Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

Second reading (House), as of April 19, 2018

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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 or referenced in the February 27,2018 budget by

(a) ensuring appropriate tax treatment of amounts received under the Veterans Well-being Act;

(b) exempting from income amounts received under the Memorial Grant for First Responders;

(c) lowering the small business tax rate and making consequential adjustments to the dividend gross-up factor and dividend tax credit;

(d) reducing the business limit for the small business deduction based on passive income and restricting access to dividend refunds on the payment of eligible dividends;

(e) preventing the avoidance of tax through income sprinkling arrangements;

(f) removing the risk score requirement and increasing the level of income that can be deducted for Canadian armed forces personnel and police officers serving on designated international missions;

(g) introducing the Canada Workers Benefit;

(h) expanding the medical expense tax credit to recognize expenses incurred in respect of an animal specially trained to perform tasks for a patient with a severe mental impairment;

(i) indexing the Canada Child Benefit as of July 2018;

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

(k) extending, by five years, the ability of a qualifying family member to be the plan holder of an individual’s Registered Disability Savings Plan;

(l) allowing transfers of property from charities to municipalities to be considered as qualifying expenditures for the purposes of reducing revocation tax;

(m) ensuring that appropriate taxpayers are eligible for the Canada Child Benefit and that information related to the Canada Child Benefit can be shared with provinces and territories for certain purposes; and

(n) extending, by five years, eligibility for Class 43.‍2.

Part 2 implements certain excise measures proposed in the February 27,2018 budget by

(a) advancing the existing inflationary adjustments for excise duty rates on tobacco products to occur on an annual basis rather than every five years; and

(b) increasing excise duty rates on tobacco products to account for inflation since the last inflationary adjustment in 2014 and by an additional $1 per carton of 200 cigarettes, along with corresponding increases to the excise duty rates on other tobacco products.

Part 3 implements a new federal excise duty framework for cannabis products proposed in the February 27,2018 budget by

(a) requiring that cannabis cultivators and manufacturers obtain a cannabis licence from the Canada Revenue Agency;

(b) requiring that all cannabis products that are removed from the premises of a cannabis licensee to be entered into the Canadian market for retail sale be affixed with an excise stamp;

(c) imposing excise duties on cannabis products to be paid by cannabis licensees;

(d) providing for administration and enforcement rules related to the excise duty framework;

(e) providing the Governor in Council with authority to provide for an additional excise duty in respect of provinces and territories that enter into a coordinated cannabis taxation agreement with Canada; and

(f) making related amendments to other legislative texts, including ensuring that any sales of cannabis products that would otherwise be considered as basic groceries are subject to the GST/HST in the same way as sales of other types of cannabis products.

Part 4 amends the Pension Act to authorize the Minister of Veterans Affairs to waive, in certain cases, the requirement for an application for an award under that Act.

It also amends the Veterans Well-being Act to, among other things,

(a) replace the earnings loss benefit, career impact allowance, supplementary retirement benefit and retirement income security benefit with the income replacement benefit;

(b) replace the disability award with pain and suffering compensation; and

(c) create additional pain and suffering compensation.

Finally, it makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

Part 5 enacts the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and makes the Fuel Charge Regulations.

Part 1 of that Act sets out the regime for a charge on fossil fuels. The fuel charge regime provides that a charge applies, at rates set out in Schedule 2 to that Act, to fuels that are produced, delivered or used in a listed province, brought into a listed province from another place in Canada, or imported into Canada at a location in a listed province. The fuel charge regime also provides relief from the fuel charge, through rebate and exemption certificate mechanisms, in certain circumstances. The fuel charge regime also sets out the registration requirements for persons that carry out certain activities relating to fuels subject to the charge. Part 1 of that Act also contains administrative provisions and enforcement provisions, including penalties, offences and collection provisions. Part 1 of that Act also sets out a mechanism for distributing revenues from the fuel charge. Part 1 of that Act also provides the Governor in Council with authority to make regulations for purposes of that Part, including the authority to determine which province, territory or area is a listed province for purpose of that Part.

