadian energy industry here in Canada, putting a lot of energy families out of work, while supporting the middle class in Asian countries.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has just expressed things perfectly with respect to this infrastructure bank and what it is doing. However, for the people who might be listening on this 150th anniversary, this is not about Canada's responsibility with respect to foreign aid, as we all believe we need to step up to the plate when there are tragedies in other countries. This is about Canada investing almost half a billion dollars overseas. Other than making us feel good and making us part of this global community, there has not been one good rationale why the Liberals would not follow the recommendations of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and provide support for our first nations children, yet they are happy to put half a billion dollars into something that will not benefit Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I note that the current government is using the same line that was used by the previous government, which is that Canada is leading the growth among the G7 countries. Unfortunately, I have heard some recent economic data that suggests to me that the economy may not be doing as strongly as the government would like to portray. The GDP actually shrunk in August, and we are on track to maybe end the year with a more modest GDP growth of around 2%.

My question has to do with what the member would like to see the current government do in order to create a stronger production base in Canada for value-added production. I know that we rely a lot on our natural resources in this country, but what would she suggest the government do to try to get more value-added production and create those better jobs here in Canada?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague brought up a very important point. Although we have had some reasonable and strong economic growth, there are number of flags out there that we need to pay attention to. I met with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada, and mining exploration in this country is way down. We have a softwood lumber agreement. Not only is value added important, but let us get the softwood lumber agreement fixed. There was an opportunity when the Prime Minister was meeting in the U.S. shortly after his election when he had the willingness to solve this problem. He failed and we need to get that fixed. That will certainly impact British Columbia, and provinces all across Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on the subject of Bill C-63, the budget implementation act, 2017, No. 2, today. Specifically, I am pleased to talk about the government's plan to invest in people and communities to build a stronger, healthier, better Canada.

If we were to ask Canadians, the vast majority of them would say they are very proud of our public health system. The 2017 federal budget recognizes that and includes over $37 billion in transfers to the provinces and territories under the Canada health transfer.

A prosperous country such as ours also needs a comprehensive strategy on drugs and other substances. When it comes to cannabis control, the current system is obviously not working. It does not do a good enough job of protecting Canadians' health and safety, especially not our youth. It is often easier for our children to acquire cannabis than cigarettes.

As everyone knows, our government plans to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis. This policy is necessary and has two main objectives: on the one hand, to keep marijuana out of the hands of youth, and on the other, to deprive criminals of any profits from illegal cannabis sales.

In advance of the government's plan to legalize cannabis, budget 2017 allocated several million dollars to public education programming and monitoring activities.

Taxation is one of the key factors that will play an important role in ensuring that our objectives are met. As the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance have clearly stated, taxes must be low from the beginning, and the federal, provincial, and territorial governments must continue to work together to guarantee a coordinated approach. Co-operation is critical, and the federal government wants to engage our provincial and territorial partners in order to develop a coordinated approach to cannabis taxation.

This second budget implementation act lays the groundwork for such a partnership. It amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to allow the Minister of Finance, on behalf of the federal government and with the consent of the Governor in Council, to enter into coordinated tax agreements with the provincial and territorial governments on cannabis taxation.

All governments must endeavour to maintain an effective level of taxation over time, one that helps balance our social and health objectives, the risks associated with the illicit market, as well as our tax priorities. All levels of government will have a significant role to play. It is important to remember that the framework for the production, sale, and distribution of cannabis for non-medical purposes will be based on the sharing of responsibilities. The federal government will be responsible for granting licences for production, cultivation, and manufacture, while the provinces and territories will be responsible for granting distribution and retail licences.

It would also be much better to have a coordinated approach on the taxation side of things. Legalizing cannabis will help the government increase tax revenues, but it is important to keep in mind that that is not the primary objective here. The primary objective of legalizing marijuana is to try to keep marijuana out of the hands of children and keep the profits out of the hands of criminals.

The best way to do that is to have a coordinated approach to taxation across the country. As the Minister of Finance said, we have to get this right and we have to work with the provinces and territories. Budget implementation act, 2017, No. 2 will implement the framework for this coordinated approach when cannabis for non-medical use becomes legal in Canada, the intention being that this occur at the latest in the first half of 2018.

