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

This bill was last introduced in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2019.

Sponsor

Bill Morneau  Liberal

Status

This bill has received Royal Assent and is now 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 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.

Votes

June 6, 2018 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures
June 6, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (recommittal to a committee)
June 6, 2018 Failed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (subamendment)
June 4, 2018 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 4, 2018 Failed Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (report stage amendment)
May 31, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures
April 23, 2018 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures
April 23, 2018 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures (reasoned amendment)
April 23, 2018 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 6th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. When you read the motion of the subamendment we are voting on now, you accurately said that I was the seconder to that motion. It was not followed by my constituency name. There being another member in the chamber with the same last name, I would not want some historian to be confused if ever they were to search the records and someone may have made an error between Ms. or Mr.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:20 p.m.
See context

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to speak to Bill C-74, the budget implementation act, which is important for us and will implement measures that we believe will have a positive impact on Canadians.

This bill continues our government's efforts to reduce inequality and stimulate growth, in particular through the Canada workers benefit, which was revised in budget 2018. This benefit will give more money to those who need it most, that is, low-income workers. We will ultimately increase the benefit by 175%. We are investing $1.75 billion in the Canada workers benefit.

This measure is consistent with the Canada child benefit, which was introduced in budget 2016. As many MPs know, nine out of 10 Canadian families have benefited and received an additional tax-free $2,300. This deserves to be known. We are indexing this benefit two years earlier than planned to keep pace with higher family expenses and needs, and to help as many families as possible. We know the impact of such a measure and I can tell you about it.

All I have to do is visit the food banks in my riding, talk to volunteers at the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, or stand outside of grocery stores, as I often do on weekends to meet my constituents. They often tell me about how this measure has had a positive impact on their lives.

Here is how this benefit came to be. We looked at how the former government administrated family assistance. We implemented a more progressive system that provides assistance based on families' incomes. We stopped sending Canada child benefit cheques to families with over $150,000 in annual income, so that we can give more to those who need it most.

The Canada workers benefit follows the same logic. We believe that Canada's prosperity must be inclusive and help as many people as possible.

This is one thing I think is important in the budget implementation bill, but it is not the only thing. There is also the price on carbon pollution, a commitment we made during the election campaign. Climate change is having a serious impact on all Canadians and on future generations. Climate change also has an impact on our economy.

Take, for example, the claims submitted to insurance companies for damage caused by natural disasters. A few years ago, such claims totalled a few million dollars. Now, that number has increased to over $1 billion per year, and we expect it to continue to rise. For us, climate change is very real, and we have to deal with it.

By putting a price on carbon pollution, as proposed in the budget implementation bill, we are giving Canada a real opportunity to meet its climate change targets and be a responsible global citizen. The carbon tax will also allow us to mitigate and reverse the effects of climate change as much as possible. Those are two very important aspects of the budget implementation bill.

We also ultimately lowered the small business tax rate to 9%. We know how crucial Canada's SMEs are. They help drive our economy and create a large number of jobs in Canada. It goes without saying that we need to support our job creators and SMEs, which day after day, week after week, contribute to Canada's prosperity. We are taking that important step by lowering taxes for SMEs.

I would like to come back to something that I mentioned earlier, and that is the importance of having measures to reduce inequality. We also need to review certain measures that benefit the wealthiest members of society in order to have better targeted measures, such as the Canada workers benefit, and help those who need it most.

This could mean up to $170 a year for an unattached low-income worker. That is more money every paycheque. For a couple, the amount is even higher, of course.

Providing access to this benefit and increasing it is one thing, but we also want to make it automatic. In budget 2018, we announced that we will be implementing automatic enrolment so that every eligible worker receives the benefit without needing to file a claim. This issue is important to us, and I believe it is a positive aspect of Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill we are studying today.

Our government's goal is really to ensure that our growth benefits as many Canadians as possible and that our prosperity is inclusive. We have observed that the countries that have experienced significant economic growth in the decades since the Second World War are often those where inequality is lower and gaps have not been allowed to widen. In particular, I am thinking of Scandinavian countries, which have fascinating models. We have seen that reducing inequality boosts economic performance.

This is where initiatives like the middle-class tax cut for the $45,000 to $90,000 income bracket come in. This is where the Canada child benefit comes in, by giving more money to those who need it the most. We know that this money stays in the Canadian economy and is reinvested very locally, and we know that this has an impact on growth. I can confirm that under the leadership of the Minister of Finance, we fight for every decimal point of growth. That is why I strongly support initiatives to index the Canada child benefit sooner than expected, to make the Canada workers benefit automatic, and to enhance it.

This is where I see broader initiatives putting more money in people's pockets. While these initiatives are perhaps less direct, they are still very useful to people and are helping reduce inequalities. One example that comes to mind is the national housing strategy, where we are investing $40 billion over 10 years, I believe. This really confirms the federal government's commitments regarding community and social housing. Since the 1990s, the federal government has been backing away from its responsibilities with regard to community housing, and this is true of both Conservative and Liberal governments. One only needs to talk to organizations working on the ground to get a sense of how thrilled they are that the federal government is finally re-engaging and investing in community housing and social housing though our ambitious plan. The goal of our plan is to reduce chronic homelessness by 50%, renovate 300,000 housing units and build another 100,000 for those in need. That is one example.

Another area is public transit. We want high-quality, reliable, and efficient public transit systems at the lowest possible cost, systems that are so efficient that some some families can do without a car, or at least reduce their reliance on cars. These savings add up at the end of the day, but good public transit also improves quality of life and is good for the environment. These are all very positive initiatives.

Housing is an issue that is close to my heart. When I was young, I lived in a subsidized housing unit. I know how much of a burden it took off my mother's shoulders. I will never forget the day we got the call from the municipal housing bureau telling us that our application had been accepted. We were on a waiting list, and I know that it was a major change for my mother because she did not have to be afraid to get evicted at the end of the month anymore.

I am heartened to see the housing initiatives taken by our government. I am sure that they will have a similar effect on hundreds of thousands of Canadian families. In a way, it makes me glad that I am paying taxes, because I know that they are put to good use to increase social mobility, strengthen the social safety net and make sure people have access to basic necessities. Housing is a right. The most vulnerable in our society must have that right too, and the federal government needs to be active on that front.

Our government's focus is reflected in the measures we announced in budget 2018, but also since budget 2016. We are striving for a society that is more fair, more compassionate and more efficient, but we also want to create wealth. Indeed, to redistribute wealth, we have to create it first.

We also need to innovate and create a business-friendly climate, which will help fill federal coffers and create jobs. I would remind the House that 600,000 jobs have been created over the past two years. We recorded the strongest GDP growth in the G7 by far during that same period. That is what we need for inclusive prosperity. If we want to invest in useful and generous social programs, we need that prosperity. That is a crucial factor in the creation of a just society. It is important to have both, and we think the two go hand in hand.

When I examined budget 2018, what stood out for me and, I suspect, for many of my constituents, was the historic investments we made in science, especially basic science. Funding bodies across the country were pleased and applauded our initiative. For a decade, their budgets were frozen or slashed. Scientists were even muzzled. Canada fell behind. Anyone who stands still while the world moves forward falls behind.

Canada fell behind in terms of investment in basic research, which is crucial to future innovation, that is, in 5, 10, or 15 years. This is about more than just drugs in the future; it also has to do with innovation and businesses that could emerge as a result of ideas developed in university laboratories.

The Quebec City region is home to many, many businesses that emerged from basic research conducted at Laval University. It is always done by the brilliant researchers I am lucky to represent in my riding who eventually manage to commercialize this research and turn it into businesses that benefit our economy and the other businesses in our region. This helps them innovate and offer technological benefits in health, pharmaceuticals, and technology. This has an impact on people's day-to-day lives and also creates jobs.

There is a reason why the Quebec City region is doing so well. If we consider the research being done and how that is translating into jobs, businesses, and innovation, it is no surprise that the unemployment rate in Quebec City is 3.8%. That is practically full employment and, in practical terms, it is.

This creates another challenge that our region is currently facing, namely, recruiting and attracting a labour force. I hear about this everywhere I go in the riding when I meet with entrepreneurs.

The budget 2018 investments in basic research are historic because they are higher than any previous federal investments in research. We must provide for long-term prosperity. We do not want to stifle innovation in Canada; we want to promote and encourage it, and this is why we are making these investments.

We want to make sure that Canada stays at the forefront of technological advances and science. It goes without saying that investing in science is a long-term investment in our economy and our collective prosperity.

Similarly, putting a price on carbon pollution is a long-term investment in a healthier environment. We will be creating a liveable country and planet, where we have drinking water and as little pollution as possible, and therefore without all the health problems this pollution would cause, like respiratory problems.

The price on carbon pollution clearly shows that we want to develop the economy, which is very important, but at the same time we want to protect the environment, which is just as important. This leaves us with the third option, which is a fair, balanced, and responsible approach. You sometimes hear people say that it must be one or the other. We chose to adopt a more balanced approach.

I want to add that, if you look at the jurisdictions that have put a price on carbon pollution, this measure encourages innovation and reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that the most innovative companies will produce. This is also the objective.

Let us not forget that certain jurisdictions have already put a price on carbon pollution. British Columbia, for example, did so a number of years ago and its economic record is one of the most impressive in Canada. It is the same thing with Quebec and Ontario, two provinces with remarkable economic performances who have put a price on carbon. We think that both can definitely go hand in hand. It leads to a more innovative, responsible and green economy. That is how the transition has to occur.

We know that the transition will not happen overnight, but we know that it can happen gradually. It will need incentives to succeed. For example, putting a price on carbon pollution is an incentive for innovation. Investments in public transit are incentives for people to change the way they commute because they have better options. I am also thinking of tax breaks and support for green energy. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in green and renewable energy. A broad range of measures that ensure both our economic prosperity and the protection of our environment and allow for a gradual and thoughtful transition have been implemented. That is where people expect the Liberal government to be responsible.

I know that my colleague from Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs likes the idea that environmental protection and economic growth can and must go hand in hand. That is our approach. In Bill C-74, pricing carbon pollution fosters innovation and better choices, makes our economy more innovative and responsible, and protects the environment. I think that that idea is what is driving my colleague from Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs and most members on this side of the House.

We believe that economic development and prosperity are important, but that protecting our environment is equally important. We believe that both go hand in hand and that the resulting prosperity should be inclusive.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, in the last election campaign, the parliamentary secretary's party promised a balanced budget by the next fiscal year. I wonder if he could tell us today whether the Liberals will keep the promise they made during the election campaign and, if not, in what year they will balance the budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is important to remember that we made a very clear promise during the campaign that we would not go down the same road as the Conservatives, in other words austerity measures and cuts at all costs to achieve a balanced budget. We said that it was time to invest and that is still the case.

The Canadian economy that we inherited from the previous government had a low growth rate and a low job creation rate. During the 2015 campaign, I remember very well the debate in the public arena was on the state of Canada's economy and whether the country was in recession or on the brink of one. I am not talking about 2008, I am talking about 2015.

Faced with that situation, when interest rates were low and we knew that there were desperate needs in infrastructure from coast to coast, we said that the thing to do was, yes, to run deficits, but also invest in our infrastructure, our communities, and science in order to stimulate and grow our economy. That decision garnered global praise.

Remember that our deficit-to-GDP ratio as well as our debt-to-GDP ratio, therefore the size of our economy, has been on a downward track and that is what we must ensure for the long term.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for that important question. We know that medication is too expensive in Canada and that many Canadians cannot afford it.

I would remind my colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert that budget 2018 announced the creation of an advisory council led by Dr. Hoskins, who devoted his entire political career to advocating for better access to medication. This council will study the issue and determine the best option for Canada. It is already hard at work, and we will have more on that down the line. For now, our goal is to make sure we get this right.

I know that affordable access to medication is as important to my colleague as it is to me and to most Canadians.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, fighting against the spruce budworm, a pest causing major problems for our forestry industry, is a good thing. The problem is that the funding announced in the last budget and in the budget implementation bill, if I am not mistaken, is exclusively for the Maritimes, even though the area affected by this pest in Quebec is bigger than the entire province of New Brunswick.

Why is all the help going to the Maritimes? Could this be a gift for the Irvings?

Where is Quebec in all this and in the budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I really enjoy working with him.

The spruce budworm is indeed a very serious problem. We know that insects do not respect human boundaries. However, we are always looking at ways to help the regions that may be affected by this problem both in Atlantic Canada and Quebec. All levels of government, including the provinces, need to work together to address this problem.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary touched on a really good point about two-thirds of the way through his speech, when he talked about where Canada was in 2015, technically entering into a recession, and what transpired in order to get us to where we are today.

As a matter of fact, the decision the government made, in terms of putting money into infrastructure and investing in researchers and our educational institutions, had a serious impact on the way people gained confidence in what the Canadian economy was about and how it could continue to build and move forward.

Could the parliamentary secretary put forward his comments on that?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, during the campaign, our leader, the Prime Minister, clearly indicated that this would be our approach.

When people trust in the future and their chances of success, they are prepared to invest. That is indeed the case today since interest rates are low and needs are great. That is how the Liberals' approach in 2015 differed from those of the NDP and the Conservative Party, who were both obsessed with a zero deficit.

According to Christine Lagarde from the IMF, austerity does not work, as history has shown. When the economy is sluggish, governments have a role to play and can play it by making investments that facilitate the transport of people and goods and investments that are good for the environment.

Take for example, the renewal of waste water infrastructure. It may not be the most pleasant thing to talk about, but we are sometimes losing 40% of our treated drinking water because of outdated pipes and systems, some of which are 100 years old. We need to make investments in that area.

That is why the federal government gave a helping hand to mayors of small, medium-sized, and large municipalities in Quebec and Canada, where investments were long overdue.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the parliamentary secretary, spoke about our obsession with a zero deficit. It is an obsession shared by many Canadians.

I could instead talk about the Liberals' betrayal concerning small deficits. They were elected on a promise to run small deficits of $10 billion, $10 billion, and $6 billion, and then balancing the budget in 2019. Today, we know very well that we will not have a balanced budget before 2045. They made false promises.

I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary another question. In the last budget, there was absolutely nothing for agriculture. However, the previous government promised $4.3 billion in compensation to dairy, egg, and poultry producers because of the trans-Pacific partnership and the agreement with the EU on cheese imports. There is absolutely nothing about this in the last budget.

Why?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us go back to the deficit, because I have to go on the record about that.

My colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable will know that the previous government's obsession was such that it sold its GM shares at a loss of $3.5 billion, while Ontario did not incur such a loss when it sold its shares. The Conservatives were so obsessed with balancing the budget, specifically in 2015, for very cynical election purposes, that it sold its GM shares at a loss of $3.5 billion to taxpayers. That would be like telling my spouse that we no longer had a mortgage, but that I had sold the car.

With regard to my colleague's question about agriculture, I know that investments have been made and that the Minister of Agriculture wants to ensure that farmers across the country have what they need to be innovative and productive.

One thing is certain on this side of the House, and it is not so clear on the other side. I talk to a lot of farmers. There are not very many in my riding, but some come to see me because they want to talk to a government representative. They tell me that supply management is non-negotiable for them, that it is important, and that it might even be responsible—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is a budget implementation bill. Budgets are not only about spending; they are about how we get the money to spend. One of the things that really affect that here in Canada is offshore tax havens. We are losing $10 billion to $15 billion every year because of money that has gone offshore to avoid being taxed. One mining company in Canada avoided $690 million in taxes because it had a mailbox in Luxembourg, and I guess a part-time employee to check that mailbox. I am wondering if the parliamentary secretary could tell us what Canada is doing to deal with those offshore tax havens. What we see is that more and more are being created every year.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joël Lightbound Liberal Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his important and complex question.

I would like to remind members of one thing. The previous government was not worried about tax evasion and tax avoidance, but we invested substantial amounts in our first two budgets to give the Canada Revenue Agency the resources it needed to conduct the necessary audits.

Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance through tax havens is not the same as petty theft at a convenience store. It takes considerable resources. That is why we allocated $1 billion in our first two budgets in 2016 and 2017 to give the CRA the resources it needed.

To answer my colleague's question about tax havens, we need to take a multilateral, concerted approach. The OECD is currently discussing such an approach because one country acting alone will have little or no impact compared to many countries working together.

That is why I think that the OECD's base erosion and profit shifting project, or BEPS, is a good thing. This initiative seeks to combat treaty shopping and tax treaty abuse to ensure a fair tax regime and to ensure that governments seek to obtain the taxes they are owed from abroad. However, this issue is much more complex than it seems.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting listening to the Liberal member talk today about obsession. He talked about our government being obsessed with fiscal responsibility. We are guilty as charged. I am very proud of the fact we were obsessed with fiscal responsibility during our time.

The hon. member referred to Christine Lagarde, who during the time of the global slowdown in the world economy from 2008 to 2010 was very positive and complimentary of the Canadian Harper government's approach at the time in doing what needed on behalf of Canadians to make sure that Canada weathered the storm better than almost any other country in the world.

The hon. member might remember that during that time we set a five- to six-year plan in place to stimulate the economy, but then to get the budget back to balance by 2015. I had the honour of serving on a cabinet committee that evaluated plans by ministers and departments to contribute to getting the budget back to balance, and I am very proud of the fact that in 2015, we balanced the budget. That is the situation the current government inherited.

It is interesting to contrast that with the Liberal approach to the budget. The hon. member alluded to it, but he never actually answered the question on the promise made by the Liberal Party during the last election campaign to balance the budget by 2019, a promise that seems to have been completely abandoned at this point. He never mentioned the fact that the 40% of Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party to govern voted for a government that promised budgetary balance, with modest $10 billion deficits leading up to a balanced budget by 2019. Of course, 60% of Canadians voted for parties that ran on a promise to balance the budget, but the 40% who voted for the Liberals were, of course, duped by their completely broken promise, a promise they obviously never had any intention of keeping.

I represent the largest constituency by population in Canada. Edmonton—Wetaskiwin is probably zeroing in on about 180,000 people right now. It is the constituency where oil was discovered at its heart in 1947 at Leduc No. 1, something we are very proud of in my area. We have the Nisku Industrial Business Park, which is one North America's largest business parks and is central to the economy in the region, in Canada, and around the world. It is a very significant source of pride for people in our region.

To reach out to my constituents, I regularly host round table meetings and will probably do about 50 of them this year, each with 15 or 16 constituents around a table talking about the issues of the day. We have hosted several hundred of these over the years. Recently we have noticed a trend in the topics of discussion. The top two topics of discussion and the top two questions asked at these meetings are now: one, how do we get rid of this Liberal government at the federal level; and, two, how do we get rid of the NDP government in Alberta? We talk about the democratic process and, unfortunately, at this point in time we still have 17 months until the next election when Canadians will have their say on these governments.

The other top issues are broken promises by the Liberal government. We hear a lot about debt and deficits in Canada and concerns about the future. We hear a lot about pipelines. Constituents want to talk about pipeline policy in Canada. We hear about carbon taxes and their impact on the Canadian economy. I am going to talk about some of those things and relay some of the concerns my constituents have been communicating to me.

On broken promises, I hear about these more and more from people across the political spectrum. It is not just Conservatives coming to the round table meetings, but also people who voted voted Liberal and NDP. They come to these meetings and they have been talking a lot about the Liberal platform in 2015, promises that were made and completely broken.

Predictably, the Liberals have set up a web page. It is a mandate letter tracker to evaluate themselves, and on the tracker the Liberals get straight A's on everything, with almost no broken promises mentioned. In fact, they do not refer to broken promises; they refer to promises that are not being pursued, and I think they only have three of them. Of course, there is an independent tracker of Liberal promises. It is named after the Prime Minister and has counted 40 broken promises to date, which is a bit more accurate. It is interesting that Andrew Coyne had this to say about the mandate letter tracker:

Of course, it’s especially galling to see such opacity being deployed in what is supposedly an example of the government’s commitment to transparency. But transparency, gloriously, may nevertheless be the result. In one clueless swoop, the Liberals have managed to call attention not only to all the promises they have broken, but to their comical inability to admit what is plain for all to see.

That is a good summation of the Liberals' own website to track their own progress on promises.

I thought I would talk a bit about some of the promises that were made during the last election. I look here at page 29 of the Liberal election platform. If the Liberals who are in the room want to follow along, they can pull up their own platform and would read the following. On electoral reform, the Liberal platform stated, “We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first- past-the-post voting system.” I looked that up on the mandate letter tracker and apparently that is not being pursued. It is one of the three promises that are not broken, but just not being pursued anymore. We all remember the process that led to that decision. The Liberals tried to put forward a process to have a committee of parliamentarians from all parties study the electoral process in Canada. They went across the country and heard from various stakeholders, a lot of Canadians, about what they wanted to see in electoral reform. The committee worked together. Members of opposition parties came to agreement. That does not always happen in this place. We saw the Green Party, the NDP, and Conservatives come to agreement on a way forward and, of course, the Liberals then scuttled that agreement because it was not their chosen system. They had one particular system they wanted to go with that would have enhanced their numbers in the House of Commons. Right now about 60% of the MPs have been elected with 40% of the vote, and the system the Liberals wanted would have given them 70% of the seats. In the absence of the committee's reporting what the Liberals wanted to hear, they just abandoned the committee's report and broke their promise, or decided not to pursue it.

I turn to the very next page in the Liberal platform, for those following along. Indeed, I see there are a few people on their computers on the Liberal side. I hope they are following along as I am saying this. They will read on page 30, regarding free votes, that “For members of the Liberal caucus, all votes will be free votes with the exception of: those that implement the Liberal electoral platform; traditional confidence matters, like the budget; and those that address our shared values and protections guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Those are the only three exceptions in the Liberal platform, and there is another promise.

Those who watch the proceedings in the House of Commons on CPAC could go back to the 10 years we were in government. The Conservative Party had more free votes than any party in the House of Commons at that point. The Liberals at that time were second. The NDP whipped its vote more than any other party. However, what we have now seen is the Liberals whipping their vote like no other government we have seen in the past. I will speak from personal experience. I moved a motion almost exactly a year ago on a Canadian autism partnership, which seemed to have strong support from Liberal members when I talked to them ahead of time. We had 12 of them show up on the Hill for World Autism Awareness Day, but when it came time to vote on the measure, they were whipped and every single one of them voted against having a Canadian autism partnership, which would have cost all of $20 million over five years. It was a partnership that experts had been working on for a couple of years. Clearly, that did not fit any of the Liberal exceptions and yet Liberal members were whipped to oppose it. Here is the clincher. In the mandate letter tracker, the Liberals have given themselves an A-plus on that, meaning it has been completely and fully met. The Liberals apparently have free votes on every single vote that does not fit those exceptions. Hopefully, the Liberals in the House right now who are looking at their computers are putting an X beside that one, and maybe they can answer that in their comments as we move forward.

We are just dealing with two pages so far. We were on page 29, and now we have page 30. On page 30, here is what the Liberals had to say on the subject of omnibus bills:

Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.

They were going to bring an end to it.

We could have a debate as to whether the government should use omnibus bills. It has been an important topic of conversation for a long time how governments conduct themselves in the House and what tools they use or do not use. However, this is an example of a clear promise the Liberals made, and what are we debating today? We are debating an omnibus bill. The bill is 540-plus pages long, dealing with matters across government. On top of that, the government has used time allocation twice on the bill, at report stage and now at third reading, limiting debate at third reading to just five hours for a 540-plus page budget implementation bill.

Those who have been in the House for a long time would remember the Liberals decrying any use of time allocation on any bill when we were in government. The Liberals used it five times last week alone. In just three days they used it five times, including the time we have right now to debate this.

On the omnibus bills promise, the Liberals gave themselves another A-plus in their mandate letter tracker, as being completed and fully met. I wish I could have had a class with a professor like the Liberals when they evaluate themselves over there. I would have had a 100% average.

The following is the most critical promise. I could spend the entire five hours, if I were given the time, just talking about broken Liberal promises from their platform alone. However, I will finish with page 12 of the platform, where it talked about the budget. This is interesting, because the member for Calgary Rocky Ridge asked a question about this. It feels like it was probably our thousandth question on this subject. He asked when the budget would be balanced. Of course, he got a meandering response that had nothing to do with the question. Every time a Canadian hears that question asked, they should refer back to the promise from page 12 of the Liberal platform. I will give my hon. colleagues across the way time to look this one up, in case they do not remember, because it seems like no one over there remembers this promise. Here is a direct quote from the Liberal platform:

We will run modest short-term deficits of less than $10 billion in each of the next two fiscal years

—this was back in 2015, and I think we are three times that now—

to fund historic investments in infrastructure and our middle class. After the next two fiscal years, the deficit will decline and our investment plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019.

This is kind of funny. The mandate letter tracker evaluates this one as “underway with challenges”. I do not even know what that means.

I could probably give another 20-minute speech analyzing those three words, but I am going to come back to the debt and deficit promise, the promised modest $10 billion deficits that would be balanced by 2019. The reality is that the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the finance minister's own office have said that the budget will not be balanced until 2045. Some say it will be 2052, or more than a generation away.

The really interesting contradiction here is that the Liberals, whenever they get up and answer questions in question period, or Q and A time here, point to how fantastic things are in the Canadian economy.

The Liberals say the Canadian economy is doing great, and yet, as great as they claim the Canadian economy is doing, they cannot find a way to balance the budget. They are running a $22-billion deficit right now and claim the economy is doing fantastically, leading the world, but they cannot balance the budget, which is in a $22-billion deficit.

I will give a bit of a history lesson. In 1968, Canadians elected a Trudeau government, and Canada had almost no debt in 1968, or very little debt. That Trudeau government ran deficits in 14 out of 15 years in power. In 14 out of 15 years, it ran deficits. In 1984, when the Liberals were finally defeated, Canada had high interest rates, our economy was in a shambles, and for the next nine years the Mulroney government ran deficits. The Liberals like to point to those deficits as being very large, but what people do not realize is that if we look at the numbers behind those deficits, we see that the Conservative government, during those years, brought in about as much money as it spent, and, on top of that, the interest payments on Trudeau's debt were among the biggest deficits in Canadian history at that time.

The interest payments on Trudeau's debt accumulated over nine years, to the point where, in the mid-1990s, another Liberal government came to power. Canadians across the country who were around at that time remember the devastating cuts of the mid-1990s. Thirty-five billion dollars was cut from health care spending, social services spending, and education spending through the Canada health transfer and the Canada social transfer. If we were to talk to virtually any stakeholder who works in the kind of world that the Liberals describe as important, those stakeholders would say that those cuts in the mid-1990s, such as to international development, were absolutely devastating to the things that Canadians hold dear and the things that Liberals purport to hold dear.

Where are we going now? The projection for a generation from now says that we will be running continued deficits, that we will be in the neighbourhood of $1 trillion in debt by the time these deficits accumulate, and our demographics will have changed. Some have said that for every senior citizen right now, there are about four people in the workforce. We will have two and a half people working for every senior citizen by 2030, the numbers show, and those two and a half people are going to have to pay down the Liberal debt. There is no way.

We saw it before, in the mid-1990s, and we are going to see it again. If we keep going in the direction we are going, we are going to be looking at massive cuts to health care, education, social services, international development, cuts to whatever is important. Governments of the day a generation from now are going to have to take a look at cutting those things to pay down this Liberal debt. Remember that in the mid-1990s, it was a Liberal government that had to make those cuts to pay off the Trudeau debt, and we are looking at the same situation repeating itself.

I will quickly touch on pipelines, because that is a big issue in my constituency. On top of the debt that we are running up, we are completely hamstringing ourselves when it comes to the revenue side. The situation the Liberals inherited was that northern gateway had been approved, and we had energy east, which they regulated out of consideration. After TransCanada had spent over $1 billion on red tape, they finally decided to make, as the Liberals called it, an economic decision—of course, they made an economic decision not to move forward on something that had already cost them over $1 billion in red tape—and they had to nationalize Trans Mountain to make it work.

I have a lot more to say, but I will move an amendment. I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, be not now read a third time, but be referred back to the Standing Committee on Finance for the purpose of reconsidering clause 186 with the view to requiring the government to reveal how much the carbon tax will cost.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech today. I did listen to it, despite the fact that I may have been one of those people who was also working at my computer here researching some of the information and facts that he was talking about.

The one thing in particular that I picked up on in his comments was with respect to the whipping of votes. I can tell the member, at least from my perspective, that my votes do not need to be whipped to vote in favour of a small business tax reduction. My vote does not need to be whipped to vote on introducing the Canada workers benefit, nor does my vote need to be whipped to vote for indexing the Canada child benefit.

What I noticed yesterday when we voted for four hours on amendments to the budget was that the member, along with every other member in the Conservative Party, voted on an amendment to delete the reduction in the small business tax rate for corporations. I am curious. Can the member explain why, on at least that one amendment, he did not vote in opposition to the amendment?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is an interesting opportunity, because on small business taxes, the Liberals made a promise to follow the Conservative plan, the track we had set forward, to reduce small business taxes in this country. They made a promise on that, and then they subsequently broke it. It was another broken promise. I am hoping that more Liberal MPs will get up and ask me questions directly related to promises that were broken by the LIberal Party.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

It will come as no surprise that I am going to talk about an aspect of the budget implementation bill that bothers me.

I know that my colleague is concerned about the situation of persons with limitations, challenges, or those who are ill.

For years, doctors have been prescribing medical cannabis. For some people, it is the only way to deal with chronic pain or very intense pain. Medical cannabis was not taxed by the federal government. Now, for no reason, under Bill C-74, this product will be taxed, compromising some people's ability to receive care and not live in pain.

I would like the hon. member's thoughts on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, it kind of fits a pattern with the Liberal Party wherever there is something that is not taxed. Of course, the Liberals had officials studying everything we can pay tax on to find out where they can realize more revenue, because they know, as I watch what is happening over there, that they are running these budget deficits. Some may want to attribute to them an intent to run budget deficits, and I sometimes do that myself, but I lean more towards the fact that the Liberals have no idea what to do. They are running a deficit, but they made a promise to balance the budget and it is quite clear that they have no idea what to do about it, so from time to time they float things like raising taxes on benefits that employees receive, like a discount on a hamburger or something like that, or taxes on medical benefits and those kinds of things.

Of course, from time to time, Canadians speak loudly against those things and the Liberals have to back down a little bit. However, I think that is what we are in for over the next 17 months: the Liberals will be continually floating new ideas to raise taxes because they have no idea how they are going to get that deficit down.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:10 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it was interesting listening to my friend across the way as he tried to explain to viewers and those who might be listening to the debate. He gave the impression that the Conservatives actually know how to manage a budget, particularly on the issue of deficits. However, it is interesting that what the member did not talk about was that the prime minister who had the greatest contribution to the deficit was Stephen Harper.

Stephen Harper, when he first became prime minister, inherited a multi-billion-dollar surplus. Before the recession kicked in, the turned that multi-billion-dollar surplus into a multi-billion-dollar deficit, and every year after that it continued to be a deficit until the election year, when the Conservatives sold GM shares, among other things, to try to say that they were going to have a balanced budget, but that never happened either.

My question for my colleague across the way is this: Given that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives have proven very clearly that they do know how to have deficits and that Mr. Harper added over $150 billion in debt, why should we take advice from the Conservative Party when it comes to deficits?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is really interesting to hear this. I do not think the hon. member was elected in 2008, but I am sure his colleagues could tell him that during those days, when the world was experiencing a global economic slowdown of a kind we had not seen in decades, Liberal members could not demand enough spending by our government. We could not spend enough to satisfy Liberals on that side.

Liberal members will also remember that at that time the government, along with finance minister Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper, laid out a seven-year plan to get our budget back to balance, and we followed that plan perfectly.

We can contrast that to the situation we are in now—not a global economic meltdown, but rather what the Liberals celebrate as some of the best economic times we have ever had, yet they have to run $22 billion in deficit with no plan to get back to balance until 2045.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin for raising the issue of the mandate tracker. I was listening quite carefully to that. We heard some recent testimony at government operations committee about that. I recall from that meeting reading and hearing that under the balanced budget election promise, the mandate tracker characterizes this current performance as “underway—with challenges” in kind of a bizarre euphemism.

Could the member comment on that piece? The mandate of that finance minister was to implement the Liberals' election promises, a question they have ignored every time it has been asked. I wonder if the member would comment on the mandate tracker and the challenges on a balanced budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

There are so many places to go with that, Mr. Speaker.

The Liberal promise said that after the next two fiscal years, the deficit will decline and their investment plan will return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019. Now it says “underway with challenges”. I do not even know where to start.

I played a lot of sports in high school, mainly track and field. I am thinking now of the high jump. If I turned around for a second and then turned and started my run to the high jump bar and saw that it was set at 70 feet, that is where we are at right now with the budget. That is how close we are right now to balancing the budget. The Liberals have about as much chance of balancing a budget as I would have of doing a 70-foot high jump. It is not going to happen.

I would love to hear a Liberal member take the opportunity to speak. They get a lot of time to speak here, but of course the time for debate has been limited to five hours. Maybe one of them will use his or her 20-minute opportunity to explain how we are going to get back to a balanced budget by 2019 and overcome those challenges.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I do not think of myself as naive, so when a budget speech talks about things like pay equity and there is actually nothing in the budget implementation act for pay equity, I do find it a bit disingenuous There are a lot of pronouncements and announcements, but very little follow-through.

I wonder if my hon. colleague could comment on the fact that there is no money in the budget to implement pay equity, yet the Liberal government touts itself as a feminist government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Mike Lake Conservative Edmonton—Wetaskiwin, AB

Mr. Speaker, a lot of times in the House we focus on the differences between parties. Certainly NDP members and Conservative members have many differences in opinion in terms of policy, as do those who support our parties. However, when I talk to my constituents, no matter whether the individual is an NDP supporter or a Conservative supporter, I find we can unite around our shared frustration about a government that talks a good game on a lot of different things, says what needs to be said to get votes from whichever segment of Canadian society it wants votes from on a given day, but really has no intention in many cases of implementing the things it talks about. I enumerated several of those things in my budget speech, but unfortunately I did not have enough time to enumerate all of the areas of concern.

This is something of major concern to Canadians, and we are hearing it more and more across the country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank all my colleagues from both sides of the House for agreeing to this humble request, which will allow us to hear my colleague from Elmwood—Transcona's fine speech.

It is a pleasure for me to stand in the House and speak again to the budget implementation bill. As I previously said while asking a question to a Conservative member, I am greatly disappointed and puzzled that the Liberal government decided to tax medical marijuana. Doctor-prescribed cannabis was not taxed before. This new measure will hurt people who need cannabis, a substance often prescribed as a kind of last resort, when other medications did not work.

People in my riding came to see me. They are very concerned because it is sometimes the only thing which works to alleviate chronic pain and help people with cancer, who have undergone surgery or been through an accident. Our veterans also use it sometimes to assist in the treatment of PTSD. I do not quite understand the aim of the government in imposing higher taxes on those people. The government could get considerable sums of money from several other sources, and I might have the opportunity to talk about it. Billions of dollars in revenues are lost each year in tax loopholes for corporate CEOs and in tax heavens.

I do not want those people to have to choose between getting a treatment and not getting it or between getting prescription medication such as medical cannabis and buying groceries to see what food they can put on the table for dinner. I just wanted to say that.

Again, this budget is noteworthy for its glaring omissions. We can always talk about a budget and what it contains, but we can also talk about what it does not contain. Being in government means making choices. Sometimes, that means leaving certain things out. Those choices are significant because they have an impact on people's lives. One of the promises the Liberals made but have yet to keep was to end subsidies to oil and gas companies in Canada. Our analysis shows that these subsidies amount to $1.3 billion to $1.6 billion a year. However, once again, it is not entirely clear, and the government has released no action plan for reaching that goal.

I am a member of the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development, and this morning, we were fortunate enough to have the Minister of Environment with us. I asked her repeatedly if she could tell me exactly how much taxpayer money goes to oil and gas companies each year. She was never able to give me an answer. The Liberals promised to end these subsidies, but they have no idea how much they are. That is not the worst part. I asked the minister if she agreed with the Auditor General, who reported in May that the Liberal government has not even defined what a subsidy to the oil and gas industry is. I can understand the minister's confusion, as the Liberals do not even understand the nature of the beast they are hunting.

What was the point of the federal government promising to phase out these subsidies at the last few G7 summits and the last G20 summit, if the Liberals do not even know what they are talking about and have no clear-cut definition?

It is obvious that they will not be able to keep this promise. Once again, the Liberal government is all talk and has no specific measures to back its promises and successfully make a just energy transition for workers, which requires many things. Once again, in the last budget, the Liberal government failed to introduce very concrete measures to ensure that we would adopt cleaner, renewable sources of energy, the energy of the future and the energy behind the jobs of today and tomorrow. There is a lack of investment in renewable energy and in the skills training required to ensure this just transition.

A few weeks ago, I attended a summit in Montreal organized by environmental groups, unions, as well as investment funds and business representatives from Montreal. One thing that became very evident was the need to invest in skills training for workers who today can build a pipeline or an oil terminal and could be taught to build a solar panel or a wind turbine. It is feasible and they would be good jobs. People will be ready to work.

However, the government needs to put the money on the table right now, so that we will have well-trained workers who can make this transition in five or 10 years. The goal is to create good jobs in an energy sector that has a smaller carbon footprint than the current one. The government does not have money to invest in renewable energy and no money to invest in training the workforce, but it has money to buy an old pipeline. What a surprise. There seems to be no limit here. No big deal. The government has no idea how much it will cost, but that does not matter.

I want to point out that the Minister of Finance announced that he would spend a surprise amount of $4.5 billion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:25 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Indeed, Mr. Speaker. What a great play on words from my New Democrat colleague. It was a Kinder Surprise. Unfortunately, this surprise could turn into a nightmare in the coming years. The government just said that it would spend $4.5 billion of taxpayer money to buy a 65-year-old pipeline, that is already leaking and that is not very safe. This will not create any jobs. All the government did was buy existing, aging infrastructure and equipment, but it will not create any jobs.

In addition, the American company Kinder Morgan estimated that the pipeline expansion would cost at least $7.4 billion.

A total of $11.9 billion from the public purse is being spent on energy that increases greenhouse gas emissions. This flies in the face of the Paris Agreement targets and will considerably increase the frequency of extreme weather and natural disasters, which are already costing us billions of dollars a year. We simply do not understand why Canada is investing in an energy source of the past rather than today's energy and the energy of the future.

Just how far is the Liberal government going to take this spending spree? We do not know. Infrastructure projects often go over budget in the construction phase. This has been the case for many projects in Montreal, including mega-hospitals and the Champlain Bridge. This is extremely troubling because it really feels as though the government thinks it has its own money printing press and can do whatever it wants.

Investments in renewable energy pay off a lot more in terms of job creation. For every dollar invested in renewable energy, job creation is six to eight times higher than the same investment in fossil fuels, which, unfortunately, are still front and centre around the world. Other countries are currently in transition, but Canada is really falling behind on this. The Liberal budget does not help find a solution or make the transition. Personally, I find that extremely troubling.

There is another thing I want to point out on the environmental front, even if much smaller amounts of money are involved. As environment critic for the NDP, I do not understand how the department in charge of implementing the Species at Risk Act could have seen its budget reduced by $12 million. That is $12 million less for all the programs to protect endangered species in Quebec and across Canada. We have now entered what is probably the sixth greatest extinction period for animal, plant and insect life in our planet's history. It is the sixth largest extinction period, and the government chose to cut funding to implement the Species at Risk Act. I simply cannot fathom why.