Part 2 of that Act sets out the regime for pricing industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The industrial emissions pricing regime requires the registration of any facility that is located in a province or area that is set out in Part 2 of Schedule 1 to that Act and that either meets criteria specified by regulation or voluntarily joins the regime. The industrial emissions pricing regime requires compliance reporting with respect to any facility that is covered by the regime and the provision of compensation for any amount of a greenhouse gas that the facility emits above the applicable emissions limit during a compliance period. Part 2 of that Act also sets out an information gathering regime, administrative powers, duties and functions, enforcement tools, offences and related penalties, and a mechanism for distributing revenues from the industrial emissions pricing regime. Part 2 of that Act also provides the Governor in Council with the authority to make regulations for the purposes of that Part and the authority to make orders that amend Part 2 of Schedule 1 by adding, deleting or amending the name of a province or the description of an area.

Part 3 of that Act authorizes the Governor in Council to make regulations that provide for the application of provincial laws concerning greenhouse gas emissions to works, undertakings, lands and waters under federal jurisdiction.

Part 4 of that Act requires the Minister of the Environment to prepare an annual report on the administration of the Act and to cause it to be tabled in each House of Parliament.

Part 6 amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 6 amends the Financial Administration Act to establish the office of the Chief Information Officer of Canada and to provide that the President of the Treasury Board is responsible for the coordination of that Officer’s activities with those of the other deputy heads of the Treasury Board Secretariat. It also amends the Act to ensure Crown corporations with no borrowing authority are able to continue to enter into leases and to specify that leases are not considered to be transactions to borrow money for the purposes of Crown corporations’ statutory borrowing limits.

Division 2 of Part 6 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act in order to modernize and enhance the Canadian deposit insurance framework to ensure it continues to meet its objectives, including financial stability.

Division 3 of Part 6 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to renew Fiscal Equalization Payments to the provinces and Territorial Formula Financing Payments to the territories for a five-year period beginning on April 1,2019 and ending on March 31,2024, and to authorize annual transition payments of $1,270,000 to Yukon and $1,744,000 to the Northwest Territories for that period. It also amends the Act to allow Canada Health Transfer deductions to be reimbursed when provinces and territories have taken the steps necessary to eliminate extra-billing and user fees in the delivery of public health care.

Division 4 of Part 6 amends the Bank of Canada Act to ensure that the Bank of Canada may continue to buy and sell securities issued or guaranteed by the government of the United Kingdom if that country ceases to be a member state of the European Union.

Division 5 of Part 6 amends the Currency Act to expand the objectives of the Exchange Fund Account to include providing a source of liquidity for the government of Canada. It also amends that Act to authorize the payment of funds from the Exchange Fund Account into the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Division 6 of Part 6 amends the Bank of Canada Act to require the Bank of Canada to make adequate arrangements for the removal from circulation in Canada of its bank notes that are worn or mutilated or that are the subject of an order made under paragraph 9(1)‍(b) of the Currency Act. It also amends the Currency Act to provide, among other things, that

(a) bank notes are current if they are issued under the authority of the Bank of Canada Act;

(b) the Governor in Council may, by order, call in certain bank notes; and

(c) bank notes that are called in by order are not current.

Division 7 of Part 6 amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act in order to implement a framework for resolution of clearing and settlement systems and clearing houses, and to protect information related to oversight, by the Bank of Canada, of clearing and settlement systems.

Division 8 of Part 6 amends the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Act to, among other things,

(a) create the position of Vice-chairperson of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal;

(b) provide that former permanent members of the Tribunal may be re-appointed to one further term as a permanent member; and

(c) clarify the rules concerning the interim replacement of the Chairperson of the Tribunal and provide for the interim replacement of the Vice-chairperson of the Tribunal.

Division 9 of Part 6 amends the Canadian High Arctic Research Station Act to, among other things, provide that the Canadian High Arctic Research Station is to be considered an agent corporation for the purpose of the transfer of the administration of federal real property and federal immovables under the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act. It also provides that the Order entitled Game Declared in Danger of Becoming Extinct is deemed to have continued in force and to have continued to apply in Nunavut, as of April 1,2014.

Division 10 of Part 6 amends the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Act in order to separate the roles of President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Chairperson of the Governing Council, to merge the responsibility to establish policies and to limit delegation of certain Governing Council powers, duties and functions to its members or committees or to the President.