As I said, taxation is one of the key factors that support the objectives of cannabis legalization, but it is not the only one. The government plans to take a number of measures to regulate non-medical cannabis. There will also need to be investment in awareness and education programs to inform Canadians, especially young Canadians, of the risks to both health and safety associated with cannabis use.

Although access to cannabis for non-medical purposes will be restricted and strictly regulated, various federal agencies will also be required to do more. Public awareness campaigns will help inform Canadians about the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs.

Police forces will also need new tools to better detect drug-impaired drivers. Physical inspections at companies that produce cannabis will be necessary. We heard this during the Standing Committee on Finance's cross-Canada pre-budget tour. I am very pleased to see that the fall economic statement tabled last week allocates significant funding to the development of a new framework to regulate and restrict access to cannabis.

As I just mentioned, I was pleased to see that the fall economic statement allocates significant funding to the development of new legal frameworks. Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency, and Public Safety Canada will all receive funding to ensure that they have the resources they need to issue licenses, conduct inspections, enforce all the aspects of the cannabis bill, and conduct meaningful public awareness and outreach.

In conclusion, the government's intention is to legalize cannabis for non-medical purposes in Canada. Legalization will keep cannabis out of the hands of youth and keep profits out of the hands of criminals. To support this dual objective, coordination between governments is essential. We are committed to working with the provinces and territories. The budget implementation act, 2017, No. 2 is part of the federal government's ongoing efforts in that regard.

I urge all hon. members to support this important legislation. It will help us give our children and grandchildren a stronger, better, and healthier Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague spent a fair bit of time speaking about the cannabis legislation and the government's attitude and contributions toward this. I want to focus a bit on education.

Up to last week, the government had committed the grand total of $9 million over five years, dedicated toward the education of our youth in advance of the cannabis legalization, which is to happen in about seven months. We heard at committee that the states of Colorado and Washington spend that amount every year, with a population one-seventh of Canada's, showing and highlighting the absolute lack of investment by the government on education. Embarrassed by that, last week the government announced that it would spend another $36 million over five years for education, but only when it was exposed in committee that it had failed so miserably in the regard.

My question for the hon. member is about tax policy. The federal government unilaterally announced a certain tax proposal at the last federal-provincial ministers conference and caught a lot of provinces by surprise. I wonder if my hon. colleague could expand on this. Could he tell members of the House what the government's policy will be toward taxation of cannabis? How much will the tax be? How much will it raise? How will it be shared with the provinces?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for his question and comments. Before I answer his main question, I want to say that I reject the premises of his question about the government's intentions with respect to implementing cannabis education programs.

Certainly our goal has always been to put a program in place to deter cannabis use through education. As the date approaches and we coordinate our actions with the provinces and territories, Canadians will see more and more proof of the government's plan to launch major awareness campaigns about issues associated with cannabis use. Those campaigns will target youth in particular as well as the general public.

To get back to my colleague's main question, the reason I gave this speech and the reason these measures are in the 2017 budget implementation act No. 2 is that we want to make sure the provinces, the territories, and the federal government coordinate their actions. This is a long-term undertaking that we will accomplish together.

I would ask my hon. colleague to be a little more patient and give the provinces and territories time to negotiate with the federal government. That is how we will keep taxes as low as possible and eliminate or significantly reduce the sale of cannabis by organized crime.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, for decades, separatist MPs in my region worked hard to prove that the federal government could not work. They worked hard to prove that the federal government was not interested in the riding. Those MPs did not actually do anything. All they did was obstruct the role of the federal government.

Since I have been here, we have managed to bring more than $100 million in extra funding to the riding, mostly through the Canada child benefit, as well as through a number of other programs. Nearly $30 million has been invested in other programs.

People are starting to see that the federal government has a role to play in the regions in Quebec.

I would like to know whether my colleague from Hull—Aylmer has had a similar experience.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Greg Fergus Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, I very much appreciate the question from my hon. colleague from Laurentides—Labelle. I can assure him that I have some good news on this and that the federal government has certainly shown leadership when it comes to investing in Quebec. The Canada child benefit is a major part of this budget. We saw in the economic statement that we are going to invest in this benefit anew.

In my riding, Hull—Aylmer, in my colleague's riding, and in every riding in Canada, this new social initiative has benefited every Canadian, especially those with children and those in need.