What is missing from the budget? All the investments in social housing announced with great fanfare are not in it. Investments over 11 years were announced for social housing, all of which will begin after the 2019 election and after the 2023 election. It is easy for a government to make promises and commitments when it has no idea if it will still be in power at that point. People are in dire straits right now. Thousands of people are in need of social housing because 40% to 50% of their income goes to rent. That leads to poverty. The Liberal government had the opportunity to make massive investments to address that right away.

Tackling tax havens and closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest CEOs would give the government billions of dollars that could then be used to help people who are suffering and who need social housing today. That would make all the difference in their lives. Sadly, the Liberal government has other priorities, which is unfortunate.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the government is going after tax evaders. We are literally spending hundreds of millions of dollars, close to a billion dollars in the last couple of budgets, to deal with those who are trying to avoid paying taxes. The NDP does not support that. The New Democrats talk about it, but they do not support it.

With respect to housing, we have the single largest investment in a multi-year budgeting housing strategy, which is even greater than the housing strategy commitment he NDP made in the last election. In that election, the NDP said that it would have balanced budgets. Imagine the cuts the NDP would have had to make to get to get to that balanced budget.

Many of the things this government is doing are of a very progressive nature. Why does the NDP consistently vote against measures that are taking kids and seniors out of poverty, that are putting money in the pockets of Canada's middle class? Why does the NDP resist such positive, progressive measures?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, simply because I do not see anything progressive about letting the CEOs of this country use tax loopholes that cost us $800 million per year. That is not progressive. The Liberals brag about helping the middle class with a tax cut, but the Liberal tax cut does absolutely nothing for people who earn less than $45,000 per year. It does not affect them. The Liberals seem to think that people who earn $30,000, $35,000, or $40,000 per year are not part of the middle class and therefore do not need help. The people who will benefit the most from the Liberal tax cut are those who earn $100,000 or $120,000 per year. That is not the NDP's definition of middle class.

When it comes to combatting tax evasion and tax avoidance, obviously there is no point hiring more police officers if it is legal to rob the store. The problem is that it is legal. Yes, we need auditors and inspectors. We agree that more of them are needed, but what is the point if the Canada-Barbados treaty makes it okay for people to send money there, pay 1% or 2% in taxes, and then bring the money back here where they pay no tax at all?

These are bilateral treaties. We do not need to wait for the world to wake up and change. If the Liberals meant what they said, they would renegotiate all of these tax treaties with tax havens instead of signing new ones like they did with the Cook Islands.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to offer my hon. colleague an opportunity. I wonder if he reflected on this, as I did. When the Prime Minister said “This pipeline will be built”, what an amazing event it would have been if he had said that he would end homelessness or that he would implement a just transition.

When I heard the Prime Minister announce the investment in the pipeline, I simply added to that. What if he had said that he would end homelessness by investing $4.5 billion immediately and that by the end of August this year, the government would have a plan to end homelessness.

I offer my colleague an opportunity to perhaps imagine what that might mean for a just transition if the Prime Minister said that he would implement a just transition for workers in Canada, with an immediate investment of $4.5 billion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, sadly, part of the answer is that the Prime Minister cannot be trusted.

When he was asked in British Columbia if he would review the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project under the old assessment process, and he said “absolutely not”, that he would change it, that he would evaluate it with a new credible assessment process. Did he? No, not at all.

When he was asked in British Columbia if an aboriginal community disagreed with the construction of a new pipeline would he respect the will of that aboriginal community, his answer was “absolutely”. Let us look at what is happening right now.

The Prime Minister cannot be trusted. This is why we need a just transition for our economy, our workers and families that are working in the energy sectors. However, we see no decision, no action, no movement from the government. We could do a lot with $4.5 billion. This is why we do not think this a good budget or a government we can trust.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to the budget implementation act at third reading. As I think all members of this House know, budgets are really where the government shows its hand, and notwithstanding what it might say, what its real priorities are.

We can look at this budget implementation act and what is in it and compare it to what was in the budget document. There were some things the Liberals said they wanted to move ahead with in the budget document that were laudable. The question then becomes, when the time comes to put them into law and decide what we are going to move ahead with, whether they are here in the budget implementation act. If they are not here, then all Canadians get on those issues are the words in the budget document, which by themselves do not do anything for Canadians and do not change anything.

If the government wants to say, as I believe it did in the budget document, that it is going to get hard on CEOs who are abusing tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share of taxes, that is all well and good. We say that too. However, if it does not put that in the implementation legislation to change the law that allows those CEOs to do that legally, they are just words.

The Liberals said in the budget document that they were concerned about workers, such as the Sears workers. Of course, we know that workers in many other companies, across many other industries, have faced a similar problem: the company declares bankruptcy and the money in its pension plan is doled out to big banks and investors, or in some cases, to the very same CEOs who were underfunding the pension plan for years by taking holidays or in other ways. It is all well and good for the government to say that it is concerned about that in the budget document, but when it comes down to it, even though what is happening is absolutely wrong, it is legal.

The point of raising the issue and what it means to stand up for those workers is for the government to say that it will change the law so that it is no longer legal. If that is done, those companies can be pursued in court and made to face justice. This budget implementation act does not do that, even though the government talked about the issue in the budget.

The Liberals brag about bringing in a new carbon pricing regime on the one hand. On the other hand, they have told us in question period many times over not to worry, because 85% of Canadians already live under a carbon pricing regime. Which is it? Are they providing leadership on carbon pricing, or are Canadians largely already there? I think there is a real tension in that message.

What is a glaring deficiency in the carbon pricing regime they have proposed in this budget implementation act is that for the fallback carbon price for provinces that do not already have their own systems, the government has not proposed any kind of rebate system. In provinces like B.C. and Alberta, the NDP brought in carbon price rebate programs to ensure that low-income Canadians were not disproportionately affected by a new carbon price. That is something the government could have put into this legislation. It is something we would have been happy to push harder for, although we have mentioned it in the House before.

One of the things we tried to do was take those carbon pricing provisions and break them out into a separate piece of legislation so that we could have a more detailed study of those provisions. That would have provided the opportunity to talk about a meaningful rebate program for low-income Canadians, including seniors who are living on fixed incomes, who will be hit by this in provinces where they do not already have that regime or in provinces that will bring in a carbon pricing regime but will not bring in a rebate program. We think that would have been appropriate and that the federal government could have modelled that in this legislation. However, because it insisted on bringing in that pricing regime in an omnibus budget bill instead of breaking it out, we did not have the time it takes to prepare those kinds of proposals. That is one of the problems with these kinds of bills.

I have said this in the House many times, and I truly believe it. Part of the problem with omnibus bills and using time allocation in the way the current government has, which is setting records with respect to the amount it uses it, and the short period of time it allows after imposing time allocation, is that civil society does not get the opportunity to weigh in on these bills.

It is difficult enough for members of Parliament who have not had a lot of time to appreciate what is in a bill to do their due diligence. However, we are supported. We are supported by the Library of Parliament. We have staff in our offices, and still we struggle. In some cases, due to the time constraints imposed by the government, we are not able to do the kind of study and perform the kind of due diligence I think people expect of members in this place. However, for people in civil society who do not have that kind of time and do not have those resources who are trying to educate themselves about what is happening here in Ottawa after work or between looking after their kids, and all the many other things Canadians do during a day, time allocation in this place makes it even harder for them to engage in discourse about what is happening.

Pensions are a big issue for folks where I am from in Elmwood—Transcona. Therefore, it was a big disappointment to see that there was no legislative follow-through on the discussion of pension theft in the budget document. It was a rather weak discussion, I would say. Nevertheless, if one wanted proof that those words were weak and did not mean anything, the fact that there is nothing here, particularly in light of the fact that my colleague for Hamilton Mountain has already drafted the legislation that would be required to get this done and that the government has taken the good ideas of some other NDP members and incorporated them into government legislation already, shows that the government decided not to move forward with it. I think that is a disappointment to a lot of hard-working people across Canada, particularly in Elmwood—Transcona, some of whom worked at Sears and others who saw what was happening to employees. It was a long-standing institution at Kildonan Place mall. People felt that the workers who worked there for all those years ought to get a fair shake. It is disappointing not to see that.

People in Elmwood—Transcona are disappointed to see that the only thing that came of all the talk on pharmacare by the government was the establishment of a simple committee, and there is actually no money even for that committee to operate. Maybe they will find that money elsewhere. Why they would not put it in the budget, though, in terms of being open and transparent about what the costs for that committee are actually going to be, I do not know.

When we talk about fairness for workers and a budget implementation act being an important opportunity for the government to signal its commitment to a good future for workers, where they can go out and get a fair day's pay for a fair day's work, we think of women across this country who have been waiting for a very long time to get pay equity. Again, pay equity was mentioned in the budget document. However, it does not appear anywhere here.

When we talk about pay equity, the debate for decades has centred on the need to bring in legislation. If this was going to happen spontaneously, out of the good will of corporate Canada, presumably it would have happened a long time ago. We know we need legislation. The budget document itself said we needed legislation. The budget document in 2016 said we needed legislation. The Liberals, in the campaign in 2015, said we needed legislation. Here is another opportunity that has gone by to provide that legislation, and people are rightly beginning to wonder if another election is going to go by before we see that legislation presented.

Pay equity is an important component of any real vision for the future in Canada where we manifest real fairness for workers. We cannot ignore over half the workforce and pay them less for doing work of equal value and pretend that we have fairness for workers in the country. That is another example of where this budget implementation act simply does not live up to the kind of vision the Liberals were trying to project in their budget documents.

Therefore, I forgive Canadians who maybe listened to the news coverage or even the budget debate and thought, wow, there is a lot of great stuff in there for workers. The fact of the matter is that this does not really bring us closer to a fair future for Canadian workers. It ought to. That is why I came to Parliament. I know that is why my colleagues here in the NDP caucus came to Parliament. We will continue to hold the government to account until we replace it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the budget and its implementation act work in concert with the estimates process that actually gives legal authority for expenditures by the crown. I know that the hon. member is a very diligent and concerned member when it comes to government structures around the spending powers of the crown. I would like him to comment on his concerns about the whole budgetary process, of which this budget implementation is a part, and in particular, on whether he has any further words to contribute in the debate on vote 40.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I wondered perhaps if I could ask for unanimous consent for 20 or 30 minutes of the House's time, but I will not. I will confine my remarks to the time allotted.

There is something genuinely new about this year's budget and estimates process, which is that the government has decided to seek authority for the spending to implement these initiatives in a genuinely new way. Instead of preparing the programs conceived in the budget document and running them through Treasury Board, where the rigorous costing is done, and making sure that ministers have answers for parliamentarians when they ask about that funding, the government has instead lumped it all into one central vote. It is asking for authority for spending of over $7 billion for all the new budget initiatives in one vote. It has been a real problem for committees, which have not been able to get straight answers.

We know from the PBO, who followed a previous year's budget, that 30% of the items in that budget actually cost significantly more or significantly less than what was forecast in that budget.

Ultimately, I think it will be a problem for Canadians who find that their money has not been well spent because the due diligence was not done. That is why I have been endeavouring to stop it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague in the NDP criticized the government's position on the legislation, insinuating that there were additional measures put in here that should not be in a budget document. At the same time, he was advocating for pay equity and pension legislation.

Would he agree that those are appropriate pieces of legislation to put in a budget document? I think the two of us would come very close to being in the same place in terms of how we feel about those particular pieces of legislation. Would he say that the budget document would be a proper place to put those pieces of legislation?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would be quite happy to see those initiatives come to Parliament in separate bills, so I have no quarrel with the idea that those would come in separate pieces of legislation. I notice that, in fact, they have not. I notice also that the government is bringing an omnibus bill for the budget implementation to this House anyway. If it is going to do it anyway, at least put the good stuff in it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to dive a bit into the carbon debate, because in his comments, the member said that they did not know if there would be a rebate. The way the backstop has been designed by the federal government for Bill C-74 is that there will be a carbon price across the country if provinces do not set up their own plans. I actually think the architecture of this is quite good, and it puts a lie to the constant claim by the Liberals that they needed to give Rachel Notley a pipeline or they could never get a carbon price. A co-operative Alberta is certainly better than a resistant Alberta, but we have a resistant Saskatchewan, and we are plowing ahead. The carbon price will be across the country. It will backstop. It is up to every province if it is revenue neutral or not.

I want to get on the record that I regret that the new government in B.C. has moved away from revenue neutrality. For the first time since our carbon tax was put in place in B.C., it will be entering into the general revenues of the province.

I want to give the hon. member a chance to reflect on that. We need a carbon price. We need a much more vigorous, real carbon plan, which we do not have. However, there is a backstop, and it is up to each province if there is a rebate.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the point I was trying to make in my speech was that I think there could have been a rebate factored into the backstop. What I think is deficient about the plan is that it does not do that. That would have been an excellent way for the federal government to model it for provinces that are initiating their own programs and say that this is how it can be done. For those provinces that do not bring in their own regimes, that would mean that low-income Canadians in those provinces would benefit from a rebate program. That is the real missed opportunity I see in the carbon pricing model.

The secondary point I was trying to make was that if we had been successful in separating that into a separate piece of legislation, we might have had the time to debate that point more fully instead of trying to lump it in with all the other initiatives included in the budget implementation act, although, unfortunately, not in the budget. There are a lot of things in the budget we should be moving ahead on that are not in this bill. If the government wants to introduce separate bills for those things, I actually think that would probably be the more appropriate way of going about it. However, if it is committed to the view, and it seems to be, that one act will implement the budget, then surely it could have put some of the better things from the budget in the act instead of leaving them out.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-74 on behalf of the Government of Canada, as well as our government's planned investments to strengthen the middle class and maintain the strength and sustainable growth of the Canadian economy.

Budget 2018, entitled “Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class”, represents the next stage in our plan to invest in people and the communities where they live in order to provide the best opportunities for success to the middle class and all Canadians.

The bill we are talking about today, budget implementation act, 2018, No. 1, is the next step in the plan that our government launched over two years ago. When we took office, we jumped into action by helping develop a confident middle class that stimulates economic growth and that is currently benefiting from more opportunities for success than ever.

Giving Canadians the opportunity to reach their full potential is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do for our economy. The decision to invest in the middle class is the right decision. Targeted investments combined with the hard work of Canadians across the country have helped create good, well-paying jobs and will continue to strengthen the economy over the long term.

Before I go into some of the measures introduced in Bill C-74, it is always a good thing to step aside and take a holistic approach to what is going on in the Canadian economy. For example, if we look at the first quarter gross domestic product, we see some continuing good signs. As an economist, I love these terms. We had real final domestic demand rise by 2.1%, driven by a 10.9% increase in business investment.

Recently, off those numbers, the Bank of Canada governor, Stephen Poloz, commented on the signs of the economy of exports and business investment continuing to pick up. Despite the uncertainties in the global economy and the continuing NAFTA negotiations, business investments remain strong.

Those are great signs for our economy, but what does that really translate to? Quite simply, it translates to 600,000 new jobs, 600,000 people working today who were not working two and a half years ago. Those Canadians are our neighbours, our friends, our family. Also, 300,000 kids have been lifted out of poverty because of the Canada child benefit, which we introduced and which is arriving monthly, tax-free, to Canadian families, such as the families in my riding, Vaughan—Woodbridge. Those are great things that we are doing.

The A.T. Kearney foreign direct investment confidence index came out two weeks ago, making comments on what our plan for the economy is doing for Canada. Canada was ranked number two. I would like to read what the A.T. Kearney index said:

Canada moves up three spots to its highest ranking in the history of the Index. An update to the Investment Canada Act, a newly established Invest Canada agency, and new trade agreements [CETA, CPTPP, entering into negotiations with Mercosur] could be boosting investor optimism.

What does a boost in investment translate to? Very simply, it means jobs for middle-class Canadians in my riding, and coast to coast to coast. I am very proud of the measures introduced in Bill C-74.

One of them is the Canada child benefit. We have spoken about it quite a bit, and we should continue to do so. In my riding, Vaughan—Woodbridge, over $59 million was sent via the Canada child benefit to families in a one-year period. It assisted approximately 19,400 children. The number of payments was 10,900, with an average payment of $5,400.

We can throw lots of numbers out there, but behind them are Canadian families like the ones that reside in Vaughan—Woodbridge. These funds are being sent tax-free, not to millionaires but to real Canadian families, families that are working hard to pay their bills every day, assisting them to pay for their kids' sports, lunches, new clothes, and so forth, and maybe save for an RESP for when their children go to university.

I am so proud of the fact that our government indexed the Canada child benefit. What does that mean? Let me simply tell members.

For example, the Canada child benefit is an important government initiative aimed at making a positive change for the millions of Canadian families with children. Close to 3.3 million families with children are receiving more than $23 billion in annual Canada child benefit payments.

A single mom of two children aged five and eight with a net income of $35,000 in 2016 will have received $11,125 in tax-free Canada child benefit payments in the 2017-18 benefit year. Naturally, this $11,125 is absolutely tax free. That is $3,500 more than she would have received under the previous child benefit system.

This means that, for a family making $35,000, once the Canada child benefit is indexed, it would add up to almost $560 more per year. For families in Canada, $500 more a year is a lot of money, to pay for their kids' lunches and school clothes, to bring their son or daughter to a soccer game in the evening or to a soccer practice, and so forth. I am proud that our government has looked at this initiative. I am proud that our government has lifted 300,000 kids out of poverty because of this. I am proud that our government has indexed this. These are real, tangible measures that are assisting families from coast to coast to coast on an everyday basis, and our party should be proud of that.

I am proud to represent a riding, Vaughan—Woodbridge, within the city of Vaughan, that is one of the most entrepreneurial areas of the country. We have approximately 13,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in the city, and I meet with these folks regularly. We are also blessed to have many large organizations. We have Canadian Pacific's busiest intermodal facility in the country, a key barometer of trade and investment. We have Home Depot's eastern Canada distribution centre. We have the FedEx distribution centre for eastern Canada. We have UPS's distribution centre for all of eastern Canada. Again, UPS made that wonderful announcement of investing $500 million in the Canadian economy, creating thousands of additional jobs. We have a furniture maker, Decor-Rest, which employs 700 Canadians, competing globally against furniture makers both here in Canada and in the United States and Mexico, and winning in competing.

I am blessed to have all these entrepreneurs. I am also blessed to have a number of bakeries and great pastry shops, which I have talked about before, especially during Italian Heritage Month. I visit them and we talk about what makes these companies successful.

One big thing we have done, which is contained in Bill C-74, is the reduction in the small-business tax rate from 11% in 2015, which will eventually fall to 9%. We should be proud of that. For small businesses making $500,000 a year in active income, the savings would be $7,500. That can offset other increased input costs they may face. They can use those savings to invest in their businesses, or whatever they choose. That is something we need to applaud.

Looking at our corporate tax system in Canada, the combined federal corporate tax rate in the province of Ontario, roughly 12.9%, is one of the lowest small-business tax rates globally. We have seen that turn up in the job numbers, with 600,000 new jobs, most of them private sector jobs. That is a good barometer for the economy. That is why we have larger companies like CN or CP hiring. However, we also have small companies, because we know that small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses are the backbone of our economy.

That measure, introduced in Bill C-74, is something we should be very proud of. Cumulatively, that measure would result in approximately $3 billion in tax savings due to lower taxes for small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada through the 2022-23 period. This is a substantial reduction in taxes. When we brought in the tax cut for middle-class Canadians, people said, “Whom does it affect?” It affected nine million taxpayers. We brought in a multi-billion dollar tax cut that benefited millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast, and here we are doing the same thing for small businesses.

We also undertook extensive consultations with small businesses on how we could best work with them to grow their business, because we want to increase jobs and investment and achieve better productivity and a better standard of living for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

We also want to ensure that the businesses that benefit from that low small-business tax rate are the appropriate ones. We undertook a consultation and arrived at a point where we introduced measures where 97% of businesses remain unaffected. If people have an active business, they can continue to invest in it and continue to grow. That is wonderful. These are measures contained in Bill C-74. However, we also have what I think is a very prudent measure. If they have actually accumulated $3 million, $4 million, or $5 million in what is called passive income, which is a little technical to describe, something they can save for retirement or set aside and invest in a separate business, which may not be connected to their own business, that is great. They can continue to do that, and we are not going to change the tax structure within their passive investments. However, at a certain point they will no longer benefit from the small-business tax rate of 12.9%, and we will move them up to the 24% tax rate. It is a fair measure.

Canadians expect fairness and progressivity in their tax system. Canadians expect us to do a thoughtful job. When others take a risk, they should be rewarded, but at the same time they should understand that when they have done very well and have been able to set aside some monies within passive investments, they are also going to move up to the corporate tax rate, which is very competitive globally. Even with the United States' adoption of its recent tax reform, our corporate tax rate is very competitive with the U.S. tax rate, and we need to point that out.

There are a lot of good measures contained in Bill C-74, and I am very proud of them. Another one I would like to talk about is the Canada workers benefit. This is something a lot of low-income working Canadians are going to benefit from. There are a couple of measures that I think are very good and long-lasting, and they will proceed beyond this Parliament and many others.

One is working with CRA and undertaking automatic enrolment. Automatic enrolment means that those in society who do not have the means or access that many of us here enjoy are automatically enrolled to receive these benefits. According to the estimates, just this measure alone is going to lift 70,000 people out of poverty and provide additional benefits. Someone making $15,000, a student or a retiree, can receive up to nearly $500 more with the new Canada workers benefit. It is something I am very proud of. My progressive roots cheer this on. It is something that all Canadians can be very proud of.

We realize that some people, especially indigenous people living in northern and remote communities, have often faced barriers when it comes to accessing essential government services and federal benefits such as the Canada child benefit. With Bill C-74, our government will take steps to ensure that anyone who is eligible for support receives it.

Through Bill C-74, the government proposes to expand outreach efforts to all indigenous communities on reserves and in northern and remote areas, and to conduct pilot outreach projects for urban indigenous communities so that indigenous peoples have better access to a full range of federal social benefits, including the Canada child benefit.

Now I would like to talk about the Canada worker's benefit. Canadians working hard to join the middle class deserve to have their hard work rewarded with greater opportunities for success. We know that these Canadians are working to build a better life for themselves and their families. Low-income Canadians are sometimes working two or three jobs so that they can give themselves and their children a better chance at success.

That is why the government is proposing a new benefit in budget 2018 and in Bill C-74: the Canada workers benefit. This benefit builds on the former working income tax benefit and would put more money into the pockets of low-income workers. It would encourage more people to join and remain in the workforce by letting them take home more money while they work.

Through Bill C-74, the government would increase the overall support provided for the 2019 and subsequent taxation years. In particular, the government proposes to increase maximum benefits under the CWB by up to $170 in 2019, and increase the income level at which the benefit is entirely phased out. As a result, low-income workers earning $15,000 could receive up to almost $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than they could receive this year under the current working income tax benefit. That is $500 to invest in the things that are important to them, and to make ends meet.

The government is also proposing changes to improve access to the Canada workers benefit to allow the Canada Revenue Agency to calculate the CWB for anyone who has not claimed it starting in 2019.

Again, having the CRA automatically register people who are eligible for these programs and others is a large step forward for our tax system.

One thing I would like to comment on is the framework we have introduced for the pricing of carbon. We have done this in a very thoughtful and prudent manner. It is a backstop, and 85% of Canadians are covered by a form of carbon pricing system. The provinces are permitted to do what they wish with the revenues.

However, I agree with the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. It was very disappointing that the NDP government in B.C. would move away from a revenue-neutral price on carbon. I am very disappointed. It speaks to fiscal foolishness. We need to allow provinces to do what they wish, but we need the provinces to be transparent. Our carbon pricing system is transparent. The funds flow back to the provinces and the provinces then decide how to allocate those funds, but they should also be transparent about it.

We have an opportunity in this world that we are moving into. Many countries have already adopted this pricing system, and many industries in the private sector, which I am a big champion of, have looked at this. We have companies all over the world, such as Daimler in Germany, FCA, Ford, or any automotive company, looking at adopting electric vehicles, at technology on clean tech, and at renewable energy. We have the system going on. We have this shift going on. We need to be a part of it.

However, this is not, as my Conservative colleagues are saying, scaring away investment. It is not. We saw it in the first quarter GDP numbers. Business investment in Canada is rising. We see that every day, whether it is Samsung announcing its AI facility in downtown Toronto, or Montreal being the gaming sector of North America when it comes to enterprise arts. We see it in Vancouver, with the clustering that is going on, and in the Kitchener—Waterloo area. We see it with many auto parts suppliers in Ontario, and then there is Toyota's announcement. Foreign direct investment in Canada is creating jobs. It created jobs yesterday, it is creating jobs today, and it will create jobs in the future, because we are making those conditions very strong.

Finally, when we talk about Canada's fiscal position, we maintain a AAA credit rating, which we have had for so long. It has been affirmed recently. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is declining. I would argue that we have the best fiscal position of any G7 country on any fiscal measure, and that is something we need to be proud of. It is something our government is proud of.

Therefore, when I hear the banter from the other side, I would love to sit down and chat with them and show them a couple of measures on the economy. These measures that show how well we are doing include the 600,000 new jobs we have created, the 40-year low in the unemployment rate, the increase in wages that Canadians are seeing from coast to coast to coast, and the infrastructure we are building in this country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know my colleague has a background in finance and investment banking, and in his speech he spoke about the importance of supporting the middle class. In particular, he mentioned the Canada child benefit, which has done so much to strengthen the Canadian economy and attack the problem of child poverty.

I wonder if he could compare the CCB with the previous government's approach to child benefits, which was not tax-free, whereas the CCB is. The CCB is also means-tested, unlike what existed under the previous government. I wonder if he could compare and contrast those two different approaches and what they mean for Canadians on a general level.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is great to work with my hon. colleague from London North Centre and be on the same side of the aisle with him.

The Canada child benefit has had a profound impact on families and our economy, to the point where it actually boosted GDP in a year. The approach we took was to send cheques to the families that need them the most. It is kind of an interesting approach, when one thinks about it. We thought we should the cheques not to millionaires, but to the families that need them the most.

Yes, it is means-tested. For those who make over $200,000, it will be diminished. For someone like myself and my family, we do not receive it any more, but we are fine. It is for Canadian families who are working hard to make combined family incomes of $70,000, $75,000, or $80,000, who have one, two, or three children at home. I have two daughters at home, and I know how much it costs. It will help families. It is going to be tax-free. At the end of the year, those with higher incomes will not get a bunch of tax back, because that does not make sense. That was bad policy under the prior government. We fixed it, and we are proud of that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was awoken by this unbelievable analysis of how child benefits are delivered in Canada. I wonder why the member did not include in his characterization of the child benefit that the universal child care benefit went to everybody. For people with high incomes, it was neutralized by being taxed back.

He did not mention the arts credit that the Liberals removed. He did not mention the sports tax credit that the Liberals removed. He did not mention the transit tax credit that Liberals removed, which most families enjoyed. Amazingly, he did not mention income splitting for lower-income families, so that they could enjoy that as well.

All of this profoundly diminishes this current child benefit and puts families way behind where they were, including a family I know very well in Winnipeg, a stay-at-home mom with two kids. This family pays $1,500 more in tax because of this crazy policy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I believe my hon. colleague is reading information from the Fraser Institute, so I will leave it at that and put that aside.

In terms of how tax credits work, some can be refundable, and some can be non-refundable. You need taxes owing or taxes payable. A lot of the tax credits that were introduced by the prior government were for families that would not benefit from them because they did not have taxes payable. It is unfortunate. The CCB goes to all families that need it, up to $200,000, and it is something we are proud of.

The member brought up income splitting. If we look at the evidence, that benefited more well-to-do families than anything else. It is something I have read about extensively and something I do not support as an economist. There are other policy measures that would have been much more effective, which could have been but were not adopted by the prior government. Conservatives were actually warned not to adopt income splitting by their prior finance minister, God rest his soul.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre Nantel NDP Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I did not know my colleague from Vaughan—Woodbridge was an economist, so I will ask him a question. I am not an economist but I have two daughters and I am fully aware of the cost of prescription drugs. I am a Quebecker and I live in a society which made the effort of setting up a pharmacare program. Even then, it is complex. When someone has a pharmacare plan as part of employment benefits, they have to join it, but when you do not have such a plan, you are covered by the public system, and managing income tax becomes all the more complicated as you have to file two tax returns.

However, the logic behind it has often been explained and it is clearly beneficial for Canada to have a pharmacare program for all Canadians. Why not do it, then? What a disappointment to see nothing in the budget implementation bill when such a program was mentioned in the budget plan.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, in the province of Ontario, and I have to give credit where credit is due to the Ontario government and the provincial Liberals, we have OHIP+. All children are covered up to the age of 25. It is universal. It was introduced last year. I am very proud to say that. It is going to be a legacy measure.

Federally, we have indicated that Dr. Eric Hoskins, a former Liberal cabinet minister from Ontario, is leading a task force on this. Frankly, 80% of Canadians are covered with some form of pharmacare coverage, but there is a gap.

We need to sit down with all the provinces to come up with a pan-Canadian solution. We are looking at taking measures to lower drug prices all around. We recognize that, and that has been ongoing. We need to sit down with all stakeholders to have a substantive, prudent, consultative process on how we can reach the point where no Canadian family is impacted by the cost of prescription drugs.

That is something we can all come to an agreement on in this House. There are different ways of getting there, but the ultimate goal is that no Canadian family should go to bed at night worrying about the cost of prescription drugs or how they will be covered.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my distinguished colleague's speech and comments earlier. He was talking about some of the measures the previous government had taken that would in fact benefit the wealthiest. One of these measures was doubling the TFSA limit.

We know that the original thinker who came up with the idea of a TFSA said at the time that this would put the state in a fiscal straitjacket. When the former finance minister, Joe Oliver, was asked what kind of situation it would put the state into, in terms of deprived revenues, he said that is a problem for Stephen Harper's granddaughter to solve.

We have taken a different approach and brought the limit back to what it formerly was. When they say they are working for working-class Canadians, I always smile and wonder who the working-class Canadians are that they have in mind, who have $11,000 at the end of the year to put in a TFSA account. Their constituents might be very different from mine.

I am just wondering if the member has any comments on the kinds of policies we saw from the previous government, as opposed to the ones we have adopted, where we try to give more to those who need it most instead of having an approach that is focused on the wealthiest.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, looking back at the 10 years when the Conservatives were in power and TFSAs were at $5,500, they allowed a lot of Canadians to save and to put away something for their retirement.

Retirement savings are important. However, the $11,000 limit was foolish, to be frank. I do not know many Canadians who could set aside $11,000 of after-tax income a year to be saved for their TFSA. We reversed it, and left it at $5,500. It will gradually increase as inflation increases.

We put in place a number of measures. If we wanted to look at the marginal propensity to consume or spend, it is where Canadians need it the most, and those who need it the most are benefiting. That is showing up in our 3% economic growth rate last year. It is showing up in the 2% above-trend growth rate this year, as commented by the Governor of the Bank of Canada.

It is something we are proud of, whether it is the Canada workers' benefit, the Canada child benefit, or how those programs have been designed. They have been designed to give to Canadians who need it the most.

If I could just add, we have done more than that when it comes to skills training. We also need to get Canadians trained for those jobs of the next century and the next decade, so we can ensure their success. That is something that is big. It was big in our fundamental research within the budget. It is big within our government. It has been in the last three budgets, including this one. Skills training and fundamental research are things we can be proud of. We know the world economy is changing very rapidly, and we need to make sure that all Canadians have the skill set to enable them to maximize opportunities for themselves and their families.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will listen with rapt attention when private members' bills are introduced, as today's subject is truly worthwhile. This period will surely be of interest to a lot of people, as there are sometimes excellent proposals in these bills.

This is not the first time that I have had the opportunity to speak to Bill C-74. I have had the opportunity to do so on several occasions. As the member for Mégantic—L'Érable, I have spoken of the effects of the bill in my riding. As shadow minister for agriculture and agri-food, I have risen to say how few measures there were for agriculture and agri-food in the last budget.

When Bill C-74 was introduced, I did not expect the government to once again exercise its prerogative to prevent members from speaking, as they are entitled to do in the House, on the budget and its consequences in their ridings and their various portfolios.

I greatly enjoyed the speech by one of my colleagues today. Several times, he referred to the government’s adoption of a process for tracking mandate letters in order to deliver results to Canadians. In the way that the Liberals have of congratulating themselves for deciding whether they are keeping their promises, he said something that made quite the impression on me. Indeed, under the heading of a fair and open government, there is mention of ending “the improper use of omnibus bills and prorogation”. On that front, the Liberals gave themselves a mark of “completed - fully met”. Can we request a recount? Can we change the mark that the Liberals give themselves for the use of omnibus bills?

Bill C-74 is definitely in the line of an omnibus bill. That is why the government is again using a time allocation motion. They want to limit debate. When an omnibus bill is introduced that impacts so many areas, it is normal for members of all political stripes to have things to say and for them to want to use the time available to them. Unfortunately, the government is in panic mode as the session ends. We saw it last week: in three days, they used motions five times to silence members, to end debate or to say that only five hours remained to debate a certain bill. Since the start of the parliamentary session, the government has used that type of motion 38 times.

In this brief summary of very Liberal commitment, I am sure that they mentioned what the parliamentary secretary said in the last Parliament. I did not find the exact quote as there are so many promises that were not kept. The parliamentary secretary told anyone who would listen that these time allocation motions could not be used, that they were undemocratic and that the use of this type of motion was a lack of respect for Canadians.

Each time the Liberals propose a time allocation motion, I will read the words of my colleague across the way. I must say that I am not at a loss for things to say. Certainly, my colleague speaks a lot and leaves a record. When we leave records, they are quoted back to us in the House.

As the parliamentary secretary said at the time, it is not about how you go about it, especially when you promise to no longer do it. That is the difference. We understand that governments must sometimes use these motions to move debate along. However, the Liberals committed to not use this type of method to restrict democracy in the House.

Unfortunately, at their current pace, believe it or not, they will greatly exceed the record of the former Conservative government. They are panicking and they think that they will not have time to pass the limited legislative agenda that they have already tabled.

After consideration of private members’ bills, it will be my pleasure to come back to speak about Bill C-74 and all that it does not contain.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to resume debate on Bill C-74.

In the first part of my speech, I presented some interesting arguments to show how the government had no qualms about using time allocation motions last week to prevent members on this side of the House from debating the budget bill longer. However, it is a most important bill for all our constituents.

The mandate letters of the various ministers were made public, and now there is a document entitled, “Mandate Letter Tracker: Delivering results for Canadians”, which is a government report card. With regard to the government's promise to balance the budget in 2019-20, the anticipated result was to balance the budget over the long-term and continue to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio. The government says that results are “underway - with challenges” and it gives itself a good mark, even though the Parliamentary Budget Officer and the Department of Finance are saying that, the way things are going, the government will not balance the budget until 2045. It is absolutely unbelievable. I hope that someone will change that report card to read, “underway with no hope of success” or even “in jeopardy” if we are talking about the current government's economy. I think that “in jeopardy” would be the most appropriate term, not with regard to the Liberals' promise but with regard to the way they are managing our country and government.

They made another big promise. I remember being very impressed, because it was the first Speech from the Throne I had ever attended as a new MP. We filed into the Senate to hear the Governor General deliver the throne speech. One sentence from that speech stayed with me, “...that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system.” I remember quite well that this was going to be the last election to use that voting method.

This bill is so long and covers so many different subjects that we already did not have enough time to talk about them all. The government decided to include so many things in its budget that, unfortunately, many of us will not have the chance to share our constituents' points of view. However, that is typical of what we have been seeing from this government since it took office in 2015. It makes a lot of promises, but it hardly ever keeps any of them. Case in point, they should not be resorting to omnibus bills that include everything but the kitchen sink. That was one of the promises the Liberals made. Unfortunately, since 2015, the Liberals have imposed 38 time allocation motions to silence opposition members, but it is not just opposition members they are silencing.

The important thing to understand is that cutting off the opposition MPs does not mean the government MPs get more speaking time on these bills. The Liberals outnumber us, so when they pass such a motion, they are depriving more Canadians of their right to have their representative speak in the House. This is completely consistent with the way the government has been running this country since taking office in 2015.

There are many other promises that the government has not kept, such as the promise to post modest deficits. The Liberals practically got elected on that promise. They promised to kick-start the economy by posting very modest deficits, not for very long, just a year or two. They promised to reduce the deficits after that and to balance the budget in 2019-20. These are not my words, they are the government's own words.

What happened next? The Liberals realized that reforming the system would lose them votes. Some Canadians would not vote for them. The reform they had in mind would not have benefited them, so they scrapped the idea.

That's another promise they waved away as though it were something off-putting. The worst part is that they made a committee do a lot of work on it. They made a lot of people work on it. They even set up a website to find out what Canadians were thinking. All of that money was spent for nothing. Once they settled into the government benches, the Liberals' plan for change vanished. They were well aware that the changes Canadians wanted would not work in their favour.

We can forget about greater transparency, as well. In a few minutes, I will talk about the secret they are keeping about the carbon tax and what it will really cost every Canadian family and every Canadian farm. They do not want Canadians to know.

How much will the carbon tax cost Canadian farms? We have asked that question in the House more times than I can count, but we never get an answer. We know the numbers exist. We saw a very nice document that explains how the carbon tax will affect average families. Unfortunately, those are the only legible words in the report. The rest was all redacted and hidden. They are keeping that secret. It seems the promise of greater transparency has gone out the window.

The Liberals also promised not to resort to muzzling the opposition. I am going to skip over that, since I talked about it earlier. I think it is pretty clear.

They promised they would not negotiate away one litre of milk, one egg, or one chicken to the Americans. They promised to protect supply management in all negotiations. What happened? Unfortunately, the Prime Minister does not pay attention to what is said here. He is not interested in what is said here. He is not interested in what the Minister of Finance thinks. He is not interested in what the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie told us here today. When the Prime Minister is speaking to Americans rather than Canadians, he tells the truth, he says what he really thinks. What he said is that he is willing to be more flexible in terms of allowing Americans access to the Canadian dairy market. That is the reality.

On this side of the House, we continue to insist that we need to maintain and protect supply management. Yes, the Liberals are protecting the current system, but there will be nothing left to protect once they are through with it. How much will they trade away to the Americans? Will it be 2%, 4%, or 10%, to save face for the Prime Minister, because he could not reach a deal on NAFTA with them? That is the real question.

We know that this government has a spending problem. When something is not working, it tends to take taxpayers' money to try to fix its own mistakes. We saw this with Kinder Morgan. The government is spending $4.5 billion. It could have done something 18 months ago, when the pipeline was approved, but it did nothing. It could have done something 11 months ago, when the B.C. government clearly expressed its opposition to the pipeline, but it did nothing.

Suddenly he wakes up, realizes there is a problem and that the project will not move forward, and he wonders what to do next.

Instead of taking action, the Liberals decided to pick taxpayers' pockets. It is money that we do not have because the money does not exist. We are already in debt and running a deficit. We are sending this money to the U.S. to let this company build pipelines that will compete with the future pipeline owned by all Canadians, here in Canada. Furthermore, we are buying an aging 60-year-old pipeline. There is no talk of expansion yet, even though the bill that was approved was for the expansion of Kinder Morgan. The $4.5 billion will not expand anything, it will only buy old tubes. In order for this to function, we are going to have to invest another $7 billion, according to the company's estimates.