Division 11 of Part 6 amends the Red Tape Reduction Act to permit an administrative burden imposed by regulations to be offset by the reduction of another administrative burden imposed by another jurisdiction if the reduction is the result of regulatory cooperation agreements.

Division 12 of Part 6 provides for the transfer of certain employees and disclosure of information to the Communications Security Establishment to improve cyber security.

Division 13 of Part 6 amends the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to provide the Minister of Employment and Social Development with legislative authority respecting service delivery to the public and to make related amendments to Parts 4 and 6 of that Act.

Division 14 of Part 6 amends the Employment Insurance Act to modify the treatment of earnings received by claimants while they are in receipt of benefits.

Division 15 of Part 6 amends the Judges Act to authorize the salaries for the following new judges, namely, six judges for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, one judge for the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, 39 judges for the unified family courts (as of April 1,2019), one judge for the Federal Court and a new Associate Chief Justice for the Federal Court. This division also makes consequential amendments to the Federal Courts Act.

Division 16 of Part 6 amends certain Acts governing federal financial institutions and related Acts to, among other things,

(a) extend the scope of activities related to financial services in which federal financial institutions may engage, including activities related to financial technology, as well as modernize certain provisions applicable to information processing and information technology activities;

(b) permit life companies, fraternal benefit societies and insurance holding companies to make long-term investments in permitted infrastructure entities to obtain predictable returns under the Insurance Companies Act;

(c) provide prudentially regulated deposit-taking institutions, such as credit unions, with the ability to use generic bank terms under the Bank Act, subject to disclosure requirements, as well as provide the Superintendent of Financial Institutions with additional enforcement tools under the Bank Act and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions Act, and clarify existing provisions of the Bank Act; and

(d) modify sunset provisions in certain Acts governing federal financial institutions to extend by five years, after the day on which this Act receives royal assent, the period during which those institutions may carry on business.

Division 17 of Part 6 amends the Western Economic Diversification Act to remove the requirement of the Governor in Council’s approval for the Minister of Western Economic Diversification to enter into an agreement with the government of a province, or with a provincial agency, respecting the exercise of the Minister’s powers and the carrying out of the Minister’s duties and functions.

Division 18 of Part 6 amends the Parliament of Canada Act to give each House of Parliament the power to make regulations related to maternity and parental arrangements for its own members.

Division 19 of Part 6 amends the Canada Pension Plan to, among other things,

(a) eliminate age-based restrictions on the survivor’s pension;

(b) fix the amount of the death benefit at $2,500;

(c) provide a benefit to disabled retirement pension beneficiaries under the age of 65;

(d) protect retirement and survivor’s pension amounts under the additional Canada Pension Plan for individuals who are disabled;

(e) protect benefit amounts under the additional Canada Pension Plan for parents with lower earnings during child-rearing years;

(f) maintain portability between the Canada Pension Plan and the Act respecting the Québec Pension Plan; and

(g) authorize the making of regulations to support the sustainability of the additional Canada Pension Plan.

Division 20 of Part 6 amends the Criminal Code to establish a remediation agreement regime. Under this regime, the prosecutor may negotiate a remediation agreement with an organization that is alleged to have committed an offence of an economic character referred to in the schedule to Part XXII.‍1 of that Act and the proceedings related to that offence are stayed if the organization complies with the terms of the agreement.

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, implicit in that question is a conversation about the plan of the government to grow the economy.

We campaigned on a promise to invest in our infrastructure, among other things. One of the consequences of that plan is that, in the short term, there would be deficit financing. The difference between just running deficits randomly without a plan for the economy and what we have chosen to do is that the investments we are making are going to help grow the economy.

We need to be taking advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. When interest rates are at a historic low, and we have an opportunity to achieve the kind of economic growth we are achieving, it is a far better plan to take advantage of these circumstances than it would to be to say that we are going to balance the budget at all costs. If that includes selling assets that appreciate, like sales by the General Motors Company, which in the long-term do not serve the interests of Canada, I would take every time the plan of this government to invest in our country, grow our communities, create jobs, and grow our economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the member's area of Central Nova very well. I have knocked on doors throughout his riding. I know that people in Central Nova actually believe in fairness. However, what we see in this budget is the actual opposite of that. We see massive tax loopholes for Bay Street, for wealthy corporate CEOs. We are seeing the Liberal government doing the same thing the former Harper Conservatives did, which is, of course, signing tax treaties with notorious overseas tax havens so that the wealthy and privileged in Canada can take their money overseas and pay a zero tax rate.