This is an important investment. It proves that the federal government can play an important role together with the provinces in eliminating poverty everywhere.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for the opportunity to speak before the House regarding “A second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.”

We would not know it from the name, but this is one of the most exciting bills being considered by Parliament this session. With the passing of this bill, my colleagues and I will be doing what we came here to do: serve our communities and our country.

Early this morning, I arrived in Ottawa on an overnight flight, after a weekend back home in my riding of Surrey Centre. My time away from the Hill gave me a chance to meet with constituents in my riding office, at community events, and over coffee. I would like to thank everyone who came out to my recent “Chai with Sarai” event.

As with every weekend, I boarded my return flight, appreciative of Surrey's diverse, hard working and altruistic population. I also left looking forward to Surrey's bright future. Everywhere I looked, I saw new businesses, new developments, and new residents. In fact, Surrey is one of the fastest-growing cities in all of Canada. That makes us one of the fastest-growing cities in the fastest-growing economy in the entire G7. Just last month, we added a whopping 35,300 new full-time jobs and $9 billion more to the government coffers due to the great economic growth resulting from an agenda of innovation and growth.

It is a good time to be a Canadian. With this budget implementation bill, we can put the benefits of Canada's growth back in the hands of the people who made it happen. We get to put money back in the hands of families.

I have always been proud of our government's Canada child benefit and what it does for Surrey Centre. In fact, the benefit ensures that $800 million a year tax-free goes to families in my riding. This measure goes a long way toward ensuring Surrey families will not have to make the choice between school supplies or new skates for their children. However, in the words of our Prime Minister, “better is always possible”.

One year ago, when I spoke regarding the implementation of the 2016 budget, I was happy to note that our government would be indexing the Canada child benefit to inflation starting in 2020. This year, I am even happier to note that we will be moving forward on this measure two years ahead of schedule. Thanks to the strengthened Canada child benefit, a single parent of two making $35,000 a year will receive $560 of richly deserved non-taxable dollars the next fiscal year..

Our commitment to families goes beyond finance. Bill C-63 would also create greater flexibility in the way employees could take paid and unpaid leave. This would ensure that more workers would see an increase in family time and a healthier work-life balance. In this regard, and in all that we do, our government believes in the importance of leading by example.

This is not the only way we are making it easier to be a worker. Our newly enhanced working income tax benefit will provide $500 million to low-income workers, starting in 2019. This comes on top of the $250 million increase that has already come about through pension reform.

Many Canadians work long hours to join the middle class, and it is our duty to send support their way. Currently, the working income tax benefit benefits 1.5 million Canadians, including more than 200,000 in British Columbia. It boosts these numbers and helps more Canadians pay their rent, put food on their tables, and make the sometimes jarring transition to full-time work after a period of unemployment. It also ensures that those living alone, the new most common type of household according to the 2016 census, do not slip through the cracks. These new measures work together to ensure financial security to Canadians of all backgrounds.

This includes small business owners. We recognize that small business is the expression of middle-class Canadians' passion, hard work, and great ideas. We want to applaud entrepreneurs and employees who make our communities so dynamic. We have lowered the tax rate for small businesses by almost one-fifth, from 11% down to 9%, to ensure small-business owners have the financial environment they need to thrive.

However, one cannot talk about entrepreneurship without discussing innovation. To me, innovation means Surrey companies like Safe Software Incorporated, whose Feature Manipulation Engine software allows companies worldwide to manipulate reams of geographic data as easily as we might watch a Facebook video. It means Surrey companies like Orello Hearing Technologies, whose novel, inexpensive hearing aid is poised to disrupt the industry and dismantle the systemic barriers that face Canadians with hearing disabilities. To me, innovation is the reason I often see people's eyes light up when I mention my province of beautiful British Columbia.

This is why I am glad to see our government enacting the innovation and skills plan included in budget 2017. We have already set aside $950 million for the creation of technological superclusters. Members are likely familiar with many tech clusters already. Many of them know the reputation of places like Silicon Valley, Tel Aviv, and the Toronto–Waterloo corridor. Clusters bring industry, government, and academia together to foster great ideas and energize economies. B.C.'s own digital technology supercluster is poised to stand out as an example to the world of developing and harnessing virtual and augmented reality in ways that benefit industries from gaming to forestry.

