Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2

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

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

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

Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It also implements other income tax measures by

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Division 11 of Part 5 amends the Judges Act

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

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

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

It also makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

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

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

Elsewhere

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

Votes

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

Bill C-74—Proposal to Apply Standing Order 69.1Point of OrderPrivate Members' Business

April 23rd, 2018 / noon
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would indeed like to raise a point of order.

I am rising today to ask you, Mr. Speaker, to apply Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-74, the budget implementation act, 2018, no. 1.

In this corner of the House, we believe that this bill is an omnibus bill, as defined under Standing Order 69.1. As you know, Mr. Speaker, and have ruled in the past, Standing Order 69.1 was added to the Standing Orders last June and was supposed to be the government's answer to the abuse of omnibus legislation.

I will remind you, Mr. Speaker, though I know you are well versed in this, that Standing Order 69.1(1) says the following:

In the case where a government bill seeks to repeal, amend or enact more than one act, and where there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked, the Speaker shall have the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on the motion for second reading and reference to a committee and the motion for third reading and passage of the bill. The Speaker shall have the power to combine clauses of the bill thematically and to put the aforementioned questions on each of these groups of clauses separately, provided that there will be a single debate at each stage.

Since the adoption of the Standing Order, we have seen a number of new omnibus bills tabled by the government. Bill C-63, the previous budget implementation bill, was divided for votes at second and third reading, because it contained so many different provisions. Mr. Speaker, you ruled on that.

We also had a huge environmental bill, Bill C-69, that was split for the purposes of voting. Mr. Speaker, you will recall that you ruled that the section on the Navigable Waters Protection Act was distinct enough from the rest of that environment bill to split it.

We have serious concerns, and all parliamentarians should have serious concerns, about the use of omnibus bills in this place. It becomes increasingly difficult for members of Parliament to represent their constituents when governments table these massive bills, in which so many different things are lumped together.

Bill C-74 poses a particularly problematic situation. This massive bill is over 555 pages long and affects over 40 different acts. It is clearly an omnibus bill because it deals with matters as diverse as veterans' compensation, changes to the Parliament Act with respect to maternity and parental arrangements, and the establishment of the office of the chief information officer of Canada. This is, in fact, the most massive budget bill ever.

What worries us most, however, is that this budget implementation bill enacts the greenhouse gas pollution pricing act.

Mr. Speaker, you are aware, of course, that the second paragraph, Standing Order 69.1(2), stipulates:

The present Standing Order shall not apply if the bill has as its main purpose the implementation of a budget and contains only provisions that were announced in the budget presentation or in the documents tabled during the budget presentation.

We looked through the budget speech, the budget documentation, the tax tables, and everything else that was tabled with the budget in February. The only reference to carbon pricing in the budget documents is a few short paragraphs, including the following:

The Government recently released draft legislative proposals on the federal carbon pollution pricing system, as well as a regulatory framework outlining the approach to carbon pollution pricing for large industrial facilities, and intends to introduce legislation to establish that system.

In that short paragraph, there is an acknowledgement that the government actually was working on separate legislation that should properly be put to the House separately. Of course, in terms of the spirit of Standing Order 69.1, the fact that this draft legislation was developed separately, and that the government even seemed to indicate a propensity to introduce that legislation separately, should give cause for consideration in terms of Standing Order 69.1, because it has an impact on all of us as members of Parliament being able to adequately represent our constituents.

Because of those few paragraphs, the Liberals—the government—felt justified in including the brand-new greenhouse gas pollution pricing act, a bill that takes up 215 pages of the budget bill, 215 of 556 pages.

The issue is that the government intended to introduce legislation to establish this system. This indicates that the intention was to have separate legislation on the subject. A federal carbon pollution pricing system is a big step that deserves to be properly studied, looked at, and voted on by parliamentarians.

Mr. Speaker, I will remind you of your ruling of March 1, 2018, on Bill C-69, when you said the following:

the question the Chair must ask itself is whether the purpose of the standing order was to deal only with matters that were obviously unrelated or whether it was to provide members with the opportunity to pronounce themselves on specific initiatives when a bill contains a variety of different measures.

At that time, you answered very appropriately and courageously, establishing the precedent for separating that bill out so that members of Parliament could have the opportunity to adequately represent their constituents through that separate vote.