I know that the member's constituents in Central Nova would oppose that. I think they would also be very concerned that we are putting off pharmacare, we are putting off pay equity, and we are putting off all these issues that Canadians feel very strongly about to feed what is an increasing problem of unfairness in the tax system, tax havens, and tax loopholes.

Would the member not agree that constituents believe in tax fairness in Central Nova?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I cannot say how ecstatic I am to answer the question. Had the member been here yesterday, he would have heard that this was a focus of the remarks I made in the House. I said that the pursuit of ensuring that Canadians have the ability to participate fully in the economy, whether they come from money or whether they come from nothing, is a priority for our government. Ensuring that the benefits of federal government policy accrue not only to the wealthy but to the most vulnerable people in our communities is essential.

We have been trying to tackle some of the loopholes the member mentioned. I do not blame people who were taking advantage of tax measures as they have existed, but that does not mean there cannot be room for change. Our government is lowering the tax rate for small businesses but ending practices that allow the wealthiest individuals behind private corporations to profit if that does not help to grow the economy.

At the same time, we are helping individual Canadians live more fulfilling lives by indexing the Canada child benefit and by implementing the Canada workers benefit, which is going to help 45,000 low-income Nova Scotians alone.

This is a massive sea change in the way we are adopting economic policy in Canada. I could not be more proud of our government's record on supporting those who need our help, and not just the wealthy few.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the biggest benefits of budget 2016 was the Canada child benefit. It has lifted so many children out of poverty and supports families all across Canada. In my community of Oakville alone, $48 million a year comes in for children and families under the Canada child benefit program. It helps them with sports, groceries, rent, daily living costs, and daycare. It is a fundamental plank of what is supporting Canadian families right now, and it has been a great improvement.

Could the member speak about the importance of indexing that and some of the other changes that are happening to the Canada child benefit that will continue to ensure that Canadians benefit from this going into the future?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is absolutely correct. The Canada child benefit is a marquee policy of this government. We stopped sending child care cheques to millionaires and put more money in the pockets of nine out of 10 Canadian families. In my riding, the median income is about $21,000. The difference this policy is making for the people I represent cannot be overstated.

During my remarks yesterday I had the opportunity to share two examples. I have met folks who have told me that they have been able to enrol their kids in swimming lessons for the first time because of the Canada child benefit. I have had a single mother approach me and tell me that for the first time in her life, she was able to buy new outfits for her kids on the first day of school.

There is a very human impact to this policy, and I am so proud to see that we are not only supporting it but indexing it to ensure that as the cost of living rises, the benefits will continue to accrue to Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak today on budget 2018. I am very proud to be in the House to speak about this budget, which provides a lot of investments to Canadians.

However, before I talk about the budget, I will talk about the overall economy. We have heard many times in the House a debate about where the economy is going, but the facts are unprecedented growth in Canada and almost the lowest unemployment rates in Canada in my lifetime. That is because of the investment we have made in Canadians and in Canadian institutions, and budget 2018 continues that investment.

Before I start on the specifics of the budget, I will say that, currently, when we compare ourselves to the G7 countries, we are in very good shape economically. When we compare ourselves to our neighbours to the south, certainly when we look at our deficit-to-GDP ratio, we are in a much better position. When we look at the deficit itself as a percentage of our GDP, we are at 0.5%. The U.S. is at 4%.

I have heard many times since November last year that the U.S. has cut taxes. At the same time, it is running record amounts of deficit. We cannot have it both ways. We have to be responsible with our investments, but at the same time responsible with our economy. That is exactly what budget 2018 does. By investing in Canadians and keeping the debt-to-GDP ratio on a downward slide, we are in one of the best fiscal positions across the world, while lifting families out of poverty and making sure that children get education.

At the same time, we are having a conversation about pharmacare, which is one of the elements of budget 2018. How do we move forward as a society and as Canadians on pharmacare? We also look at private pension security. How do we ensure that people who have invested in their pension have 100% of their pension when they get to retirement?