With this budget implementation bill, we would pour an additional $400 million into our venture capital catalyst initiative and invest $600 million in green technology firms. As my Vancouver to Ottawa flight consistently reminds me, Surrey is three hours behind Ottawa when it comes to time zones. However, Bill C-63 would ensure that we are years ahead when it comes to innovation.

Surrey is home to almost half a million people. That is half a million residents hoping to see their dreams become reality. They are dreams like those of our entrepreneurs, who aim to disrupt our outdated world views and leave their mark on our society, dreams like those of our newest residents, who want to feel at home and at peace in a city or country that may still seem unfamiliar, and dreams like those we all share: to live in financial security and spend time with those we care about. By continuing to implement the 2017 budget, Bill C-63 would help make these dreams a reality, and I encourage all MPs to vote in favour of it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, what the member conveniently left out of his speech was any reference at all to balanced budgets. Members may recall that when the Prime Minister was telling Canadians why he should be the Prime Minister of this country, he made a lot of promises, many of which he has already broken. The big one that matters to future generations is that he promised that within the term of his government, four years, he was going to return to balanced budgets, just the way the previous government always balanced its budgets and left surpluses. In fact, what the member has failed to mention is that there is nothing in this budget that would actually return government to balanced budgets so we will not be leaving future generations with a huge debt load for the spending we do today. How will the member explain to the next generation the fact that his government has broken its promise to return to balanced budgets, and in fact, has no plan to return to balanced budgets?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think Canadians want any advice from a past government that ran deficit after consecutive deficit. In fact, the Conservatives left a country that was lacking in infrastructure, that had depleted infrastructure, and that was lacking in social programs, which put us far behind. It is like deferred maintenance on a house. One can only patch a leaky roof so much. The actions this government has taken are to bring this house, this beautiful country of Canada, back into the 21st century, where middle-class Canadians will have a good standard of living, where middle-class Canadians can expect good public transit, and where middle-class Canadians can expect a good education for their children. That is the priority of this government, and that is the priority this country elected us for.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to hear that my hon. colleague has connected with constituents, as I do at my “coffee with Don” in my riding.

My question on the budget has to do with the critical areas of housing and infrastructure. My hon. colleague and I both come from British Columbia, and he would well know that there is a housing crisis in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and in other areas of the country. An entire generation of Canadians cannot afford to buy a house, and now, increasingly, cannot even afford to rent a place in the Lower Mainland. It is affecting businesses, slowing our economy, and crushing the dreams of a generation of people who cannot live in the place they grew up in.

I would like my hon. colleague to tell me what in the budget will produce affordable housing for British Columbia. How many units will be produced in the Lower Mainland as a result of this budget?

Second, on the infrastructure the government was elected to produce, can he please tell me what major infrastructure projects the budget will fund in British Columbia?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, I share a lot of flights with the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway, and I want to remind him that “Chai with Sarai” sounds a lot better than “Coffee with Don”. However, I welcome his method to connect with his constituents.

Our government has committed over $11 billion on the national housing front. We have committed to a national housing strategy. This is our government's commitment not to have a patchwork or knee-jerk reaction but to come up with a comprehensive strategy, working with all stakeholders—the provinces, the municipalities, and the charities that run the current programs to take people off the streets and put them in housing—to bring more Canadians into proper homes and help those who are having affordability challenges, specifically in the Lower Mainland. We want those who have been born and raised there to be able to live in their own homes. I am committed to working with the government on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member mentioned that in his riding of Surrey Centre, there is a population of 500,000, and 35,000 new jobs have been created. It is similar to my region of Kitchener and Waterloo. I want to ask how the investments have helped in his region and how job growth has increased because of those investments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure announcements have helped in terms of the ability to actually build new housing. In my riding of Surrey Centre, public transit had not been increased in over 20 years. It was 1986 when the last fixed light rail or transit line came in for the Sky Train. No expansion had ever been done. Due to the commitment and the $50 million given to create the plans for the new LRT line, we have seen more high-rises, more condos, and more apartments being built than ever before. That comes from the commitment investors, developers, and the business community have seen this government making in terms of building infrastructure to provide quick and affordable public transportation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 1:50 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I should first announce to all members that I will be concentrating my remarks today more on the budget tabled on March 22 of this year than on Bill C-63, which I am sure all members understand is the BIA, or the budget implementation act. That act would, of course, enact certain provisions contained in the budget. Since they both flow together, all my remarks will be primarily concentrating on the budget itself.