Thanks to my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, we learned today that the book value of this 60-year-old pipeline is not $4.5 billion but $2.5 billion. That is the company's evaluation. However, the government decided to pay $4.5 billion. This is completely consistent with the government's way of thinking: it spends without counting taxpayers' money and says that it is all right to spend more because it already has a deficit. That is not right. It will make all the difference to the services that our children will be able to access in 10, 20, or 30 years. They will not be able to access services because all we will have are deficits and debts to pay. That is how this government operates.

The Liberals can oppose the excellent bill introduced by the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, which would give more money to young families. They can oppose it and say that they are doing this and that for our young people, and that it is a very targeted tax credit.

Of course, the Liberals cannot support the opposition on a good bill like that. However, they can fork out $4.5 billion for a pipeline that already exists. That does not even include the expansion. The budget was a reflection of this government's management style.

I am the agriculture and agri-food shadow minister, so I would be remiss if I did not take a little time to talk about what budget 2018 has in terms of agriculture. Nothing. There is absolutely nothing in budget 2018 in terms of agriculture. This clearly shows that agriculture is not a priority for the Liberal government.

I figured that I had surely missed something in a budget with so many pages. I rose and asked the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food about what agricultural measures were in budget 2018. The minister rose and started talking about measures adopted in budget 2017, saying that budget 2018 was a good budget for farmers. This shows that the Liberals are completely disconnected from the reality facing farmers.

There are a few local issues we would have liked to see addressed in Bill C-74. In Thetford Mines, for example, we have the Fonds Christian Paradis, which seeks to diversify our regional economy.

The government decided to ban the use of asbestos in Canada. However, there is still a pile of mine tailings in Thetford Mines. The city is surrounded by it. Asbestos is prohibited, but the mine tailings are left there as though nothing happened.

Millions of dollars are available to clean up mining land in uninhabited areas, but when it comes to cleaning up mining land in urban areas where people live, there is nothing. The government needs to assume responsibility for these decisions and make sure that when it decides to shut down an industry that it helps the town return to normal and repair years of mining development. Many governments benefited greatly over all those years from the royalties from asbestos mining.

I wanted to talk about broadband Internet. Despite the programs in place, we still have a lot of problems in our regions. I would have liked a firm decision stating that the Internet is an essential service in every region of Canada. We cannot get far without the Internet these days. Imagine someone who is thinking about buying a house in Piopolis or in Woburn. He is so pleased to have found his dream home. He grabs his cellphone to talk to his wife, to tell her to come see it, but there is no cell signal. The house will stay where it is and he will not buy it.

In closing, I move, seconded by the hon. member for Provencher:

That the amendment be amended by adding the following: “and that the Committee report back to the House no later than June 15, 2018.”

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, before we went into private members' hour, my colleague across the way was talking about the issue of time allocation and so forth. Yesterday we spent four or five hours on a reference to a standing committee being able to travel. The other day we had a concurrence motion on one of many different reports.

The opposition has quite a few tools it can use to prevent government from passing legislation. The Conservatives do not want us to pass any legislation, so they move subamendments and amendments to everything. They have even adjourned debate on bills. Conservative members will do whatever it takes to prevent the government from getting its legislation passed. That is why, when I was in opposition, I said that we need time allocation at times.

I wonder if my colleague could provide his thoughts on some of the Conservative tactics to do everything but allow things to come to a vote.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I completely disagree with the parliamentary secretary's claim that the members on my side of the House do not want any government legislation to pass. That is totally false.

On the contrary, we want all legislation to pass. However, we would like the government to take our comments and recommendations into account. We would like the government to consider our amendments. We would like the government to listen to every MP who has something to say about these bills. We would like it to improve its bills until they are acceptable to all parliamentarians. The opposition's job is to make the government better. Unfortunately, the government refuses to listen to the opposition when we are trying to help make it better. That is why the Liberals are still the worst.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech to the House on Bill C-74.

This is a gargantuan bill. I think this is the biggest omnibus bill ever seen in the House of Commons. It is about 556 pages long, but it makes virtually no mention of agriculture and agrifood. The federal government needs to make it a priority to invest more in the agriculture sector. We on this side of the House were extremely disappointed to see virtually no mention of agricultural businesses and no support for them.

Could my colleague tell us about the importance of investing in agriculture and agrifood, especially with measures that support young farmers?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. She did a great amount of work on agriculture until her appointment as leader.

We can see she is very close to farmers, and I understand the disappointment she felt when we all gathered to listen to the Minister of Finance deliver his budget speech. We were holding our breath not because anything he said was really interesting, but because we were waiting for him to just say the word “agriculture” or make a link of some sort with the agrifood sector. We hoped to hear him say a word about the next generation of farmers. How could we make sure that farms in small rural areas would survive in the short term?

I say in the short term because the existence of many farms is threatened. This week again I was in Stornaway, in my riding. The last farm in Stornaway is for sale because there is no one to take over.

It is a major issue and, unfortunately, we stayed and listened to the Minister of Finance until the end, but the word “agriculture” was never uttered.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I always listen to my colleague for Mégantic—L'Érable with much interest. He surely knows that I still have family living over there. My parents come from this very nice part of Quebec.

Regarding economic growth, I suppose that the employment rate is very good in his riding, Mégantic—L'Érable. The economy must be growing at an incredible rate, just as in the Lower Laurentians, in my riding. Since 2015, 600,000 new jobs have been created. We have the lowest debt to GDP ratio among G7 countries. One thing contributed strongly to that in my riding, and it is the Canada child benefit. On average, in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, a family with one child gets $6,400. The Canadian average is $6,600 per year tax-free.

I would like my honourable colleague from the very beautiful riding of Mégantic—L'Érable, where my family lives, to tell me about the results of the Canada child benefit in his riding.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, one thing I will never do is give any government, be it the previous Conservative government or a provincial government, credit for creating jobs in our regions. Jobs are created by small businesses.

In my riding, the people of Thetford Mines have had to grapple with a major crisis. We lost an entire mining industry, and the city lost all its jobs. The reason we were able to recover is that people believed in their region's economy. They believed they could create small businesses and put people to work so they could start families and get tax credits.

It is not the government that creates jobs in Canada and Quebec; it is small and medium businesses. We must all remember that when it is time to choose who to support if we want to see wealth creation. Businesspeople are the ones who take real risks to create real wealth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I would like to check the member on his last statement. We have the Canada child benefit program. That is a government program that provides millions of dollars every month to Winnipeg North, as an example. That increases disposable income. People are now spending millions of extra dollars they would not have if it were not for this government. That is creating employment opportunities, because many of the small businesses require consumer consumption. That is why we argue it supports Canada's middle class and supports our economy. The government does play a role in working with Canadians to assist in the creation of jobs. That is why we have created over 600,000 jobs by working with Canadians in the last two years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to answer my hon. colleague's questions. He is a seasoned parliamentarian, and he always asks excellent questions.

However, he forgot one thing. Government money comes from taxpayers. The money the government redistributes all over the place comes from me and from all job creators.

My colleague asked me if they created 600,000 jobs. To him I can say what I said earlier: they did not create a thing; businesspeople created those jobs in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, clearly, it is always important to talk about the economy and about the money that the government has at its disposal and that it can redistribute. However, there has to actually be money available to do that.

According to my colleague, who used to be the mayor of a town that was prohibited by law to run deficits, is it normal for a government to compulsively run deficits?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, no, it is not normal.

Every year that a city runs a deficit, the first tax dollar it receives goes toward reimbursing the previous year's debt. By following that rule, it is impossible for a government to run deficits. It is forced to properly manage the public purse and make good choices, not for itself but for residents. If residents are forced to pay too many taxes, one day they will revolt. That is what is going to happen in 2019, when Canadians vote the Liberals out of office.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 6:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I am really pleased to be here to speak to Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.

I want to begin by making some general remarks about what we have been doing as a government since our arrival almost two and a half years ago. The key message I want to leave with Canadians and members of the House this evening is this: that we have a plan and that our plan is working, that we chose to invest in our people, that we chose to invest in our country, that we did not choose to cut, that we did not choose austerity, that we left those choices to other political persuasions in this House.

Our plan is undoubtedly, objectively, and factually working. Over the last two years, Canada’s economic growth has been fuelled by a stronger middle class. Canadians’ hard work, combined with historic investments in people and communities, chiefly in infrastructure, such as light rail here in the great region of the national capital region of Ottawa-Carleton, has helped to create more good jobs—almost 600,000 since November 2015—while more help for those who need it most has meant more money for people to save, invest, and spend in their communities.

At the same time, and it is important for Canadians to know this, with respect to unemployment at the national level, the jobless rate stayed at 5.8% in March for a second consecutive month, and for the third time since December, to match its lowest mark since Statistics Canada started measuring the indicator in 1976. The only other time the rate slipped to this level was in 2007. That is the lowest unemployment level in Canada in 42 years.

At the local level, right here in our national capital region, which I have the privilege of representing, we added 2,500 net new jobs in February, helping to push down the local unemployment rate to 5.1% in February from 5.2% in January. However, in March it dropped to 4.9%, and in April it dropped again to 4.2%, the region's unemployment rate remaining well below that of the country as a whole. That is a 30-year low in the national capital region, so the economy is on fire and unemployment is way down. It is dropping.

Canada has the best balance sheet in the G7, with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, which we are convening and hosting here next week in Canada. Our debt as a function of our economy is steadily shrinking. It is projected to soon reach its lowest point in almost 40 years. That means that Canada has the confidence to make investments in our future that will strengthen and grow the middle class. It will lay a more solid foundation for the next generations of Canadians to come. It means we can retrofit our core infrastructure—housing, transit, post-secondary institutions, and research and development—and we can partner with our provincial and municipal partners to leverage additional billions of dollars of investment in those four critical areas of our future by co-operating. It has been a central tenet of the government's approach since it arrived two and a half years ago to leverage as much support as we can from other orders of government for priority investments.

Budget 2018, entitled “Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class”, supports the government's people-centred approach. It is guided by a new “gender results framework” and proposes to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success. This is about taking the next steps to build an equal, competitive, sustainable, and fair Canada where science, curiosity, and innovation spur economic growth.

Here are some of the key budget 2018 measures that the bill aims to implement, which I want to spend a bit of time sharing with Canadians.

First, I want to remind Canadians of this. The budget introduces a new Canada workers benefit. We know that Canadians are working very hard to join the middle class and they deserve to have their hard work rewarded with greater opportunities for success. That is why we are introducing the new Canada workers benefit. It is a more generous and more accessible benefit, which will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers than the working income tax benefit, the so-called WITB that it replaces.

The CWB will replace both maximum benefits and the income level at which the benefit is phased out. As a result, low-income workers, earning $15,000 for example, could receive up to almost $500 more in 2019 to invest in things that are important to them. By allowing more low-income workers to keep more of their paycheques, this will deliver real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class, raising about 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.

Why is that important? It is important because the economic consensus is clear. Only a foolish country, only a foolish jurisdiction would let its people slide behind. Only a foolish country would not want to avail itself of all the talent in its talent pool by giving effect to it, by helping to shape it, to educate it, and to give it an opportunity to move forward, and prosper. Therefore, the first big announcement in the budget is the Canada workers benefit of which we are more than proud.

The second thing I want to remind Canadians about is what we are doing with the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit was introduced in 2016. We are strengthening that very benefit in this budget. We know from our last year and a half of experience that nine out of 10 Canadian families have extra help each and every month to pay for things like nutritious food, sports programs, music lessons, school supplies, and the basics. Families receiving this Canada child benefit are getting about $6,800 on average in payments this year. Millions of dollars, for example, are being shared with families in my riding of Ottawa South every month to provide that very help.

To ensure that the almost six million children who currently benefit from the CCB continue to benefit from it in the long term, here is a big change. We are indexing the Canada child benefit, starting this July, so it continues to increase in value every year going forward. For a single parent of two children making $35,000 a year, a strengthened CCB will mean $560 more next year, tax free, for books, skating lessons or warm clothes for winter.

To help more families access the Canada child benefit and other benefits, budget 2018 will also provide funding to reach out to more indigenous Canadian communities that face distinct barriers when it comes to accessing federal benefits.

As Canada's economy continues to grow and creates good, well-paying jobs, the government will ensure that all Canadians share in and benefit from the success.

Just recently I received a phone call from a single mom in my riding. She makes $14 an hour, soon $15 an hour with the Ontario minimum wage increase. She was in tears of gratefulness. As a single mom of three children, she receives almost $9,000 a year, tax free, of additional support. She told me she could not make ends meet without that support and would have to look for new housing. She would have to move her three kids into a one bedroom apartment, as opposed to a two bedroom apartment. I think that makes a difference in that mother's life. I think it makes a difference in those three children's lives.

Turning more specifically to the economy itself, I want to talk about lower taxes for small businesses in Canada and some of the opportunities for all Canadians that flow from those lower taxes.

Despite what people may say otherwise, the fact is that our government is lowering taxes on small businesses, from 11% in 2015 to 9% by 2019. This will leave more money for small business owners to reinvest in their business and create jobs, up to $7,500 more per year. We know that 99.8% of all Canadian businesses are 100 employees or less. That is the lion's share of the economy. We are targeting those very businesses with those small business tax drops.

As we move ahead with the small business tax rate reduction, we are taking action to ensure the small business rate is not used to gain unfair tax advantages. We are proposing to take further steps to limit the ability of very high-income earners to use private corporations to hold millions of dollars in passive investment portfolios and receive significant tax benefits. We consulted widely about his, and we listened. The design of these proposals is based directly on the feedback we received during those consultations.

With these proposals, less than 3% of private corporations would be affected. Ninety per cent of the tax impact would be borne by households in the top 1%; that is the very wealthiest of hard-working Canadians.

Why is it important to focus on small businesses? Because eight out of 10 jobs are being created today by small businesses. Therefore, we will continue to support our entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs as we move forward.

Another theme, which I believe is indispensable for the future of our economy, and for that matter our well-being and survival, is the question of addressing carbon pollution, climate change, and supporting clean growth. As has been said in the House many times, a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.

We have decided to make further investments toward a healthy and sustainable low carbon economy going forward, one that creates growth and middle-class jobs, while preserving our natural heritage for future generations. In fact, globally, this is the trend. We are embroiled in a race. It is a competitive race that involves the United States, China, Indonesia, and the Congo. Pretty much every country is involved now in the global race to retool their economies. They are in a global race targeting efficiency. It is about becoming more efficient with energy, with water, with material inputs, more efficient when it comes to transportation of goods, and more efficient in minimizing waste. All of these efficiency races that we are running are global races, so we have no choice. From an economic perspective alone, we have no choice but to get on that track and run that race.

Some would have us not even lace up our running shoes. We believe that would be a mistake. Jurisdictions all over the world understand that is the competitive edge, which is why we have decided, like every European Union country, like so many other jurisdictions in the world, to put a price on carbon pollution. It is central to Canada's plan to fight climate change and grow the economy. Economists everywhere have told us this. They recognize that this is one of the most effective, transparent, and efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is the use of a market mechanism to achieve an environmental outcome. That is why Ronald Reagan and the Republicans in the United States negotiated a deal with then prime minister Brian Mulroney to use the cap and trade system to eliminate NOx and SOx, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxides, from American power plants burning coal to generate electricity. That is how we eliminated acid rain in North America. That is how we were able to protect so much of our freshwater systems in the American and North American northeast. It is in fact an idea that comes from the right. It comes from the Conservative or Republican-leaning thinkers in most economic schools of thought.

That is why Preston Manning supports the use of pricing carbon. That was why Stephen Harper went to London, England, and gave a major energy superpower speech to the world's energy top executives, saying he was moving to price carbon. He even gave them a planned price by 2018 for a tonne of carbon dioxide.

In December 2016, the Government of Canada, along with most provinces and territories, worked with our indigenous partners and adopted a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. The framework includes an approach to pricing carbon pollution, with the aim of having carbon pricing in place across Canada by 2018. However, the kicker is that provinces and territories will have the flexibility to choose between two systems: an explicit price-based system, or a carbon tax; and a cap and trade system, which is in place, for example, in Ontario, whereas B.C. has chosen a carbon tax. We know that 80% of Canadians already live in jurisdictions where a price on carbon exists. Therefore, Canada will move forward and build on those provincial successes to make the progress we need to make.

This is not only about doing good; this is about doing well economically. There are vast markets to conquer. There are huge energy efficiency opportunities and technological opportunities all over the planet, for which Canadian entrepreneurs can conquer and compete. That is why it is so important for us to marry both carbon pricing and support for our clean tech sector, which is why one of our primary investments, when it comes to supercluster innovation hubs, is in the area of supporting clean growth technologies going forward.

I will now speak on an issue which is fundamental to many of my constituents and tens of thousands of seniors in Canada, and that is the Canada pension plan. As an MP for 14 years, I have been fighting for this both in and out of government. For over a decade, I have been trying to see progress made on the CPP. I am extremely proud of the fact that our government made a commitment to Canadians to help them realize their goal of a strong, secure, and stable retirement. It was, after all, Paul Martin, as minister of finance, and I think we can objectively agree in the House on all sides, who ensured that our CPP was actuarially sound for at least 85 years going forward.

We can compare and contrast that with the American social security system. The last time I looked at it, I was informed its shelf life was about 18 months. The distinction is that the Americans have not retrofitted, they have not reformed, they have not worked to ensure a safe and stable retirement fund for their people the way we have here in Canada.

Every three years, finance ministers review the Canada pension plan together to ensure we continue to respond to the needs of Canadian retirees, workers, and employees.

In this budget, we want to build on the strong partnership on the historic agreement signed in 2016, a major breakthrough to enhance the Canada pension plan for everyday working Canadians. The 2016 agreement will increase the maximum CPP retirement pension by about 50% over time. That is an incredible step forward. At their recent meeting, finance ministers agreed to strengthen the Canada pension plan to provide greater benefits, for example, to parents whose incomes dropped after the birth or adoption of their children, or to persons with disabilities, or to spouses who were widowed at a young age, and to the estates of lower-income contributors.

It is important not to allow our retirees to slip into poverty. Poverty costs. It costs much more at the back end than it does at the front end, which is why we are addressing this issue of poverty as best we can going forward. Is it perfect? Not nearly. Are we making progress? Absolutely, we are. Canadians are counting on us to continue to work in this regard.

All of these changes to the CPP will be done in this budget without any increase to the Canada pension plan contribution rates paid by workers and employers. Ministers agreed to move forward with regulations to ensure the CPP enhancement would remain appropriately funded over time.

Finally, I want to talk about support for Canada's veterans. Our government is committed to the well-being of veterans and their families. We have delivered in this bill on a pension-for-life option. We are looking forward to making progress in that regard. It is a monthly payment for life, tax-free—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in this debate. I welcome the fact that the hon. member made an interesting speech. He presented and tabled some of his ideas and the policies defended by his government, but he also failed to recognize the difficulties Canadians will have to address thanks to this budget.

First of all, when the member was elected less than three years ago, he was elected on a platform of small deficits and zero deficit in 2019. The reality of the day is a huge deficit, three times more than expected, and zero idea when we will get back to a zero deficit.

I would like to know from the member what he thinks of the results of the government, which was elected on a precise promise on deficits and has put it in the garbage.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to remind my colleague that I was in fact elected 14 years ago, but he is right, I was elected to the government for the second time two and a half years ago. It is an honour to have been elected to serve in that regard.

I want to remind the member, who was himself more recently elected, that under the previous government, in fairness, and objectively, the national debt was increased by $160 billion. It is true that the previous government faced the 2008 economic crisis, as did the Canadian provinces. It is true that for some sectors, the government begrudgingly worked, for example, with the Province of Ontario to provide assistance to the auto sector. Of course, since then, every loan has been paid back with interest.

It is important to remember that we had a choice to make, and it was a stark choice. The Conservative Party ran on a platform of austerity and cuts, and we ran on a platform of investing in Canadians and in core infrastructure. This is our moment not just to keep the pump primed but to lay the groundwork for a century of success for Canadians by making sure that we have the hard infrastructure we need and that more and more Canadians are joining the middle class and have great, equal opportunities to succeed, contribute, and thrive.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I wonder how often the member actually gets out of the Ottawa bubble, because the jobs he says are being created in this area, government jobs, are not translating into rural Canada. In Saskatchewan, the unemployment rate has gone up two per cent since the government has been in power. In fact, in the last month, it has gone up 0.2% again. We are seeing people without jobs.

He talked a bit about the infrastructure building. There are no infrastructure builds going to rural Saskatchewan. I am wondering if he can comment on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I would just remind my good friend that in the national capital region, the top employer is, in fact, the tourism sector, followed by the government sector, followed by 2,800 IT firms. Now, it was 5,000 high tech firms at one point. We were called Silicon Valley North. We are working hard, as a community, to reclaim some of that space. We are very proud of the investments our government is making across the country, including in Saskatchewan right now in one of the superclusters, to help give rise to new start-ups and new companies to compete and to win.

When it comes to the question of unemployment and investments, the numbers are undeniable. These are the lowest unemployment rates in 42 years across the country. It is the lowest unemployment in the greater national capital region, in 18 ridings, in 30 years. Clearly, something is working. We believe that we have the right combination of investing, stimulating the economy, providing the right tax incentives, investing in our people, supporting research and development, and helping our competitive companies conquer global markets through EDC and other institutions. We believe that we have put together the right kind of amalgamated approach, which increasingly is the envy of the world.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague had the chance to remind everyone that he was elected 14 years ago and served his constituents for that period of time.

We have to remember that there is a lot of inequality here in Canada, and it seems to be increasing. A promise the Liberals made during the election campaign was to table legislation to deal with pay equity. We know that the latest census data show us that indigenous women in Ontario face a 43% gender pay gap. Racialized women face a 38% pay gap. Immigrant women face a 34% pay gap. Why did the Liberals not include anything to deal with this in the budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I first want to agree with my colleague that pay equity is a big challenge for Canada. It is an area and a theme we have to work harder on addressing. It is one that manifests unfairness in the workplace. It hearkens back to something I said earlier in my remarks. When it comes to gender, when it comes to country of origin, and when it comes to linguistic background, it does not really matter, does it now? Only a foolish country would not want to avail itself of all the talent within its borders. That is exactly what we are trying to do with this budget and the budgets that preceded it and the ones that we hope will follow it, which is to give the support Canadians need to get the best out of themselves so that we, as a people, can continue to build a society that is not only fair, where there is equality of opportunity, but that is effectively the envy of the world.

I like to remind people all the time that an economy is not a society and a society is not just an economy. It is actually more. We are trying to bring in a series of balanced measures that will address exactly the kind of important issue the member has raised here this evening to make progress.

Once again, I had the privilege of living and working in over 70 countries for a decade, before being elected to this House, while serving as a public servant in another setting. Let me assure this House of one thing I have retained since that time and still see now: Canada is increasingly being seen as the envy of the world and is leading as an example that is worthy of following.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could talk about the importance of infrastructure. It is so critically important that we invest in Canada's infrastructure, and that infrastructure takes many forms. I know that my colleague has given a great deal of thought to the importance of supporting Canada's middle class, and one of the ways we can do that is by investing in infrastructure. Could he provide his thoughts on that?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, it is 2018. So much of the infrastructure we benefit from in this country was built perhaps 50 or maybe even 100 years ago. It is time to invest for the future.

Let us take, for example, light rail investments or transit investments in our major urban areas. The city of Montreal is now 53% of the population of Quebec. Gatineau, right across the river, is the fastest-growing city in Quebec. Metropolitan Toronto is pushing eight million people. We are increasingly becoming an urban country. There are merits to that. There are challenges to that. We are investing very heavily in light rail and transit systems with our provincial and municipal partners.

A second area we are investing very heavily in is water and waste-water systems. We are blessed with so much fresh water, one of the most precious resources we possess in this country, and we have an obligation to protect it. We have to reinvest in our water and waste-water systems to stop waste, because so many water systems are leaking so much water. We have to improve secondary and tertiary water-treatment systems. By the way, as we do that, we develop and implement technologies that can be sold all over the world.

In housing, we are talking about green housing. We are talking about housing that is affordable for our needy, for our veterans, and for our seniors. We are talking about energy efficiency when it comes to housing. We are making progress in infrastructure, not just because it has to be replaced but because it has to be replaced to higher energy efficiency standards and water standards.

It goes back to what I was saying earlier. That is the race. As we do more of that here in Canada, we can sell more technology, more know-how, and more products, and that is exactly how we have tied together these investments in infrastructure with our foreign global market opportunities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.

I am grateful to have this opportunity to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-74, the budget implementation act. This piece of legislation is concerning for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is an omnibus bill that is not being given proper consideration, as the Liberals continually shut down debate.

The Liberals promised not to use time allocation or omnibus bills in this way, but we have unfortunately learned that keeping promises to Canadians is not the government's forte. To name a few, do electoral reform and an end to first past the post, an end to omnibus bills, or balanced budgets sound familiar?

During his campaign, the Prime Minister committed to running a deficit of up to $10 billion during his time in government, with a promise to balance the budget by 2019. We now know that this was patently false. This year's budget is $18 billion and climbing, and the Liberals have added $60 billion-plus to the national debt in just three years. Figures show that the budget will not return to balance until 2045, and now we have nationalized a pipeline with public money, when private money would have done it. We cannot forget the fact that in this budget, there are no plans if NAFTA fails.

The Liberals keep adding to their reckless spending. In football, they would call a penalty for piling on.

In Saskatchewan, we have a tradition at the Kinsmen Kinettes Telemiracle fundraiser, when throughout the event, the show host puts up the totals board and chants, “Where are we going to go?”, and the audience replies, “Higher”. I would point out, however, that this is with private money, not public money, unlike for the Liberals, who throw taxpayer dollars around like it is nothing.

This means that our children and grandchildren will have to foot the bill for the government's reckless spending. The Liberals fail to see that their spending is actually being done at the expense of the very people they claim they are trying to help: the middle class and those who wish to join it.

This omnibus bill contains many provisions, but the most important one for my constituents, and indeed for all people in Saskatchewan, is the carbon tax, yet while the government has the numbers, it will not tell Canadians what it will cost them.

As many members in the House know, the oil and gas industry has suffered greatly in recent years. In my hometown of Estevan, I witnessed the exodus first-hand. Many companies were forced to shut down, and not just those directly in the energy industry. The trickle-down effect killed services too, and restaurants and hotels were forced to close, because the business just was not there anymore. It was and still is a hard time, and we have not bounced back anywhere close to where we were in the past, though the Liberals seem to think that the hard times are over.

Canadians who bought houses now have no jobs or have jobs that pay significantly less, and they cannot afford to pay for the houses they have. Innovation jobs and infrastructure jobs do not exist, and there is nothing for them to grasp onto, not to mention that everyone in the community is in the same boat, and there is no confidence to buy a house or in the housing market generally.

Now, here comes the carbon tax.

I am proud to be from Saskatchewan, the province that thus far has refused to bend to the federal government on its forced carbon tax. The provincial government understands what the federal Liberals do not, that the people of Saskatchewan simply cannot afford another tax, especially since Canadians across our country are already paying more tax under this Liberal government.

This budget gives $1.4 billion to provinces that have signed on to the government's climate agenda. Of the four maritime provinces that have signed on, not one has a carbon scheme or plan. One has a tax that it will rename.

Saskatchewan has a plan and is denied access to these funds. We have learned time and time again that if one does not conform to Liberal values and ideals, there will be a penalty to pay.

When the Government of Saskatchewan put forward its plan to reduce emissions, it was immediately rejected by the federal Minister of Environment. It is her way or the highway.

Saskatchewan's climate change strategy was well thought out, taking into account all aspects of the province. However, it was not deemed good enough by the Liberals here in Ottawa. There was seemingly no consideration given for the work that is already being done in my province to reduce emissions.

I would argue that farmers in my riding have a far better grasp of climate change than the majority of Canadians. These men and women have been stewards of their land for generations. They have spent time, money, and energy in trying to figure out the best, lowest-impact methods to farm, such as zero tillage, air seeding, and crop rotation, which put in and take out nitrogen and carbon from the soil. However, the budget had no mention of farmers at all. Not one word.

Farmers are the epitome of innovation. They have done it through centuries, through droughts, floods, and grasshopper infestations, all of which come regularly and are dealt with using the skill sets these people have developed over generations. They respect the land, because it is their livelihood, and it is only reasonable to assume that these individuals would do whatever possible to ensure they are farming in the most sustainable and responsible way.

Instead of helping out these farmers and ranchers, the Liberals are making their lives significantly more expensive and difficult with a carbon tax. They will now need to pay more for fuel, a huge expense in any farming operation; more for supplies, because transportation of these pieces will go up, and it is not like there is a manufacturer around the corner in rural Saskatchewan; and more for labour. I would be lax if I did not mention that the Liberal government implied that farmers and small business owners were tax cheats.

I have not spoken to a single agriculture producer in my riding who is in favour of a carbon tax, despite what the Liberals claim. Again, the federal government is absolutely failing when it comes to helping the middle class. Perhaps those in the middle class only matter when they are willing to donate to the Liberal Party of Canada, because my constituents do not feel valued by their Prime Minister and his members of Parliament.

One thing that frustrates me in this discussion on the carbon tax in relation to Bill C-74 is that there is almost no consideration given to the work already being done in Saskatchewan to reduce emissions. The coal-fired power plant in Estevan at Boundary Dam utilizes a world-first technology in one of its generators, which has been proven not only to reduce emissions but also to utilize the by-products of this technology, like sulphur, sulphuric acid, and fly ash for cement to the benefit of other industries.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the carbon is sequestered in the ground. It is called carbon capture and sequestration, CCS, although members may not have heard of it since the minister does not champion it beyond saying, “I've been there”. The public safety minister has stood up and said that he started a study on CCS 25 years ago, yet where is he today, and where is the promotion of CCS at Boundary Dam? It was the Conservative government of Stephen Harper that gave $250 million dollars towards it and actually championed this new technology.

CCS is a technology that allows emissions from coal-fired power plants to be captured and sequestered kilometres underground. Since it has been in operation, the CCS facility at Boundary Dam has already captured and removed over two million tonnes of the CO2 emissions from the environment. This is the equivalent to roughly 500,000 cars being taken off our roads.

As I said, this is a world-first technology. Governments across the world regularly send envoys to Boundary Dam so they can take a look at using this technology to reduce their emissions as well. It is green, it is innovative, yet it gets barely any recognition from the government.

The western states in the U.S. have signed a memorandum of understanding for further investigation of CCS. The country of Taiwan is interested in the technology, as they are shutting down their five nuclear power plants. With all that said, the budget will give $500 million to a foreign infrastructure bank to build pipelines and coal energy plants in China without this technology. Here is where the Public Safety Minister could say, “Let's keep the money at home in Canada.”

It is absolutely frustrating that the Minister of Environment fails time and again to give Saskatchewan and the CCS technology in Estevan its due. The Minister of Public Safety, the lone minister for Saskatchewan, does not champion his own province's initiatives to reduce emissions. It is shameful, and even more so since it is the good people of Saskatchewan who must ultimately pay the price.

Bill C-74 would mean that costs will go up across the board because of this carbon tax. I will repeat that while the Liberals know the cost, they will not tell Canadians. Canadians are sick and tired of being told they need to pay more money when their federal government keeps spending recklessly and adding more and more to our national debt.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in what my colleague has to say. A few moments ago he talked about the investments that our government made in the environment and research when we were in office.

In my riding, there is a company called CO2 Solutions, which seeks to find environmentally friendly solutions to reduce the environmental impact of our oil production, particularly with regard to the oil sands. CO2 Solutions has been working with the Department of Natural Resources for over 10 years.

When we were in office, we also established the ecotrust program to the tune of over $1.5 billion. With the support of the provinces, we made investments in the environment and in research in order to improve the environment.

Obviously, there are also these types of businesses in my colleague's riding. Can my colleague tell us more about the businesses in his riding and his province that worked with the Conservative government to improve environmental costs?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to hear the hon. member's comments. He works tirelessly for his constituents, and I commend him for that.

The CCS plant that I have mentioned takes the carbon and sequesters it under the ground, which enhances the industry and the oil industry, as well as cement companies, who capture and use the fly ash, shipping it off and selling it. They take 98% of the sulfur out of the air, which they then utilize and sell.

As well, our farmers take the benefit of their knowledge and sequester that carbon into the ground. The simple fact of photosynthesis that everybody learned about in grade 9 is basic science, and our farmers in this country do that all the time, and yet no credit is given to them for that.

I would like to mention one other, and that is the fact that in my riding, just about a half hour away from where I live, they are starting an investigation plant for geothermal energy, taking the geothermal and pumping pipes many miles underground. I cannot remember exactly how many miles it is. However, they are utilizing that to generate thermal energy, to see how beneficial it would be for a possible five megawatt energy plant.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when I look at the bigger picture and at what has taken place over the last two to two and a half years, I see a very healthy economic plan that, between the Government of Canada and Canadians, generates the types of jobs that are necessary, 600,000-plus.

We have seen the enhancement of some fantastic social programs that have lifted individuals, whether seniors or children, out of poverty. We are talking about tens of thousands of Canadians in all regions of the country.

We can talk about the infrastructure. The Government of Canada has done so much to invest in Canada's middle class.

Would my colleague across the way not agree that by investing in Canada's middle class, we are actually investing in our economy because it is our middle class that ultimately drives our economy? A healthy middle class means a healthy Canadian economy. That is what the government has been focused on for the last two and a half years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had a number of points in his question, and I would like to address one or two of them.

Perhaps the member did not hear my speech, where I talked about the loss of jobs in Saskatchewan, where the unemployment rate has gone up since the Liberal government came to power. That is not creating jobs. It may be creating jobs in his community; that is where the government is building infrastructure. However, there is no infrastructure being built in my province.

It is not like the government is building a green transit line from Maryfield, Saskatchewan to Regina so that one person can take that train. It is not happening. It is not going to change the patterns that rural Canadians have to live with.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start my speech by recognizing that tomorrow is the 74th anniversary of the storming of Juno on D-Day. On behalf of the Conservative caucus and the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, to those who sacrificed their lives, who fought for freedom, who went through pain and danger that we cannot even imagine today, I say thanks so very much. Without them, we would not be working in the best Parliament in the best country in the world. We thank our veterans so very much.

This is my second opportunity to speak on the budget. When I had an opportunity to speak last week, we were talking about a number of items. We talked about Kinder Morgan, the many issues in this budget relating to youth, including the amount of debt we are leaving them with. After I spoke, the Auditor General's report was released. He had an incredibly scathing report in his spring audits, and there were two that really stuck out. In fact, the first line of the Auditor General's report refers to “incomprehensible failures”, not just one but many, with the Phoenix pay system. I acknowledge that the system was developed over two governments and implemented by the current one, but certainly the failure of government, the culture of government, and the failing culture of government was at the centre of the Auditor General's report.

One of the audits was on indigenous affairs. When I was knocking on doors, every single day I would hear people say they just do not get it. They would say they live in the best country in the world, in a country that has one of the best qualities of life, but there are Canadians who do not have clean drinking water and do not have the same opportunities. They said they just do not get it. They said they would hear all the announcements from government after government of all stripes, indicating that so much money is going to indigenous affairs, for a certain program or for the education of aboriginal young people, and yet it feels like it never changes, that this is a perennial issue that constantly has to be dealt with.

The Auditor General, in his opening remarks to his 12 audits, said:

The ministerial focus on the short term explains why the Indigenous file has been so intractable. A long-term view has to dominate that file, but because it usually only brings political problems in the short term, government tries to stay in the safe space of administering payments instead of being an active partner with Indigenous people to improve outcomes.

This next line is the crux of the issue. It states, “The measure of success has become the amount of money spent, rather than improved outcomes for Indigenous people.” I feel like we can apply that across government as a whole. How many programs do we fund and tell people how much money we are going to spend on said program, but we never tell them what the effects will be of the money being spent?

It is deplorable. People in the private sector are measured by their results. Yes, the effort put in counts. Yes, research and data count. However, the real data that counts is the data that comes out the back end that says x number of dollars have been spent and x has been achieved. The Auditor General recognizes this, but, unfortunately, the government culture does not.

From what I have seen, it certainly extends into the current Liberal government. I was at the industry committee about a year and a half ago when Minister Bains came and the government had funded—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Yes, I apologize, Mr. Speaker.

The Minister of Innovation joined us. One of the programs the government had funded was the car of tomorrow program. Interestingly, the previous government had put in a few bucks as well, but there was now a $20-million investment taking place into that program.

I asked the obvious question: What is it that the people of Canada, the ratepayers, the citizens are getting in return for $20 million of investment? He proceeded to give an answer. I asked what the measurables were. It was an answer that did not give me measurables. I asked how many jobs were being created. Three to five, I believe, was his answer.

The report actually said that three to five jobs were indirectly created, meaning that we were investing $20 million as a government in a program that created zero jobs. That is the problem of the political class within government, the culture that exists, and we see it over and over again in the budget this year.

The Auditor General said it more succinctly:

In the current culture, the two perspectives are out of balance, with the political perspective being dominant. This is largely because of instant digital communication, which means that politicians are more concerned with message and image management.

When I came to Ottawa to represent the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, I really hoped that the most important thing would always be the people we serve. However, we see in announcement after announcement that it is not about the people we serve, or there would be measurables put in place. It is actually about looking good in front of the public.

That will not do for our citizens. It will not do for the taxpayers we represent. Again, last week we saw a $4.5-billion investment into Kinder Morgan when the private sector was walking away. I will call it an investment, although I am not sure it is one. The Liberals say they are trying to de-risk the project. They are not de-risking the project; they are de-risking the owners and investors of Kinder Morgan and then taking that risk and putting it on the taxpayers of Canada.

This is the type of spending we are seeing. There are no measurables in place. I wonder whether the $7-billion fund that is being staked out by the treasury, the fund we do not know where it is being spent, is where the $4.5 billion for Kinder Morgan is coming from.

It did not matter whether I was at the municipal level of government or in the private sector, in finance; one thing was always consistent: There need to be measurables put in place when the government is investing dollars. As I look through the budget, it talks about spending, spending, spending, but it fails to talk about how it is actually going to influence the lives of Canadians, the measurables that are being put into effect to show us that the dollars are actually well spent.

It may come at some point during the year, and if it does, I will be the first to congratulate the Liberals, but I have a feeling, based on the last two and a half years and perhaps even longer, considering it is not just the current government, that it will not happen. I ask the government to start putting measurables in place for the dollars it is spending so the taxpayers and citizens of Canada know that the dollars being spent on their behalf, taxpayers' dollars, not government dollars, are spent correctly.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his plea, which is a plea that comes from business, where the mantra is usually “You can't manage what you don't measure.” I would like to give an example of managing what one measures. At the Treasury Board, we are making progress when it comes to the government's own greenhouse gas emissions and efficiencies. The Treasury Board is now moving, under Bill C-57, which is linked to this budget bill, to measuring the GHG emissions from its fleet and buildings, and very actively reporting to Canadians. Canadians will be able to see the progress that is being made. They will understand the expenditures that are being made to retrofit buildings and to lease better buildings in order to reduce the overall emissions. Canadians can get a much better sense of value for money.

I think the member would agree with me that this is one example where the government deserves a bit of credit for moving the yardstick forward to be judicious and wise with Canadian taxpayer dollars, to be able to show that in fact we are making progress, and if we are not, Canadians can hold us to account accordingly.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, if there are places within the government's programs where the Liberals are putting measurables in place, then I congratulate them. The problem is that, if there are, it is not the norm. When we look at the spending that is being outlined, we have $60 billion in new spending over the last three years. Where are the measurables for $60 billion in new spending? If we are investing in a tax cut, can the government show me what the measurables are, and what the projected measurables are against the end result on a year-over-year basis? We are just not seeing it. In fact, the GDP has grown 0.1% in two years, but spending has gone up far more significantly.