I also want to quote the Minister of Public Safety, who said the following with respect to the issue of omnibus legislation, and I could not agree with him more:

The Liberals did in fact condemn the Conservatives' repeated use of omnibus bills as undemocratic. Now that they are in power, they are using some of the very tactics they criticized. Here is what the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said about the Conservatives' 2012 budget implementation bill when he was in the opposition:

He further stated:

On the procedural point, so-called omnibus bills obviously bundle several different measures together. Within reasonable limits, such legislation can be managed through Parliament if the bill is coherent, meaning that all the different topics are interrelated and interdependent and if the overall volume of the bill is not overwhelming. That was the case before the government came to power in 2006.

That was the Minister of Public Safety, speaking in 2012, commenting on the previous Conservative government. He went on:

When omnibus bills were previously used to implement key provisions of federal budgets, they averaged fewer than 75 pages in length and typically amended a handful of laws directly related to budgetary policy. In other words, they were coherent and not overwhelming.

However, under this regime the practice has changed. Omnibus bills since 2006 have averaged well over 300 pages, more than four times the previous norm. This latest one introduced last week had 556 sections, filled 443 pages and touched on 30 or more disconnected topics, everything from navigable waters to grain inspection, from disability plans to hazardous materials.

That was the previous record before the budget implementation act of a few weeks ago.

TheMinister of Public Safety completed his comments by stating:

It is a complete dog's breakfast, and deliberately so. It is calculated to be so humongous and so convoluted, all in a single lump, that it cannot be intelligently examined and digested by a conscientious Parliament.

I could not agree more with the current Liberal Minister of Public Safety in condemning what the impact is on parliamentarians of having these dog's breakfast omnibus bills. As members know, the current budget implementation bill is the largest we have ever seen dumped on the floor of the House of Commons, and 215 pages are on carbon pricing. This clearly violates the spirit of Standing Order 69.1.

As the Speaker, it clearly gives you the opportunity, despite the loophole I am sure the government House leader or the parliamentary secretary to the government House leader will try to use, to justify what is unjustifiable.

There is long precedence in this place that we try to make sure that our votes count and that legislation is distinct enough so that as members of Parliament, we have the ability to truly represent our constituents.

This dumping in of 215 pages around carbon pricing to make the most massive budget implementation act in Canadian history simply violates to every degree the spirit and the principles around Standing Order 69.1.

You have ruled in the past on these important measures, Mr. Speaker. You have taken the opportunity to judge whether parliamentarians, or parliament, or ultimately Canadians are well served by this dumping in of legislation. It started under the previous government. Standing Order 69.1 was designed to give you the tools to counter that abuse by governments of dumping in separate legislation. There is no doubt that the government is violating the spirit of Standing Order 69.1 by dumping in carbon pricing into this massive bill.

What I ask you to do today, Mr. Speaker, is to take the time to consider what I have said, and other members may choose to join in as well, and ultimately to rule to separate out carbon pricing so, as members of Parliament, we can truly represent our constituents.

Bill C-69—Speaker's RulingPoint of Order

March 1st, 2018 / 3:05 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised on February 27, 2018, by the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé concerning the second reading of Bill C-69, an act to enact the impact assessment act and the Canadian energy regulator act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other acts, under the provisions of Standing Order 69.1.

I would like to thank the hon. member for having raised this question, as well as the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for his intervention on this point.

The hon. member argued that Bill C-69 is an omnibus bill, as she feels it contains several different initiatives which should be voted on separately. She noted that the bill would delete two existing acts, would enact new ones, and would amend over 30 other acts. The hon. member requested that the Chair divide the question at second reading to allow for a vote on each of the three main parts of the bill.

Part 1 would enact the impact assessment act and repeal the existing Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Part 2 would enact the Canadian energy regulator act as well as repeal the National Energy Board Act. The hon. member argued that this second part deals more with natural resources than with the environment and should therefore be voted upon separately.

Part 3 consists of amendments to the Navigation Protection Act, which would be renamed the Canadian navigable waters act. As this deals with matters relating to transportation, she felt that this part should also be subject to a separate vote.

The hon. member helpfully identified which of the consequential and coordinating provisions, contained in part 4, she believed were associated with each of the other parts. I am grateful for her specificity in this regard. I would note that these consequential and coordinating amendments represent the changes to the 30 other acts referenced by the hon. member. In the vast majority of cases, the changes are to reflect updated terminology relating to the names of new agencies or statutes created by the bill. The fact that there is a large number of them is not a significant factor in determining whether or not this constitutes an omnibus bill.