First and foremost, in my opinion, at least, budget 2017 was a terrible budget. In fact, I do not think it would be unfair to say that it was a socialist budget. I use that term, because I am reminded of the famous words of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, who once opined that the reason socialism will never work is that eventually socialists “run out of other people's money.” Unfortunately, the Liberal government has not figured that last part out. I believe it thinks money grows on trees, because it is spending it like drunken sailors, thinking there is a never-ending supply of currency. We all know that this is simply not true, but perhaps that is a debate for another day.

What I will attempt to do today is talk about why I believe this socialist budget is so bad. This budget tabled March 22 is basically a combination of two things: it is a budget of broken promises, and it is a budget of higher taxes. I say higher taxes because we know, based on a recent study by the Fraser Institute, that fully 81% of Canadians considered to be in the middle class will now be paying $840 a year more in taxes than they were before. This comes from a government that is proud to stand in this House day after day to say how it has lowered taxes for the middle class. In fact, it has not. It has done just the opposite.

It is also a budget filled with broken promises. As one of my colleagues quite correctly pointed out just a few moments ago, when the Liberal government was running for election in 2015, it promised to run modest deficits of no more than $10 billion a year for the first four years, and then by election year, 2019, it would return to balance. Has it done that? Not at all.

In fact, what is truly alarming is the fact that when asked the question, both the Prime Minister and the finance minister said that they did not know when the government would return to a balanced budget. In my opinion, the reason they did not know is that they could not answer the question. They have absolutely no idea how to get back to balance, and if they do, when that would take place.

If the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer of any corporation said to their board of directors that they did not know when they would be perhaps returning to a profitable situation, I would suggest that both those officers would not be long in their jobs. I think that is what is going to happen in this case. The Government of Canada is, in effect, a corporation, a business, albeit a very large business. If the chief executive officer, that being the Prime Minister, and the chief financial officer, that being the finance minister, do not know when they could return to balance, I believe they should be fired, and I think they will be fired come 2019. It is not just the fact that they made promises they cannot keep. The truly alarming situation we have in front of us is that they simply do not know the answer to a very simple question: when will they return to balance? They cannot even give an approximation of when they will return to balance, and that is truly frightening.

Canadians expect more of their government. Canadians expect more of any government. However, for a government to freely admit, and to take some pride in admitting, that it will be running deficits that could go on in perpetuity, and that it does not know how to get back to balance, there is no pride in that, only shame, and the Canadian public is finally starting to figure that out.

I would suggest to my friends opposite, if they truly care about the Canadian taxpayer, as they so often repeat in this place, they would take immediate steps to try to find out how to return to balance. Second, they would implement provisions within their own spending regime to get back to balance. It is not that they have a revenue problem. They have a spending problem.

Some would argue there is an easy way to get back to balance, and that is to raise taxes. Quite frankly, I think my friends opposite are taking that to heart because they seem to be raising taxes on just about everything. That is not the way to run a government.

Conservatives believe in lower taxes and balanced budgets. That is a foreign concept to many on the opposite side of the aisle, I am sure, but it has proven to be effective in years past. Also, if the government truly wants to return to balance, it should start listening to some of its former colleagues. Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for example, returned to balanced budgets after a few years of serious deficits, caused by the worldwide global recession. I suggest to my friends opposite that they take a page out of that playbook and look at what they need to do to return to balance. It would certainly not be by spending, like they are today. It is about fiscal restraint, a foreign concept to many of the members opposite.

If the finance minister wants to prove his competence to the Canadian public, he should start looking in the mirror whenever he delivers an economic forecast and economic update, because we know now, if we did not before, that the finance minister, encouraged by his Prime Minister, is in the middle of a very serious conflict of interest.

I can assure you, Mr. Speaker, that every single person in the country, from the time they first achieve cognitive thought, knows the difference between right and wrong, and what the finance minister has done by attempting to hide $20 million in shares in a numbered company in Alberta is simply wrong. The Prime Minister and the finance minister have a choice to do what is right, and do what is right for all Canadians. I sincerely hope they do. The right course of action would be for the finance minister to step down and the Prime Minister to accept his resignation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:40 p.m.
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Thunder Bay—Superior North Ontario

Liberal

Patty Hajdu LiberalMinister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, it is a great pleasure to rise in this place and talk about the budget implementation act.