These are major issues that need to be dealt with, and the only people who lose by our not measuring the effects of our spending are the taxpayers. They are the ones who do not get to see the accountable government they believe should exist. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to step up, measure, and ensure that they have the information they need to determine whether the member for Ottawa South, or the member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro—Medonte, or anyone else is doing a good job.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Ottawa South talked about the importance of measurables. We have a $7.2-billion slush fund. I do not see anywhere in the budget where that will be measurable, because I do not believe it is designated for anything. The other part is the carbon tax. Let us measure its cost in terms of its benefit for a family. I do not think we see that. Would both of those be measurable if we had the numbers?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to address both of those separately. In terms of the $7-billion slush fund, there cannot be measurables in place for something that has not been allocated to where it is going to be spent. That is a major issue in and of itself. I hope that over the coming year we will see what is going to happen there from the Treasury Board, and that for any dollars that are eventually designated there will be measurables put in place for whatever programming or investment they are put into. I do not think the fund should exist at all.

Second, on the carbon tax, I actually think the government has determined and measured what the effects of a carbon tax will be on the Canadian economy and on the different splices of Canadians, those who are perhaps hurting a little financially, versus the middle class, versus those with a lot of money. At the end of the day, what we have seen is that the government has not been willing to allow the opposition to have all the data. Therefore, the citizens do not have all the data.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:55 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Joliette.

I want to start by talking about four major policies that have come out from discussions over the last week to 10 days. First and foremost, I want to express how much I believe and have confidence in our trade negotiators. Our trade negotiators are the very best in the world. I appreciate and value the fine work they do, and I am very pleased with the way Canadians have come together and recognized how important that trade file is. We often hear it with regard to the Team Canada approach in dealing with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

I want to recognize how important that particular policy is to our government, and to assure members and those who are watching or tuning in on the issue of trade that we have the very best civil servants addressing this issue, and we have a Prime Minister who is right on, in terms of the positions we have taken and the posturing that is absolutely important to support a healthy trade agreement that is ultimately in Canada's best interests.

Another major issue that came up in the last seven days is the Trans Mountain pipeline. I felt very good the day I found out that the government was stepping in to acquire the pipeline. That is what the government needed to do. It is interesting that, for so long, the Conservatives were criticizing us because we were not doing enough. When it came time to get ourselves into a position to acquire, we did just that. Not only were there fantastic consultations on the project, but the science is there to support it, and we are talking about thousands of jobs and about the economy. There are so many benefits, and that is why that project is in the best national interest.

I am discouraged to see the official opposition take the position that it has in regard to the cost factor. There is a time when the government needs to get involved. It was the Harper government that got involved and spent more than that on the automobile bailout. If we had not participated in that, who knows what would have happened to the automobile industry in Canada?

This is something that was absolutely critical, and I am very proud of the government for taking the actions that it has, whether it be the Prime Minister or the Minister of Natural Resources. We will see the dividends into the future, whether it be the thousands of jobs, the care of our environment, or the ongoing consultations with indigenous people and other stakeholders.

Another major announcement was about the rail line going to Churchill. This will have a profound impact in the province of Manitoba, but I would argue that it is ultimately in Canada's best interest. Without that rail line, the whole viability of Churchill was being put into question. The Port of Churchill is Canada's northern port. It is very important that we do not neglect that port. For months on end, we tried to put people in a room together to get something to happen on that particular file. Last week, we saw a consortium come together, with very strong community involvement. From indigenous and non-indigenous groups to international trade and finances, it was a great group to see come together, not only for the well-being of the community of Churchill, but ultimately for the well-being of our country.

Just yesterday, we had an announcement of a $1.1-billion infrastructure agreement in the province of Manitoba.

A week or so ago I was out knocking on doors in Shaughnessy Park. A lot of individuals talked to me about the importance of infrastructure. They talked a lot about road conditions. I had indicated that I would bring that concern here to the floor of the House. Those residents, and in fact all residents of Winnipeg North, know that I understand and appreciate the importance of building infrastructure in the form of roads. This is something I communicate to the city, whether it is through this particular speech or in person to city representatives, as well as to provincial representatives when I get the opportunity. We have demonstrated through our infrastructure program that we want to have partnerships with municipalities and provinces to identify the priority areas that need the dollars that are so critically important in continuing to build Canada's infrastructure.

Those are some of the things that have occurred in the last seven days. I have not even talked about some of the fantastic work by the labour minister in making sure we are assisting or playing some role in encouraging an agreement with CP Rail and averting a potential strike. Again, that was very good news for many of the constituents I represent. I am thinking of the terminal in my area, but the bottom line is that we all benefit when we have better, healthier labour relations, and the government is there to encourage and promote that.

All of that was just in the past week. This is a government that believes that there is a need to be involved, get involved, and make a difference, and that has been demonstrated in the success of Canada over the last two and a half years.

When we talk about this budget and its implementation, one of the things I like right from the get-go is the indexing of the Canada child benefit program. That will ensure, once again, that more disposable income will be going to the families that need it the most in our communities. Those are real dollars.

In Winnipeg North alone, we are talking about millions of dollars going into our communities every month to support our families. Millionaire families do not need to receive this support for their families and children. We need to ensure that those children who need it the most are getting the most. That is something the government is ensuring, not only in its last budget, and that is going to happen by indexing. We also put it in our first budget, in the announcement that as a government we want to support our children in our communities, and we have seen that happening through the Canada child benefit program.

I had the opportunity to ask one of my Conservative colleagues a question. He made the statement that government does not really play a role in the creation of jobs. I disagree. The government does play a role. The example I gave the member was the Canada child benefit program. The individuals who receive it are spending and consuming the products. They are living in our communities, buying and consuming things for their children and others, whether at Giant Tiger stores or local restaurants or other small community businesses out there. I agree with members on all sides of the House when we say that small business is the backbone of our economy, and we need to support our small businesses.

One of the best ways we can support small businesses is by increasing disposable income from Canada's greatest consumers, those in the middle class and those aspiring to be a part of the middle class. By doing that, what we are really doing is allowing Canada's economy to grow. A healthy middle class, I would argue, would allow us to have a healthier economy. To me, that is what the Canada child benefit program does in a very big and tangible way.

That is why I say to my colleagues across the way that they should be supporting the program wholeheartedly.

If we want to take a look at how this government is supporting Canada's middle class, we could go back to the very first budget. Members will recall when we had the special tax break for Canada's middle class.

Have I already run out of time, or am I getting close to running out of time? I have run out of time.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to ask my friend across the way about the way this budget has approached the issue of parental leave.

Right now, the way parental leave operates is that parents get to decide how they divide leave between them. This budget wants to change that approach so that in order to get the full allotted amount of parental leave, each parent would have to take some of that time. It essentially tries to micromanage and direct families to how it wants them to divide up child care, and it does so in the so-called name of reducing inequalities in the division of child care responsibilities.

However, many parents have concerns about the government intervening in this way. Certainly a single parent or one parent who might not be able to take parental leave as a result of the position they have would be negatively affected by the government's wish to control the direction of that parental leave. This seems very much out of touch with young families who want to be able to make these choices themselves.

Does the member not think that a better approach is to leave these decisions on which parent takes the parental leave up to the families themselves?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, to be completely honest, I am not familiar with the specifics the member is asking about. Rather than trying to bluff a way through it, I would rather continue to focus on what I believe complements all parents of children. Through the Canada child benefit program, where there is a high need, there is a higher percentage of support coming from the government. I would encourage members to look into their ridings and find out the degree of support they are receiving every month. That is the nice thing about it. Since it is universal, every riding in every region is receiving money, in my case literally millions. I think it is close to about $9 million a month going into the riding. That is helping the parents.

I will have to look into the other issue the member raised, and maybe he and I can talk on the side in regard to it. I just do not know the details or how I could better respond to his question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, there were protest rallies held in both Cranbrook and Nelson against the $4.5 billion going to the pipeline. When I talk to people in my constituency, they tell me they would prefer to see $4.5 billion going to actually implement universal pharmacare, not just talk about it; provide a national $15-a-day day care subsidy across Canada; provide true wage equity for women across the country, and get serious about equality for women; provide clean drinking water for first nations reserves; properly pay our public servants and get the Phoenix pay system on track; provide more money for seniors and more money to rural infrastructure, and not into a Canada infrastructure bank, which because of the minimums then takes all the money away from small rural communities like mine.

Would the member not agree that there were lots of better ways to use $4.5 billion than buying a 65-year-old pipeline?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. I think the member is so wrong on so many accounts. I wish I had a half hour in which I could explain it thoroughly to the member. Let us realize that it is in Canada's national best interest.

What is clear is that the NDP does not support any pipeline; that is very clear. It does not realize the billions of dollars of potential revenue that come in annually and ultimately support wonderful social programs. For example, Manitoba receives billions every year to support its infrastructure, things such as health care and so forth. Without those dollars, we would not be able to provide the type of services we do.

There is so much potential. This is something that is in the national best interest. What this debate really demonstrates is that the NDP—and it should be honest with Canadians—does not support any pipelines. If it cannot support this one, it does not support any, and that is a shame, because the NDP is not being truthful about the impact of the billions and billions of dollars that would be lost.

Where would the NDP get that money?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:15 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for sharing his time with me and giving me this opportunity to speak on behalf of the Groupe parlementaire québécois.

Unfortunatley, Bill C-74 is another mammoth bill that is being debated under another time allocation motion.

The government is blaming the opposition for opposing this bill, claiming that that is what forced it to use time allocation. However, blaming the opposition for doing its job as the opposition is like blaming the Canada Revenue Agency for collecting taxes from people or blaming meteorologists for forecasting rain.

Of course we oppose bad policies. Would the government have me believe that it did not expect us to ask questions and that it did not fully expect us to oppose certain aspects of this bill?

This is ridiculous. Here we are with only 10 minutes to discuss an immense omnibus bill that is 560 pages long.

I will therefore try to be as brief as possible and get right to the point: this budget does not address the needs of Quebeckers; it is as simple as that.

As I said at second reading, there is not much for Quebeckers in this budget, apart from a handful of minor measures that will give the minister a chance to strut all over Canada just before the election. Targeted announcements pay off in swing ridings during elections, as we know. We are seeing that right now in the Chicoutimi byelection. Journalist David Akin said that in his entire career, he had never seen so much money and so many announcements being lavished on a single riding.

They are desperate to win this byelection at any cost. They have some nerve. Our Liberal colleagues are lucky that they do not have to pay for their own gas. Otherwise, they would think twice before taking a limousine hundreds of kilometres to make a $10,000 announcement.

In Bill C-74, we see a $75-million gift to the Irvings to fight the spruce budworm. This is a perfect example. The spruce budworm is also a problem in Quebec. In fact, the infested area in Quebec is bigger than the entire province of New Brunswick, yet Quebec is not getting a single cent. Every penny is going to help the Irvings. That sums this budget up perfectly. This is not a budget for Quebec. It is, first and foremost, a budget for the Liberal Party. It is clear that this old party will never change.

Do not get me wrong, it is not all negative. For example, the Canada workers benefit is interesting. It will help out low-income workers. The small business tax cut from 10.5% to 9% is another good measure.

As hon. members know, Quebec's economy relies heavily on small business owners. Quebec is known for its creativity. With our good ideas we are able to develop businesses that can penetrate markets all around the world. Lowering the small business tax rate will give our businesses the boost they need to create our flagships of tomorrow.

However, the context in which this was announced raised some eyebrows. The Minister of Finance was criticized from all sides for the tax reform he announced last summer. Then out of nowhere he announced the tax cut in order to save face for the government, but at the end of the day it is still a good measure and the tax reform was largely abandoned.

The government kept the proposal to restrict the use of passive income, but it diluted the proposal so much that the reform will not do much. Instead of going after our farmers and small businesses, the government could have gone after the massive problems with its tax reform. I should also mention that there is nothing in the budget to address tax havens.

According to the Conference Board of Canada, we lose at least $9 billion a year in revenue to tax havens.

It is not complicated. If we recovered just a fraction of this amount, we would have some serious breathing room to balance our budget. Bay Street would obviously be angry, which would not fly with the current government, but it would be fair to the people and businesses here that pay their taxes.

The government should be closing loopholes instead of creating more tax havens by signing information sharing agreements with countries that do not have tax return obligations.

Once again, Quebec is demanding that it be able to collect all taxes, but the Prime Minister thumbed his nose at Quebec's unanimous motion, showing his arrogance yet again.

I do not think that any party in power in Quebec would turn its nose up at billions of dollars hidden in tax havens, unlike the Liberals, who are creating more loopholes. The same goes for Netflix, an American multinational corporation.

Quebec and Canadian companies that provide a similar service must charge sales tax, but the government is doing everything it can to exempt Netflix and other U.S. giants from this requirement. That is completely unfair. It is offering a competitive advantage to foreign businesses to the detriment of our own. That must change.

Speaking of handouts to foreign businesses, let us talk about the environment and Trans Mountain. The government just gave a $4.5 billion gift to a U.S. company to develop a pipeline that British Columbia opposes.

The 2015 Liberal platform had this to say about environmental projects:

Canadians must be able to trust that government...will respect the rights of those most affected [by these resource-based projects]...While governments grant permits for resource development, only communities can grant permission.

The government just reversed its position. This budget is more of the same on the environment: a lot of talk and not too many concrete measures. It is simply disappointing.

Quebec is asking for help with the electrification of transportation, but there is nothing for that in the budget. This corner of the House has asked for this funding several times.

Time is running out so I will start to wrap up. This budget is above all for Liberals. It sprinkles around some tax breaks in order to win elections. The government still has not resolved the problem of health transfers that are below the acceptable minimum threshold. While the Liberal Party is playing Monopoly with our money, Quebec is confronted with real problems every year because of a significant increase in health care costs.

I would like the government to start listening instead of always being so arrogant, as we saw with the single tax return and the migrant crisis. On our side, we are going to continue tirelessly defending the interests of our people, Quebeckers.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David Graham Liberal Laurentides—Labelle, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, I had the privilege of joining my colleague from Joliette and going to the Atikamekw of Manawan First Nation.

We could see that there are desperate needs on this territory. Together with Chief Jean-Roch Ottawa and the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services, we embarked on a day-long tour of the community. We saw that there are some serious needs and we were able to make a small announcement and start helping.

Can my colleague talk about this issue and what we can do in budget 2017-18 and what work we can do in general to improve things in these regions and these communities?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:20 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. It is good to use concrete examples and to apply them in a budgetary context.

I thank my colleague from Laurentides—Labelle as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous Services for their visit in my riding yesterday to see the community of Manawan. It was an opportunity for us to cut the ribbon on some lovely new housing for the Atikamekw of Manawan First Nation. There was a good financial contribution from the federal government for these housing units. I welcome this good news.

At the same time, my colleagues were able to see all the needs. The crown has committed to providing the same service level to indigenous communities across the country as is provided to other Canadians. We were able to see that it is not the case. There are still huge housing needs. The timing is good since, in previous budgets, important announcements were made regarding indigenous infrastructure. The money has barely been spent if at all. We must therefore make sure that amounts which were announced for infrastructure are indeed allocated, in order to improve indigenous peoples' quality of life in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about pipelines.

Of course we do not agree with the government's decision to buy a pipeline, but at the same time, Quebec imports foreign oil from countries such as Saudi Arabia and it is more expensive than Canadian oil.

Would my colleague agree with the general principle that it would be best if Quebec was using Canadian oil? Does he think it is a good idea?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I would like to correct one thing. Quebec does not import oil from Saudi Arabia. Our imports vary each year, but come primarily from the United States as well as England and Norway, as far as I know. We have also imported a great deal of oil from the west since the reversal of Enbridge pipeline 9B. That is the situation.

Like the Conservatives, we condemn the purchase by the federal government with public money of Trans Mountain and the Enbridge line. We believe that it is a bad decision. That is all we agree on, however. We are more supportive of a greener economy and decisions that lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. With respect to the international community, we support the COP21 Paris Agreement. According to our analysis, which is consistent with scientific studies, in order to comply with this agreement we must stop all new development of the oil sands, which, I would remind members, is extremely polluting. Furthermore, new pipelines are used not just to move existing oil at a good price, but also to extract more. This will prevent us from honouring the commitments we made in Paris.

We prefer to develop other energy sources and to start by reducing energy consumption in the 21st century. This works out well because Quebec has everything it needs to develop its renewable energy and is a world leader in the area. Economic development choices, however, are more focused on the oil sands than on the economy of the future. For that reason we rise in the House to defend the environment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:25 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak tonight to the budget implementation act and in general to the budget policy of the government.

I thought what I would do tonight is speak to some of the specific debate we are having around budget measures and the fiscal policies of the government. At the same time, I will set that in a sort of philosophical context. I will talk a bit about what a Conservative vision of economic policy is and what the fixed principles and values of that approach is rooted in. I will then work that into some of the particulars of the policy debate we are having tonight.

A discussion of economic policy has to start with a commitment to justice. After all, it is not purely a discussion when we talk about budgets but rather what is just with respect to government policy. By just, I mean what is due. Justice is the virtue of doing that which is due to others and government policy should be informed by that.

There are a number of different principles and applications of justice of course, such as justice to whom. Are we talking about giving to another that which is due? I want to talk about some of those particulars as I work through my speech.

One of the issues we speak about often in the context of justice is the question of intergenerational justice; that is how we as the present generation gives that which is due to the next generation. This is a fundamental question of justice. We can choose to enjoy as much as possible for ourselves the goods of our society and leave as little as possible for the next generation or we can govern ourselves with an eye to preserve as much as possible for the next generation to give them the same or a better life, a better set of opportunities. That is a question of intergenerational justice, one that is fundamental.

Maybe another way of thinking about that is sustainability. Is our fiscal environment, our institutions or other aspects of our society sustainable in the sense that we are preserving them and setting them up so they are passed on in a similar or better condition to the next generation?

Conservatives, in thinking about the issue of intergenerational justice, will often reflect on the work of a great English philosopher and parliamentarian, Edmund Burke. He talked about the fragility of society, how we received society from our ancestors, and we ought to preserve it with prudence and with caution as we pass it on to the next generation.

This is why Conservatives who follow Edmund Burke are instinctively skeptical of extreme proposals for revolution. Sometimes we perceive proposals from Liberals and New Democrats as saying that we should radically reorder and change the way we do things. Conservatives are often a voice of caution in those situations, saying that while we support change, we want to ensure we are always preserve the benefits of society that we received from our ancestors and that we pass them on to the next generation, again out of a concern for fundamental justice. We preserve traditions and we are prudent in recognizing what we owe to the future.

It is my sincere belief that the present approach to budgeting is a great betrayal of that principle of intergenerational justice. The rhetoric from the government is that we have to spend and invest, but we have to spend now and we have to spend far more than we are taking in.

The inevitable consequence of spending more than we have today is that subsequent generations will have to pay more in tax to pay the interest on the expenditures that we enjoy now, and not even to pay off our present expenditures. I do not understand how anyone could get out of the fairly simple logic of that argument.

If we spend money today, it has to be paid off at some point in the future. The government will come back at this argument in various ways. For instance, It will say that these expenditures are actually stimulative, that deficit spending creates economic growth which then benefits everybody else in the long term.

The economic logic of that comes from John Maynard Keynes, who talked about stimulative spending during economic downtimes, which then has to be balanced out during good years. There has always been a recognition, even among economists who have favoured a stimulative approach to fiscal policy, that governments still have to pay that off at certain times. Maybe the argument goes that a government runs deficits during bad years and then it pays it off during good years. However, the idea of running deficits constantly is not a recognizable economic theory that has been advanced by serious economic thinkers.

Eventually, a government does have to pay it off, and eventually the next generation or the one after it will have to pay the price for the excesses of the present. It is bad economics to think a government can run perpetual deficits, but it is also a violation of the great principle of intergenerational justice.

I think Canadians get this intuitively, by the way, because in the last election, the Prime Minister was able to sell to 39% of Canadians a deficit spending proposal, albeit a very limited one. He said that his government would run deficits for three years, deficits that would not exceed $10 billion, and then the government would balance the budget in the fourth year. We are coming up to that fourth year and are nowhere near a balanced budget.

The Liberals were able to sell that because Canadians thought it was a limited approach to deficit spending. After the election, the government totally betrayed the commitment it made previously. Now it does not have a plan to ever balance the budget.

I note that every province in this country that runs a deficit has a timeline for getting out of that deficit. This is the only finance minister in the country who does not have a timeline for that deficit.

This is a violation of the principle of intergenerational justice. My kids are going to have to work harder and pay more in taxes, which they will not enjoy in services back from the government, because our generation has chosen this present government that is spending more than it has. I would submit that is fundamentally unjust.

Our alternative approach, which emphasizes balanced budgets, is sustainable in the long term, and allows us to make investments in social programs that we know will be able to continue, and it ensures that whatever we do within the framework of a balanced budget, we will be able to sustain and provide a continuing level of opportunity in social programs to the next generation.

In every case, in Canada and elsewhere, when a government has persistent deficit spending, eventually the party ends. Eventually, someone in the future has to do the hard work of cutting back, and has to endure the loss of services and increase in taxes associated with an inevitable reckoning. I would submit that it is not just, right, or moral to ask my kids and other kids to pay for what we are not willing to pay for in the present.

In pursuit of an economic policy that is just, we seek intergenerational justice, respect for the next generation, and sustainable fiscal policies that do not involve perpetual deficits.

There is another argument that the government often brings up in this case. It talks about the debt-to-GDP ratio and says that it is maintaining that ratio relatively consistently over time.

First of all, Canadians should be concerned about the overall debt-to-GDP ratio because, although our federal debt-to-GDP ratio is relatively lower than many other countries', our total government debt-to-GDP ratio is comparable to those countries'. Since far more services are provided in this country at a sub-national level than in most other countries, as we are more decentralized as a federation than many of our partners, it is important to compare apples to apples when talking about the debt-to-GDP ratio and look at total government debt-to-GDP in Canada as compared to other countries. Unfortunately, in that comparison, Canada is certainly right there in the rest of the pack in terms of this challenge.

The other thing I would say about the debt-to-GDP ratio is that it is a measure of the debt that we could plausibly carry. However, it does not change the fact that the debt still has to be paid off. With a higher GDP, a government can carry more debt, but it still has to pay it off and it still has to pay interest on it in the meantime, and that is still an injustice to the next generation.

Our party believes that we need a sustainable fiscal policy, one that does include, and I am sure this will come up in questions, running deficits during periods of major economic downturns, or periods of national crisis and disaster. That is precisely what we did. However, at the same time, we had a long-term sustainable fiscal policy that was stimulative for those periods and paid off debt outside of those periods. The government seems to believe that debt and deficits should be run in perpetuity, and that is certainly a policy that we very strongly disagree with.

Another element of justice in the context of the budget is justice for taxpayers. Taxpayers who work hard and have to pay part of their hard-earned income to the government have certain legitimate expectations about the spirit in which their money should be spent. They have an expectation that it will be spent on things that are in the public interest and that relate to their interests, not their own personal immediate interests necessarily, but that are reflective of the interests of the population as a whole, such that taxation is more than just a means of well-connected insiders accessing the public largesse. That is the ideal, that taxes be collected with the public interest goal in mind.

Unfortunately, we see so many elements of spending in this budget and other government budget documents that are really disconnected from any rational calculation of the public interest. Rather, they are clearly reflective of the fact that the government wants to use public dollars to reward well-connected insiders, to reward their friends, and establish relationships they perceive to be in their interest.

I will give one example of this. It is something that clearly and obviously goes against the principle of justice for taxpayers. It is something called the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Hundreds of millions of Canadian taxpayer dollars are going to fund a bank that builds infrastructure in Asia, headquartered in Beijing, and controlled by the Chinese government as an instrument of its foreign policy. We are putting up hundreds of millions of dollars for Canada to be a voting member of this organization, but in reality to control something around less than one per cent of the shares.

In any event, we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars being put into this infrastructure bank, and the only argument the government can come up with for giving money overseas to this instrument of Chinese foreign policy is that it will create opportunities for Canadian companies to be able to get contracts through this bank. Allegedly Canadian participation in the infrastructure bank means that Canadians companies could now join in projects they would not have been able to join before.

However, that is not true. I have visited the headquarters of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in Beijing and officials told us that they have a totally open staffing and procurement policy, which means that Canadian companies could participate in these contracts and would have an equal opportunity to bid on these projects in any event. The only justification the government has for this is simply not correct.

The government in Beijing obviously wants other countries to put their money into this as a tool of their foreign policy, and it is maybe a way of getting a nice pat on the back from someone for doing it, but this is a case of grievous injustice to taxpayers who would rather see their money spent at home on things that are reflective of their understanding of the Canadian public interest, of the common good here rather than advancing the PRC's foreign policy goals.

There are many aspects of this. There is corporate welfare through programs like the supercluster program. How is it just for taxpayers that small business owners and the middle class and those working hard to join it have to pay taxes to the government, which are then used to subsidize already very successful, well-connected businesses? That is fundamentally unjust to those less well-connected taxpayers.

Taxes are not supposed to be a reward for rent seekers. They are not supposed to be a reward for those who invest in having close relationships with those in power in order to realize some benefit from them, or what economists would call rent seekers. Taxes are supposed to advance the public interest. Unfortunately, in this government, there are many examples of the Liberals using money in an ineffective way that really rewards their friends instead of being connected to the public interest.

Other elements of justice that should inform a rational and effective fiscal policy is that include a concern for social equality expressed through equality of opportunity and policies that encourage self-reliance. Our view is that the best way to ensure justice for all and equality of opportunity is to cut the taxes of those who need those tax cuts the most. If we look at the record of the previous Conservative government and the taxes we cut, tax relief was always targeted to those who were struggling, those who needed that tax relief the most.

I hear a member laughing over there. I invite her to ask a question in questions and comments and identify a tax that we cut that benefited primarily or exclusively the wealthy. I do not think I will hear that question, because there were none. The tax cuts by the previous government included cutting the GST and the lowest marginal rate of the small business tax rate. Yes, we cut the business tax rate, and that benefits all Canadians. Our approach was not to exercise corporate welfare but rather to cut taxes for businesses that would encourage economic growth, and thereby benefit the employees and customers. We did not impose punitive taxes on Canadians like the current government is doing, for example, with its carbon tax.

We have challenged the Liberals on the issue of the carbon tax from multiple angles. Of course, there is the fact that they will not even give us the information about how much the carbon tax is going to impact the average Canadian. However, I want to talk specifically about it in terms of justice and social equality.

The thing with the carbon tax is that it is designed to create an incentive for people to change their behaviour. It is a punitive approach to creating that incentive. It says to people that if they do not change their behaviour, they will have to pay a higher tax. There are some people who might be able to afford the investment of changing their behaviour. Yes, they can afford to retrofit their home. They can afford to move closer to the city. However, the problem is that there are also many Canadians who cannot respond to that punitive approach, because they simply cannot afford to make those kinds of behavioural changes. There could be an alternative way of helping people who I think want to do their part for the environment, but who cannot respond to the stick. They might respond better to a carrot. In any event, they cannot respond to the punitive approach of a carbon tax.

A carbon tax would tax home heating fuel, and gas for those who cannot necessarily afford electric hybrid cars. The carbon tax really is a tax that hits those who can least afford to pay it.

There is an alternative approach when it comes to the environment. One only has to look at the previous government's environmental record. It was to be the first government in Canadian history under which emissions went down, or up by less in every single province compared to the previous government. To members who are laughing and shaking their heads, I look forward to their questions, because if you look at the numbers, it is very clear that that is the real record on the environment of the previous government.

How did we achieve those reductions? We had binding sector-by-sector regulations and we gave Canadians incentives that involved rewards. We gave things like a home retrofit tax credit, instead of punishing people for not making certain environmental decisions. We gave them a tax credit, which gave them the means to make investments they probably would want to make anyway, such as making their homes more energy efficient. We moved forward with things like the transit tax credit, which the current government, in fact, got rid of.

It is clear that there are two different visions of the economy, and ours, on many scores, is a more just approach to the economy. That is why we propose it as an alternative to the government's budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to take my colleague to task for some of the revisionist history he has put forward here this evening. Canadians should pay close attention to some of the wording he has put forward. He has been careful to construct a theory about Conservative spending, Conservative legacies, and an approach to the economy that he talks about in terms of intergenerational justice.

Let us talk about intergenerational justice. Let us remind the member opposite that when the previous Liberal government achieved power in 1993, it inherited a massive annual deficit and a massive national debt. It took us two or three years to turn it around before delivering five successive surpluses and paying down tens of billions of dollars of national debt.

Cutting the previous government some slack, given the 2008 economic slowdown, which, by the way, accounted for so much of the decline in greenhouse gases, not any turning-the-corner plan the member was not here to defend, let us just look at Mr. Harper's Conservative approach to debt and deficits. He inherited a $13-billion surplus when he came to power. He ran a deficit every single year as Prime Minister of Canada and perhaps balanced the books in the last year by slashing spending. By the way, it is reminiscent of the old nightmare we have seen, from Reagan to Harris to Harper, and soon, to Trump: they borrow money, they slash taxes, they drive up the national debt, and they leave lingering deficits.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I know the member was eager to bring Trump into this debate somehow, but I would encourage him to put aside the election talking points and actually engage in the discussion. I never said that one should not ever run deficits. I said specifically, in fact, that during times of national crisis, of major economic downturns, it is perfectly sensible to run stimulative deficits.

Let us be clear. What the member said about running deficits every single year under Stephen Harper is objectively false. I have never heard Liberal members even claim that in the early years, prior to the economic downturn, there was a deficit. Surely the member is mistaken in thinking that in the 2006-07 and 2007-08 fiscal years there were deficits. That was obviously not the case. At the end, again, the Parliamentary Budget Officer was clear that the budget was balanced. Debt was paid down prior to the financial crisis, and always during the financial crisis it was his party that was asking for more to be spent.

Let us talk as well, because the member did, about the Liberal policies of the 1990s. The Liberal policies of the 1990s were clearly an example of what happens when they have big deficits that have been run and they reach a point where they just cannot keep digging anymore. The pressure from the IMF on Canada and from other institutions forced a situation where there had to be a fiscal reckoning, and it was a painful fiscal reckoning. The government balanced budgets not by finding efficiencies at the federal level but by slashing transfers to the provinces. That is not how the previous Conservative government balanced the budget. We did not slash transfers to the provinces. Rather, we found efficiencies within the delivery of services federally and did so quite effectively, and we were able to deliver a balanced budget on schedule. We did that, again, without the massive slashing to provincial transfers.

The member, when he talks, should think about the lessons of the 1990s, because—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:50 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Julie Dabrusin Liberal Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, I was quite taken with the fact that the member opposite decided to talk about the environmental record of the Conservative government. I was quite taken, because he referred to emissions dropping. I am wondering to what extent he would actually credit the Ontario government, which at that same time moved away from coal-fired plants, which was a tremendous change to our environment. I remember looking out my office window when I was working downtown and seeing smog from my window. It was a yellow smudge across the sky. We do not have smog days anymore. There was a huge change to our environmental standards because of the work of our Ontario government. We need to take that into account.

In addition, the transit tax credit was a non-refundable tax credit, so lower-income individuals could not use it or benefit from it. What we are doing is putting money into transit systems as a whole. Forty years ago, we would get onto the TTC in Toronto, and there was no air-conditioning during the summer. Now we are actually doing maintenance and making it a usable system.

How does the member not attribute and credit what has been done in Ontario with getting rid of the coal-fired plants, and in addition, what our government is doing now to improve public transit? How does that compare to a non-refundable tax credit that was not being used?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, Ontario provincial Liberal candidates will be gratified that someone is still trying to defend them after Kathleen Wynne has already thrown in the towel. We will find out on Thursday what people think about the record of Ontario's provincial government. It is going to be a revealing vote on the approach the Liberals take when they are in power.

If we look at the federation as a whole and the record of the previous Conservative government on the environment, in every single provincial jurisdiction, emissions either went down during the period of the Harper government or they went up by less than they had under the previous government. Emissions reductions, relative to the previous period, were achieved in every single jurisdiction. The member can check that.

Obviously, it is hard to abstract out what exactly was the result of which level of government and initiatives of different sorts, some of which were helpful, some of which were not. We are not doing policy experiments in a petri dish. However, if we look at the fact that positive results were achieved in every single jurisdiction, that seems to suggest that it had something to do with the actions of the federal government.

In terms of the issue of transit, many low-income Canadians still pay some tax and, therefore, benefit from the tax credits that were in place in terms of transit. There was spending on transit systems as well under the previous government here in Canada, unlike the current government, which is spending money on infrastructure overseas but has been behind on infrastructure investments here in Canada. We are very proud of our record.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
See context

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the fact that greenhouse gas emissions went down in all jurisdictions, as he claims, might have something to do with the state of the economy. We had a downturn in the economy during the financial crisis in 2008. It might have had something to do with that. Over 10 years, the Conservatives had the worst economic performance since the Second World War, the worst growth in exports, the worst job creation, and the worst GDP growth since Mackenzie King. That was perhaps their plan to fight climate change. That is why, in 2015, we wondered if we were heading into another recession.

I would like to hear the member's comments about something specific he touched on during his speech, which was intergenerational injustice. Does he see that there can be injustice between generations when one generation is not a good steward of its environment? Does he feel that this can also constitute intergenerational injustice? How does he assess the Harper record on that front, and what is the Conservative plan to actually do something on climate change?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, in terms of the final question, I absolutely agree with the member on the principle that the question of intergenerational justice is very much relevant to our discussions about how we manage the environment and the quality of the environment we pass on to the next generation. I just disagree with the government's belief that the best way to improve the environment is for the government to impose punitive taxes and raise revenue, because I am actually concerned about the environment, not about increasing the size of the revenue stream for government.

Liberals do not want to credit the previous government for actual progress that was achieved on the environment, so they say that it was either because of Ontario or because of the global financial crisis. Let us be clear that global emissions went up during that period. Canadian emissions went down, and Canada, though affected by the global recession, was relatively less impacted by the global recession than many other countries. It stretches logic for the government to say that environmental progress was a result of the environmental downturn. The fact that global emissions went up while ours went down and that we were less affected by the recession than others does not really fit.

The member talks about our economic performance as if, in one breath, on the environment, he wants us to remember that there was a recession, and then in the next breath, he wants us to forget it. Canada's relative performance during this period was by far the best in the G7. It had the best job-creation record.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 8:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, It is a pleasure tonight to speak to budget 2018, where we continue our efforts to invest in the Canadian economy with a view to having the whole population benefit. Our approach is not only aimed at the growth of the Canadian economy. It is mostly focused on people because our goal is to directly support Canadians across the country.

I am proud to be able to continue looking to the future, be it for advancement, growth or progress. I am particularly happy with the measures against gender-based discrimination. It is high time that we make equality a reality.

Budget 2018 shows that we are stronger together. Through vital measures, the government encourages the Canadian population at every stage of life.

Let us start with the Canada child benefit, which is beneficial to those who need it most: our youth. Through this allocation, we reduce poverty among children. We allow them to live a carefree childhood. Indeed, the Canada child benefit gives parents more money to pay for activities, winter clothing and school material or to save for the future. In Alfred-Pellan, this benefit translates into $5.6 million tax-free being paid each month to the families of more than 18,400 children.

I had the opportunity to meet Mathilde, a single mother from Laval. She told me about her financial difficulties and the dilemmas she has to face. Mathilde confirmed to me that the $600 benefit she gets will allow her to register her son in swimming lessons and day camp during the summer. For Mathilde, this benefit is valuable. She gives her son an unforgettable childhood.

In order to make sure that the Canada child benefit continues to be valuable in the long term, we will start indexing it next month. This way, its value will continue increasing each year. It is not just Mathilde and her son we are helping, but thousands of children and families all over Canada.

The benefit does not just help families in Alfred-Pellan. It will also help local businesses and organizations. This benefit helps everyone. The families reinvest in their communities, and these communities gladly continue to prosper.

Once these children grow up, we continue to help them realize their full potential. We must encourage young people to gain the skills and knowledge required to get jobs. Canada summer jobs is there to help in this process. Our government is allocating $448.5 million over five years to improve the youth employment strategy.

Last year, more than 175 youth in my riding of Alfred-Pellan used this opportunity to develop new skills. This year, nearly 220 youth will participate in the Canada summer jobs program.

This program provides great opportunities for young people across Canada, and I hope it will continue to grow and enrich our younger generations.

Then comes the time to join the labour force. Even now, the government is continuing to encourage Canadians. This year, women are the focus. Consider this: how can we move forward if half of us are being held back? For that reason, I applaud this budget, which makes Canadian women and girls a main focus. They make a difference. They change Canada. They deserve a place, so our government is supporting them by injecting $3 million over five years to ensure pay transparency, $100 million over five years to improve the women's program, and $19.9 million over five years to help women enter and succeed in the workforce.

We are supporting current and future women entrepreneurs through our new women's entrepreneurship strategy. We are creating new funding for their business projects and offering them expanded services and more opportunities for growth. In that way, our government is supporting the creativity of Canadian women by giving them the tools they need to overcome all of the challenges of entrepreneurship. At the same time, we are continuing our efforts aimed at advancing women business leaders.

I am pleased to see new business ventures flourishing in Alfred-Pellan, women-led businesses that are strengthening our local economy and our communities. For instance, I met a woman from Laval named Sophie who is currently developing her project. She underscored the difficulties she is coming up against as a young female entrepreneur in the automobile sector. Sophie wants to own a car dealership. Today I can confirm to Sophie that our government has allocated $105 million to development agencies to help support her and other female entrepreneurs. This should guarantee her access to valuable resources to help her and her business succeed.

Now I want to talk about the Canada workers benefit, which is also benefiting those who most need it, that is, our low-income workers. For many Canadians, the end of the month is a serious source of anguish and stress, and sometimes they have to do without in order to make ends meet. That is why our government introduced the Canada workers benefit. This more generous benefit is supporting workers, who can therefore keep more of their pay cheque, and it is helping people who are looking for work by providing them with more assistance to enter and remain in the workforce.

In my riding of Alfred-Pellan, I met Sébastien, a low-income worker. He complained that financial difficulties are keeping him from being able to meet the needs of his two children, aged five and eight. Thanks to the Canada workers benefit, I can confirm to Sébastien that he will be one of the 300,000 low-income workers who will receive this assistance. This way, he and his family will no longer have to worry at the end of tough months.

We are not just enhancing the generosity of this benefit, we are also enhancing its accessibility. No more filing claims. No more paperwork. No more waiting. Every eligible worker will receive this benefit automatically once they submit their tax return. This will keep more people out of poverty, since many people do not claim the benefit.

I will close by saying that budget 2018 builds on our plan. It enables our government to continue investing in Canadians, for Canadians.

Our constituents are our inspiration for moving forward and paving the way to a stronger, more generous, and more prosperous Canada. We are going to continue to add to this plan, which is working and was designed for the people. I am proud to be able to work with the people of Alfred-Pellan and Laval and with municipal and provincial elected officials.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ramez Ayoub Liberal Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would have liked my colleague from Alfred-Pellan to tell us a bit more about the impact of this last budget on single mothers. He abundantly talked about women, but single mothers have specific needs, and we must take care of their families, since many of them are in need.