In my riding of Sudbury, there are unprecedented investments coming along by the private sector. Over $3 billion will be invested in the mining sector alone in the next few years. Three mining companies will start three new mines in the area. That is thousands of jobs in our area. The challenge we are actually facing in Sudbury is to find workers to fill those jobs. This is a great place to be, but at the same time it is very challenging.

That is why one of the pillars of budget 2018 is parity, ensuring that access to jobs for females is at the same level as for males. Ensuring that we are investing in education for females, certainly in trades, is a signature piece as well in our investments. We are looking at tens of millions of dollars to ensure that females have access to trade jobs and education with respect to the jobs that need to be filled.

Another investment that budget 2018 makes with respect to females is in women in sports, to ensure that the same number of women as men have access to spaces in sports. I have a daughter who plays hockey and aspires to play at the university level. The fact that we can create opportunities for girls at the same level as boys is very important.

Thirty-five years ago, in my hometown of Kapuskasing, my sister wanted to play hockey. Because she was a girl, my dad actually went to sign her up. They took her in and said okay. A week later, they came back with his cheque and said, “Sorry, she is a girl. She can't play.” She was devastated. Now, 35 years later, here we are, investing for girls to be at parity with boys in sports, and my daughter is aspiring to play university hockey.

In my riding of Sudbury, next year we will have the Esso Cup, which is the national championship for midget girls hockey. Again, when we look at where we were 35 years ago and where we are now, and the investment we are making to ensure parity so that girls have the same opportunities as boys, to me, this is a great way forward. That is how we build an inclusive society.

Two weeks ago, I was at the reserve of Wikwemikong, about a two-hour drive from the riding of Sudbury. Four thousand indigenous people live in that riding. I was with the member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River, to have a discussion with him about the needs and concerns they have. They expressed to us how happy they were that our government was moving forward. However, they had concerns about how they would be able to tap into the investments. One of the investments they were ecstatic about but, again, wanted to make sure we were moving forward with, was on languages.

Wikwemikong is an Ojibwa community where around 20% of the population still speaks fluent Ojibwa. Now, with this budget, we are able to continue investments in indigenous languages. Given the fact that this is such an important community and the language is so strong, it is one of the biggest exporters of indigenous languages, certainly of the Ojibwa language, across the country and across the area, because people who live there train other people to teach the language.

When we talk about reconciliation, about language and culture, those are very important investments that need to be made. This is our government making those investments, after 10 years of cuts and no investments by the previous government.

I would like to talk about the major investments we have made in official languages. Here in Canada, we have a choice: either we are bilingual or we are not. Do we have a truly bilingual country or do we have a country that is not bilingual? In the Harper era, the Conservatives slashed funding for official languages. They even padded the last Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018 with other expenditures, further reducing investments in official language communities across the country.

In budget 2018, we are setting a new record. Over the next five years, the government will be investing more than $400 million to ensure our country is bilingual and to support cultural institutions in French Canada and English Quebec. We want to make sure official languages continue to thrive.

Through the budget, the new roadmap, and the action plan, we are also investing in youth as a way to invest in our communities and ensure that our young people continue to blossom culturally. Language and culture are expressed through the arts. Other very significant investments in the arts will be made through this roadmap.

I have four uncles who have intellectual disabilities. Two of them have participated in the Special Olympics at the regional, provincial, and national level. This budget continues investments, after stagnant investments, to give them the opportunity to participate.

Again, these are small amounts. These are small investments that go a long way for Canadians. That is why, in this budget, we are reinvesting in Canadians.

We are going to hear, just as we did with the question posed to my colleague, “When are we going to balance the budget? When will we have zero deficit?” Conservatives want to treat Canadians like numbers. We want to treat Canadians like people, and invest in Canadians. When we compare ourselves and our fiscal situation right now, we are in a great position to continue investing in Canadians.

It is not time for austerity. It is time to continue investing: in our veterans, in our indigenous communities, and in training. To remain competitive on a world basis, we need to ensure that we have the best and the brightest in the country and around the world. That is what we are doing. We are continuing to invest.

Another big investment, a record amount of investment, is in scientific research. A few weeks ago, after the budget, the Laurentian University president wrote a column in our paper, an op-ed, saying how proud he was that finally there is investment in Canada and Canadian research, instead of ignoring Canadian research.