Before I talk about that bill, I would like to talk about the measures that the government has taken to date to give all Canadians, particularly the middle class and those working hard to join it, the opportunities they need to succeed.

To start, we raised taxes on the 1%, so that we could lower them for the middle class. We then brought in the new Canada child benefit, which has lifted hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. As a result of our CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families are getting more in benefits than they did under the previous system. Compared to the previous system of child benefits, the CCB is more generous, and it better reaches those who need it the most.

Recently, as announced in the fall economic statement, we are helping those who need it most by enhancing the Canada child benefit, indexing it to the rising cost of living. We are also strengthening the Canada pension plan, increasing the benefit for workers by as much as 50%. This will not only help those who are retired now have more money in their pockets, but it will also help future retirees save enough for a dignified retirement.

On top of that, our government is doing more to help those working hard to join the middle class, by enhancing the working income tax benefit by an additional $500 million per year starting in 2019. We know that many people work long hours, sometimes in more than one job, to advance their careers and to support themselves and their families. By letting low-income workers take home more money, the working income tax benefit offers real help to 1.5 million Canadians.

The steps we have taken to date are having a positive impact on our economy, and for Canadians. Optimism is on the rise, and for good reason. Job creation is strong, with over half a million new jobs created since we took office, and the unemployment rate is at its lowest level since 2008. Youth unemployment is at a historic low, and Canada is the fastest growing economy in the G7 by a wide margin, growing at an average rate of 3.7% over the last year, which is the fastest pace of growth since early 2006.

Growth is forecast to be 3.1% in 2017, significantly above expectations at the beginning of the year. The fiscal outlook has improved by more than $6.5 billion annually, on average, from what was projected in budget 2017 last March. That is why we are here today, to consider and discuss the important measures contained in Bill C-63.

I will briefly describe a few of the key elements.

This budget implementation act supports the middle class and those working hard to join it by protecting the rights of federally regulated workers when they request flexible work arrangements from their employers.

Canadians increasingly face pressure to balance work and family responsibilities. We all know a single parent struggling to find balance or someone taking care of an aging parent, or even someone who is supporting a spouse through chemotherapy. Our government was elected on a commitment to give workers and federally regulated workplaces the right to request flexible work arrangements, and we are delivering on that commitment. Things like flexible start and finish times or the ability to work from home will benefit both employers and employees, through increased productivity, lower absenteeism, and greater retention.

Budget 2017 also contained a gender-based analysis, ensuring that the implications of budgetary measures on men and women are considered thoroughly. Our government believes that having meaningful and transparent discussions around gender and other intersecting identities will help us better understand the challenges that Canadians face, and help us make informed decisions to advance the goals of gender equality, fairness, and stronger workforce participation. We know that our prosperity relies on the participation of all Canadians, so our efforts are focused on ensuring our growth as a country leaves no one behind.

Our government also recognizes that young Canadians today face challenges when it comes to finding and maintaining good, well-paying jobs. Many young Canadians tell us that not being able to get meaningful work experience is a significant barrier to getting a good job. While internships can give young Canadians the hands-on work experience they need to make that successful transition to the workplace, some internships, in particular those that are unpaid, can be unfair and exploitative.

The budget implementation act proposes to eliminate unpaid internships in federally regulated sectors where the internships are not part of a formal education program. These changes would also ensure that unpaid interns who are part of an educational program are entitled to labour standard protections, such as maximum hours of work, weekly days of rest, and general holidays. It is the right thing to do for our young people trying to gain the necessary work experience to enter the labour force.

Small businesses are a key driver of our economy and a cornerstone of communities across the country. As our plan works to grow the economy, small businesses see the benefits of that growth with lower taxes. Our government committed to reducing the small business tax rate to 9% from 11%, effective January 1, 2019, while ensuring that Canadian-controlled private corporation status is not used to reduce personal income tax obligations for high-income earners rather than supporting small businesses. This means up to $7,500 in federal corporate tax savings per year that will help entrepreneurs and innovators do what they do best.