I would like the member for Alfred-Pellan to tell us a bit more about his vision of this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

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

Equality in the workforce is an important issue for me. When we invest in women, we reinforce our community and our economy. That is why I welcome the measures included in budget 2018 to close the gender wage gap and to support women in the workforce. Among other things, we are investing $7 billion to address the needs in early learning and child care as well as enhancing maternity and parental benefits.

We know there is still much work to do, but we continue to advance gender equality in Canada. We continue helping single mothers by enhancing the Canada child benefit. That way, we provide them with more support. Last year, single mothers earning less than $60,000 received on average $9,000 in benefits. We will keep helping them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for my colleague from Alfred-Pellan. I wish to thank him for his speech.

I am really disappointed that, besides carbon pricing, Bill C-74 does not contain any concrete measures to eliminate and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, in the 2005 budget, which was a Liberal budget, there were several measures to combat greenhouse gases and, in particular, to improve energy efficiency. For example, I am thinking of the ecoENERGY program, which helped Canadians take steps to improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

In his opinion, has there been some regression on the part of this government, which is doing nothing for energy efficiency in this budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

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

As a Canadian, I have a great appreciation for the richness of our environment and the beauty of our landscape. I am not the only one. That is why our government adopted the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. That is also why we introduced a carbon tax.

We will be implementing more than just the measures in budget 2018. We will continue to make commitments to protect Canada's nature, parks, and wildlife. We will continue our efforts to protect our oceans with the national oceans protection plan. Our government is determined to create a real legacy for our children and future generations.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to listen to the speech of my colleague from Alfred-Pellan, which is not very far from my riding. I listened very carefully to what he had to say.

Over the past two years, we have created over 600,000 jobs. I would like to know whether my colleague believes that the Canada child benefit has contributed to economic growth. What effect has this job creation had?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:10 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague whose riding is indeed quite close to mine.

Our government presented a budget that builds on last year's budget. Whether we are talking about children, adults, or seniors, our measures are always designed to help Canadians at every stage of life. First, we ensure that young people can make the most of their childhoods through the Canada child benefit. Then, we ensure that those who work hard every day have equal opportunities and good, better-paying jobs. Finally, we ensure that our seniors can enjoy a peaceful retirement.

People have been and always will be our primary concern.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 9:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Robert-Falcon Ouellette Liberal Winnipeg Centre, MB

[Member spoke in aboriginal language]

[Translation]

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to be here this evening.

I would like to highlight some of the benefits to the Treaty 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 territories that make up Manitoba. We are all treaty people and we all work together.

The benefits that come to Manitoba in budget 2018 are numerous. The major transfers will total $4 billion in 2018-19, an increase of $289.6 million from the previous year. There will be $2 billion through equalization, an increase of $216.5 million from the previous year; $1.4 billion through the Canada health transfer, an increase of $56.5 million from the previous year; and $518 million through the Canada social transfer, an increase of $16.6 million from the previous year. This is incredible news for the people of Manitoba.

Just in Winnipeg itself, we are supporting the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights, one of Canada's national museums, works to explore the subject of human rights, with special but not exclusive reference to Canada, in order to enhance the public's understanding of human rights. In order to ensure that the museum has adequate funding to deliver on its mandate, including promoting respect for others and encouraging reflection and dialogue, budget 2018 provides $35 million over six years, starting in 2018-19, to support the museum's operation. The president of this museum, our national museum in Winnipeg, is excited, and so are the people of Winnipeg.

That is not the end. In budget 2018, we have the National Microbiology Laboratory. We are proposing to provide $9.4 million over five years, starting 2018-19, to establish a centre for innovation in infectious disease diagnostics at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, funded from the Public Health Agency of Canada's existing resource levels. This is good news for scientists in our city.

We are also going to be maintaining rail service to remote communities. Budget 2018 proposes to provide funding of $11.3 million in 2018-19 to Transport Canada for the renewal of the remote passenger rail program. This money helps support two passenger rail services under the program, the Sept-îles to Schefferville service in Quebec and Labrador and the train from The Pas to Pukatawagan in northern Manitoba. This is for the people of Churchill and the 22 indigenous communities that rely on this service. I am very proud of the things we have done for the people of Manitoba, who were left far too long without effect under the previous government.

In budget 2018, we are introducing the Canada workers benefit and we are strengthening the workers income tax benefit, the WITB, by making it more generous and making the benefits more accessible. This strengthened benefit, the Canada workers benefit, will take effect in 2019. In budget 2018, the government proposes to increase maximum benefits under the CWB by up to $170 in 2019 and increase the income level at which the benefit is phased out completely. The government also proposes to increase the maximum benefit provided through the CWB disability supplement by an additional $160. This enhancement is expected to directly benefit 68,000 Manitoba workers annually.

As someone who represents one of the poorest ridings in the country, I can say that this measure will go a long way toward supporting workers in our communities who need it most, whether they are Filipino people working in the health care field or indigenous people doing collection services with local services. As a result of recent enhancements, a low-income worker earning $15,000 a year could receive up to nearly $500 more from the program in 2019 than he or she received in 2018.

Moving forward, the government will continue to work with interested provinces, and I hope the Province of Manitoba's Conservative government is actually interested in working with us to harmonize these benefits and help support the transition from social assistance into work.

At the same time, the government recognizes that not all low-income workers are receiving the CWB, because sometimes people do not apply. The government is proposing amendments that would allow the Canada Revenue Agency to automatically determine whether these tax filers are eligible for the benefit. An estimated 300,000 additional low-income workers would receive the new CWB for the 2019 tax year as a result of these changes. Specifically, the government estimates that approximately 13,000 additional low-income Manitoba workers would receive the benefit for the 2019 tax year.

CWB enhancements, combined with new investments to make sure that every worker who qualifies actually receives the benefit, would mean the government is investing almost $1 billion of new funding for the benefit in 2019, relative to 2018. The government estimates that enhancements and improved take-up in 2019 would directly benefit more than two million working Canadians, many of whom were not benefiting from the WITB. This would help lift approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty. This is great work for the people of Manitoba.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Québec Québec

Liberal

Jean-Yves Duclos LiberalMinister of Families

moved:

That in relation to Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said Bill; and

that, at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration at report stage and at the expiry of the five hours provided for the consideration of the third reading stage of the said Bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stages of the Bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, in three days debate has been shut down in this House on five major bills. It is unbelievable—well, it is actually not unbelievable, because everything the Liberals said they would do while they were campaigning has been an absolute fabrication. Coming here self-righteously and saying, “We are not going to shut down debate” was just another big, phony act. It seems like everything the Liberals do is a big, phony act.

I saw the height of it last night when the minister gave notice of this time allocation. He said there had been consultations with the opposition on Bill C-74. That is outright misleading of the House and misleading Canadians. There has not been one iota, not one syllable, of consultation. Nobody has asked anybody on this side about how much time was needed for Bill C-74.

Not only are the Liberals breaking their word; now they are misleading the House on incredibly important issues. This is the carbon tax that is going to be implemented. We do not know how much it is going to cost because they will not tell Canadians, and now they are saying they have consulted with us on Bill C-74. That is not true. Why are the Liberals misleading this House?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected us to deliver an ambitious agenda, and Bill C-74 is an important step in our plan to help grow our economy by focusing on the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. The budget implementation act provides the legislative framework to implement key campaign commitments that were reiterated in budget 2018.

Through this bill, we are taking the next step in our ambitious plan to grow our economy by focusing on the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. Over the last two years, Canada's economic growth has been fuelled by a stronger middle class. Canadians' hard work, combined with historic investments in people and in communities, helped to create more good jobs, almost 600,000 of them since November 2015, with more help for those who need it most, which has meant more money for people to save, invest, and spend in their communities.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, sadly, the minister obviously did not hear the question from the House leader of the official opposition. There has been absolutely no consultation on allocating time on Bill C-74. This is the fifth time that the Liberals are imposing closure in three days. This is unbelievable.

I have been here for seven years, and we were used to time allocation because we had a lot under the previous government, but we have never seen a government limit debate to the point where it is doing the bare minimum. It is an insult to democracy.

The Liberals promised they would do things differently, yet they are going ahead and shutting down debate. We are 338 MPs in this House and we are here to represent our constituents. How can the Liberals justify doing time allocation on an important bill like Bill C-74?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected us to deliver an ambitious agenda, and Bill C-74 is an important step in our plan to grow the economy by focusing on the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. This bill has been debated extensively in the House and in the committee. We have seen four days of second reading debate, during which more than 45 members have spoken. This includes 13 Conservative members, six NDP members, and one member from the Green Party. At committee stage, we saw 13 meetings, during which more than 106 witnesses spoke.

We have made a commitment as a government to work collaboratively with all parties to ensure that Parliament works more efficiently. It is important for us to make every effort to reach a consensus about how much time is required by all parties to debate legislation in the House of Commons.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I just cannot believe the current government.

The Liberals got elected by telling Canadians that they were going to do things differently, that they were going to be open and transparent, that they were going to be truthful with Canadians, and that they would keep their promises. We have seen nothing but broken promises and no transparency.

The minister who is responding to questions on the budget for the finance minister does not even know how much her carbon tax would cost the average Canadian and how much reduction in greenhouse gas emissions we are going to get. When will the minister come clean, be open and transparent, and start keeping the promises of the government?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have been very clear. My department released information showing that carbon pricing works. It works by reducing emissions and by fostering innovation. The provinces that have a price on pollution right now are where 80% of Canadians live, and those provinces are not only tackling climate change but are also the fastest-growing economies in the country: Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. We know that putting a price on pollution is important and that tackling climate change is important, and there is also a $23 trillion economic opportunity.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, this debate is supposed to be about the government justifying the use of time allocation on Bill C-74. Instead we have a minister of the crown who is actually engaging in debate when we are supposed to be hearing the government justify time allocation.

She said that this bill received debate at committee; we did not hear one single witness on division 20, on the deferred prosecution agreement, which is a departure from the way we handle the Criminal Code. I would like to hear a justification from the minister as to why she is making it difficult for her own members to be able to discuss the bill, because there were concerns at that committee about this bill. Why is she pushing this bill forward and denying the ability to speak to it not only to us but to her own members?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-74 is an important step in our plan to grow our economy by focusing on the middle class and helping those who are working hard to join it.

This bill has been debated extensively in the House and at committee. As I said, there have been four days of second reading debate, during which more than 45 members spoke at committee stage. We have seen 13 meetings, during which more than 106 witnesses have spoken.

We want to work collaboratively with all parties to ensure that Parliament works more efficiently. It is important to make every effort to reach a consensus about how much time is required by all parties to debate legislation in the House of Commons.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to correct the minister when she said that Canadians voted for the Liberals. Actually, 39% of Canadians voted for the Liberals, and many of those Canadians voted for the Liberals because they made promises to do things differently, to treat Parliament with respect, and to make sure that every member here has their say. Instead we are here on the 40th occurrence of time allocation or closure as the government tries to make up for a slow parliamentary agenda. The government realizes that it is under a time crunch, so it is just going to ram things down Parliament's throat.

I cry shame on the government and my Liberal colleagues for abusing the trust of Canadians and for misleading them, because this is not how to treat Parliament with respect. This absolutely goes against all the promises the Liberals made.

Would the minister not agree that it is precisely this type of action that breeds cynicism in Canadian politics?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill has been debated extensively in the House and at committee. We remain committed to ensuring that members on all sides have sufficient and reasonable time to debate legislation in the House of Commons. Of course, we also recognize our responsibility to ensure that we deliver on our commitments to Canadians.

Let us talk about this. Through this bill, we are taking the next step in our ambitious plan to grow our economy by focusing on the middle class and helping those working hard to join it. Since November 2015, we have worked with Canadians to create more good jobs, almost 600,000, which helps those who need it most. It also means more money for people to save, invest, and spend in their communities.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it seems what we have witnessed from the opposition members is a will and desire to prevent any legislation from passing through the House. They want to continue to play games. We saw that yesterday when they attempted to adjourn the House because they were done working for the day. Yesterday they moved concurrence on a report, yet we have hundreds of reports. They will do anything to avoid debate.

My question to my colleague is this. Would she not agree that there is a responsibility of the government to move legislation forward that is going to have such a positive impact on Canadians in all regions of our country?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is extremely important that we deliver on this ambitious agenda, because we are delivering for Canadians. We are helping to grow the economy. We are helping to create jobs in communities. We are making sure we are supporting the middle class, as well as those who are working hard to join it.

As I said, we wish we did not have to do this. However, we need to advance legislation. The opposition is deliberately delaying the government's agenda, and we have a duty to Canadians to ensure that all legislation is brought to a vote.

We remain committed to ensuring that members on all sides have sufficient and reasonable time to debate legislation, but we have a responsibility to deliver on our commitments to Canadians.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, I can honestly say that I think all members on this side believe that our Confederation is in chaos right now. Never before have we seen an government so heavy-handed. Liberals can draw all the comparisons to the previous government that they want, but I will remind everyone that this government said it was going to do things differently. It was going to allow members to speak. This budget implementation bill has a $7-billion slush fund in it. It also has a carbon tax, and Liberals are not telling us the price of that tax or how it is going to affect Canadians. Canadians deserve to know that price, and the opposition deserves to be able to ask and to honestly debate these questions.

This Confederation is in chaos for multiple reasons. Why are Liberals doing this? Why are they thwarting the voices of Canadians?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to point out that the member for York—Simcoe himself moved 100 closure motions.

In terms of putting a price on pollution, once again it is really important to note that putting a price on pollution works as part of our overall climate plan. Let us talk about our climate plan. It is putting a price on pollution and also making historic investments in public transportation. We know we can do better by investing in cleaner transportation, which saves time and money for Canadians and also reduces pollution. We are making historic investments in clean technologies, which are critically important. This is a $23-trillion economic opportunity that we want to take advantage of.

There are many other reasons we need to take climate action, and we would hope the party opposite would support us.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, we are seeing a prime example of Liberal arrogance. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change wants to push through a time allocation motion on her 550-page bill.

She keeps referring to debates that took place at second reading and in committee, but the bill before us is an entirely new document. The bill changed and was reprinted as amended by the Standing Committee on Finance. That reset the clock.

Yesterday, we got an hour and a half to debate this bill, from 10:30 p.m. to midnight. This morning, we were told that there are five hours remaining for debate at report stage on a 550-page bill. If we do the math, we find that parliamentarians will have had less than a minute par page to debate and make a decision at report stage. How unbelievably arrogant.

Why is the minister so determined to ram through a bill that it is 550 pages long and amends 44 acts?

How does she think parliamentarians can do their job under these conditions?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 10:55 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected us to carry out an ambitious agenda. The budget implementation act, 2018, No. 1, provides the legislative framework to fulfill some key campaign commitments, which were reiterated in the 2018 budget.

Bill C-57 has been extensively debated in the House of Commons and in committee. We had four days of debate at second reading. More than 45 members spoke at that stage, including 13 Conservative Party members, six NDP members, and one Green Party member. There were 13 committee meetings, and no fewer than 106 witnesses testified.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is all too common to rise in this place as a member of a smaller party that does not have the status to get onto speaking rosters early, and so on, to protest the use of time allocation time and time again. What is unusual about this debate today is the absence of a minister to defend this action that carries the bill through the House.

The Minister of Finance is not defending taking a budget bill to time allocation. Somehow the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and pipelines has drawn the short straw, and I wonder how on earth, with everything else on her plate, she thinks it is worthwhile to come here to tell members they do not have time to debate a budget bill.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud to rise in this House. I am a member of cabinet, I am a member of this government, and I am very proud to defend what we are doing to grow the economy, to support the middle class, and to deliver on our agenda, and that is exactly what Bill C-74 would do.

We have an ambitious agenda. It is to grow the economy and help the middle class and those working hard to join it, but let me be clear that it is also delivering over 600,000 jobs for Canadians and that hundreds of thousands of children are no longer living in poverty.

This bill has been debated extensively in the House and at committee, and I know the member opposite has had a chance to speak at second reading debate. It is important that we figure out how to move forward, but it is also important to deliver the agenda that Canadians expect.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to ask a question.

During the election campaign in 2015, the Liberals promised to be squeaky clean and as pure as the driven snow in terms of transparency.

Here is the reality today. With respect to free votes, they promised to make it the norm in the House—false. They said they would not resort to legislative tricks to avoid parliamentary scrutiny—false. They said they would not interfere with the work of government watchdogs—false. They promised to bring transparency to the appointment of Supreme Court judges—again, false. They promised to give the Parliamentary Budget Officer greater autonomy—false.

I would like to know why the Liberals are muzzling us in the House.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, of course members have the opportunity to speak in the House of Commons. As I said, we have had four days of second reading debate, during which 45 members have spoken. We also had 13 committee meetings and heard from more than 106 witnesses.

However, when we have an opposition that is deliberately delaying our agenda, we have a duty to Canadians to ensure that all legislation is brought to a vote. We will continue to try to work with members of all parties, but we also have a duty to all Canadians.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11 a.m.
See context

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the 40th occasion of the “sunny ways” government shutting down public debate on very important legislation, I have a quote to read to the environment minister. I am curious whether she can tell if it was a Conservative or a Liberal member of Parliament who said this:

Canadians do not like it and they are waking up to the way the government is doing things. Who would have thought that Canadians would be familiar with procedures such as prorogation or time allocation during debates or the use of in camera in committees? Slowly but surely, Canadians are beginning to understand these procedures and beginning to question what the government meant when it promised, six and a half years ago, to be open, transparent and, most of all, accountable. I believe Canadians are beginning to feel that there is a contradiction between what has been promised and what is actually being done by the government.

Was it a Liberal or a Conservative who said that? We are having a hard time telling the difference.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians want to see is a government that delivers for them. Working with Canadians, we have created more than 600,000 jobs since November 2015, helping those who need assistance and helping to raise children out of poverty.

We have also been clear that while we do not like using time allocation, it is a tool that is needed to advance legislation when the opposition is deliberating delaying the government's agenda. We have a duty to ensure that all legislation is brought to a vote. Canadians want to see action. They want to make sure that we are delivering on what we said we would do, which is to grow the middle class, to take serious action on climate, and to grow the economy, and that is exactly what we are doing.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I want to outline that the government has consulted more with Canadians than any other government in our history, not just on budget measures but also on policy decisions. One thing that is for certain is that the Liberal government has been listening to Canadians. When we reflect on what is in the budget bill today, it is really the voice of Canadians speaking in this Parliament.

What we are doing with maternity and parental benefits for people in this country, what we are doing with changes to the Canada pension plan to help more people in this country, and what we have been able to do to strengthen the Canada child benefit has made such a difference to so many children and families in this country.

Could the minister tell us a little about how these initiatives are really reaching out to Canadians and responding to what Canadian families are asking for?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is important to highlight what we are trying to do. With the Canada workers benefit, we are introducing a new, more generous, and accessible benefit that will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers than the working income tax benefit it replaces.

We are strengthening the Canada child benefit. I have heard from so many people in my riding about the importance of that benefit and raising children out of poverty. We are indexing the Canada child benefit starting this July, so that it will continue to increase in value every year, helping children and their families.

We have lowered the small business tax. This is really important. It will be lowered from 11% to 9% in 2019. This will leave more money for small business owners to reinvest and create jobs.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed, not just because we are reaching the 40th time the government has used time allocation, but also in the minister who continues to rely on platitudes, such as “the middle class and those working hard to join it”, “the economy and the environment go together”, and “better is always possible”. Is better possible? This is omnibus bill before Parliament that does not even have portions of other legislation it refers to approved by our legislature yet.

I would refer the minister to part 3, excise taxes for cannabis. We know that legalization of marijuana is the one promise the Prime Minister really wants to keep this summer. These excise tax provisions in Bill C-74 are being rushed through before the cannabis legalization has even passed. The Senate is still looking at removing home use, and that sort of thing.

How can the minister suggest to this House that this bill should be rushed through when its component parts are not even passed yet?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:05 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, better is possible under our government. Working with Canadians, we created more than 600,000 jobs. Those are jobs for Canadians in provinces and territories across the country.

Canada now has the best balance sheet in the G7, with the lowest debt to GDP ratio. Our debt is a function of our economy and it is shrinking steadily, and is projected to soon reach its lowest point in almost 40 years. We have the fastest growing economy in the G7. Therefore, better is always possible, and that is why we think this budget implementation act is so important.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I think that with five time allocation motions over the last few days, it is becoming pretty clear that despite the election promises of the Liberals, they are essentially picking up where the Conservatives left off in how they manage House business. It is clearly a disappointment to Canadians who thought they were voting for something different.

However, the thing about time allocation is that we will hear a lot of members get up and say they want a chance to speak, and members must have that chance to speak. That is true, but the really nefarious thing about time allocation, in my opinion, is that there are all sorts of groups in civil society that want to weigh in on these bills, whether it is on a carbon tax or on Canada's accession to the arms treaty.

I was just talking to a colleague who told me that a petition was started on Friday, criticizing the government for Bill C-47's exclusion of Canadian arms exports to the U.S. for purposes of the Arms Trade Treaty. Today, that petition has over 30,000 signatures. Those are Canadians who want the time to make the case to the government to make those changes, and it is those Canadians in civil society who are also being robbed of the time to make a difference with respect to legislation.

I am wondering why the minister thinks it is acceptable to prevent civil society from weighing in on these bills.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we take consultation very seriously. That is why we conduct so much consultation with Canadians, civil society, indigenous communities and national indigenous organizations, business, and all Canadians and communities from coast to coast to coast.

In terms of Bill C-74, as I said, we have seen four days of second reading debate, during which more than 45 members have spoken. At committee stage we had 13 meetings during at which there were 106 witnesses.

We have made a commitment as a government to work collaboratively with all parties. However, we also need to make sure that when the opposition is deliberately delaying the government's agenda, we fulfill our a duty to Canadians to bring legislation to a vote.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will read the minister's mandate letter minister from the Prime Minister, which says that her work is to be “informed by performance measurement, evidence, and feedback”. It is to be informed by “collaboration”. She is instructed to secure “Improved partnerships with provincial, territorial, and municipal governments...to set a higher bar for openness and transparency...[to engage in] meaningful engagement with Opposition Members of Parliament”...[and] avoid escalating conflicts unnecessarily”.

The reality is that the carbon tax was imposed and announced at the beginning of a meeting with provincial environment ministers before one iota of discussion had happened. The government used the threat of withholding health care dollars to impose a carbon tax on provinces.

The minister cannot answer questions about the proportionate effect of emission reductions achieved by the carbon tax, which will disproportionately harm the working poor and low-income Canadians, and certain sectors in certain provinces, and undermine Canada's competitiveness. The Liberals know the costs of the carbon tax and that these will cascade through the Canadian economy, but they will not tell Canadians what it will cost them or what it will do to the whole economy.

Now the Liberals are cutting off debate and ramming through this bill. The Information Commissioner has said that there has never been a government in Canadian history that is more difficult to get information out of.

Is the minister not failing her mandate letter, just like the Prime Minister is failing Canadians?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:10 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are actually fulfilling our mandate letter.

We have had extensive consultations on our national climate plan; in fact, a whole year of consultations were held on the climate plan. We continue to consult. We continue to work with provinces and territories.

Remember, it was because of inaction by the previous government to take any serious measures to tackle climate change that the provinces stepped up. Four provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia, covering 80% of Canadians, brought in a price on pollution. It was through their leadership that serious action was taken in the face of the complete inaction on climate change by the previous government.

We have consulted and will continue to consult. We will also continue to deliver on the agenda that Canadians expect. We understand that we need to take serious climate action. We also understand the need to get our resources to market, grow our economy, and create good jobs for Canadians.

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:15 a.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will address a question that my colleague from the Green Party brought up. She asked why the Minister of Finance was not here to address this closure motion on the budget bill. However, I think it is very telling that the environment minister was put forward, because she has said quite publicly that she does not have any time for Canadians who do not share her narrow view of the world. Many of the Canadians she does not want to debate are actually sitting on this side of the House.

Part of our job is to debate and to ask those tough questions. The government has a lot of time for the Prime Minister going on vacation in India and to private islands. Actually, it is an indictment of the government's performance. The Liberals have passed 40% fewer bills than our government did within the same time in office.

On this side of the House, we are showing up and are ready to do our job. When are they on that side going to show up to do their jobs and work with us to get important bills passed for Canadians?

Bill C-74—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:15 a.m.
See context

Liberal

Catherine McKenna Liberal Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we show up every day to do what Canadians expect, which is to deliver on our agenda.

Yes, it is unfortunate that we have to use time allocation. Why do we have to do it? It is because the opposition is deliberately delaying Bill C-74. They are delaying measures that would help Canadians. They are delaying the indexing of the Canada child benefit. They are delaying the new Canada workers benefit, which would give Canadians more money. They are delaying putting a price on carbon pollution and supporting clean growth. They are delaying maternity and parental leave for parliamentarians.

We are here to get things done for Canadians, and we are going to continue to do that.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 11:55 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I started two minutes to midnight last night by stating that when it came to Canada's economy and environment, our government was very clear. We believe the two go hand in hand.

Canadians understand that pollution is not free. They understand, as we do, that the most effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to put a price on carbon pollution.

I ended the evening by taking a look at the results of our plan so far.

Since the government was elected, more than 600,000 jobs have been created, most of them full-time. Canada's unemployment rate is at its lowest level in more than 40 years. Since 2016, Canada has led the G7 in economic growth. As well, the federal debt-to-GDP ratio, which is our debt relative to our economy, is not only on downward track, it is projected to be near its lowest level in nearly 40 years.

From these results, it is obvious that investing in our communities, in our people has been very good for our economy.

We have also taken steps to ensure a good business climate. We believe Canada is the best place in the world to invest and to do business, and we want to ensure it stays that way. We know low and competitive tax rates allow Canada's entrepreneurs to invest in their businesses and create even more good, well-paying jobs. That is why we cut the business tax rate to 10% this past January. It will fall even further next January, to 9%.

By this time next year, the combined federal-provincial-territorial average income tax rate for small business will be 12.2%, the lowest in the G7 and the third lowest among members of the OECD. This will mean up to $7,500 in federal corporate tax savings per year to help Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators do what they do best, create jobs. That is good news for Canadian business and great news for the hard-working people who help these businesses succeed every day.

Let me turn to supporting parents by strengthening the Canada child benefit. Since 2016, the government has also been providing additional support to Canadian families through the CCB. Compared to the old system of child benefits, the CCB gives low and middle-income parents more money each month, tax free, to help with the high cost of raising kids. The CCB is simpler, more generous, and better targeted to give more help to people who need it most.

Since its introduction in 2016, the CCB has helped lift hundreds of thousands of Canadian children out of poverty. Thanks to the CCB, nine out of 10 Canadian families have extra help each month to pay for things like summer camps, new bikes, and back-to-school clothes. Families who receive the CCB will get, on average, about $6,800 this year. That is money they are spending in their communities, supporting local businesses, helping to create more good, well-paying jobs for Canadians.

These investments and others our government is making in infrastructure, science and innovation, and skills and training are all designed to achieve one goal, which is to ensure the benefits of a growing economy are felt by more and more people, with good, well-paying jobs for the middle class and people working hard to join it.

We want Canadians to feel confident about the future and better prepared for what lies ahead. Part of achieving this entails making investments and taking action to protect Canada's air, water, and natural areas for our children and grandchildren, while creating a world-leading clean economy.

None of us need to be told that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. That is why the government worked with provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners to adopt the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change in December 2016. The plan provides provinces and territories with the flexibility to choose between systems: an explicit price-based system or a cap and trade system, which is prevalent in a number of our larger provinces.

A price on carbon pollution is already in place in four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Alberta, covering over 80% of the Canadian population. By the way, these provinces are also leading Canada in job creation and growth. All other provinces have committed to adopting some form of carbon pollution pricing.

The direct revenue from the carbon charges on pollution under the federal system would go back to the province or territory of origin. We have emphasized that many times in this place. This is the best way to support strong economic growth and secure a clean environment today and for many generations to come. That is what Canadians sent us here to do, and we are very proud to do it.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / noon
See context

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that during the campaign, we heard clear promises of no more omnibus bills, no more closure, yet it is happening all the time with the Liberal government.

The budget implementation bill has over 540 pages, an omnibus bill. Over 200 pages of that bill deal with the carbon tax, yet there is not one word about two things: first, how much it will cost the average family; and second, how much greenhouse gas reduction there will be from this carbon tax. The member calls it carbon pricing, but we all know it is a tax.

I would like my colleague to answer the question, which hae been asked multiple times in the House. How much will the carbon tax cost the average Canadian family and how much greenhouse gas reduction will result from the carbon tax?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / noon
See context

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I will say something that has been repeated in the House many times. Eighty per cent of our country has a price on carbon. I will use the example of British Columbia. A price on carbon was put in place over 10 years ago and Premier Campbell at the time said that it should be revenue neutral. The price on carbon was put in place and the people of British Columbia received a tax cut. It was revenue neutral.

As the hon. member well knows, the provinces will have the choice in how those funds are distributed. All of the funds will go back to the provinces.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government, the Liberal Party, has been promising pay equity implementation since 2004. Given that the all-party committee asked that the government table pay equity legislation by June 2017, which is now a year late; given that last year the labour minister said that the consultation on pay equity was complete, which we thought was complete in 2004; and given that the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in last year's alternative federal budget asked that the government budget $10 million a year to implement pay equity for federally regulated industries and this year the Canadian Labour Congress said to at least fund the establishment of the pay equity commissioner's office, why on earth is there nothing in the budget implementation bill for this long promise, actually a 42-year old promise, by the Liberals?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith is a very active member of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, on which I sit on behalf of the minister. I thank her for her advocacy and hard work.

I think most of us in the House believe that pay equity is long overdue. It will be introduced this fall, proactive pay equity legislation, along with pay transparency.

I want to remind the hon. member of all the other things, though, that we have done to advance equality in our country under the leadership of the Minister of Status of Women. The sustainability of the women's movement has been a major preoccupation of our minister. There are $100 million over five years for a gender-based violence strategy; $200 million over five years; support for women entrepreneurs and women in the trades.

We are on the march, and we should be advancing gender equality in our country.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am hearing about the importance of the provincial and territorial relationships with the federal government, whether it is on labour and pay equity or carbon pricing programs, and how important it is for the federal government to have a working relationship with the provinces and territories, something that the previous government did not have. Could the member please comment on that?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to Bill C-74, the Liberal government's budget implementation bill. When we consider the contents of the bill and the Liberal government's track record, it reveals a troubling path ahead for Canadians.

We have before us a budget bill that spends borrowed money recklessly. The result of that is a growing debt and higher taxes. Borrowed money always has to be paid back and it is paid back at a premium.

The Liberal government came into power touting modest deficits. The Prime Minister repeatedly promised Canadians that his government would borrow a modest $10 billion a year to grow the economy. He also promised Canadians that the budget would return to balance in 2019. That promise went out the window very quickly.

The Prime Minister has added $60 billion to the national debt in just three short years. Canada's net debt has reached an all-time high of $670 billion. To put that into context, that breaks down to a debt of over $47,000 per Canadian family. What about the plan to return to balance? The budget is not predicted to return to balance until 2045, a far cry from 2019.

The Liberals will wrongly try to take credit for the economic growth that Canada experienced in 2017. A growth rate of 3% in 2017 was largely a result of the oil and gas sector recovering and an unusually strong housing market. The responsible response to that growth should have been for the government to pay down the debt that it borrowed, so in the case of a fiscal downturn, we would be better positioned. However, now, despite all the Liberal spending, private sector forecasts show that Canada is heading for a slow down.

We have legislation before us to help us spend more money and add more debt. Ultimately, it is legislation that would make life more unaffordable for Canadians.

Canadians are already paying higher taxes under the Liberals. It seems that the Liberal government is always finding new ways to dip into the pockets of Canadians. For one, this budget bill would create a costly new carbon tax, which the Liberals are forcing on all provinces that do not have their own. Despite promises of a new era of co-operative federalism, the Liberal government is ramming ahead with its massive carbon tax grab.

My province of Saskatchewan has rejected the Liberal government's carbon tax, and rightly so. The carbon tax will come at a significant cost to the people of Saskatchewan, and the Liberal government is ignoring the basic economic reality that its carbon tax unfairly punishes farmers and rural communities.

My province of Saskatchewan has developed its own climate change strategy, a made-in-Saskatchewan plan that tackles climate change without imposing the unfair carbon tax on Saskatchewan families. However, the Liberal government refused to accept it. The Liberals are forcing it on Saskatchewan against its will.

Well then, what does this carbon tax achieve? We cannot tax our way to a cleaner environment and the carbon tax will not lead to a major emission reduction in Canada.

We can look to British Columbia as an example. British Columbia was the first province to implement a carbon tax. It also has the highest carbon tax in the country. Despite this, carbon emissions have continued to rise there. The real impact of its carbon tax is that British Columbians are now paying more for gas than anyone else in the North American continent.

I will reiterate that point, because it is an important point that needs to sink in. The carbon tax in British Columbia is not reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but it is making life less affordable for British Columbians, yet the Liberals continue to strong-arm the province of Saskatchewan.

One would think that given their passion for a carbon tax, the Liberals would be forthcoming with information about its impact. It is fair for Canadians to want to know just how much the federal price on carbon will cost them, but again and again the Liberal government refuses to release those details.

Finance officials have said that the Liberal carbon tax will cost an extra 11¢ per litre of gas and $264 in extra costs for natural gas home heating annually. That alone is already a significant cost. However, there are additional costs and impacts of a $50 per tonne carbon tax.

Repeated requests for information have been issued from this side of the House. We have asked the government over and over again to provide details on the cost of its carbon tax and the results it expects to achieve. However, any response received has been blacked out. What does the Liberal government have to hide? What is it covering up? If the government cannot answer a basic question on what its carbon tax will cost and achieve, it is absurd for it to force it on the province of Saskatchewan.

The Liberals are not only raising taxes on individual Canadians, they are making it more expensive to do business in Canada. Businesses are also being hit with increased costs due to the carbon tax. This is in addition to the increased CPP and EI premiums, higher income taxes for entrepreneurs, and punitive changes to the small business tax rate. While we consider these higher costs, we cannot forget that the United States is lowering its corporate tax rate. Business investment in Canada has dropped since 2015. Meanwhile, business investment in the United States has increased.

The natural resource sector has been particularly hit hard. The energy sector and the jobs it creates are very important to my riding of Battlefords—Lloydminster. The fact that over $80 billion of investment in the energy sector has been lost in the last two years is very troubling for my constituents. They certainly are not comforted by the Prime Minister's repeated confession that he wants to phase out the oil sands.

The loss of business investment in Canada is a troubling trend, and the Liberals have offered nothing to Canadian businesses in this budget implementation act. The higher cost of doing business will hurt the bottom line for businesses. When it drives away business, results in job loss, and injects less money into our economy, everyone pays, and we all lose.

Bill C-74 offers Canadians a plan we cannot afford and does not move us ahead. Spending money we do not have on things we do not need is reckless and irresponsible. I would not run my personal household in that manner, and I would not teach my children to manage their finances in that way. Most of all, I cannot imagine that the members opposite would manage their personal finances that way and teach their children that as well. It begs the question: why is it that when the stakes are even higher, when the fiscal security of the country hangs in the balance, the Liberals would choose this route?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague pointed out that the carbon tax will obviously be assigned to farmers as well. I have a farmer in my riding who estimates that the carbon tax alone will add $6,000 to his fuel bill. That is just for the fuel on his farm and does not take into account getting his milk to the processors, getting feed to the farm, and the extra cost of fertilizer. It is obvious that these extra costs, $6,000-plus or as high as $10,000, will simply be added to the bill for the average Canadian family for groceries and other consumable products.

Trevor Tombe, at the University of Calgary, estimates that the carbon tax will add up to $1,100 per family. We know that the Liberal government knows how much that is but refuses to tell us, because it is afraid that people will wake up to the fact that this is not a good thing for them.

I wonder if my colleague would comment on how this carbon tax to the farmers, which will be passed on to consumers, will help the middle class, which the government has continually said it is trying hard to help.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, in Battlefords—Lloydminster, we have a rural farming community. We are spread over about 100,000 square kilometres. All the farmers I talk to acknowledge that they are going to have to pay the carbon tax on getting fertilizer delivered. They are going to have to pay the carbon tax on fuel to get groceries from the store, let alone the tax on the groceries already, because trucks have to drive them there. They are noticing that they are going to have to pay for their seed and their feed and everything. Every time they have to move, they are going to be paying more with the carbon tax. I spoke to one farmer who said that he is estimating that if this is enforced in Saskatchewan, he is going to be adding an extra $25,000 to his farming costs, on top of the expenses he has already put in, which is unfortunate. That is on top of the rail mess we had, where farmers were not able to sell and move their grain so they could put cash into their next expenses.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite will agree that her constituents must be very happy with the new trade agreements the government has implemented over the last several years, allowing many farmers to get products to market for export from Canada that they could not before.

The member talks about the carbon tax. The federal government will set the overarching policy. It is up to her Province of Saskatchewan to implement that policy and tax it in a way that is fair, whether it chooses cap and trade or other carbon-tax measures. That is where the member should be having that discussion right now.

If we look at the stats in the member's riding on the number of jobs that have been created there since we took office and how families, and children in particular, in her riding have benefited as a result of the Canada child benefit, does the member not see the benefit of dollars going into the pockets of those families in her riding?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Rosemarie Falk Conservative Battlefords—Lloydminster, SK

Mr. Speaker, my riding is unique. The city I live in straddles the border, so we are actually bi-provincial. We have a lot of interesting dynamics where I am.

The thing to note is that Saskatchewan had a plan, and the current government refused to let Saskatchewan prove to Canada and the federal government that its plan worked. Saskatchewan sees that taxing Canadians is not helping. It is more money going into the coffers. Saskatchewan sees that it does not work. It is unfortunate that again and again the government is strong-arming my province and my premier. The majority of people in Saskatchewan do not want a carbon tax. We found a way to not have one, and the Liberals are forcing us to have one.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today in this House to speak to the budget implementation bill, 2018, Bill C-74. I do so with great pride, as this budget would have a tremendously positive impact on the lives of the constituents I represent in Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital and all Canadians across this great nation.

I have risen in this House previously and repeated the words I frequently heard at the door leading to the election, sentiments that are repeated today when I meet with constituents. Several weeks ago, we were in the constituency. I knocked on hundreds of doors. I had good conversations with constituents, and I spoke to hundreds of people about the benefits in budget 2018.

Canadians elected our government to improve the quality of life of the middle class and those working hard to join it.

This budget builds on the work undertaken by our government in the previous two budgets in order to make life easier for Canadians, to ensure that Canadians who need it have more money in their pockets, and to continue investing in communities to ensure a high standard of living.

Many conversations I have had with constituents were about the benefits of the Canada child benefit. It has had a very positive impact on their lives and has lessened their financial burdens. Nine out of 10 Canadian families receive the CCB, and they receive, on average, $6,800 per year. This money directly improves the quality of life of Canadians, whether by ensuring that families can afford nutritious food or by helping them pay for extracurricular activities, such as music lessons or hockey programs.

This program will be indexed as of July, which means that the program will continue to grow and increase in value each and every year. I know that in my own constituency of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, the CCB goes to over 8,800 families, directly benefiting 15,150 children. If we add the total benefits for those 15,150 children, we are looking at $4,938,000 in benefits going to the children of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital.

Unlike the previous program, the Canada child benefit is tax-free. That almost $5 million that is going to the children of Saint Boniface—Saint Vital is not taxed back at the end of the year. It stays with those families.