That gives opportunities on so many levels for Canadians to thrive in Canada and around the world. These investments also go a long way toward educating our population here. At the end of the day, when we compare ourselves to other countries, we have fairly accessible universities. It is comparatively cheap to go to university here in Canada, although it is still expensive. We have more opportunities for research at the master's level and the Ph.D. level in Canada. We are on the cusp of continuing the Canadian brand, investing and expanding around the world.

On that note, I will end my comments. There is a lot more in this budget that I would like to speak about. Maybe I will have another moment to continue that conversation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Robert Sopuck Conservative Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, MB

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour of serving on the environment committee, and the testimony we are hearing about Bill C-69, the new impact assessment act, is truly horrifying, and I use the word advisedly. My colleague across the way had a rosy comment about Canada's economy. That view is not shared by the resources sector. One in 10 Canadian jobs is provided by the resources sector, which is rapidly declining. Canada is losing investment. We have lost about $80 billion, and the Royal Bank says that investment is fleeing Canada in real time. Chris Bloomer, the head of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, went so far as to say that Canada has a “toxic regulatory environment”. We can let those words sink in. We see what is happening with Kinder Morgan. Again, the uncertainty is starting to increase.

With the natural resources industry being about one third of our economy, how is my colleague across the way going to deal with the investment that is fleeing the country right now? It is project after project: Petronas, energy east, and on and on. These projects are dropping by the wayside, along with thousands of jobs. Does the member even care about the workers in the energy industry?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, in my area alone, private international businesses are investing over $3 billion in the mining sector, in the natural resources sector. They made a decision on where to invest around the world, and they decided to invest in Canada because the economic conditions in Canada make it the best place to invest. There are three mines: Vale, with an investment of around $800 million; Glencore Xstrata, investing $1.2 billion; and a gold mine just outside my riding, investing another billion dollars. Canada is a great place to invest, and in Sudbury we are seeing those investments take place.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the previous Parliament, when the Liberal Party occupied this corner of the House, it used to be quite critical about the use of omnibus bills. In fact, we have pages of quotes from members, such as the member for Winnipeg North and the Minister of Public Safety. Now, all of a sudden, when the Liberals are in government, they feel that a giant 556-page omnibus bill, changing over 40 different statutes, is okay. I can remember that the Liberal candidate in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford in the 2015 election used to decry the use of omnibus bills to the applause of the crowd. With all the criticism that the Liberal Party used to levy against the Conservatives for this tactic, why does the member feel it is okay, now that the Liberals are in government?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, this is a budget. In a budget, there are many items that we need to go into to move things forward. Investments in Canada are not just on the tax side; we need to invest on a broad spectrum, and that is what we are doing here. At the same time, one of the tenets, which I briefly mentioned, is with respect to gender equity and equal pay for equal work. Unless the member wants to set other legislation aside, this is a budget item, and this budget invests in Canadians. There are many items, I agree, but that is how we move forward to have these debates and to ensure that we are investing. We have listened to Canadians. That is why there is a lot here. We have invested in Canadians. We have listened to them, and now we are seeing the fruits of this listening and work.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:25 a.m.
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Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the hon. member's eloquence in both official languages.

I have next to me the member for Kildonan—St. Paul, and we were very pleased to see record investments in our regional development agencies. For Western Economic Diversification, there is an additional $185 million, and $35 million for women entrepreneurs alone. I wonder if the hon. member could comment on his regional development agency in northern Ontario, and how it is assisting in building his local economy with the additional investments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.
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Liberal

Paul Lefebvre Liberal Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, certainly FedNor plays a critical role in the economic development of northern Ontario. In the past two years, we have reinvested in FedNor to the tune of around $10 million a year, after investment was reduced by almost 50% by the previous government. As well, in the last debate, the Conservatives actually voted against more investment in our regional development agencies. That is critical to expansion and helping businesses thrive and continue the great investments they make. These investments go a long way, and FedNor plays a critical role in reinvesting. I have heard from many constituents, and they are extremely happy with these new investments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:30 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to the budget implementation act.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to the original budget and I had different names for it. One of them was the “Honey, I sunk the kids” budget, because it sinks our children and grandchildren by adding almost $100 billion in debt over the next several years. In fact, about five years from now, we are going to be spending more on interest payments than we do on our military.