The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader agreed that the bill amends several acts, but argued that there is in fact a common element to link together all of the changes. He stated that the bill represents a comprehensive review of federal environmental and regulatory processes and that to consider them separately would create unnecessary uncertainty about the overall framework.

As members will recall, Standing Order 69.1 took effect last September. It gives the Speaker the power to divide the question on the second or third reading of a bill where “there is not a common element connecting the various provisions or where unrelated matters are linked”. The critical question for the Chair, then, is to determine to what extent the various elements of the bill are linked.

To date, I have been asked to apply this standing order on two instances. On November 7, 2017, I declined to allow multiple votes in relation to Bill C-56, an act to amend the Corrections and Conditional Release Act and the Abolition of Early Parole Act, as I felt the two issues raised by the bill were sufficiently related and that they were essentially provided for under the same act. On November 8, I agreed to apply the standing order in relation to Bill C-63, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2, as I considered that there were several issues contained in the bill that were not announced in the budget presentation. On November 20, in relation to Bill C-59, the national security act, 2017, I ruled that the standing order could not apply to a motion to refer a bill to committee before second reading, though I invited members to raise the issue again prior to third reading of the bill if necessary.

I would underscore, as I did in my ruling on Bill C-63, that the Chair does not have the power to divide a bill into different pieces of legislation to be considered separately. The Standing Order only allows me to divide the question on the motions for second and third reading for the purposes of voting.

Bill C-69 does clearly contain several different initiatives. It establishes two new agencies, the impact assessment agency and the Canadian energy regulator, and makes a series of amendments to the Navigation Protection Act. One could make the case, as did the parliamentary secretary, that there is indeed a common thread connecting these various initiatives, in that they are all related to environmental protection. However, the question the Chair must ask itself is whether the purpose of the standing order was to deal only with matters that were obviously unrelated or whether it was to provide members with the opportunity to pronounce themselves on specific initiatives when a bill contains a variety of different measures.

In presenting arguments relating to Bill C-63, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard raised an interesting concept from the practice in the Quebec National Assembly. Quoting from page 400 of Parliamentary Procedure in Québec, he stated: “The principle or principles contained in a bill must not be confused with the field it concerns. To frame the concept of principle in that way would prevent the division of most bills, because they apply to a specific field.”

While their procedure for dividing bills is quite different from ours, the idea of distinguishing the principles of a bill from its field has stayed with me. While each bill is different and so too each case, I believe that Standing Order 69.1 can indeed be applied to a bill where all of the initiatives relate to a specific policy area, if those initiatives are sufficiently distinct to warrant a separate decision of the House.

In this particular instance, I have no trouble agreeing that all of the measures contained in Bill C-69 relate to environmental protection. However, I believe there are distinct initiatives that are sufficiently unrelated that they warrant multiple votes. Therefore, I am prepared to allow more than one vote on the motion for second reading of the bill.

As each of the first two parts of the bill does indeed enact a new act, I can see why the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé would like to see each one voted separately. However, my reading of the bill is that the regimes set out in part 1, the impact assessment act, and part 2, the Canadian energy regulator act, are linked in significant ways, reflected in the number of cross-references. For example, the impact assessment act provides for a process for assessing the impact of certain projects, but contains specific provisions for projects with activities regulated under the Canadian energy regulator act. There are also obligations in the Canadian energy regulator act that are subject to provisions in the impact assessment act. Given the multiple references in each of these parts to the entities and processes established by the other part, I believe it is in keeping with the Standing Order that these two parts be voted together.

With respect to part 3, which amends the Navigation Protection Act, I find that it is sufficiently distinct and should be subject to a separate vote. While there are some references in part 2 to changes made in part 3, I do not believe they are so deeply intertwined as to require them to be considered together. There would be an opportunity to correct these references as part of the amending process if part 3 should not be adopted by the House.

As I stated earlier, part 4 of the bill is made up of consequential and coordinating amendments arising out of the other 3 parts. In my ruling on Bill C-56, I recognized that the analysis and division of a bill into different parts can sometimes be quite complex. Based on my reading of part 4, which differs slightly from that of the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé, clauses 85, 186, 187, and 195 seem to be related to part 3 and will be voted with that part. The remaining clauses in part 4, with the exception of the coming into force clause, specifically 196, appear to relate only to parts 1 and 2 and will therefore be grouped with those parts. The schedule relates only to part 1 and will also be grouped with it.