Budget 2018 would also introduce the new Canada workers benefit, which would give more money directly to low-income workers than the previous program did. The Canada workers benefit would increase the maximum benefit and the income level at which the benefit is phased out. This would allow low-income workers to keep more of their paycheques and would lift approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty. In Manitoba alone, 86,000 workers would be eligible for the new program, an increase of 13,000.

I was also very pleased to be present for the announcement of the official languages action plan for which over $400 million was allocated in budget 2018. As a representative of an official language minority community and a member of the Standing Committee on Official Languages for the past two years, I know that these funds are essential for communities across the country. The action plan will provide support for local official languages media, help increase francophone immigration, and support early childhood education in official language minority communities.

All of these issues were carefully examined in committee, and I want to thank the Minister of Canadian Heritage for the careful consideration she gave them and for making sure that they are a priority for our government in this budget.

Budget 2018 will also see an increase in federal transfer payments to Manitoba, up $290 million from last year to $4 billion in 2018-19. This transfer includes $1.4 billion from the Canada health transfer, which is an increase of $56.5 million, and $518 million from the Canada social transfer.

I hear daily from constituents that their number one priority is health care. With this increase in transfer payments, it is clear that the health and well-being of Manitobans is a priority for this federal government. We are doing our part. We are providing provinces with the resources to provide efficient and reliable health care to all Canadians. In my province, while the Province of Manitoba continues to play partisan political games with the health of Manitobans, this federal government will continue to meet its obligations under the Canada health accord.

To change topics, the western economic diversification and the innovation and skills plans are files that are extremely important because of the direct impact they have not only on Manitoba but on all prairie provinces. Budget 2018 will see an increase of $148 million for western diversification over five years. This will allow us to continue to grow the individual economies of the western provinces and invest in our communities. Out of this new commitment, $35 million will be allocated to the new women entrepreneurship strategy. This new strategy is part of the government's commitment to increasing the opportunities for women in the workforce. It will be coordinated nationally but tailored regionally to the west.

It would be remiss of me if I did not speak of the historic investments that this budget makes to the Métis Nation. David Chartrand, vice-president of the Métis National Council, said “After 148 years of waiting to enter the federation, this budget finally brings us home.” I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiment, and I am proud to be in a government that is committed to renewing the relationship with the Métis Nation.

Budget 2018 invests over $500 million over 10 years for various programming, including support for the Métis Nation housing strategy, post-secondary education, and the creation of a health strategy. This level and distinctions-based funding for the Métis Nation is historic. Never has a federal budget provided direct funding on such a large scale to the Métis Nation.

The emphasis on distinctions-based funding that was outlined in the government's principles respecting the Government of Canada's relationship with indigenous people is vital to this process of reconciliation. Reading directly from the principle, it says that “...a distinctions-based approach is needed to ensure that the unique rights, interests and circumstances of the First Nations, the Métis Nation and Inuit are acknowledged, affirmed, and implemented.” This budget reflects this priority and re-emphasizes our government's commitment to reconciliation and to building a relationship with all indigenous people.

The specific words used in the budget commitment to the Métis Nation should also be highlighted. The new funding is given to support the Métis Nation and to drive Métis-led initiatives. They support the Métis Nation's vision of self-determination. For too long, Ottawa has dictated to indigenous communities what the solution should be. To achieve reconciliation, we must move away from that model. There are problems in the communities, but the solutions to these problems must come from within the communities themselves.

For example, this budget provides for $6 million over five years to help the Métis nation collect health data and develop a health strategy. The Government of Canada will support the Métis nation, but the strategy will be developed by the nation itself since it has the knowledge and expertise needed to solve its own problems.

Finally, it is important to note that the commitments in the budget reflect the commitments made in the Canada-Métis Nation Accord and reflect the priorities of the Métis Nation.

It would be impossible to outline in 10 minutes the full extent of the benefits that this budget provides for Canadians. However, since the tabling of the budget, I have been out and about in Saint Boniface—Saint Vital talking to constituents about our commitments, and I look forward to returning to Saint Boniface—Saint Vital to continue those conversations.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to begin by quoting Mark Hancock, national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, on budget 2018:

Canadian women have waited long enough for pay equity. If the prime minister is serious about this commitment, we hope he’ll be encouraging the remaining provinces to follow suit with their own legislation so that women working in all sectors of the economy don’t have to wait any longer.

There is nothing in the budget for pay equity. I am talking about pay equity, not the other programs. In Quebec, we have legislation on that. There is nothing about pay equity in Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill, either. The Liberals claim to want to improve life for the middle class.

Does my colleague think that the Liberals take women seriously?

Does this mean that the Liberals think that women are not part of the middle class or should not be part of it?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for the question.

As the hon. member for Winnipeg South said earlier this morning, a strategic plan on pay equity will be presented in the fall. The well-being of women is certainly a priority for this government. Just look at the composition of cabinet.

Moreover, the budget for the western diversification program includes $35 million for a women's entrepreneurship strategy. It is very important to our government.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am thankful to the hon. member for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital for his intervention today. I am delighted to hear him speak not only about the importance of the Métis Nation—the home of Louis Riel—but also about the spirit of the Métis across the Prairies and how important that is for Prairie culture.

The railroad is another part of Prairie culture, and yesterday we had an announcement about the port of Churchill. With a tentative agreement coming forward to get the rails moving back up to the northern port of Churchill, I wonder if the hon. member could comment on the significance of that for the province of Manitoba.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, as was announced yesterday, there is an agreement in principle to repair the railroad and connect it again to the port of Churchill. That is very important.

There are many significant factors in this initiative.

First of all, it is important to get goods and services to the residents of Churchill. They have suffered for too long. It has been a priority for our government, and I am very happy that people are going to get the services that they need. However, what is also important is the partnership with the leadership of over 30, I believe, first nations that are along that route.

This took longer than we wanted, frankly. We wanted the problem to go away immediately, but a solution required developing a relationship and growing that relationship to the point where we can have a fair partnership that includes first nations in the area. First nations will be a part of that solution.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, in successive budgets since the Liberal government came to power, there have been a number of opportunities for them to tackle some key issues. One of them was more promises about stock option loopholes, but another is the issue of corporate tax rates. Corporations depend on our tax dollars for infrastructure so that they can move their product. They depend on our tax dollars to establish clear administration of the legal system, as they exist under the rule of law. Corporations benefit from the expenditure of tax dollars to ensure that they have a good and proper business environment in Canada.

I am wondering if the hon. member can explain to the people of Canada why the government did not take this opportunity to make sure that corporations are paying their fair share so that the burden is not falling on the rest of Canadians.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member remembers that our very first priority when we were elected was to cut taxes for the middle class and raise them on the highest 1%. That was the priority of our government, and it was the very first bill we did. It is something that benefits many tens of thousands of Canadians across our great country.

All we have to do is look at the results in the economy. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 40 years. Our country has created over 640,000 jobs since we became government. The economy is very strong.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am really glad to be able to take part in the debate on Bill C-74, because I am getting an opportunity that unfortunately many of my colleagues will not get, because as all my colleagues know, we are now debating a bill under time allocation yet again.

Notice was given last night in the late hours of the night, when a few of us were still here maintaining our presence until midnight. Then, of course, the government moved the motion on time allocation earlier today. This is, I think, the 40th time the government has done this, in spite of its election promises to work with parliamentarians and to show more respect for this place. Promising something and then doing the complete opposite is the kind of action that breeds a lot of cynicism for politics. I would dare say that a lot of people who voted for the Liberals in the last election were expecting a lot better than they are currently getting. However, we will revisit that issue in 2019. I will be very happy to talk to my constituents about it.

Bill C-74 is the government's budget implementation bill for 2018. It clocks in at a hefty 556 pages. I do not have a copy of the bill before me, but members can be assured that it also serves well as a giant doorstop. It amends 44 separate acts. One of them includes a measure to establish a new greenhouse gas pricing act. We in the NDP believe that because of how big the bill is and how much debate there is over carbon pricing right now, that particular aspect of the bill could have existed as a standalone bill to give it the comprehensive debate it deserves.

There is a problem with introducing bills of this size and trying to ram them through the legislative process in a quick manner. The reason is that one can sometimes lose the fine little details. For example, it was discovered a couple of weeks ago that there is a measure buried in Bill C-74 under part 6, division 20, that appears to allow prosecutors to suspend criminal charges against companies in certain cases of corporate wrongdoing. We might legitimately ask in the House why a criminal justice matter is appearing in a budget bill.

I asked that question. I had the honour of serving as the NDP's justice critic last year, and I would expect such a measure to be in a criminal justice bill and to be studied at the appropriate committee, the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Members need not take my word for it. We have quotes from the Liberal MP for Hull—Aylmer, who was a member of the finance committee. He said that the government seems to be “letting those with means have an easier time of it than those who don't have the means.”

The Liberal MP for Malpeque, who is the finance committee chair, also said that “...there is a huge question of whether this should be in a budget bill.”

Two Liberal MPs having discovered this and raised legitimate questions, but what did the Liberal-dominated finance committee do? It left that provision in and sent the bill right to the House, and here is where it is at.

That is one of the big problems with omnibus bills when they start throwing in all these different acts. Someone who thinks they are pretty clever in the PMO says,“We can just slip this in and I don't think it will get noticed.” They got caught this time. I do not know the merits of this particular part, but it deserved to go to the justice committee so that the justice committee, in its expertise, could call for the appropriate witnesses to deliberate as to whether this is really a good provision. It is not a measure that the finance committee is equipped to deal with, not when we are dealing with a 556-page bill.

I want to turn in the next part of my speech to the greenhouse gas pollution pricing. We believe this measure should have been put into a separate bill. I am among the people who believe we do need to have a price on carbon, since the evidence of climate change is there for all to see and we need to take some leadership. However, there is still a big debate going on in the country.

I believe it would have been to the government's advantage to split this off into a separate bill and to study it on its own merits. That way we could have called forth witnesses with expertise in this area who could have offered the appropriate testimony as to why carbon pricing schemes work and to deal with my Conservative colleagues' concerns about carbon pricing. They could have maybe offered some suggestions on how the government could mitigate the costs to low-income families and the costs to industries that are very fossil fuel reliant.

Speaking as the NDP's critic for agriculture, one of those sectors is agriculture. The Canadian Produce Marketing Association and the Canadian Horticultural Society have a problem with one aspect of Bill C-74 under part 5. They would like to see the definitions in the bill relating to farming encompass all primary agricultural activities and ensure that qualifying farming fuel would include natural gas and propane, which are increasingly common in the agricultural sector. They believe that after their consultations and research, the definitions in that part of the bill are incomplete and do not capture all of the primary agricultural activity. Agriculture is one of those sectors where farmers have to drive their tractors. They have to use natural gas to heat their greenhouses and it is a sector that, under current models, is very reliant on fossil fuels. We know there is a lot of innovation, research, and effort being made to transition off that, but the case as it stands now is that it is still heavily reliant on those fuels.

Given that so many farmers live so close to the margins and that the government has an ambitious agenda of reaching $75 billion worth of exports by 2025, I believe this is part of the bill that could have been studied as a stand-alone bill. I know as the agriculture critic that I would loved to have given some notice on behalf of my party and interested stakeholders.

I also want to talk about a few of the missed opportunities. I covered this in an exchange earlier today about the fact that there are no real measures in the bill to deal with tax evasion and avoidance. This is an issue that we have seen time and time again in Canada, where the wealthy and well connected are able to use tools at their disposal that ordinary Canadians just do not have, and are not paying their fair share. The Liberals failed to live up to a promise to get rid of tax loopholes associated with the stock options of rich CEOs.

Again, we see a failure to effectively deal with the corporate tax rate. As I mentioned before, corporations benefit from tax dollars being spent here. Our tax dollars build infrastructure like bridges, like roadways, and the railways that help corporations move their products. Our tax dollars pay for the administration of a legal system that ensures that corporations live under the rule of law and that if they ever have a conflict with a customer or a regulatory agency, the rule of law is there for them.

Our tax dollars also pay for social services that many workers require because they are not being paid a living wage. That is another issue that needs to be addressed. I know many of my colleagues in the House have constituents who are working full-time jobs, but still struggling to get by. They are having to make those hard choices between paying the rent and putting good quality food on the table.

I will end by talking about the government's recent purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline for $4.5 billion. That was certainly not a part of its election platform and was not mentioned in the 2018 budget, so the government is going to have to explain to the House and to Canadians where that money is coming from. Are the Liberals going to raise it from the Canada pension plan? Are they going to raise it from tax dollars? We would like to see where that money is coming from.

When we look at gaping holes in our infrastructure, especially rural broadband, the situation with drinking water quality on first nation reserves, the fact that the government can pony up $4.5 billion for a piece of infrastructure that belongs in the twentieth century, but ignore all of these other problems that are so prevalent in the rest of the country really goes to the heart of where the Liberal government's priorities are.

In conclusion, I appreciate this opportunity to speak to Bill C-74.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I listened very closely as the member commented on tax policies.

The member did not make reference to the hundreds of millions of additional dollars the government has included in two budgets to go after tax evaders. The member did not make mention of the tax that was put on Canada's wealthiest 1%. I will remind the member opposite that he voted against that tax on Canada's wealthiest 1%. The member did not make mention of the tax cut given to the middle class. The member did not mention the hundreds of millions of dollars going through the Canada child benefit, and what about the GIS? Again, it is hundreds of millions of dollars. Those programs have lifted thousands of seniors and children out of poverty.

The NDP consistently vote against these types of measures. Does the member have any regrets about not supporting some of those tax cuts for our middle class, or some of the programs that have lifted thousands of children and seniors out of poverty?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I did not mention those because that debate is now two years old. I can revisit if, if the member for Winnipeg North wants me to.

Speaking of seniors, the government is still failing to live up to its promise to establish a seniors price index. That was a clear promise that the government has broken.

With respect to the tax cuts for the middle class, the government keeps talking about them but has failed to define who the middle class is. This was not a middle class tax cut; this was a middle tax bracket cut. It started with people earning $45,000 and went up to people who earn $90,000. Every Liberal member of Parliament gave themselves the maximum tax cut. With the median income in Canada being under $45,000, people in my constituency got zero.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheila Malcolmson NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear more of the views of my colleague, the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.

Is the member hearing in his riding, as I am in mine, people's absolute astonishment at the Liberal government when it, for example, said to veterans that they were asking for more than it can give? What confidence should we have in a Liberal government that somehow found $4.5 billion to buy the discredited 65-year-old Kinder Morgan pipeline, which was valued in 2007 at just $550 million? Does the government really believe the pipeline has increased in value so much in the 10 years since Kinder Morgan bought that asset? What does that say about the government's priorities?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nanaimo—Ladysmith, my fantastic neighbour to the north, for that question. I am sure she will join me in recognizing the amazing work of the member for Courtenay—Alberni, who serves as our new veterans affairs critic.

We have spent many years working with veterans in our communities. When we hear talk about our veterans asking for too much, we think it is very shameful. I am sure the Prime Minister regrets making those comments.

The fact is that I believe we have a social, moral, and economic covenant with people who wear the uniform. When we ask them to serve on our behalf, we owe it to them to be with them every step of the way when they retire, when they need help, whether it is due mental or physical pain or trauma. That should be part of the full costing of any kind of military engagement. There should be continuous care from the moment people sign up until the moment they leave and the moment they are in old age. We have look after our veterans. It is the least we can do after asking them to do so much for us.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 12:50 p.m.
See context

Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador

Liberal

Yvonne Jones LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs

Mr. Speaker, for many reasons, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill. The first is that I really believe this budget is responding to Canadians across the country. We came in as a government with a commitment to consult with Canadians. That is what we have been doing and what we will continue to do. Throughout the consultations, all of us travelled through many communities, towns, provinces, and territories right across the country. We sat at tables in many community centres and listened to what people had to say, because we want to get this right. We want to make sure we are doing the right thing for Canadians.

When we came into office, we made a commitment to the middle class that we would do what is right and bring a better balance to middle-class Canadians, those who work hard and try to support their families, but who always feel they are at an unfair disadvantage. We have been very focused on that in every single decision and measure we have taken as a government.

We also made a commitment to indigenous people that we would right the wrongs of history by entering into a new relationship with them, a relationship based on reconciliation, respect, and that responds to needs and solutions, as we prepare them together. I know a lot of people have been impatient in and outside the chamber as the Government of Canada has taken on the unique and necessary mandate of moving forward in this country, but it is a commitment that we are acting on, and it is making a difference.

We also made a commitment to children in this country that we would do what we have to in order to raise them up out of poverty. That is why we implemented programs like the new child tax benefit, which will help thousands of children in this country get out of poverty.

We also made a commitment to workers in this country that we would continue to grow the economy. When we came into office, Alberta's economy was stagnant and declining. No pipelines were being built and no deals were even being made. We were not seeing economic growth in regions of Canada. In fact, if we go back just a few years, many of my colleagues will remember that we were in a very tough situation in this country in terms of employment, but the Government of Canada did not falter. It stepped up and worked with industry to create jobs and a sustainable future for Canadians.

We diversified not only our populations but our industries. We welcomed many new companies to Canada to establish their bases of operation, companies like Amazon, who today employs hundreds of people across Canada, with the intention of employing hundreds more. We have signed trade deals and we are in the process of renegotiating the NAFTA deal, but in all of the deals, there were benefits for Canadians, for farmers, fishers, those in the auto sector, those creating jobs and trying to get goods to market.

I would never stand here and say that everything is perfect and that all of the problems have been fixed, as very well know that is not true, but I would say this. It is easy to be critical and hard to be positive, but once people make a good case on issues, it is much more effective than dwelling on all of the things they feel are not right. I will provide an example.

I represent a riding in eastern Canada, the riding of Labrador. It is nearly 300,000 square kilometres and much of it is isolated. I fly in and out of a lot of communities in my riding to visit my constituents. When I ran for election some years ago on the southern coast of Labrador, there was no highway connection. Every community was isolated. Today, it not only has highways, but they are being paved. In the last two years, we have invested more than $60 million just to bring those highways to standard, to allow people access to that rural region of Canada, something that nobody ever did before. No governments before were interested in investing in that type of infrastructure.

Today in this country, we have the largest infrastructure program we have ever seen, and what is that program doing? It is helping all Canadians. It is not just investing in larger towns and cities, but all over the country, in indigenous, rural, northern, and urban communities. That is the way it should be, not the minority always being left behind, which is how I have felt for a very long time in the region I serve today.

Today, I look at the budget we are implementing in this country, and I look at how far my riding has progressed in just a few short years. It is absolutely astonishing. In my riding, we are doing more in the fishery today, in terms of job creation and new technology and advancement, than we have ever done before.

I hear people talk about the sharing of quotas and being upset because indigenous people are now being included in fishery allocations. I will be the first one to stand in the House of Commons and say that there need to be more indigenous Canadians involved in fishery allocations, because in many cases those fisheries are on the doorsteps of indigenous people. However, in many cases, a lot of these quotas went to other companies for 30 or 40 years, putting revenues in the pockets of single-based owners and not necessarily seeing benefits come to regions, communities, or populations of people. Is it a bad thing that people want to redistribute wealth in this country? I do not think so, as long as it is fair, balanced, and done in a reasonable way.

I want to speak a bit today about people in the employment sectors. I represent the region that is the largest exporter of iron ore in Canada: Labrador City and Wabush. We went through some really tough times in these communities. We saw a mine close down and hundreds of people who had given their life's work to this company lose up to 25% of their pension benefits, and there was no mechanism under law in this country to protect those benefits for workers.

The Minister of Finance stood in the House and said that, with this budget, we are going to make amendments to the Pension Act and ensure that there is protection of benefits for workers. That is what needs to be done. That is the right thing to do. Who would want to vote against that? After what we have seen happen in this country with Sears workers, steel workers, and other workers, why would one not want to step up and look at ways to protect the pension benefits of workers? That is what is in this budget implementation plan.

In addition to addressing the issues for children, indigenous people, and working people, the budget also makes significant investments in health care, housing, and social programs. We cannot overlook that fact. In Newfoundland and Labrador, we increased the transfers for health care this year. We added $112 million in extra investments for mental health services. I was really proud to be with the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, the area mental health and addiction services are run out of, and hear that we are going to see mental health beds opening in the hospital and new psychiatrists added in Labrador.

These are things that are valuable to citizens in our country. These are things people in my riding and across Canada have asked for, and we are delivering on them. As long as I am a member here, I will keep listening to what my constituents are saying and keep pushing in the right direction to ensure that, as citizens of this country, they get what is fair and balanced, and are not left behind because they happen to be removed from Ottawa or an urban centre. Just because someone is northern, rural, or indigenous, that does not mean he or she should not get the same benefits in this country.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Mr. Speaker, before the parliamentary secretary pats herself on the back too much over the lack of investment in the energy sector, I want to remind her that the $4.5-billion commitment by the finance minister was not a commitment to build a pipeline; the money is merely going to shareholders down south, who can now do what they want with it in the United States. Before she congratulates herself too much on that, I wanted to point that out.

She mentioned that there were certain things she found that were not necessarily perfect. I am curious to know what exactly she meant by that statement. Perhaps there were certain things she found that she did not agree with. I will list a few, and she can choose which one she likes: the clam scam, the India trip, the Bahamas trip, the cancelling of energy east, the finance minister's tax changes, the electoral reform, the jobs leaving to the U.S., the illegal border crossings, or the infrastructure minister's $800,000 office in Edmonton. Which one of those does she find was not that perfect?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is talking about the acquisition of the Trans Mountain pipeline. I will say this to him. The Government of Canada stepped up when workers in Alberta and people in all of Canada needed it to step up, to ensure that we get a pipeline to tidewater, build up the oil industry in this country, and create an industry that will be sustainable going forward. That was something the government opposite could not, would not, and did not do.

If the Government of Canada was not going to stand up to support economic development and investment in this country to ensure the sustainability of workers in Canada, in my opinion it would not be doing service to the people of this country. However, we did not falter on our responsibility. We know this is in the best interests of Canadians. We know it is the right thing to do. We also know that we are balancing the economy and the environment, something the Conservatives know very little about, but we are doing it, while ensuring that we have the best interests of both the environment and working Canadians at heart in making that happen.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague spoke about fair and equitable treatment. I would also like to talk about fair and equitable treatment for people like the Sears employees and our retirees. We spoke a lot about that in the House. My colleague from Hamilton introduced a bill that is ready to be passed here in the House. In the last budget, the government only announced that it would conduct consultations and study the possibility of introducing certain elements of my colleague's bill.

On the topic of inequality, we have the opportunity to pass a bill that will eliminate it. I am referring to pensioners and Sears employees. There are also a number of other companies whose employees are worried about what will happen to their pensions.

What does my colleague think about this inequality and why will the government not pass the bill to protect pensions and all Canadian workers right now, here in the House?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Yvonne Jones Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, one thing I can say for certain is that I have lived the terrible tragedy of what happened to so many steelworkers in my riding when Cliffs Natural Resources pulled out and left many of them losing up to 25% of their pension and health care benefits. That is wrong and should not be happening in our country. I have worked very hard in this caucus, with my colleagues from many different regions of Canada, along with members of other parties, to ensure that this issue is being dealt with.

I was pleased when the Minister of Finance announced in this budget that there would be a review of the pensions legislation and that it would be looked at in the context of protecting workers. The minister also announced and made a commitment to Canadians that we want to have a strong, stable, and secure retirement for everyone in this country. He also made assurances that we would be strengthening the Canada pension plan to provide greater benefits to parents and those Canadians who are impacted and need those benefits.

That is the road we are on. I would ask my colleagues to work with us to make sure we realize those goals.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:05 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, as the health critic for the New Democratic Party, it is a pleasure to rise in the House and speak to Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill, on behalf of our party. I am going to focus my remarks on a particular part of the budget bill that I believe is very much misconceived and in fact would do a lot of harm to Canadians across the country. I hope that the government will listen to these remarks and take them seriously, and be willing to make changes to the bill that is before us.

The issue on which I want to focus the attention of my colleagues in the House today is the proposal in this budget for the federal government to levy an excise tax on medical cannabis. Currently, the situation in Canada is that we do not tax medicine. Pharmaceuticals go through a process and get something called a “drug identification number”, or DIN. When that happens, the drugs are sold and purchased by Canadians tax-free, as they should be.

On the other hand, medical cannabis, which has been recognized as a medicine by the Supreme Court of Canada, and the medical cannabis industry is currently operating in every province of this country, does not currently enjoy that status. The result is that patients across the country who rely on medical cannabis for a variety of conditions and ailments are forced to pay sales tax on that medicine, whether that is the federal GST or an HST in the province, which is anywhere from 5% upward. In addition to that, most health insurance plans in this country do not reimburse patients for the cost of cannabis, so it is a double-edged sword for patients who rely on cannabis for relief of their conditions.

On top of that, in this budget the government is proposing to add an additional tax on medical cannabis, an excise tax, which would further increase the costs of this medicine for patients.

I want to speak for a few moments about the patients in this country: what patient groups think and why medical cannabis is such an important part of health treatment for so many Canadians.

CBD and THC are two of the prime operative molecules in cannabis, and it is now well known and established in the literature and in Canadians' anecdotal experience that these two substances have incredible medicinal properties. Among them, interchangeably, are the following: they are anti-inflammatories; they are antispasmodics; they help control nausea and provide nausea relief; they are ocular pressure reducers; they are very effective in helping to treat post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; they are proving to be very effective in helping people who are addicted to opioids to get off opioids and replace that with cannabis therapy; and they are very important in seizure control.

That is just a sample of the documented, experienced attributes of cannabis, when used medicinally and under the care of physicians and other medical practitioners. It is a medicine. Again, we do not tax medicine in this country.

I want to talk about what an excise tax is. The Liberals want to add an excise tax on medical cannabis, and this is particularly inappropriate. An excise tax is colloquially known as a “sin tax”. That is, it is a tax specifically designed to discourage the use of something or to encourage the more responsible use of something. Typically, we see excise tax levied on things like tobacco, alcohol, and gasoline. This tax, though, would actually work to discourage the use of a medicine.

I want to talk for a moment about my exchange with the Prime Minister when I raised this issue directly with him last Wednesday and asked him to reconsider the excise tax on medical cannabis. After refusing to commit to withdrawing the excise tax, the Prime Minister, somewhat shockingly, went on to impugn the entire motive of the medical community by saying that he thought that medical cannabis was being misdirected and misused as a recreational substance. That is a shocking thing for any prime minister to say. He impugned the motives of every single physician in this country by suggesting that doctors are mis-prescribing cannabis to their patients, who are then misusing it for recreational purposes.

He impugned the motives of the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who use cannabis on a daily basis in a variety of forms: tinctures, creams, sublingual tablets, concentrates in edible form, and tea. He suggested that those people are not using cannabis to relieve the conditions of their illnesses but rather to get high.

What does that say to the thousands of veterans in this country who are using cannabis to help them deal with their PTSD? Is the Prime Minister saying that they are simply misusing that substance to get high? If that is the case, why is Veterans Affairs paying for it? That was shocking.

I cannot get any better than to quote from something a doctor said after this was posted online. Dr. Michael Verbora, who is on the faculty of McMaster University and is a physician who also holds an MBA, said:

Not sure why @JustinTrudeau thinks my children patients are faking seizures (to use CBD oil which has no recreational value) and my adult patients are faking their cancers, MS, and chronic pain! Completely clueless and uneducated. Spend a day in my clinic so you can see & learn.

That is what a physician said to the Prime Minister when he suggested that medical cannabis is actually some sort of front, some sort of excuse, for people to access recreational cannabis.

New Democrats have done what New Democrats do in the House. We do our homework. We work hard to make good policy. We listen to witnesses. We do evidence-based policy-making.

Every single patient group that appeared before the committee that studied the bill, every single patient group in this country that knows anything about cannabis, has stated that this excise tax is wrong and should be withdrawn.

My colleague moved nine amendments at committee, four of which dealt with withdrawing the damaging provisions of this excise tax on cannabis, and all four of those amendments were opposed and shot down by Liberal members on that committee.

Instead of listening to Canadians, listening to patients, listening to the opposition, and listening to the evidence, the Liberals are doubling down on a bad policy that is going to damage public health and patient health in this country.

The very first concept in medicine physicians learn in medical school is do no harm. That is the first principle of care. What the government is doing by taxing cannabis, by taxing a medicine and making it harder for people to access their medicine, is actually harming the health of patients in this country, and it is doing it deliberately and in full knowledge of the evidence that it is wrong.

I want to talk for a moment about children. There are children in this country who are using medicinal cannabis now, particularly for things like epilepsy control. Why would any government want to put a damaging excise tax on top of a sales tax on a substance that probably is not covered by that family's health care insurance plan, making it more difficult for children in this country to get medicine they need to control their seizures? That is what the Liberal government is doing. That is bad policy. It is bad health care. It is bad tax policy.

I urge the government to listen carefully to the evidence it is hearing from everyone who is knowledgeable about this issue and withdraw this ill-conceived, poorly-conceived, damaging, and harmful tax on medicine.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not 100% certain where the member is getting the entirety of his information, but the fact of the matter is that the budget, in particular the cannabis excise framework, specifically says that to help those who rely on pharmaceutical cannabis products to relieve pain or treat illness, the government will exempt these products from the excise duties, so long as they are acquired through a prescription. It goes on to say, similarly, “pharmaceutical products derived from cannabis will also be exempt, provided that the cannabis product has a Drug Identification Number and can only be acquired through a prescription.”

I recognize the fact that from time to time, things change and new drugs are brought on and therefore are given identification numbers. Some take a bit longer. Perhaps everything the member is trying to encompass in his argument is not included.

Could he at least acknowledge that there is an effort to try to make sure that these particular products, when received through a prescription, will actually be exempt from the tax?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is an absolutely clear answer to that.

It is correct that in this country right now, almost no medical cannabis products, which have been operating in this country for years now, have a drug identification number, a DIN. Probably some of them do. The government knows that, but what does it do? It goes ahead and levies a tax on medical cannabis, knowing that 99% of the products do not have a drug identification number, knowing that these products are going to be taxed. It then says, “Well, they could just get a drug identification number.”

The problem with getting a drug identification number is that it takes years. It is extremely expensive. It has to go through clinical trials. This means that Canadians, for a number of years into the future, until these products get drug identification numbers, which they may or may not get, will have to pay this excise tax.

I would turn it around and ask the member why the government does not just withdraw the excise tax on medical cannabis now and spare Canadians those years of excise tax that will have the absolutely predictable impact of keeping medicine out of the hands of the people who need it. Why does the government not just withdraw that?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's speech was admirable. I am appalled by the government's response to limit today's debate.

We have just five hours to analyze a bill with a massive scope. The bill is 550 pages long and amends 44 acts, including Bill C-47, which would impose a tax on people who use prescription medical marijuana. We are talking about children with cancer or children who suffer excruciating pain. This could have a negative impact on their quality of life.

The Prime Minister responded that this was for people who abuse marijuana and use it recreationally and who go see their doctors. He is indirectly accusing doctors of not doing due diligence and accusing people of abusing the system to avoid paying their fair share. Meanwhile, he is making patients suffer.

How could a government think this is responsible?

In terms of our democracy, if no members raise these issues, as my colleague from Vancouver Kingsway did, and if the government limits debate, we will lose this information since we do not have enough time to raise these issues in the House of Commons.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on my comments and I would particularly like him to tell us whether Bill C-47 should be withdrawn from the list of 44 acts being amended by Bill C-74.

Does he think that the government should withdraw Bill C-47 from the 44 acts amended by this bill?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was in the House in the last Parliament when the previous government employed time allocation to curtail debate about 100 times. We objected to it on behalf of the New Democratic Party then, and I think many of my colleagues in the Liberal Party did as well. Therefore, it is somewhat hypocritical to see the Liberal government now employing the same tactic they railed against when they were in opposition.

This is a democratic chamber. People send us here to the House to debate issues. I have been told, from the very beginning, that our prime function here as members of Parliament is to scrutinize government spending. That is what we are here to do. To limit debate on a budget bill that is many hundreds of pages long offends some of the most basic precepts of democracy.

I would urge the government to withdraw that time allocation motion and allow us to do our job and represent the constituents who sent us here to do that job.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is the big piece of legislation the government brings forward every year that outlines how much of taxpayers' money it is going to spend and where it is going to spend it. My comments are going to be focused on one piece, which is part 5, the greenhouse gas pollution pricing act.

When members hear “pollution pricing act”, they may think we are going to spend money on reducing pollution. Actually, we are not talking about pollution writ large. There is nothing here that actually deals with things such as NOx, SOx, volatile organic compounds, and the fine particulate matter that sticks in our lungs that can reduce one's lifespan. It does not deal with the issue of methane.

The former Conservative government had great success in regulating those compounds to make sure that we steadily improved air quality across Canada. We achieved significant success. Canada has arguably the cleanest air in the world. I think we rank number three. We are right up there among those countries with the cleanest air. That is significantly due to the fact that the former Conservative government invested heavily in regulating those noxious substances.

However, this act is actually not about pollution writ large. It is about greenhouse gas emissions and the government trying to force through its right to impose a massive carbon tax on Canadians. All Canadians are going to have to pay this tax. The Prime Minister has said that there are some provinces that already levy a tax. He has said that they will have to increase that tax, and the provinces and territories that do not have the tax are going to be forced by the federal government to actually levy a carbon tax of $50 per tonne. That will be expensive for Canadians, because it will affect everything Canadians use, whether it is groceries, whether it is home heating oil, whether it is natural gas, or whether it is gasoline at the pumps. Virtually nothing we consume here in Canada that we use on a daily basis will not be taxed under the Liberal carbon tax that is proposed in this bill.

Of course, the Prime Minister, when asked about carbon taxes, says that carbon taxes are good. He actually said that carbon taxes are good. The Prime Minister has made this carbon tax a foundational element of his climate change plan.

We, as Conservatives, believe that taxing Canadians is not the way forward if we want to address Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. There are many other ways we can address those. There are other tools that can be used to address greenhouse gas emissions, but simply taxing Canadians is not the way to do it.

The federal government has said that the carbon tax is going to be revenue neutral. In other words, it is not going to cost the taxpayer one cent. However, what the Prime Minister failed to say was that it is revenue neutral to the federal government, because it will transfer the revenues to the provinces. He wants Canadians to believe that the provinces and territories are going to refund that money back to their residents. In fact, there is not a province in Canada that has a carbon tax that is actually revenue neutral. What is happening is that the government sucks money out of one pocket of the taxpayer and dumps it into general revenue. Governments receive this money and spend it on their own political priorities, not on the priorities of Canadians.

Where we have seen this is in my home province of British Columbia. It was held up as a paragon of virtue carbon tax. It was a revenue neutral carbon tax brought in by former premier Gordon Campbell, a man I know well. He brought it in with the most sincere motives. Originally, that tax was, for the most part, revenue neutral. The government collected the tax and then returned it to taxpayers in the form of corporate and personal income tax reductions.

We recently had an election in B.C., and the NDP formed government. The first act of that government was to remove the revenue neutrality of that tax, which means that tax now goes into general revenues and is spent on the political priorities of that NDP government. We have seen this across the country, promises that this money will be invested in environmental initiatives, that the money will be given back, but that it will be invested in environmental initiatives. The governments pick winners and losers as to who will benefit from the money and who will not. We know that governments are woefully inadequate at picking winners and losers. They usually get it wrong.

The sad thing is that the Liberal government has been asked hundreds of times how much the carbon tax, which originally was supposed to be $50 per tonne, will cost the average Canadian family. My colleagues in the House have asked the question of the minister. We have had different ministers at committee and we asked them all how much they expect this will cost the average Canadian family. We have heard no answer. In fact, in one now infamous exchange, I asked the Minister of Environment to tell us what the carbon tax would mean for the average Canadian family. She refused to answer. I asked again and again. Finally, she said that she would let her deputy minister answer the question and he proceeded not to answer the question at all. The Liberals have the information, but they are afraid to let Canadians know how badly this will harm them.

There is a hidden agenda at play. What Canadians do not know is that in the backrooms of the Liberal government, the Liberals are starting to talk about moving that carbon tax from $50 per tonne in 2022 to $100 to $300 per tonne. Why? Because they have been told by economists that for a carbon tax to be effective, in other words for it to actually change the behaviour of Canadians, it will have to be $200 to $300 per tonne of greenhouse emissions. Imagine how expensive life in Canada will be with that kind of a tax. That is the secret plan.

The Liberals will not tell us that today, but there are indications in government documents that there are discussions on how they can hammer Canadians with a carbon tax sufficient to change the behaviour of Canadians, without regard for the impact this will have on individual Canadians and on the average Canadian family, on how much more expensive life will be.

I will go back to the British Columbia example where the so-called revenue neutral carbon tax was eventually replaced by a non-revenue neutral carbon tax where all the money would go to the government to spend on whatever it wanted. When that carbon tax was first implemented, the stated goal of that tax was to change behaviour to ensure greenhouse gas emissions would go down by 33%. That is a laudable goal. How did things work out? That tax has now been in place for some 10 years and to date carbon emissions are down by not 33%, not 30%, not 20%, not 10%, but by 2%. A decade of carbon taxes and all British Columbia got out of it was a 2% reduction. This tax will be harmful to Canadians and will have virtually no impact on greenhouse gas emissions.

We have asked the Minister of Environment to appear before committee to defend her estimates and this gas tax so we can find out what this will cost Canadians. She has yet to answer us and to publicly state whether she is prepared to come to committee and be accountable under the Westminister parliamentary system, as all ministers should be.

I am very disappointed with the Liberal government for bringing forward a tax policy that is going to harm Canadians without any benefit to our environment.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, my riding is very close to the hon. member's, so I know the sky is not a different colour out our way.

I want to set a few things straight. I want talk about the wonderful record of the previous Harper government on emissions. Emissions go down, especially when an economy is in the tank. Canada's economy was in the tank from about 2007 right up to the summer of 2015, when we were technically in a recession. Interestingly enough, in that same period, British Columbia, with a price on carbon, had Canada's best economy, and it has continued to be one of the best.

One other thing is this. I do not know if my hon. friend had the opportunities I had, but as soon as that carbon tax came in, I started to use transit a lot more, and I ended up ahead. You want the average impact on Canadian families? If my family is average, then we are doing okay. Does he have any comments on that?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not think the member is average. He earns somewhere in the order of $175,000 per year. That does not make him a member of the middle class that the Prime Minister wants to have others join.

I will go back to the question, which he avoided. How much did greenhouse gas emissions go down in British Columbia over nearly a decade by implementing the highest carbon tax in British Columbia of $30 per tonne? It was 2% when it was supposed to go down by 33%. By any standard, that is failure.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

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

As we saw in committee, the Conservatives are very quick to criticize measures, but they have a hard time coming up with alternatives. That is exactly what we saw when Jason Kenney testified before the committee. He did his level best to discredit the carbon tax, just as the Conservatives are doing now. When my colleagues asked him what he would suggest doing instead, he had nothing to offer. The Conservatives certainly know how to oppose things, but they do not know how to come up with other options. That is what my colleague is doing too.

What does my colleague think we should do instead of taxing carbon if we want to meet our greenhouse gas reduction targets? I would hope members of all parties actually want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

What would the member do to meet those targets?

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to comment on what Mr. Kenney may or may not have said at committee. However, there is a very significant tool kit available to the government to address greenhouse gas emissions. I will start by talking about smart regulation.

Our Conservative government began the move toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions by regulating the light and heavy vehicle industry. We were the ones who regulated the traditional coal-fired electricity sector. We started the move toward phasing out methane across Canada. All initiatives can be done using smart regulation rather than taxation.