Another name for it is the “Dude, where is my infrastructure” budget. The government, in offering so much infrastructure, it is almost like watching the Oprah Winfrey Show. Instead of Oprah saying, “You get a car, and you get a car, and you get a car”, it is Liberal after Liberal saying, ”Here is infrastructure for you, here is infrastructure for you, and here is infrastructure for you.”

Unfortunately, none of it can be found. The PBO cannot even find half of what has been promised in budget 2016. Of about $15 billion identified in 2016, only $7.2 billion can be found. A lot of it is missing. A lot of it has lapsed. I understand that. He did note that of the $7.2 billion that has been spent so far, it has only created a certain number of jobs. In fact, it has cost us $700,000 per job created by the Liberals' infrastructure spending.

I have another different name for the budget. I am going to call it the “Vantablack” budget. For members who are wondering what Vantablack is, it is a chemical substance made of vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays and is the darkest substance known to man, absorbing 99.965% of radiation in the visible spectrum. In fact, Liberals talk about openness and transparency. They say that sunlight is the world's best disinfectant. Liberals said that they will shed new light on government and ensure it is focused on the people it is meant to serve, which is Canadians. However, even a supernova could not shed enough light to get past the Vantablack in this budget. We have seen the Liberals fail again and again on transparency.

We have seen the President of the Treasury Board fail with his update to the Access to Information Act. Our office has been submitting maybe ATIPs, access to information requests, since we started here two years ago. Some of them are almost two years old. At the rate of the Treasury Board president's sloth-like pace, we could actually see these ATIPs being eligible for parliamentary pensions before they actually come to light.

There is a gentleman named Allan Cutler who helped the government operations committee write a very good report, which the President of the Treasury Board promptly threw in the garbage. It was about improving whistle-blowing protection for public servants. He submitted an ATIP regarding the UBS banking scandal, one of the largest banking scandals in the world. It involves Canadian firms and banks sending money abroad, basically laundering money and bringing it back. He received a response from the government saying that it would take 800 years to fulfill the ATIP. Members are hearing that right: 800 years.

We also have the Atwal case, where the Prime Minister trotted out the national security adviser with some cockamamie story about rogue Indian government involvement. I had to laugh. I am sure a lot of us saw the interview with the public safety minister, where the press cornered him and he ran so fast to the elevator. He ran at such a speed even the Russians were asking for a doping test.

We also see the lack of transparency with respect to shipbuilding. The PBO said the national shipbuilding strategy was about $60 billion. We have some experts saying it is $100 billion now. We are not sure because the government will not release the RFP to the public or even to the Parliamentary Budget Officer. To talk about the costing for this shipbuilding program, the Parliamentary Budget Officer actually had to go down to the United States and use his top clearance to access its costing for the Arleigh Burke ships to bring back and extrapolate the cost for Canada because he cannot get the costing or the access for the DND.

I want to quote from the budget. I want to thank the Liberals for only spending about $800 on the cover, unlike the $200,000 they spent for last year's cover. For those following at home, on page 313, it says:

Compared to FES 2017, direct program expenses are lower, reflecting lower projected expenses for consolidated Crown corporations...year-to-date results...and updated departmental outlooks.

That is fine. When we look at page 324 of the budget, we see that the actual spending between 2017-18 and 2022-23 for operating expenses is only increasing 1.8% overall.

Normally I am quite fine with lower spending. However, with over five years of inflation, five years of population growth, as well as billions for the national housing strategy the Liberals have announced, billions and billions for ships, billions for infrastructure, half of which I know cannot be found, and billions for indigenous plans, a lot of these are very valid plans, but there are billions and billions that are not reflected in the outlook for program expenses.

We asked the government's finance officials to explain where the money is as identified on page 313. They have updated departmental outlooks. Where is the money? They refused to respond. The Parliamentary Budget Officer asked for specifics on the spending the government is doing over the years. Where is it going to cut to get 21.8% when there are billions in spending? The government refused to publish the information. A couple of scant details were sent to the PBO and were marked as confidential. Again, it gets back to zero transparency with the government.