Our government's plan to grow the economy is indeed working. Because of our strong economic growth, we continue to invest in the middle class and those working hard to join it. Whether it is ensuring that more families can pay for the high cost of raising a family, ensuring more low-income workers can make ends meet, or implementing flexible work arrangements, smart investments like these will ensure that more Canadians have a fair chance of success.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I applaud the government for moving forward on a number of changes to the Canada Labour Code.

I would like to hear the minister's comments on some of the unpaid leave provisions, especially those for victims of domestic violence. I brought to the House's attention that unpaid leave for victims of domestic abuse may prevent many women from accessing that unpaid leave because of the dynamics or things that happen within relationships in which victims are often controlled economically by their partners. Being able to access unpaid leave may be a barrier for them, because coming home with a paycheque that is less than it is supposed to be may cause the abuser to take it out on the victim.

I am asking the government to be open to making this paid leave, so it is accessible to all victims of domestic violence.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member obviously has compassion for women living in violent situations. The leave that is included in this act is intended to address just that. We know that oftentimes one of the prohibiting factors for a women fleeing domestic violence is whether she will be able to take leave and return to the job as she sorts out the details of her life that have to be sorted out when leaving a partner, especially in very urgent situations.

I am proud that this leave is thoughtfully included in the types of leave available to all people experiencing domestic violence, but, generally speaking, women. It is an incredibly important acknowledgement that this government understands that women need that time to settle their affairs, so they can move forward into either safe spaces or new circumstances and have their jobs protected while arranging their affairs.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the minister this specifically. I know how important the student summer jobs program is to the students and young people in my riding and how its near doubling in funding has helped increase the number of jobs and, in some cases, given these students their first jobs. Could the minister comment on what she is hearing about that program right across the country?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right. Part of my summer was spent meeting with students all across the country in the various communities I had an opportunity to visit to talk to them about how that experience was transforming their lives, not just in terms of their ability to earn a bit of money to put toward either school or their other expenses, but also often to gain that tangible first-time job experience. In one community I visited, the executive director of a not-for-profit organization had started with that organization as a Canada summer jobs' student. Can members imagine that 25 years later she was actually running the program?

You are absolutely right. Our government committed to doubling the Canada summer jobs funding, and that is in fact what we have done. This investment has enabled MPs all across this House to ensure that students in their ridings are getting that formative job experience. As well, students all across the country are receiving a variety of experience from the really great organizations that are contributing to the wellness and social fabric of their community, or from entrepreneurs who are running small businesses.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, people have told me recently that under federal jurisdiction in the non-union sector, if employees are sick they do not get any pay. There is no requirement for paid sick leave under the Canada Labour Code. Of course, this leads to people coming to work sick, or they are being punished for being sick because they lose a day's wages. Does the hon. minister have any thoughts on amending the Canada Labour Code to require employers to give three or four paid sick leave days a year to the non-unionized workers of this country?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Patty Hajdu Liberal Thunder Bay—Superior North, ON

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague raises an important part of my mandate. Of course, it is on the mind of the Prime Minister that we need to make sure that those who are most vulnerable, often those who are young or working at low wages, have the best possible scenario in their workplaces. That is why we have just started consultations looking at the Canada Labour Code and how we can improve it to protect, most poignantly, those very vulnerable workers. I look forward to working with him regarding those consultations and hearing the member's thoughts on what needs to be included in the revision. The Canada Labour Code was last thoughtfully looked at in its entirety in the 1960s, and I am very much looking forward to that work.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 3:55 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-63, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures.

When it comes to budgets, it is extremely important that we do everything in our power to meet our fellow citizens' sustainability requirements. Sustainable development has three pillars. Yes, one is economic, but there are also the social and environmental pillars. It is through the lens of these three pillars that I will analyze the bill before me.

First, I must point out one troubling fact. Yesterday, we learned from the paradise papers that fundraisers who are very close to the Prime Minister were implicated in this tax haven scheme. However, Bill C-63 contains no concrete measures to fight tax evasion or tax avoidance. It leaves the CEO stock-option tax loopholes untouched and does not demand the co-operation of major corporations.