Another thing is smart, significant investments in technology. In fact, if we look at the Conference Board of Canada report on this issue, it has said that the most significant tool kit that any government has to move forward is using technology development. By looking at the trajectory of technology development, we will be able to use technology to address many of those environmental challenges.

There are other things, like investing in smart infrastructure, in natural sequestration, at which the government has not looked. It has done no science on it. There is also carbon capture and storage, which Saskatchewan has done so well. This technology is working today in Canada and it can significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

On the smart use of electricity grids, if we could combine electricity grids across the country, we could interconnect them so British Columbia, Manitoba, and Quebec could share electricity with other jurisdictions in a smart and environmentally responsible way. There is much that can be done. We have some answers.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand to speak about the budget implementation act.

I would like to start with some facts, which may appear at first glance, to be astounding. The Department of Finance and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have predicted that the budget will not be balanced until 2045.

My kids will not see a balanced budget until they are older than I am right now, and that is unacceptable. During that time frame, there will be an estimated $450 billion in additional debt racked up, for a total of roughly $1.1 trillion. It is our youth who will have to pay all of this back. The future our youth inherit is not the one that we inherited. Our youth are being left behind. We are currently sitting at 11.1% unemployment, while in the United States, the youth unemployment rate sits at only 8.4%. Now our youth will have to live with the shackles of this increased debt.

GDP is up 0.1% in two years. Eighty per cent of middle-class Canadians are feeling the tax increases since the government came into office. There was a $60-billion increase in spending in the last two and a half years, up roughly 20%.

There is no doubt there that a spending problem exists within the Liberal government. Quite frankly, we can look almost anywhere to see it.

Corporate welfare is something I have spoken about over and over again. Why are we taxing Canadians who can barely make ends meet and giving those dollars to millionaires and billionaires so they can make more money? It seems to be done without a strategy or understanding the effects. It seems to be done without a clear measurement as to what is a success or a failure. I have examples: the Bombardier bailout just under a year ago; the superclusters, which were in the last budget and continued in this budget, $900 million going to superclusters, mainly into urban areas, that were recommended by a committee, struck by the industry minister, that included people in charge of superclusters, like the MaRS in Toronto.

A few weeks ago, the Conservatives started saying no to corporate welfare when it came to Kinder Morgan. We did not want government dollars used to prop up the private sector in this circumstance. Not in our wildest dreams did the Conservatives believe we would see corporate welfare enacted when it came to Kinder Morgan, in fact, an outright nationalization of the entire program.

I would like to congratulate some people in the House, such as the member for Vancouver Quadra, the member for Pontiac, and the member for Burnaby North—Seymour, on owning one of the largest oil transportation companies in Canada. I thought they were environmental activists. Usually I would say, “If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.” What the Liberal government has done is first beat the oil industry and then it has joined it. Ironically, growth in the oil and gas sector last year was what drove our economy. Without the oil and gas sector, we would have had exactly zero growth.

This is not because of the Liberals, this is not because of the federal government; it is despite them. In the oil and gas sector, they have caused a lot of instability, because they have continued to attack it. When I look at Kinder Morgan, it makes me think the government has neglected what lies beneath our feet and has opted to rely on what is between the Prime Minister's ears. It is a failing strategy.

The Prime Minister created a carbon tax of $50 per tonne to put in through 2023. After he did that, creating instability in the oil and gas sector, and in fact across our entire economy, threatening the way those who earn the least in our society actually make ends meet, he realized the ramifications of that decision. The ramifications are that projects like Kinder Morgan can no longer make it. They are no longer viable. The private sector has realized that, and then the Prime Minister realized it, and at the last second, he said he was going to step in, take money from people who earn almost nothing and invest it in this project the private sector is abandoning.

It is very interesting when we break down the carbon tax and look at the effect it is going to have on the average family. With fuel costs, there is the cost of actually producing that gasoline. It is about 50% of what we pay at the pump. Then there are provincial and federal excise taxes. Those taxes were originally put in place to deal with the ramifications of pulling out of that original resource. Then we have our new carbon tax that is being put in place on top of that. The government does not stop reaching into our pockets at the fuel pump, but says that it will charge HST on top of that. That is another 13%.

The carbon tax is going to cost average families $2,500 per year. What does that mean? It means higher food costs, higher gas costs, and higher costs of everything Canadians consume. That is the three-year legacy of the Liberal government. The fact that middle-class Canadians do not have trust funds seems to be lost on the Prime Minister and the finance minister. The legacy that we see over and over again, in budget after budget, is that the government can take and take from Canada's middle class, that it can take and take from the economy, and it can put that money wherever it sees fit. Then when it realizes that is not working, the government will take and take to buy a failing project whose failure, by the way, the government was responsible for in the beginning by introducing more and more taxes.

It is more taxes on payrolls; more taxes on gasoline as a result of the carbon tax; more taxes on Canadians across this country. That does not even begin to deal with the fact of red tape and environmental assessment after environmental assessment, the issues and regulations that constantly hold down the Canadian economy. The Liberal government constantly holds down Canada's poorest people who are looking for jobs, who are searching for that next job, who are looking for growth, and who want to create a new life for their families.

Those are the effects of the Liberal budget. Those are the effects we have seen from three years of Liberal government. The family tax cut is gone. The arts and fitness tax credits have disappeared. The education and textbook tax credit is nowhere to be seen. The life vision of young Canadians is not the one we inherited, the one in which we believed that if we went out to work day in and day out, it would be easy. Manufacturing is not creating more jobs in Canada. The oil and gas sector, while it is moving forward, has seen incredible setbacks. The housing sector, while on fire, is preventing our young people from being able to actually access a home and own it for the first time.

These are the issues that we are seeing in the Canadian economy. It is these budgets that are driving this ship.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I just want to drill down into one particular aspect of the budget.

Subclause 20(1) deals with the small business deduction from the general corporate tax rate, a commitment that all the parties have advocated. Yesterday, when the Speaker grouped the 409 amendments, primarily by the Conservatives, the member for Carleton, seconded by the member for Portage—Lisgar, put forward a motion to delete clause 20, essentially deleting that reduction in the corporate tax rate.

I am just curious if the member plans to support that amendment when we vote on it.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think the point of the 400 amendments is that the budget should be deleted. When we look at it, we have had nothing but issue after issue with it. We want the government to go back to the drawing board, not to go back to the taxpayer and take from those who have the least in our society and give to millionaires and billionaires, but to help those people whom it keeps taking from to find a better life for themselves. If the member wants to focus on a single amendment, he can. However, the reality is that your government first said it would do it, then ran away from that promise, and then realized that it had to do it. Quite frankly, it should go back to the drawing board—

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague the following question. We have before us an omnibus bill. During the election campaign, the Liberals solemnly promised to never again introduce an omnibus bill because they did not want to follow in the Conservatives' footsteps. Now we are dealing with a 556-page bill that amends 44 laws to implement the budget, which was supposedly the most gender-balanced budget, but fails to put in place pay equity legislation, among other things.

I wonder whether my Conservative colleague believes that, after 40 years of Liberal promises to enact pay equity legislation and after making the same promise during the 2015 election campaign, in 2016, and again in the past two months, it was high time they followed through when the budget was tabled. In this budget, there is no mention of pay equity legislation, but there is still a huge gap between men and women, and a gap for youth. This is unacceptable in 2018 from a Prime Minister who calls himself a feminist and goes around the world patting himself on the back. We have yet to see such a bill in 2018.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member brought up a few things about omnibus bills, and so forth, and the promise made by the Liberals not to bring forth such bills to the House. I know it will leave everybody exasperated to hear that the Liberals made a promise and then abandoned it. I cannot believe it. It is incredible.

On the second point the member made with respect to the promise not to imitate the Conservatives, I can guarantee her that the current government is not imitating the Conservatives. If it were imitating the Conservatives, it would be bringing forth a budget to help those in society who have the least. It would be doing something to create jobs in this country, not taking money out of the economy constantly. It would be ensuring that people in this country have a right to earn a fair wage, not leaving us with lesser jobs, with the government picking up the pile it created in the beginning. Therefore, with all due respect, it is not imitating the Conservatives. I hope one day it will learn from us and start to.

Report StageBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 1:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your giving me this time so I can speak on behalf of my constituents of Calgary Shepard, as well as the warning that I unfortunately have only five minutes before we begin question period.

I am thinking about what to say about the third budget bill I have had a chance to debate in the House. I sit on the finance committee that was taken with this matter earlier in the month when it considered the contents of the legislation, as well as its implications for the Canadian economy and jobs in Canada. At the end of the day, the great hope is that every single budget will build on a plan or some type of goal or end journey that the government wants to get to in order to improve the situation of Canadian families, and of job-seekers as well. I just do not see that in this budget. I did not see this in the last budget and I did not see it in the budget before that. What I have seen is a series of failures to have a coherent plan on what they are trying to achieve. A lot of the time I think the government is simply making it up as it goes along.

One thing I will point out is that in this particular budget there was no chapter on defence spending. That was a big portion of the announced spending in the past two and a half years, but that is all it has really been. There was a bunch of news releases, a bunch of tweets, and maybe some Facebook posts, but there is nothing inside the budget that specifically talks about procurement. Over the next five to 10 years, procurement is expected to be one of the largest expenditures in our budget. We are seeing a continuous increase in the budgeted numbers for defence spending, with the same amount of equipment coming back to us, or actually less equipment, so the per-unit value of our spending is actually going down. Spending on defence is an important component, but we are always expecting to get something in return: equipment that the Canadian Forces can use to replace the equipment it now has, which is sometimes antiquated and other times has served out its proper life cycle.

They say that money is round and it rolls away. It is a Yiddish proverb. The chamber knows that I love Yiddish proverbs, and it is true in this case as well. In three consecutive budgets, we have seen deficits completely out of control, and the government is simply letting these roll away. It is money out the door and interest payments on debt that keeps going up. We have an $18.1 billion deficit expected this year. The government and its caucus members will say, “Everything is going so great: Look how we have juiced up the economy, look how good the GDP growth numbers are”.

However, what we have seen in the first quarter of this year, as is being reported in the media now, is that the economy has taken a serious hit. The housing market has drastically slowed down because of a successive series of changes, almost 20, to mortgage rules, including the latest one on January 1. The B20 mortgage rule changes have had a severe impact on new entrants in the market, those who want to buy a townhouse, a house, or who want to move up on the property ladder and expand because they need a bigger place to live, and those who want to downsize because they are coming to the end of their working lives and they want something simpler to live in and to have an easier means of taking care of their homes. All of those have been hit because, at mortgage-renewal time, they will now be facing a stress test. We know that the housing market in Canada and the different real estate markets in our small communities as well as our large metropolitan centres drive the economy. If we remove real estate growth and the construction of homes from our GDP numbers, we find that we do not have any growth. It is so critical. This mortgage stress test is expected to have an impact on job losses and reduce mortgage demand and housing by about 15%. Fifteen per cent translates into about 100,000 to 150,000 jobs that could disappear. These are well-paying jobs, not just brokers and real estate agents, but a lot of tradespeople who are in the business of building new homes, new condominiums, and new townhouses for Canadians to purchase, and for permanent residents to purchase as well. These people will be impacted by the successive series of mortgage rule changes. It is going to have an impact in the budget, something the budget has not planned for. The budget does not address this in any way. As I said, money is round and it is rolling away.

The government simply has no plan. This budget does not build on any type of long-term vision for the future. The Liberals have not set us up for success anywhere past 2019. It is as if the government is only thinking about the period between now and the next election. Planning from election to election is a bad way to set fiscal policy and public budgetary policy. Therefore, in the budget we will have accumulated, by the expected time frames in the forecast, nearly $100 billion in new debt.

I see the signal to stop now, but I look forward to continuing my intervention after question period.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be restarting the debate with the time I have left. After the interesting and lively question period we had, I want to return to a few points I made yesterday on a different bill, because it speaks to the substance of the budget in the end.

A mantra the government has used repeatedly in the House, and it used it again in question period, is that “the environment and the economy go together.” Those were the exact words used by the Minister of Environment.

In the budget book, my hope would have been to have actually seen an attempt to get a balance between the environment and the economy, but the Liberals failed to do so. We can see that in the repeated deficits they have created year after year. They are structural and they are occurring at a time when we are seeing growth in the economy.

It is not stellar growth. In fact, we are not the leading economy in the G7. We are a middling country in the G7. There is a lot of growth the government has hurt. The PBO reported that we are losing up to 0.4%, perhaps 0.5% in GDP growth. This is a penalty on Canadians. It is a penalty on middle-class families.

I asked the Parliamentary Budget Office staff at a committee if they had ever seen the Government of Canada impose a policy decision that resulted in the loss of a half a percentage of GDP growth. For a moment they were stunned and silent, and actually said “no”. They have not gotten back to the committee since then with an example of the Canadian government purposely reducing economic growth through its own policy decision.

I talked earlier about how the first quarter of the year is being reported as one of the slowest in two years in terms of growth, partly because of the mortgage decisions. Nineteen to 20 mortgage decisions have been taken by the Government of Canada over the past two years that have hurt the ability of middle-class Canadians, and in fact all Canadians, to purchase their first homes, move down or move up the housing ladder, and invest in themselves for the future. There was the stress test. We know the B20 rule, introduced January 1, has hurt Canadians.

I tried to raise this matter at the finance committee yesterday as material to the budget, because indeed the budget outlook is dependent on ensuring strong economic growth. Yesterday, when I raised the matter, it was voted down by every single Liberal member on the committee, without a single word spoken as to an explanation. The members simply voted it down. They did not want to hear it, and why would they want to when the news is all bad?

I used the Yiddish proverb before that “money is round and it rolls away from you”. It is rolling away from the Government of Canada. These runaway deficits are ensuring that future generations of Canadians will have to pay for this uncontrolled spending that the Government of Canada has pursued, and for very little purpose. There is no actual end goal to any of this. There is no end purpose to these three budget bills that they have provided to us so far, and the implementation of them. We do not know when the budget will be balanced. We know when they talk about the environment and the economy going hand in hand what they actually mean is one hand is in the pocket of the taxpayer fishing out carbon taxes and the other hand is in the pocket of Canadians fishing out higher small business taxes and higher payroll taxes.

I will mention that the Liberals did abandon a great deal of the disastrous small business tax they were going to try to impose back in the fall, but I still have constituents today who will be severely and deeply affected by these new small business tax plans.

These are not rich Canadians. These are people who in their line of business are not earning anywhere near the highest marginal effective tax rate. They are simply in a business that is proving to be profitable, and each spouse wants to take a little out of the business to pay themselves. The taxes being proposed in the budget and the changes to the small business taxation being proposed to dividend schemes and passive income in this budget will hurt those small business owners in my riding. It is a new set of people who are going to be hurt by them, not the same individuals who stood up and vociferously opposed the government in the fall for the tax changes it proposed.

I will be opposing the budget bill. It is another failure. We have three consecutive failed budget bills that will not achieve any of the goals of balancing the environment and the economy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus my question on economic growth. That was a large part of my colleague's speech this afternoon.

We made a clear decision. We believed that Canadians were very hard-working and we knew that investing in Canadians was going to lead to economic growth. Over the past two and a half years, that has proven to be true. With our investments and the hard work of Canadians, the result has been that more than 600,000 jobs have been created since November 2015.

Also, Canada has the best balance sheet in the G7, with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio. Our debt as a function of our economy is shrinking steadily, and it is projected to soon be at the lowest point in almost 40 years.

Does the hon. member accept these facts?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, first, the finance committee has observed repeatedly that the debt-to-GDP ratio is not a fiscal anchor upon which one can build a public budget.

Second, the member knows, of course, that most of the jobs being created are in the public sector. We need private sector job creation to pay for those public sector jobs.

If we look at Greece before it went into its economic death spiral, it had the same type of trend. It had a reducing debt-to-GDP ratio, and then it suddenly skyrocketed. When we hit the debt wall, that figure instantly begins to change, something the Alberta government experienced in the 1990s when it hit the debt wall. When it did so, and the banks and international institutions refused to lend to it, successive governments had to pay the price. The price was then paid by the taxpayers of Alberta through higher taxes at the pumps, higher taxes on income, and deep cuts to public services. That will be the end result of this Liberal budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, one of the things my Alberta colleague also talked about in his intervention was the fact that 200 pages of this budget deal with a carbon tax, a carbon tax on which we have not had any answers from the Liberal government in terms of what the costs will be. For example, we had the Minister of Agriculture at committee on Monday, and I asked him several times if he could tell us what the costs of the carbon tax would be for the average farm or agribusiness. He refused to answer that question. In fact, he said many times that farmers are appreciative of the carbon tax and that it is what they voted for. I have letters from literally dozens of farmers that say it is exactly what they did not vote for.

Can my colleague tell me what he feels the impact of a carbon tax will be on the average Canadian family?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I was remiss not to mention that, indeed, 200 pages of the budget bill, because it is an omnibus budget bill, contain within them the mechanisms by which the carbon tax will be administered. The Liberals initially said the carbon tax would be very simple. It is nothing of the sort. There is a litany of exemptions and exceptions being applied to the carbon tax.

The question of who will pay and how much they will pay is an interesting one. At committee, the Government of Canada claimed that it could not calculate it. I then raised the fact that the Alberta government was able to calculate the average cost to the average family in Alberta. It is interesting that a provincial government could calculate it, but the Canadian government could not.

The Conservative members moved eight amendments at committee to try to extract that information for the report to Parliament that was tabled. Eight times every single Liberal member voted against greater transparency on the carbon tax. When we talk about the carbon tax cover-up, we mean examples like this. Eight times members of Parliament on the Conservative side offered up distinct, legitimate, reasonable amendments to provide a more succinct report to Parliament that would provide exactly that type of information so that Canadians would know the cost to them and how much GHG emissions would be reduced in return for this carbon tax being levied upon them, and eight times, every single Liberal MP voted against them.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity today to speak to the budget implementation act. Ronald Reagan once said, “Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” That quote is often interpreted as tongue in cheek, but it is a fairly good description of the current government's economic policy: “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

With this budget bill, we have an opportunity to discuss a whole range of problems in terms of the government's economic plan, problems that are well summed up in that quotation. I am going to address as many of them today as time allows, the first being the carbon tax and the carbon tax cover-up.

We have a government that is imposing new taxes on Canadians at a feverish pace. In particular, through the carbon tax, the Liberals are requiring every province to impose a carbon tax. If a province will not, the Liberals will themselves impose a carbon tax on that province. This carbon tax is not revenue neutral to the federal government, because we know that the government will collect GST on the carbon tax, and the Liberals have consistently refused calls from the opposition not to collect GST on the carbon tax.

The Liberals believe that this is the right approach, but they also believe that Canadians should not have access to the information they used to make their determination. We have an ongoing carbon tax cover-up in which the government refuses to give Canadians basic information about how much the federal carbon tax will cost. The provinces that have imposed carbon taxes have been, in fact, much more forthright with the data.

I would say that if the government has an opinion on the carbon tax one way or another, it should be willing to present the information and the analysis that led it to that decision so that Canadians can see it, agree with it or disagree with it, and have that discussion. Instead, it is a government that, on the one hand, claims to be confident in the rightness of its position, but, on the other hand, refuses to give this information.

We have in this budget bill the government moving forward with its federal carbon tax and continuing to refuse to give information about how much it will cost the average Canadian family. We know this will impose significant costs on the economy as a whole. Canadians have a right to know, the middle class and those working hard to join it have a right to know, how much the carbon tax will cost them.

There is a discussion on how we support economic development, which is always part of the budget and certainly is quite in discussion today. Our approach, on this side of the House, is to say that the best way to encourage economic development is to think about existing businesses and also to think about businesses that do not yet exist and could exist. It is to create the conditions for economic growth, for investment, and for new, innovative ideas, not to prejudge where those ideas are going to come from or what they are going to look like.

Government is inevitably poorly disposed to fully know where the next big economic opportunity is going to be. Economic growth does not happen because the government decides it is going to spend a whole bunch of money on this supercluster fetish we have. Instead, economic growth happens when individual entrepreneurs have new ideas, and they make sacrifices to make investments in themselves and their communities and their own businesses that then allow for growth and job creation. The approach we take is to favour simplification of regulations and tax reductions for individuals and businesses, especially small businesses, that create opportunities.

Under the previous government, we lowered the business tax rate, which actually led to an increase in business tax revenues. Business tax revenues went up as the rate of business taxation went down, and that shows that giving opportunity and resources and mechanisms to the private sector is how to create jobs and opportunity. Even the government was better off from lowering business taxes. We lowered the small-business tax rate. We had it booked in as being lowered to 9%. The current government broke that promise, and then un-broke that promise, at least for now, as a justification for some of the draconian regulatory changes it wanted to make for small business. The Liberals have an on-again, off-again relationship with supporting small-business tax reductions, but Canadian small-business owners know they can go steady with the opposition.

The way Liberals have approached small business to try to make these regulatory changes that increase costs and reduce certainty for small business is not the way to create confidence in our economy or to attract investment. Our approach was to lower personal income taxes, lower business taxes, and, by the way, always to target those tax reductions to those Canadians who needed them the most.

We cut the GST, which is the tax everybody pays. We lowered the lowest marginal tax rate. By any standard of progressivity, the tax reductions that the Conservative government made were more progressive than any the Liberal government has even talked about. In fact, we know from various analysis that have been done that the Liberal government is increasing taxes through the carbon tax and other changes, including the elimination of tax credits and so forth, that hit those in the middle class and those working hard to join it very hard. It also hits small businesses, the engines of economic growth. These businesses are not looking for a government subsidy. They are not looking for a supercluster. They are looking for the regulatory and taxation environment that allows them to succeed.

The Liberal government's approach is totally different. It thinks that the Prime Minister, in his wisdom, knows best where the next big opportunities will come. The Liberals then pick these areas of government spending to create economic growth, allegedly, while increasing the burden on those small individual operators who do not ask for government subsidies, but simply want to be left alone to create opportunity. It is asking successful small businesses to pay more so that other big, well-connected insiders will pay less.

We do not think that is the right approach, spending hard-earned Canadian tax dollars subsidizing business. We do not think that is fair to other businesses that do not receive those subsidies. We do not feel those policies are fair to ordinary Canadians, who have to pay taxes, that then go to already wealthy companies. That is the Liberal approach, which is subsidizing friends and insiders through corporate welfare instead of creating conditions that allow for long-term economic growth and success through innovation.

The approach of the government, on the one hand, trying to constrain the private sector and, on the other hand, wanting to then subsidize things is most evident in the case of its approach to pipelines. All the government had to do, if it wanted pipelines to succeed, was to continue with the successful policies under the previous government, which got four pipelines built and led to a fifth one being approved. The Liberal government will tell us that the Conservatives did not get any pipelines to tidewater except, except.

It was under the Conservative government that every pipeline project that was proposed was approved. It stretches the imagination to think how it expects pipelines that were not proposed to have been built. We approved pipelines through a strong, fair but clear and accessible process to be built. Under the Liberal government, it immediately acted to kill the northern gateway pipeline.

Canadians are probably wondering why the government is buying out and subsidizing one pipeline to the west coast, while it intentionally and then further through legislation is killing another pipeline to the west coast. If it just got out of the way, perhaps we would have two pipelines proceeding to the west coast. Certainly we would have one.

There is the energy east pipeline, which, by piling additional burdens and challenges on, the government stopped. Then, after killing pipelines, intentionally, directly through government policy, it decided that there was actually one in which it wanted to look more interested. We still do not know if the strategy is going to bear fruit. It is spending $4.5 billion buying the existing pipeline, not building a new pipeline or even expanding one. It is spending $4.5 billion buying existing pipeline infrastructure. Then the government says that it will spend a whole bunch more, billions of dollars more, on a project that when the previous government was in place, the private sector was quite ready and keen to build. Now the Liberal government says that it is going to spend all this money to build it.

What happens if it does not work out at some point along the way? It is very likely the government will just be pouring more and more money into something that could have and should have been done by the private sector.

The government's approach to the economy is a failed approach. It is to tax and regulate success, while piling on money in subsidy to everything else. We in the opposition present a strong alternative that will actually lead to economic success in the long term for Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 3:55 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the tax cuts we have implemented as a government.

We reduced taxes on the middle class. How did we do that? By increasing taxes on the top 1%. We also reduced taxes on small businesses, and we are proud of that. We know the importance of small business in this economy.

With respect to the child benefit, we increased it, so nine out of 10 families benefit from the increase. Millionaires do not get cheques anymore, but that is because millionaires do not need the cheques from the child benefit. However, nine out 10 families benefit, and it has lifted over 300,000 children out of poverty.

We are so proud of these accomplishments that we have attained through this budget and previous budgets. Also, in this budget, as the member knows, we will be indexing that child benefit, which will start in July.

However, the member's speech today focused a lot on the pipeline question. I have two specific questions for the member with respect to his focus. Is climate change real? If it is, what is his plan?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, yes, climate change is real. Yes, our party accepts absolutely the science of that. In fact, we were the first government in Canadian history to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They went up under the previous Liberal government that signed Kyoto. They went down under the Conservative government. They went down despite overall economic growth. When emissions were rising in the rest of the world, they went down in Canada, despite the fact that we were less hard hit by the recession than many other countries.

The member asks what our plan is. We did it. What is her plan?

All the Liberals talk about is raising taxes, yet they have no success when it comes to actually delivering on the things about which they talk. They tell us that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. Well, under the current government, they go hand in hand in the wrong direction.

The member talked about cheques to millionaires. They are sending clusters of cheques to millionaires in these supercluster billionaire bailouts for which they are using taxpayer money.

Therefore, it is a bit rich for the member to talk about not sending cheques to the rich when that is precisely the Liberals' industry policy: give money to already established companies with no consideration for the entrepreneurs or the companies that could have been built but cannot now because of the new regulations and new taxes imposed by the government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Wayne Long Liberal Saint John—Rothesay, NB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to members opposite talk about the pipeline, about how the Conservatives built different pipelines, and that they had all the answers and could get pipelines built. The Leader of the Opposition was in my riding of Saint John—Rothesay three weeks ago, talking about the pipeline, saying he could build it.

However, one thing I am very curious about is an article on the Leader of the Opposition's website in which it says he “is listening to Quebecers”. He talks about giving Quebec added jurisdiction and responsibilities over its territory, that it will have the right to decide what happens in its territory on all issues.

How does the member opposite square that? On one side, the Leader of the Opposition says that he would build energy east. On the other side, he stands in Quebec and talks about how he is there to protect their jurisdictional rights.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I know the member loves it when Conservatives visit his riding. I can assure him that is going to happen. St. John is a beautiful place, and our leader and I, and other members of our caucus, will be making regular visits over the next year to continue to talk about our positive economic message.

When it comes to energy east, I am sure his constituents are asking him this question. Why did the government set up a regulatory system designed to kill the energy east pipeline, while it then put a whole bunch of public money into the west?

Unlike Liberal ministers, I am going to answer the question. I know that is something the minister does not normally hear happen in this place. I miscalled him the “minister”, and I am sorry about that error. After being removed from a committee for voting based on his conscience, it is unlikely he is going to be heading there.

However, the member asked about respecting jurisdiction in Quebec. Let us be clear. This party believes in respecting provincial jurisdiction and not having provinces make decisions in federal jurisdiction. That is not a difficult distinction. On matters of jurisdiction in Quebec, Alberta, or B.C., the federal government should not interfere. The provinces should be able to make those decisions. On areas that are clearly within federal jurisdiction, they are within federal jurisdiction. That has clearly been our practice and our position.

I can also say it in French, if they want.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals had an opportunity with this implementation act to build an economy that would lift everyone up, people who counted on them, instead of just the wealthy few at a top with their tax havens. Unfortunately, the Liberals decided instead to defend the interests of their corporate and privileged, consigning the rest of Canada to the back seat.

Budget 2018 and Bill C-74 reveal once again the Liberals' true nature.

I remember in 2004 the damage done to our country after 13 years of Liberal rule, most of those years in majority governments that accomplished little to nothing in the way of fairness and equity for working Canadians. Those Liberals made the most drastic cuts to our public broadcaster, did little to nothing in the way of implementing a universal child care program, nothing to reverse the devastating effects of colonialism on indigenous peoples, except as a last ditch effort to stay in power, and undermined the health care system with cuts to transfer payments to the provinces.

We hoped for more progress than setting the bar at red book promises unfulfilled. For close to three years now, the NDP caucus has been calling on the Liberals to actually be the progressive, positive government they promised us in 2015.

This bill betrays all women who believed the so-called “gender budget” would include much anticipated pay equity legislation, because it does not. The Liberals promised pay equity 40 years ago, again in 2016, and again a month ago in the budget speech. Canadians want to know when the Liberals will finally deliver pay equity.

Despite the smearing of its image by right-wing ideologues, the fact is that the public service has done more than the private sector in achieving gender equity in Canada. While there is still work to do on the equity front, women and men from historically disadvantaged groups, such as disabled persons, indigenous peoples, single parents, seniors, young people, and people of colour, are all represented in the public service workforce in greater percentages than they occur in Canada's population. They are employed at all levels of management and labour in the workforce more proportionately than in the private sector.

Labour researchers and academics have pointed out that this advantage is at least in part the result of the fact workers in the Canadian public service have union representation guaranteed under our Constitution. However, recent reports indicate that the equity and fairness established in the public service is eroding as a result of austerity measures, privatization, and contracting out. The effect of this offloading, besides being inefficient, is that public sector workers are beginning to experience greater levels of workplace precarity. We know too that this precarity impacts diverse members of the workforce who can least afford it.

We need to consider the legacy we are leaving to future generations, those who leave post-secondary and graduate schools with a burden of debt that is insurmountable only to face a world where jobs are scarce. When work can be found, it is more often than not part-time, underpaid, without benefits, and short-term. We need to give future generations more than the finance minister's statement, telling them to suck it up and get used to a lifetime of precarious work.

Future generations will need a robust economy because they will incur the burden of supporting us in our dotage with their tax dollars. We need to seriously consider the legacy we leave. However, we also know it is bigger than that.

We need to take care of each other for everyone to thrive. We need to create a Canada where no one experiences the isolation and degrading health consequences of homelessness, poverty, or mental illness, a Canada with free and equal access to education, health care, child care, pharmacare, housing, clean air, and clean water.

We know what works and what does not. If what we want is to create a healthy sustainable equitable economy where every citizen has equal access to opportunity and is able to thrive and prosper, the Canada we know is possible, the Canada that can be, the work begins now, with federal budgets. Sadly, the Liberals' budget implementation act is even more timid than the budget. It offers no real plan to reduce inequities or build an economy that would benefit all Canadians.

I would like to take this opportunity today to speak about the ways in which Bill C-74 could have addressed inequalities and build an economy that would benefit all Canadians.

This legislation could have contained provisions to assist rural communities. It does not. The Liberals had an opportunity in their 2018 budget to help rural communities, but instead chose to focus on the interests of their rich friends and their own ridings. In the meantime, they tell people in rural communities to wait for improved employment insurance, cellular infrastructure, and broadband Internet access.

In just the past few days, we have seen announcements from big banks about closing branches in Burford, Blyth, and Clifford in Ontario, and Kipling and Preeceville in Saskatchewan. These closures will leave Blyth and Kipling with no local banking options. In Saskatchewan, the nearest TD branch to Preeceville is an hour to an hour and 45 minutes away.

All of these communities have post offices. A postal banking system would allow members of this community access to banking services that are affordable and competitive, not to mention profitable for Canada Post. In the U.K., corporate banks have actually reversed their opposition to postal banking, because they know it absolves them from the community ire they would experience when they close branches in rural and remote communities, which these banks say do not reap enough profit.

When will the government see the postal banking light? We will have an opportunity in that regard later this session when my motion M-166 comes to the floor of the House for a vote. I urge every member here to support it. We have the opportunity to make effective and progressive change, even if the government avoids it in budget implementation acts. We will have that opportunity very shortly.

A postal banking system would address inequality in this country, something Bill C-74 does not do, even though that should be the goal of government in a social democracy such as ours. Instead we see Canadians who live in rural and remote communities, Canadians with low income, and first nations peoples living on reserve forced to use predatory lenders or to rely on the whim of a local business person or local variety store to access their own money.

A universal pharmacare program would create equal access to life-saving and life-enhancing medications for all Canadians as well. I see nothing in this legislation that addresses that need. In fact, we continue with a patchwork system of access to abortion and birth control that creates inequality and forces Canadians who require those services to either pay exorbitant out-of-pocket costs or travel unreasonable hours to access these services. Monday was International Birth Control Day. It is the federal government's responsibility to ensure equal access for all Canadians needing birth control, but the government has failed. Access is neither universal, equal, nor affordable across this country.

I give the the following by way of example: the NuvaRing is available on public formularies in five provinces and one territory, but not the others; IUDs are available in 3 provinces, but not everywhere; emergency contraceptives are covered only in Alberta; and Quebec covers the patch, but no other province or territory does.

Canada has a human rights obligation to ensure that everyone in every province or territory has the same access to the highest quality medications. Why then does a woman in Manitoba and Quebec have access to more birth control methods than a woman in Saskatchewan? Making all birth control and all sexual and reproductive medications free for all of us is about fairness and gender equality. That is the reason I introduced M-65 to continue the push for equal access to birth control for all Canadians.

My constituents in London-Fanshawe do not believe the economy is working for them. What they see instead is an uneven playing field, where only the few at the top can benefit, at the expense of everyone else. They struggle to pay their bills and care for their parents and children in a community gutted by the loss of well-paid jobs moving offshore as a result of globalization, with no protection from either Liberal or Conservative governments.

Finally, this 556 page-long bill amends 44 pieces of legislation. During the last election campaign, the Liberals promised to abolish omnibus bills because they are undemocratic, yet they chose to restrict the length of debate on this substantial bill at the finance committee. This is not democracy and it is a far cry from the sunny ways promised to Canadians in 2015.

We can do better. We are here to do better. Canadians demand better. Do not let the Liberals tell us it cannot be done.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from London—Fanshawe came up with a number of really important points. The bill we are debating is putting in place a brand new carbon tax, which has been deemed to be one of the biggest taxes ever put on Canadian businesses and job creators. Like her riding, my riding has a lot of manufacturers, and today we heard the horrible news about tariffs being put on Canadian steel and aluminum. Companies want certainty. They want to know how much it is going to cost them to do business in Canada, yet the Liberals are putting in this tax without letting Canadians how much it is going to cost. They know, but they will not release the information.

I had a motion on the table to allow the carbon tax to be transparent so that Canadians and job creators would know how much it is going to cost them. Could the member comment on whether she supports having this new carbon tax and information on how much it would cost Canadian job creators and Canadians in their day-to-day activities? Moreover, does she support its being transparent before it is implemented on the Canadian public?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I absolutely agree that all taxation and all of the work of the government should be transparent. Unfortunately, we have not seen that. I would like transparency with regard to tax shelters. There is $199 billion that goes out the door because corporations do not pay their fair share of taxes.

We are in the middle of a trade war. We have a government that does not fully support small business as it should. Things are extremely difficult.

A little transparency would go a long way, the kind of transparency proposed by my colleague from Victoria in the last session and in a bill he plans to introduce very shortly that would compel the Government of Canada to eliminate the loopholes available to those with huge incomes and the sham of businesses using tax havens to undercut what they owe, not just to the government but to all of the people of Canada in terms of support for the services and things we need as a democratic, safe, secure, and beneficial community.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague and congratulate her on her comments, which are very relevant, as usual, and in the interest of workers, as well as families in her region in Ontario and across the country.

There is something in the budget implementation bill that I cannot understand. The Liberal government will be taxing medical marijuana. In some cases, marijuana is the only medication that can ease regular, permanent, and intense pain. Other drugs do not work. These people are very worried, because they have just learned that they will probably have to pay much more for their medical marijuana.

I do not understand the Liberal government’s decision. I would like to hear my colleague's opinion on the subject and his comments on how this decision could have an impact on people who, because of the tax, may have to think twice before using medication.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, that is an important question. The reality is that there are many Canadians who rely on medical marijuana, and I am thinking of our veterans first and foremost and the service they gave to this country. The injuries they returned home with need to be addressed, and their service needs to be respected. Therefore, they deserve the very best with respect to medical support, and that includes medical marijuana.

One of the things we are very concerned about is the fact that indigenous people who require medical marijuana are being taxed, and those taxes very often put that medication out of reach.

More to the point, we need to look at pharmacare and how it could alleviate financial pressures, not just on those who need medical marijuana but on all Canadians. There are people across this country who cannot afford life-saving and life-improving medications. That should never happen in a country like this. When Tommy Douglas spoke of universal health care, he said the first step would be to support hospitals and doctors, and the next step to make sure that people have access to medications and support services in their homes. I ask the government to take the next step: let us have pharmacare, let us fulfill Douglas's dream, and let us make this a truly fair and supportive country.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, thank you for recognizing me. First of all, I would like to say hello to all the people of Beauport—Limoilou, many of whom are listening today, and to thank them for all their work. They are definitely listening. When I go door to door, many of them tell me that they watch CPAC.

I would like to say something about what the hon. Liberal member for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas said in response to the speech of my colleague from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan. She engaged in the usual Liberal demagoguery. She asked if we believed in climate change. I really would like my constituents to listen closely, because I want to make this clear to them and to all Canadians: we, the Conservatives, believe so strongly in climate change that, in 2007, Mr. Harper held a joint press conference with Mr. Charest to announce the implementation of the new Canada ecotrust program, supported by a total investment of $1.5 billion. The aim of the program was to give each province hundreds of millions of dollars to help with their respective climate change plans. It is easy to look this up on Google by entering “ecoTrust,” “2007,” “Harper,” “Charest.” Not only did Mr. Charest commend the Conservative government’s initiative, but even Steven Guilbeault from Greenpeace at the time—and I am certain that my colleague from Mégantic—L’Érable will find this hard to believe—saluted the initiative as something unheard of.

There is a reason why greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2% under the decade-long Conservative reign. We had a plan, a plan with bold targets that the Liberals made their own.

Now let us talk a bit about the 2018-19 budget, which continues in the same vein as the other two budgets presented so far by the hon. member for Papineau's Liberal government. I would like to begin by saying that the government has been in reaction mode for the past three years and almost never in action mode.

It is in reaction mode when it comes to the softwood lumber crisis, although we do not hear much about it because the softwood lumber rates are still pretty attractive. However, the fact remains that this is a crisis and that, right now, industrial producers in the U.S. are collecting billions of dollars that they will eventually recover, as they do in every softwood lumber crisis.

The Liberal government is in reaction mode when it comes to NAFTA. They will say that they are not the ones who put Mr. Trump in office, but this is yet another major issue that has been taking up their time in the past year, and they are still in reaction mode. They are also in reaction mode when it comes to the imminent tariffs on aluminum and steel.

The Liberals are in reaction mode when it comes to almost every major issue in Canada. They are in reaction mode when it comes to natural resources development, for example with regard to Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. Once again they were in reaction mode, because Kinder Morgan said that it would walk if the government could not assume responsibility and tell British Columbia in no uncertain terms that this was a matter of federal jurisdiction.

All of this shows that the Prime Minister is not the great diplomat he pretends to be across the globe, and in celebrity news and other media. He is such a poor diplomat that he was unable to avoid the softwood lumber crisis with Obama. He is such a poor diplomat that he has supposedly had a wonderful relationship with Mr. Trump for the past year and a half. He speaks to him on the telephone I do not know how many times a month, but that did not prevent Mr. Trump from taking deliberate action against Canada, as we saw today with the tariffs on steel and aluminum.