Here is the kicker, the real part behind the “Vantablack” budget, as they call it. It is not the 600 pages of legislation. It is not the 200-page morass of the BIA that is the explanation of the carbon tax. It is not even the issues identified on pages 313 and 324 which I just spoke about. It is what is called vote 40. That is the $7.4-billion slush fund that is in the estimates.

The estimates process is when Parliament actually approves specific spending. The President of the Treasury Board has decided to try to reform the estimates process to make it more transparent. He is obviously going the wrong way. He is making a lot of changes which take away accountability from Parliament for the sake of transparency. This is what the Parliamentary Budget Officer shared about the main estimates:

With respect to delaying the main estimates, the Government indicates that the core impediment in aligning the budget and estimates arises from the Government’s own sclerotic internal administrative processes, rather than parliamentary timelines.

The President of the Treasury Board said that these materially delay the implementation of the government programs.

The government's own administrative issues are the problems with the line in the estimates. What is the solution? It is less oversight and scrutiny. The government cannot get its act together to get its programs out the door, so it takes away the ability of members of Parliament and the public to hold the government to account.

Normally there are spending authorities put into the main and supplementary estimates. Ministers come to committee with their deputy ministers and their staff to defend their spending decisions and explain exactly what the spending is going to be used for, but this is all taken away now for $7 billion. When we take away infrastructure from the operating expenses, it is over 10% of the government's spending and the oversight is taken away. Now $7.4 billion will sit with the Treasury Board to dole out without explanation or oversight until it shows up in the public accounts after the next election. The government is very good at avoiding scrutiny and this is just one other step.

The Prime Minister's own cabinet and the Treasury Board oversight team have not actually vetted the $7.4 billion in the slush fund. It makes one wonder why he thinks they are actually worthy of parliamentary approval if the cabinet has not even approved them. The alleged programs being funded through this vote have not been approved by cabinet nor have had Treasury Board oversight. If they end up actually being ineligible for funding, the money is frozen. The Liberals are assigning funds to programs that have not been approved yet on the chance that they are feasible when they could be putting that money toward needed things such as infrastructure.

The language around vote 40 is so vague one could actually drive a truck through it. There is no actual legal authority that says the money set out in vote 40 has to be used for the items identified. The government can take that money and spend it any which way it wants. The same people that brought the sponsorship scandal, the same people who thought it was a great use of taxpayer money to spend $8 million on a hockey rink on Parliament Hill, the same people who spent $500,000 to wrap a building in Canada 150, the same people who cannot even plan a birthday party for Canada on July 1, want $7.4 billion for free spending without oversight.

That is a disgrace. This side of the House will not stand for it. Canadians will not stand for this attack on parliamentary principle and oversight, and I will not stand for it either.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Liberal

John Oliver Liberal Oakville, ON

Mr. Speaker, I found it interesting what my hon. colleague did not talk about in his remarks.

In my community of Oakville, I have several veterans. I have had round tables with them. We have two Legion branches, Legion 114 and Legion 486. They are very proud organizations that support their veterans. When I met with them they talked about the concerns they had about government services. The Conservatives had 10 years to make changes the veterans were asking for, and the Conservatives did nothing. Actually, they did worse than nothing. They cut budgets, closed offices, and ignored the voices of our veterans.

The budget delivers on the promise of a pension for life for veterans. It is a monthly payment for life. It is tax-free, and it provides income replacement payable at 90%. There is also another $67 million in the budget for further investments in veterans services.

Could my hon. colleague talk about veterans in his riding and why he does not feel they should be supported through this budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 19th, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is an offensive comment to say that I do not support veterans in my riding. I am actually a member of the Vancouver Island Aircrew Association, which is made up of RAF veterans, RCAF veterans, and American veterans.

Let me point out something on page 331 of the budget. Going forward, it shows $67 million for support for Canadian veterans in 2018-19, then minus $311 million in 2019-20, minus $323 million in 2020-21, minus $255 million in 2021-22, and minus $196 million 2022-23. That is the Liberal record on that.

This shows a lack of transparency. Every time we stand in the House and point out the lack of transparency when we are talking about the slush fund, the government, instead of defending it or explaining it, gets up and tries to distract. Nothing is going to distract from the fact that the government is taking $7.4 billion of Canadian taxpayers' money, squirrelling it away in a slush fund for the election, and it will not show up until a year after the election.