February 15th, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Over the last hour, I know that our officials have been with you discussing the highlights of supplementary estimates (C) and the interim estimates 2018-19.

Madam Chair, with these supplementary estimates, the government is asking Parliament to approve funding for issues that are important to Canadians. This is why we are trying to obtain, as you have heard, $4 billion in additional expenditures for 48 organizations.

These include $177 million to support veterans and their families, $435.4 million in support of Canada's defence policy, $202.5 million towards international assistance, and $277.6 million for Canada's military contributions to international missions. We're seeking Parliament's approval to create more opportunities for indigenous peoples, attract talents, strengthen university research, build strong indigenous communities, and innovate to solve Canada's big challenges.

We're happy to take your questions on both supplementary estimates (C) and also the interim estimates for 2018-19.

I would like to briefly discuss our broader agenda to reform the estimates process and to improve its alignment with the budget.

As Mr. Pagan said, the main estimates will be brought down on April 16 at the latest, for the duration of this Parliament. I know that Mr. Pagan and Ms. Lafontaine are as excited as I am with the idea that this year's main estimates will reflect the budget, thanks to this change of date.

One consequence of that change is that we have tabled interim estimates. This is the first time that the government has provided Parliament with a document showing the specific amounts that we proposed in an interim supply bill, for each vote of each department with an appropriation. The purpose of the interim estimates and the interim supply is to provide the government with sufficient cash and authority to start the fiscal year, until we request the full authority for the full supply of the main estimates.

To better support this purpose, you will notice an important change in the way that voted authorities are presented in the proposed schedule to the appropriation bill. Now, we show both the amount of cash that the department requires for the first three months of the fiscal year and the total authority, which is the value of contracts, grants, and contribution agreements, for example, that they can commit against the vote for the year beginning on April 1.

If you had followed the progress of the second budget implementation act last fall, you'd recall that we saw an amendment to the Financial Administration Act to enable this change. This simple change to vote wording provides greater clarity for departments, which then work, and must work, within the authorities approved by Parliament.

This is another example of our commitment towards improving the clarity and transparency of the process of determining budgetary forecasts and authorities.

With this change, we are improving the clarity and transparency of the estimates and the supply process. As important as these interim estimates are, they're really just the teaser for the main event and that's the next budget and the main estimates.

As the Minister of Finance has announced, the next budget will be tabled on February 27, and by delaying the tabling of the main estimates, we will be able to include new spending measures, from the budget, in the main estimates, and to get those funds working for Canadians as soon as possible after they're announced in the budget. It really does make the estimates process more meaningful.

In the past, we would have the main estimates before the budget. We would debate the main estimates and then the budget would come along, rendering much of what we talked about in the main estimates irrelevant. I value your time as committee members, and I hope that this enables you to play an even greater role in terms of not just holding our government to account but future governments to account.

As Brian and Renée explained, we're continuing to work on the other pillars of estimates reform. There's the option of changing the nature of the vote to reflect the purpose, the why, rather than just the nature of the how, the expenditure. We're also committed to having the 2018-19 departmental plans tabled at the same time, or very soon after the main estimates.

That concludes my opening remarks. I'm looking forward to having a discussion. I always enjoy this committee.

MarijuanaOral Questions

December 8th, 2017 / noon
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Bloc

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, on Monday and Tuesday, finance ministers will be meeting to negotiate the sharing of the cannabis tax. As members know, Quebec and the municipalities will be responsible for 100% of the costs. They should therefore receive 100% of the tax.

However, out of the blue, in Bill C-63, the government, here in Ottawa, quietly decided to keep all of the tax and then transfer a portion of it as it sees fit.

Does the government agree that the tax sharing arrangement should reflect the cost sharing tax revenues should be shared in accordance with how costs are shared, meaning 100% to Quebec and 0% to Ottawa?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 4th, 2017 / 8 p.m.
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Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare all the remaining elements of the bill carried.

The House having agreed to the entirety of the Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures at the third reading stage.

(Bill read the third time and passed)

The House resumed from December 1 consideration of the motion that Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures be read the third time and passed.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

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

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

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

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

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

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

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

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

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

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

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

Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

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

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

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

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

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-63, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

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

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

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

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

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2Government Orders

December 1st, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, let us look at what we inherited.

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

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

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

Let us look at where we are right now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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