It is a little ironic considering that in question period today, we in the NDP asked dozens of questions, trying to find out what the Liberal government was going to do to stop billions of dollars from going to tax havens. We were told that the government is going to continue doing the same thing, so there is nothing new. The Liberals are not going to change any laws to stop this tax evasion and put an end to this scam, which is currently legal. Indeed, they are allowing many millionaires and billionaires to put money in tax havens and avoid paying their share of taxes. As a result, Canadians are seeing a reduction in services as well as an increasing fiscal burden, all because some people refuse to contribute what they should. If we had more money, we could do much more than we currently are to complete our shift towards green energy.

In addition, before the budget was presented, we wrote to the Minister of Finance and asked him to include certain provisions to make our society fairer and greener. Unfortunately, none of those provisions were included. I will come back to that in a moment.

Bill C-63 does contain some positive measures. For example, it would change the Canada Labour Code to allow federally regulated employees to request greater flexibility from their employers, and it would also expand the tax incentives for geothermal projects. However, these incentives pale in comparison to the changes that are needed.

COP23, the climate change conference, starts today in Bonn. In 2015, when the Canadian government went to Paris, the Prime Minister said, “Canada is back”, but unfortunately, Canada was back with Stephen Harper's old targets and almost the same measures. There was very little progress.

I want to quote an article from Le Devoir, published on October 31, entitled “UN on Climate: 'Catastrophic' gap between commitments and actions”.

On Tuesday, six days before COP23, the UN's environment chief warned that there is a 'catastrophic' gap between the national greenhouse gas reduction commitments and the reductions that would be needed to keep global warming below 2°C.

In short, there have been some lofty promises, but countries are not taking the necessary measures to follow through on them.

In an economic update, and with the climate change conference opening today, we would have expected a number of measures to support the shift to clean energy. Unfortunately, there is virtually nothing there. We made some recommendations, as I mentioned, in a letter to the Minister of Finance.

The Lancet Commission on pollution and health recently published a very important report. It is an extraordinarily well researched scientific report written by health experts.

I would like to read their conclusions, which are very important. Clearly, when it comes to sustainable development, issues related to society, the economy, and the environment all go hand in hand. We are zeroing in on a huge and serious problem. Indeed, dangerous climate change is having serious consequences on people's health. We are currently talking about pollution, but this is also about climate change. I would like to quote the summary of the report from the Lancet Commission on pollution and health:

Pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and premature death in the world today. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths in 2015—16% of all deaths worldwide—three times more deaths than from AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined and 15 times more than from all wars and other forms of violence. In the most severely affected countries, pollution-related disease is responsible for more than one death in four.

Why is fighting climate change and pollution in Canada so important?

Unfortunately, Canada's efforts have been quite weak. We sent a number of recommendations, including, for example, introducing a massive energy efficiency program. A group of people recently came to the Hill to talk to us about the importance of fighting climate change, and one way to do so is by investing in energy efficiency.

Energy efficiency creates jobs because people are needed to do the renovations or other related work. It also improves the living conditions of people living in poorly heated homes by reducing heating or air conditioning costs. Finally, the negative repercussions of pollution and climate change are also reduced. There would be benefits everywhere. The Liberal government has done nothing.

When discussing climate change and the environment, it is also very important to consider all of the recommendations by the Green Budget Coalition regarding the 2018 budget. All of those recommendations should have been adopted by the current government. One of them is very important: international climate change financing.

Clearly, we suffer, but let us think about the countries that suffer the most, the poorest countries. Those countries must be supported so they can adapt to climate change. We are the main emitters, but they are the main victims.

For example, the federal government could increase its financial participation through a tax on bunker fuels used in international aviation and maritime transportation. Aviation and maritime transportation do not currently contribute to the fight against climate change. Taxing the bunker fuels they use would be a way of redistributing money and assisting in international climate financing. There are a lot of other solutions, but my speaking time is ending. I would have liked to have the time to talk about the circular economy that could also be put forward. Those are examples of what is missing in Bill C-63, in this economic review.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member spoke about tax avoidance, economic updates and what the government was doing about tax cheaters. Could he give the House an update about the so-called inappropriate spending of over $2.7 million of taxpayer money that was used on satellite offices ? Has any of that money been paid back or will all of it be paid back, including interest?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

November 6th, 2017 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

François Choquette NDP Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would indeed like to talk about the fight against tax evasion and tax avoidance, as Canadians really want to know what is happening in that regard.

After the Panama Papers, now we see the Paradise Papers, and they include the name of the Prime Minister of Canada’s own chief fundraiser.

So, when the Libera