I would like to make a comparison. We, the Conservatives, were a government of action. We negotiated 46 free-trade agreements. We sent Canadian troops to Kandahar to demonstrate our willingness to co-operate with NATO and the G7 and to make a show of military force. We invested hugely in national defence, increasing our investments from 0.8% to almost 1.2% of the GDP following the dark days of Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government. We settled the softwood lumber issue in 2007, during the last crisis. We implemented the national shipbuilding strategy, investing more than $30 billion to renew our military fleet, to renew the Canadian Coast Guard’s exploration fleet in the Canadian Arctic, and to renew the fleet of icebreakers. The first of these icebreakers, the majestic Diefenbaker, will soon be under construction.

Let us not forget that we also told Mr. Putin to get out of Ukraine. There is no doubt that we were a government of action.

When the budget was tabled, several journalists said that it was more of a political platform than a budget. I find that interesting. In their opinion, the political platform contained no concrete fiscal measures to prepare Canada for tomorrow, for the next 10 years, or for the next century, as our founding fathers intended in 1867. Rather, it contained proposals, in particular concerning social housing. The NDP must be very happy. The Liberals promised billions of dollars if the provinces gave their assent. That was a promise.

The Liberals also made proposals concerning pharmacare. Once again, they were conditional on studies demonstrating the usefulness of such a plan. That, too, was a promise. The promises go on page after page in the budget, and it is obvious that it is a political platform. That is why the Liberals used the word “woman” more than 400 times, 30 times on each page. That is just demagoguery and totally abusive.

I would like to quote a very interesting CBC journalist, Chris Hall. Since he works at the CBC, the Liberals will surely believe him. He said that the government recently spent $233,000 to organize round table discussions to find out whether Canadians understood the message, and not the content, of their budget. I will quote Mr. Hall:

In particular, the report said the findings suggest middle-class Canadians—the very demographic the Liberals have been courting since their election with both policy initiatives and political messaging—don't feel their lives are getting better.

They are correct in thinking that their lives are not getting better. Even Chris Hall concluded, in light of these studies, that the 2018-19 budget is not a document that provides guidelines, includes concrete measures, or outlines actual achievements in progress. It is a political document that proposes ideologies.

The budget also contains a number of disappointments and shortcomings, precisely because it does not contain any actions. It does not respond to the fiscal reforms enacted by U.S. President Trump that give American companies an undue competitive advantage.

The 2018-19 federal budget does not address the tariffs on aluminum and steel either, although we all saw them coming. It does not specify what measures will be taken to implement carbon pricing. Most of all, it does not say how much it will cost every single Canadian. You would think it would at least do that. Some analysts say that it will cost approximately $2,500 per Canadian per year.

This budget is full of proposals but has no concrete measures, and it perpetuates broken promises. Instead of $10-billion deficits for two consecutive years, we have $19-billion deficits accumulating year over year until 2045. This year, we were supposed to have a deficit of $6 billion, but it has reached almost $20 billion. The Liberals also broke their promise to balance the budget. This is the first time that the federal government has not had a concrete plan to balance the budget.

We were supposed to run up deficits in order to invest in the largest infrastructure program in history, because with the Liberals everything is historic. Only $7 billion of the $180 billion of this program has been injected into the Canadian economy.

This is a very disappointing budget and, unfortunately, dear people of Beauport—Limoilou, taxes keep going up and the Liberal carbon tax is just the start.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I could not agree less with the member's comments, specifically with respect to the government always taking a reactionary approach to things. As a matter of fact, our signature policies are the exact opposite. They are policies that are taking a proactive approach to things, such as what we are doing with our environment and how we are going to protect the environment for future generations. We have made sure that the Canada child benefit is indexed moving forward. We have made sure that the worker credit is available to those who are on social assistance and want to get back into the workforce.

When it comes to things like that, would the member not agree that there are at least a couple of things in this budget that are progressive and forward-looking?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite funny. The hon. member spoke about the Canada child benefit and the income tax for workers. The CBC report I spoke about previously said that at the round tables, Canadians said they do not know how much that helped them, and they do not even know that this is going on right now.

People I meet in my riding, Beauport—Limoilou, say they are aware that the Canada child benefit is a way to buy votes, and that is it. That is the basic thing the Liberals are doing with that. It is hard for people to make the choice. Of course, it is a lot of money, but they know that it is a lot of money that their kids will have to pay in 30 years, so it is a poison gift. That is all it is about.

Most of the Liberals' measures are not in action but in reaction, and when they are in action, as some surely are, it is a poison gift for the future. How can the government be proud of those kinds of measures, when that is the case?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:30 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague to speak about his reaction to the budget implementation bill, as it concerns the demands of Quebeckers.

The forestry industry needs help, for example, with the spruce budworm. The budget and this bill mention around $75 million to fight this pest. However, when we take a close look at this document, we see that most of this money is going to the Maritimes. Is this a gift to the Irving family from the Liberals? We have to wonder. There is not one cent for Quebec even though the infestation has affected an area in Quebec that is larger than all of New Brunswick. That says a lot.

One thing Quebec has been calling for for a long time is to increase transfers for health care, social services, and education. That is what Quebeckers want, and that is what the provincial government and all the members of Quebec's National Assembly want. However, once again, no money was set aside for that in the last budget. I am also reminded of Davie shipyard, which employs hundreds of workers near my colleague's riding. The announcements about Davie are still vague. It may get a few crumbs later, but we are talking about a multi-billion-dollar project to renew the Canadian fleet over the next few years. That work is again mostly concentrated in Nova Scotia, in the Maritimes, even though there are 40 or so Liberal MPs from Quebec. I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on this subject.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Alupa Clarke Conservative Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his questions. Questions like these are why I have been urging him to join the Conservatives for three years, along with the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, though I am not too sure about him, since his socialism is a little too intense. I think he may be too deeply entrenched in socialism.

About Davie, it takes political leadership. In 2015, one month before the election, we awarded the contract for the Asterix. It was the crowning achievement of Canada's largest shipyard, which is located in Lévis. Social transfers are also very important. The Conservative government provided health and education transfers with no strings attached. We fixed the fiscal imbalance by giving $800 million to Quebec. Charest acknowledged that in no uncertain terms.

First and foremost, as we have been proving since 1867, and as the history books will surely show, we are a Conservative political government when we form government. We support decentralization and respect the spirit and the letter of the Constitution, the British North America Act, our greatest constitutional document. We respect provincial and federal areas of jurisdiction. That is what is so great about the Conservatives.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to talk about the budget implementation bill.

What I have to say might come as a surprise to my colleagues opposite. I want to talk about something I like in this bill. That might come as a surprise because it is something I rarely do, but this is an issue that is important to me. This bill allocates a significant and much-appreciated amount of money to scientific research, which was a priority for many people in my riding and the greater Montreal area. I am pleased to see that a portion of the money to be invested in research centres, in university centres, will be going to basic research. That is something important that we, the NDP, along with other political parties, have advocated for for years. This is an investment in the future that will help us better understand our world; that is something worth talking about.

Okay, I am done with the praise. Now for the criticism. I have been generous. Although there are investments in scientific research, there is unfortunately very little for the university sector. There are a few crumbs for student debt and tuition fees. I want to talk about universities because, unfortunately, very few people do. So many students finish school with huge debts of $20,000, $30,000, $40,000, even $50,000. Consider a young couple trying to start a new life with a burden like this. Our bold young heroes go to the Caisse populaire hoping to be able to buy a house or a condo. It seems odd that they would ask for a mortgage when they already have such a huge debt. Once again, it would have been nice if the Liberals had kept their election promise and looked at the issue of student debt. Unfortunately, they did not, and our students will continue to suffer. We find that deplorable.

Now I will address health care. No one will be surprised, because I mentioned it yesterday. I also asked my colleague from London about this earlier, and I will reiterate that I do not understand why the Liberal government decided to tax medical cannabis. Medical marijuana helps people, and it used to be exempt from tax. For reasons neither I or anyone else can understand, the Liberal government decided to put a tax on it. This will have a major impact on these people. Often, it is the only medication that helps them control their pain. Some of them have had serious operations and others are cancer survivors. Earlier, my colleague pointed out that, in some cases, marijuana can help our veterans get through certain illnesses or post-traumatic shock. Now, people may have to choose between taking their medication and buying their groceries because they may not be able to pay the additional cost due to the Liberal government’s tax. I would like some answers.

While we are on the topic of medication, there is something missing in the budget. I want to talk for a few minutes about what is missing in the budget. A government has to make choices. We can talk about what is in the budget, but often what is missing in the budget is more important and has a greater impact on people’s lives. Take pharmacare, for example. I was talking about medical marijuana just now, but pharmacare would make a major change in the quality of life and purchasing power of Canadians across the country. Prescription drugs are too expensive, and that places a considerable burden on our elderly, who are often low earners. How is it that we are not covered for dental or vision care? How is it that we do not have a universal public drug insurance plan?

As my colleague mentioned earlier, Tommy Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan, was clear. According to him, the first step is to ensure that everyone has access to medicare with hospitals, doctors, and nurses. The second step is to make sure that people have access to home care and are able to afford their medications. We have not yet accomplished the second step, but we hope that we will soon because it has a major impact on people's quality of life and their ability to take care of themselves. We are the only country in the world with a public health care system that does not also have a public pharmacare program. The two must go hand in hand.

It is really the combination of the two that is truly effective. We want a universal public pharmacare program in co-operation with the provinces. It is true that the Government of Quebec already offers such a program, but it is flawed, and some people still have to pay for drug coverage in group insurance plans, which is extremely expensive. With regard to the labour market, this is always an issue that comes up in collective bargaining because increased drug costs is what puts the biggest strain on the health care system. If our health care spending seems out of control, it is mainly because we do not have a good universal public pharmacare program.

My colleague from Joliette referred to the fact that the Liberal government keeps making cuts to health care transfers, a trend that began under the previous government. Absolutely nothing has changed in that regard.

According to our estimates, over a 10-year period, the federal government cut health care transfers by $31 billion compared to what the provinces were previously getting under the federal-provincial agreement that was negotiated. Reducing the annual growth of federal health transfers has had a major impact on our hospitals, on our ability to take care of people, and on emergency room wait times, which can reach up to 20 hours or even 24 hours. We think that could have been changed, but there is nothing about it in the most recent Liberal budget.

There are certain things missing from the bill that could make a huge difference in people's lives.

One example is a public child care program. We have one in Quebec. It used to be even better, but it is still pretty good. More spaces would be nice. If there were a federal Canada-wide program, that would help the Quebec program as well as Canadians in the other provinces, who currently have nothing. Those people receive a cheque, which, granted, is a little better than before, but it covers only two or three days' worth of private child care. Children usually need to go to day care 20 days per month. When child care costs between $40 and $60 a day, people start to wonder whether they should go to work for minimum wage or stay at home. This leads to lost productivity. This is also unfair to women, given that, still today, they are often the ones who have the responsibility—I almost said the burden, but it is not a burden to look after one's children, it is fun—of caring for their families.

According to one study by an economist by the name of Mr. Fortin, when Quebec created its child care program, roughly 70,000 women returned to the workforce. This social measure has a very positive impact on women and on productivity, since it means more people in the workforce. It makes a difference.

Let us now talk about social housing. Housing is the biggest expense for every family. People in Toronto, Vancouver, or Montreal spend 40% to 50% of their income on housing. That plunges them into poverty.

The Liberals made fine promises on that and then announced billions of dollars. Sadly, those billions of dollars will not be available until after the next federal election, and in some cases they are allocated for after the 2023 federal election. The housing crisis is real. Families have real needs. While some parents skip meals because their housing is too expensive and they do not have enough money to put food on the table, the Liberal government is putting things off until later.

What can the government do to fund a good social housing program? It can tackle tax havens, tax evasion, and tax loopholes for CEOs who earn tens of millions of dollars annually. Again, this budget is truly a dismal failure.

The Liberal government signs new agreements with tax havens and does absolutely nothing but tell us how much it is spending, which in the end is inaccurate. We lose $8 billion to $15 billion a year to tax evasion and our agreements with tax havens. We do not need to wait for the United Nations, the OECD, or the G7 to take action. We can take this on ourselves because we have bilateral tax agreements with some tax havens and certain countries. Bilateral means that there are only two players, namely Canada and another country.

Why are we unable to sit down and renegotiate these agreements? Losing billions of dollars in taxes makes no sense. We need that money for our universities, our hospitals, and social housing. It would make a difference in people's lives.

I hope that the Liberals will eventually understand this.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his passionate speech, because he really hits on some of the important things that are not in this budget.

I would like to commend the Prime Minister, though. Let us talk about his successes. Because people on the other side say this is a progressive budget, let us talk about what he is doing progressively.

He is progressively killing our traditional job markets. Let us look at our energy sector. We know that the Prime Minister says that he wants to phase out the energy sector, and he is doing that quite successfully. He says he wants to transition away from manufacturing. Today, we heard about the tariffs from Mr. Trump, which are going to affect a lot of manufacturing, specifically in Ontario and Quebec. There is no deal on softwood lumber. He is successfully killing that industry. In our mining industry, because of his red tape and environmental changes, he is successfully killing those jobs and investments. Our fishing industry, because of the oceans protection plan, is being killed.

Could the member point out in the budget where there is anything to improve the ability of Canadian sectors to compete?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

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

I would first like to clarify something. The NDP believes that the energy sector includes more than just the oil industry. There are others. This industry is indeed important, but there are other things we could invest in, such as renewable energies. There is almost nothing in the budget for this.

All of a sudden, the government seems to have $12 billion to $15 billion to buy a 65-year-old pipeline that is leaking everywhere. We do not understand why. Furthermore, it seems prepared to take on all of the risks associated with this project, which the private sector deemed too risky. The government bought just the pipeline for $4.5 billion, but Kinder Morgan said that it would cost $7.4 billion to complete the expansion. We are already at more than $12 billion.

The government could have done some amazing things, like invest in renewable energies and create exciting, green jobs for the future. Unfortunately, the Liberals are still living in the past.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I completely agree with him about medications and cannabis. I proposed amendments in committee to eliminate taxes on essential medications, but they were unfortunately rejected.

I want to add something about the major campaign to combat climate change, since there are some things missing from the budget, especially with respect to energy efficiency. For example, there is no program like the eco-energy innovation initiative.

I used to be such a fan of what was put forward by previous governments. The 2005 budget, which came forward when the current Minister of Public Safety was the minister of finance, was full of great climate action pieces that are completely missing now. I wonder if my colleague has any thoughts about why those are missing in action.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her attempt to make amendments to help people who need medical marijuana. Once again, she came up against the Liberal government. My colleague is quite right in pointing out the lack of investments and tax credits for energy efficiency, particularly regarding homes.

I recently attended the summit for a just energy transition, which was held in Montreal and hosted by some environmental groups and unions. The Conseil du patronat du Québec and some major investors were also in attendance. One sector that can really make a difference and change things is the building and construction industry. We often hear about transportation, but other things can be done too, including in agriculture and in building and construction.

We used to have a good tax credit for energy efficient retrofits that worked really well and helped Canadians save money. It was also helping to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and lower people's electricity bills. It was a win-win-win situation. Unfortunately, it disappeared, and we do not understand why the Liberal government is not bringing it back. It was not a very expensive measure, but it helped reduce our energy use considerably and it improved people's lives because it helped them save a little money. It would have been nice to see that in the budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be here to speak to this budget implementation bill. My speech today will be called “promises, priorities and plans”. When we put a budget together, we should consider the amount of money we will need to keep all the promises we have made. Of course, there is not an endless amount of money in the world so there is a need to prioritize those promises we have made to ensure we hit the important ones and put those first.

Then it is important to have plans. We all know that without plans, we may spend a lot of money and not really accomplish anything, which we have seen an incredible amount of from the Liberal government.

With respect to promises, one of the early promises made by the government, which we hear repeatedly, was that it would run very small deficits, a small deficit of $10 billion in the first year, coming to balance in the fourth year. However, we have seen double that deficit in the first year, double the deficit in the second year, and triple that deficit in this budget. There is no end in sight with respect to balancing the budget. It is certainly not going to be in the fourth year of the mandate. Now it looks like it may not be until 2045. This is promise was broken into about 1.5 trillion pieces.

The other thing is that a lot of promises were made that were extremely important to rural communities across Canada. The first one was the restoration of home mail delivery, which for people who are living in very rural places, especially those who are elderly, is a very important service.

Even more important than that was the promise about infrastructure money. Members can remember that we were going to spend infrastructure money to create jobs and get the economy going, and that money was going to be spent on roads and bridges in municipalities. This is a critical thing in ridings like Sarnia—Lambton, where we have a lot of roads and bridges that need to be fixed, and the municipality certainly does not have the money to fix them. I was disappointed with the last budget when the government took $15 billion from those municipalities and put it into the infrastructure bank. Of course we have seen nothing come out of that whole situation.

Then there was the Asian Infrastructure Bank to which the government gave another half a billion of taxpayer dollars to build roads and bridges in Asia, which is not helping the rural community at all. Thus was another broken promise.

One of the most disturbing promises broken by the government was that of openness, transparency, and a higher ethical standard. Every time we ask questions about what is in this budget, such as the carbon tax that is outlined heavily in the budget, the government refuses to say how much it will cost the average Canadian taxpayer. The average Canadian taxpayer wants to know. If it is not a bad number, then why is it afraid to say it? Obviously, if it does not want to tell Canadians, it is because it is bad news.

Beyond not telling them how much it will cost, it will not even tell us what it will accomplish. The environment minister has been asked multiple times at committee, and here in the House, what kind of a greenhouse gas reduction she expects from this, and she has no answer. There is a huge amount of money being spent in the budget in this area. There is a huge amount of tax that will be paid by Canadians, yet there is no openness and transparency from the government with respect to those issues.

The government promised not to use omnibus bills, and here we are again with this huge budget bill. So many things have been snuck into this bill that if we did not really read all the pages, we might not be aware of them. My colleagues to the left have already talked about the medicinal marijuana issue and the taxes associated with that. However, more so, there is language in the budget bill that suggests that if people had a drug information number, they would be exempt. The fact remains that there is no drug exemption number for any medicinal marijuana because of the variability of all the components. Therefore, that is just another misrepresentation in the budget bill.

With respect to the taxes on cigarettes' portion of the bill, there is an escalating tax that continues to go up in perpetuity, without any parliamentary vote and without Canadians being able to talk about that. This is the same kind of deceptive tax that was put on beer and wine. It is fine for the government to put a sin tax on something when it wants to, but when it wants to hide a tax in there that continues to go up and generates revenue for the government, and it sneaks it onto page 324, Canadians may never get to that.

Therefore, there is no openness and no transparency in omnibus bills.

As members know, I am a passionate advocate for palliative care, so I was very excited when the government said it would spend $3 billion on home and palliative care in the 2016 budget. Then the government updated the 2017 budget and said that it would spend $6 billion over 10 years. It was a little more paced out, but at least it was something. I was really disappointed to see the word “palliative” removed from the 2018 budget. It was taken out altogether, even though the government supported my private member's bill, Bill C-277, on consistent access for palliative care for all Canadians. Surely, if we want there to be consistent access, we know we will have to plan something to back up that promise and put money in the budget. I was very disappointed there was nothing in the budget on that.

I will go to priorities.

One would think that in a country with one person out of six being a senior, maybe seniors would be a priority, but no. The Liberal government took position of minister for seniors away, and there is relatively nothing in budget 2018 that will help seniors, many of whom really struggle to afford to live and pay for many of the things they need, such as cataract surgery, perhaps hearing aids or dentures. I certainly heard this when I went door to door. A priority has been missed.

Then there is the agriculture sector. Agriculture is hugely important in Canada. Everyone can agree that we need to eat. This is one of our largest industries. What is the government doing? First, it is loading all kinds of bureaucracy on the Canadian agriculture industry that does not apply to other people. It has taken away pesticides without any replacement. Those very pesticides are used by countries that then import their food to Canada, putting us at a competitive disadvantage. Most recently, it decided it would not allow the sale of premixed feed that contains antibiotic. This product has been sold safely for quite a number of years. Again, it is a burden on our industry that is not on other industries outside of the country that ship products into Canada.

There is very little support for research in agriculture, very little support for the industry overall, and total betrayal when it comes to the agreement that was made with respect to the TPP, that farmers would be compensated for the quota they had to give up. That is gone. They still have to give up the quota, but they do not get the compensation. It is another broken promise for the agriculture industry.

Regarding health care, the government's priorities are really screwed up. The government putting $80 million in a budget to get people to stop smoking tobacco is a wonderful thing. However, to then put $800 million in the budget to get people to start smoking marijuana just does not seem like the right message from a health point of view, especially when we consider the danger to children.

Then there is the $7-billion slush fund. I am not sure what kind of priority that is backing up in an election year, but I can only guess. That is a disappointment as well.

Then there are plans. We do not see any plans. We have talked about how there is no climate change plan and no answers on the carbon tax. What about NAFTA? The Liberals have known for over a year that tariffs could be put on the steel industry. There is no plan and no money in the budget to address that whatsoever.

What about this $4.5-billion pipeline? Members can hear that my voice is a bit hoarse from having a $4.5-billion pipeline that is 65 years old being shoved down my throat. Where was the plan for that in the budget? It is missing.

Overall, when we look at this budget, we can see that when it comes to promises, priorities, and plans, the Liberals have broken their promises, their priorities are definitely screwed up, and they have no plan to achieve anything. That is a super disappointment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5 p.m.
See context

Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Sarnia—Lambton touched on many things in this budget. She has experience in the workforce in corporate Canada. Can members imagine any company or business preparing a budget, with a substantial piece of it going toward, say, a carbon tax, which is 200 pages of this omnibus bill, having done zero analysis on what the impact a carbon tax would have Canadian businesses, Canadian farmers, Canadian agribusinesses, and Canadian families? Can anyone imagine a business having a huge part of that budget with no financial implications of what the impact of that would be?

Could my colleague talk about what she is hearing from her constituents about their concerns with the carbon tax and having no idea what the impact this carbon tax is going to have on them moving forward?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, what I am hearing from the small businesses in Sarnia—Lambton is that they are being pushed right to the brink. Many of them are going under. The Liberal government has done nothing but load burden onto them, with extra CPP and carbon taxes, with the Ontario Liberals under the Wynne government helping them out with a $15 minimum wage, etc. They are pushed to the max.

However, I am right on the border between Canada and the U.S. People can move their business across the states where there is no carbon tax. They can move their business across to the states where Trump is busy getting rid of the bureaucratic regulations that are so arduous for small business.

Definitely, anybody who wants to stay in business has to stay competitive. The Liberal government does not seem to understand that and it has not helped any Canadian businesses accomplish that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5 p.m.
See context

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of working with my colleague from Sarnia—Lambton at the pay equity committee on one of the very first initiatives of this Parliament. I loved her theme of promises, priorities, and plans. With respect to her initiative on palliative care, we did the work, the committee made a recommendation, and the government promised to follow up on it. However, now we continue to get promises with no implementation, just a repeat of an announcement and no money in the budget.

Does she want to comment on the fact that people are starting to become cynical? To be quite honest, they have a reason to be cynical.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, that excellent question gives me another opportunity to talk about the promises, the priorities, and the plans with respect to gender equality.

My colleague and I sat on the committee that looked at pay equity. Recommendations were made and the government promised to bring forward legislation. As well, the government made 365 references to doing something for gender in the budget bill, and zero dollars for pay equity. This is not good.

Obviously, as the first female engineer in the House, I am a strong advocate for women and for equality for women. It has just been a total smoke and mirror show on the part of the government. It talks a good story on gender and gender-based violence elimination, and all these things. At the end of the day, very little effort is being spent.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, if people heard a laugh on CPAC, that was me laughing out loud at my friend from Sarnia—Lambton's sore throat from having the pipeline shoved down it.

The hon. member is really a very congenial member of this place, so I hope she will forgive this one tiny correction. She may want to comment on it. Some parts of the United States do have carbon taxes. There is a big tariff put on every barrel of oil sent to the state of Hawaii, for example. Of course California is part of the shared carbon market with Ontario and Quebec.

However, I know we will not agree on this issue, and I hope she will forgive my adding in a little correction.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I always want to get the facts straight. I stand corrected by the member, although I would point out that there is not a lot of competition of business directly in Sarnia—Lambton with California, because that is a very long drive. Over Michigan state and the surrounding states, there is an opportunity to really see businesses leaving Canada and taking up residency in the U.S. because of the better conditions for business there.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:05 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-74, the budget implementation act.

The Prime Minister has introduced this omnibus budget bill that spends money we do not have on things we do not need and piles debt upon debt and taxes us to pay for it. The Liberal government continues to spend and spend while Canadian taxpayers foot the bill and Canadian businesses flee to the United States.

The government has increased spending by 20%, or $60 billion, in its first three years, and there is no evidence that it created any growth in the Canadian economy. Despite this record spending, Canada is headed for a slowdown. Private sector forecasts show growth of 2% in 2018 and 1.6% in 2019.

Budget 2016 promised that spending would raise the level of GDP by 0.5% in 2016-17 and by 1.0% in 2017-18. However, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has estimated that infrastructure spending actually contributed a tiny 0.1% to GDP growth in both years.

At a time when the government has to buy a pipeline no one wanted to sell and no one wanted to buy in order to cover its own failed energy policy; at a time when we cannot seem to get agreements with our largest trading partner on softwood lumber, steel, and aluminum on the North American Free Trade Agreement; at a time when investor confidence in Canada has hit rock bottom; at a time when our country has one trillion dollars of market debt, a debt upon which the Government of Canada pays interest—the Liberal government plans on installing a job-killing carbon tax. Nearly 200 pages of Bill C-74 are dedicated to this complicated and costly new carbon tax. If Canadians have not had enough already, this new tax will raise the cost of heat, groceries, and pretty much everything.

Finance officials have said that the Liberals' carbon tax will raise the price of gasoline by 11¢ per litre, or about $8 on an average fill-up. It will cost Canadians families an extra $264 in natural gas home heating per year. Oil heating costs will rise even more.

We know this carbon tax is going to cost Canadians much more and we know the Liberals know it, but they refuse to come clean, and that is the issue we have on this side of the House. They refuse to tell us exactly how much the carbon tax will cost the average Canadian family.

Mr. Trevor Tombe, at the University of Calgary, estimates $1,100 for a family per year. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation estimates that the carbon tax will cost as much as $2,500 per family per year.

Environment Canada has told the minister that a price on carbon would have to go as high as $100 per tonne in 2020 and $300 per tonne in 2050 to meet its 2030 GHG targets. Carbon taxes are not effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Conference Board and the Canadian Academy of Engineering, even if carbon taxes were to reach $200 per tonne by 2025, it would only result in a 1.5% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

After direct questioning by the member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa, the environment minister at committee refused to give a number when asked. The government knows if and how much the carbon tax will reduce greenhouse gas emissions; however, it just will not make that number public. Perhaps the government has learned its lesson after so many failed promises in its 2015 platform: I am guessing it is better to say nothing than to continue to break promises. Unfortunately, we cannot run a government that way, and Canadians are demanding answers.

The government, through Natural Resources Canada, wants to spend $280,000 to try to find out why investor confidence in Canada is so low. Before Canadians from coast to coast to coast pick up the phone to call the minister in hopes of landing that $280,000 contract, the closing date was April 19.

It does not really take many people to figure out why Canadian competitiveness is so weak, why investor confidence is so low, and why Canadian businesses are fleeing south. Canadian competitiveness is weak because of rising costs as Canadian businesses face these increases. We are seeing new carbon taxes and increased CPP and EI premiums. Personal income taxes for entrepreneurs are now over 53% at the top marginal rate. Thousands of local businesses will no longer qualify for the small business tax rate or will see it reduced. Tough new rules will raise taxes on compensation paid in the family business.

According to Jack Mintz, Canadian businesses are facing a competitive tsunami that could wallop jobs and investment, as U.S. tax reform and the reduction in the corporate rate from 35% to 21% will make Canada less competitive and increase the appeal of moving to the United States.

Budget 2018 offered nothing to Canadian businesses. The U.K., the U.S, and France have all embarked on major tax reforms, simplifying the tax code and lowering overall tax rates. Canada is moving in the complete opposite direction, with more taxes and more regulation. Investor confidence has fallen by 5%, or $12.7 billion, since 2015.

During the same period, business investments in the United States increased by 9%, amounting to an additional $198 billion of investment spending. Foreign direct investment into Canada plummeted by 42% in 2016 and then a further 27% in 2017. The natural resources sector is being hit particularly hard, as regulation is discouraging investment. The pipeline shortage means that Canada's oil and gas companies receive lower prices for oil, approximately $24 less per barrel, because they are forced to ship to a part of the United States glutted with oil and gas. This is costing the Canadian economy approximately $50 million per day. In the last two years, $84 billion of investment in the energy sector has been cancelled.

Economist Germain Belzile, a senior researcher at the Montreal Economic Institute, stated:

People are giving up on Canada as a safe place to invest in natural resources.

It's seen as a very hostile environment now.

Doug Porter, chief economist and managing director of BMO Financial Group, stated:

I think Canada has a very weak competitive position. I think we're going to get crushed in the next recession....

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, a leading industry association in the oil and gas sector, advises that the sector is seeing companies, including Canadian firms, looking at allocating more capital dollars in the U.S., while investment in Canada is decreasing.

RBC president and CEO Dave McKay, the head of one of Canada's largest banks, is urging the federal government to stem the flow of investment capital from this country to the United States because, he warns, it is already leaving in real time. Canadian businesses are fleeing south because the entrepreneurial climate in Canada has soured.

Canadians have lost faith in their government. In his first three years in power, the Prime Minister added $60 billion to the national debt. Last year, Canada's national debt reached an all-time high of $670 billion, or $47,612 per Canadian family, and the budget will not return to balance until 2045, when my son will be 33 years of age and quite possibly raising my grandchildren.

The finance minister's attack on small business last fall demonstrated just how out of touch the government is with what is going on in the economy, although the finance minister did climb down significantly on taxing passive investment income. Instead of the proposed 73% tax rate, the government will gradually withdraw eligibility for the small business tax rate for those companies with investment income greater than $50,000.

I could go on and on and I am sure members would enjoy that a lot, but I understand my time is running out, so I will wrap it up before I am cut off. I look forward to questions and to speaking more about how this Liberal budget is failing Canadian families.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, I live in British Columbia and I have for many years. Of course, we have had a carbon tax in place for well over a decade. When I was mayor of Cranbrook, we used to be able to take the money we would have had to pay for carbon taxes and reinvest it in improvements in the city to reduce heat loss or put in charging stations for electric vehicles. At worst, I guess it was a balance. At best, we were reinvesting in a better future.

Over the last year and a half, I held three sessions with local business people in three different communities. I invited the mayor and the MLA, and then I invited small businesses to come and meet with all three levels of government at the same time to try to maximize the use of their time. Not once did a carbon tax come up as an issue from any of the small businesses we met with.

Putting carbon taxes aside, what would the member have liked to have seen in this budget to help small businesses?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question. I get it at the door all the time. Anywhere I go, I represent a rural community. Rural people use oil to heat their homes, or they use propane or other sources that will be impacted because of this carbon tax. It seems every direction they look, life is becoming more and more unaffordable.

That is really causing a problem all across the country, but I will specifically look at Ontario, where we have some of the highest electricity rates anywhere in North America. That is again because of bad government decisions that are forcing people into poverty. People are making decisions on whether they pay the rent or their electricity bill, or whether they eat this month or get their prescription drugs, and the list goes on. This is because people are being left with less and less in their pockets because their cheques just are not going far enough, and that is because of taxes.

As taxes are implemented throughout the marketplace, businesses start to increase their prices throughout the marketplace, so everything starts to get more expensive. If people are not getting an increase to offset the rising prices—because it is a government increase, not an organic increase—that hurts people. That is what I am seeing in rural Canada. I think small businesses would like the government to just get the heck out of the way.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:15 p.m.
See context

Québec debout

Gabriel Ste-Marie Québec debout Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague if he agrees with me about one of the major shortcomings in this bill, with its many hundreds of pages, and in the previous one. I am talking about strengthening tools to better combat the use of tax havens.

Fraudsters are doing things that are against the law, and not enough investigations are being carried out or charges being laid. The big problem is the legal use of tax havens. Because of two regulations in section 5907 of the Income Tax Regulations, multinationals and big corporations can transfer their money to tax havens to dodge their tax obligations and pay no tax in Canada.

My colleague talks about the cost of living going up because of rising taxes. Meanwhile, those who have the means to contribute more use tax havens to avoid doing so. There is nothing about this in the last budget or the budget implementation bill.

Shouldn't the Liberal government be doing something about it?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Jamie Schmale Conservative Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that everyone needs to pay their fair share in taxes. When the United States lowered its tax rate, companies brought money back into the country. As I said, I agree that people need to pay their fair share, but off the top of my head, I believe that when the tax rate was reduced, Apple brought $300 million back that was offshore. It brought it into the economy to spend on wages, research and development, expansion, and bonuses. That was brought in because taxes were lowered, giving businesses an advantage and allowing them to contribute to the economy at home.

That is one way it can be done. I am sure the government has its ideas as well. However, if we want to use one example, that is one we could use.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to take part in this discussion today.

I do not know whether to laugh or cry, but yesterday or the day before, I unwillingly became a millionaire, since we are all now owners of Kinder Morgan's infamous Trans Mountain pipeline. Everyone is pleased. I see all my colleagues smiling. I did not expect that. We are used to a government that claims to be extremely transparent, but it is anything but. This government is about as transparent as a bottle of Pepsi.

That being said, I would like to talk more generally about the Liberals' supposed transparency when it comes to the budget or to any bill, for that matter. They promised in their 2015 election platform that they would do things differently from Mr. Harper and the NDP member for Outremont. That is the first thing they said. People may not like Mr. Harper, but one must admit that he had one good quality, and that is that he always did what he said he would. That was his trademark.

The Liberal platform, which I have here, sets out a number of promises. I will quote from it because spoken words fly away, but written words remain. It reads, and I quote:

We will run modest deficits for three years so that we can invest in growth for the middle class and credibly offer a plan to balance the budget in 2019.

Excuse me for telling the truth, but that is what is written here in black and white. I feel as though I am acting in some sort of comedy. Not only are those words untrue, but the deficit is three times higher than the Liberals promised it would be. Again in the Liberals' election platform—not in ours since we do not make promises that we cannot keep—it reads, and I quote:

The foundation of the fiscal plan over our mandate is a planning framework that is realistic, sustainable, prudent, and transparent.

I have a hard time believing that, since the Liberals are using taxpayers' money to buy pipelines without asking permission here in the House and they are promising to make changes to the EI system.

By the way, the Liberals recently threw $10 million at the EI spring gap and provided some training. In my riding, many people are affected by this gap, but only 26 of them were eligible for the training. However, what bothers me the most is that, when the Liberals announced the $10-million investment, it was really appreciated, but then they held so many consultations that I think they forgot to consult the regions.

When you live in a remote area, an English or a computer course is not what you need the most, especially since very little English is spoken in Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. We mainly speak French. Manual labour is what rural regions need the most. This $10 million should have been used to fix the spring gap by providing training adapted to the actual needs of the people in the regions who were requesting it, rather than providing the training that public servants, who do not know anything about our regions, thought they needed. In my mind, that was the greatest loss.

I studied the budget from cover to cover and found very little for rural areas, whether for the Gaspé or my region of Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix. It focused a lot on the Maritimes, which have many MPs. However, there are just as many MPs in rural areas who received nothing, because they are not Liberals.

The rural regions just want to be heard. It is not a partisan issue. When the government spends taxpayer money to consult people over and over again, it should take what they say into consideration. I recently consulted my constituents and wrote a report on the spring gap in my riding. I met with the unemployed, business people, mayors, and municipal councillors, and we all came to the same conclusion: today's employment insurance system does not reflect what we would expect to see in 2018. It is outdated. It needs to be modernized.

The Liberal government has claimed to be transparent from the start. However, every time we hold the government to account, it never responds. The Liberals are as transparent as a bottle of Pepsi: dark and impossible to see through.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, as I was saying earlier, the thing that really disappoints me about Bill C-74 is that it leaves out the people from the rural regions, where I am from. In its 2015 election platform, the Liberal government said it wanted to do things differently and that it did not want to use omnibus bills. Bill C-74 is an omnibus bill. The election platform states, “We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny”.

Since the Liberal government came to power, it has been promising heaven and earth to Canadians. However, we do not always get heaven and earth. I will explain. Every time the Liberals said that they were transparent, we realized that they were pulling a fast one on us. Without really knowing it, we all became millionaires yesterday with the purchase of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline.

I am very disappointed that, after conducting so many consultations across the country, the Liberals did not listen to ordinary Canadians who live in remote areas. This budget contains nothing for them. It is too bad, because we have to remember that it is people in rural areas who feed our cities, and not the other way around. It is people who live in those small communities who could really use a bit of help.

As for employment insurance, the Liberals invested $10 million to provide training to the unemployed, but only 26 people in my riding were eligible. Furthermore, the training offered is not appropriate for the rural community I represent. What we need in our rural communities is manual labour, like farmers and seasonal workers, in other words, people who have to deal with the EI spring gap. These people need training that reflects their reality, not the reality of a few people who draft legislation and who have never set foot in our ridings.

Every region is different. In my riding alone, we have six different realities. There is an urban reality, a semi-urban reality, a rural reality, agriculture, tourism, and many other different things. This budget, however, does not correspond to the reality of ordinary Canadians. It is more suited to the reality of people who work in an office in the Liberal universe.

In closing, I am very disappointed and I will not be supporting this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 6:30 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech on the budget and other aspects of the government's fiscal plan. I would like to ask a question about the carbon tax. The government has a position on this, and it differs from ours. It is not unusual in a democracy to have different points of view, but the problem in this case is that the government does not want to provide the information. We have a carbon tax cover-up. The government does not want to disclose the information about the impact on families.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks of that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. I am very pleased that he is shining a spotlight on the Liberal government's lack of transparency. Let us think back to the election platform. I am not the one who originally said that written words are more powerful than spoken words. It is in black and white that the Liberals said they wanted to do things differently and to be transparent. Being transparent when we want to do things differently means opening the books. They state clearly in their election platform. However, every time we receive a file, it is redacted. We cannot get the whole truth.

We learned today that the government redacted or kept secret correspondence concerning all the questions we asked about the Aga Khan's travel. More than 80% of the hundreds of pages of correspondence exchanged by representatives of the Aga Kahn during the three months preceding the meetings between the Prime Minister and the super-rich leader were redacted. That is the case for many files. We highlighted certain files.

They say they want to do things differently, but I would just like to point one thing out. I think they are obsessed with Mr. Harper, which is a compliment to him. Unlike them, however, Mr. Harper said what he was going to do and did what he said he would, even if people did not like it. The Liberals said they would do things differently, but they are actually doing things worse than us. That is a shame, because that is the line they fed people. They told people to vote for them, but now we know it was all a charade.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

May 31st, 2018 / 6:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet NDP Hochelaga, QC

Madam Speaker, during question period today, my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot asked a question about the spring gap. The story she told us was so sad. In the Maritimes, people are going to church to pray for a miracle because they have no more money to feed their families. There is nothing about employment insurance in this budget, nor is there anything about it in Bill C-74.

Does my colleague think that, instead of waiting and cutting taxes for the rich, the federal government should have done something about the employment insurance spring gap?