An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)

This bill was last introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2021.

This bill was previously introduced in the 43rd Parliament, 1st Session.


Larry Maguire  Conservative

Introduced as a private member’s bill.


This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.


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

This enactment amends the Income Tax Act in order to provide that, in the case of qualified small business corporation shares and shares of the capital stock of a family farm or fishing corporation, siblings are deemed not to be dealing at arm’s length and to be related, and that, under certain conditions, the transfer of those shares by a taxpayer to the taxpayer’s child or grandchild who is 18 years of age or older is to be excluded from the anti-avoidance rule of section 84.‍1.


All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, an excellent resource from the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.


May 12, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-208, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)
Feb. 3, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-208, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (transfer of small business or family farm or fishing corporation)

Agriculture and Agri-FoodOral Questions

February 13th, 2023 / 2:50 p.m.
See context


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the next generation of farmers is under threat at a time when the price of land has spiked by 248% in 10 years. The House passed Bill C‑208 some time ago to make it easier to transfer a farm between members of the same family, but no one is benefiting from that because Ottawa keeps promising to amend the legislation without ever actually doing it.

If they sell their farm to their family, as permitted under law, farmers are afraid they will be hit with a tax bill if the federal government changes the rules mid-year.

Can the minister confirm that they will not be retroactively penalized?

Opposition Motion—Carbon TaxBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

December 8th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Madam Speaker, that was a most interesting exchange. Maybe we can get into it later in questions.

Our Conservative Party motion we are debating today is an opportunity for all members of Parliament, even those in the Liberal backbenches, to stand up for their constituents. I know it would take courage, but I urge each and every one of them to do the right thing. If we can pass this motion, it would send a clear message and a strong signal to the Prime Minister that his government needs to get serious about the dramatic rise in the price of food. It would also send a signal to our entire agriculture and agri-food sector that the House of Commons will not sit idly by. We must do everything in our power to stop the Liberal government from making it more expensive for them to produce the food that Canadian consumers rely on.

There is a cost-of-living crisis for millions of Canadians. Our Conservative team gets up every single day in this House to fight for them, and sadly all we hear are empty Liberal talking points with no solutions. Just yesterday the Bank of Canada raised the interest rate another half a percentage point. First-time homebuyers are now paying $500 more a month in monthly payments for the same mortgage they had a year ago, and it now takes 67% of their income to service a traditional mortgage.

With these relentless rate hikes, more and more already struggling Canadians will have to choose between paying their mortgage and putting food on the table. Canadians are out of money, and the Liberal government is out of touch. We can just look at the number of credit card applications this year over last year. A report the other day had it at a 31% increase.

Like all MPs in the House, I am getting emails and calls from moms and dads who are struggling to pay their bills and put food on their tables. I am hearing from seniors who worked decades to save for their retirements, only to see inflation eradicate their income and their financial security. Every time families and seniors go to the grocery store, they get sticker shock. It is expected the average family will pay an additional $1,065 for groceries next year. It is no wonder that one in five Canadians is already skipping meals and a record one and a half million Canadians are visiting food banks every single month.

Our Conservative opposition day motion would not only help reduce the cost of food for families and seniors, it would pour water on the fire of government-induced inflation.

I farmed all my life. It is what I know best. I also represent countless farm families and hear from them every day. They find it reprehensible that the Liberal government is determined to make it more difficult for them to produce the food we eat. It is simply unconscionable that their own government is implementing policies that are making it more expensive for them to farm and stay competitive.

Farmers will never forgive the Liberals for calling them tax cheats, and they will never forget how the Prime Minister and the Minister of Agriculture voted against my private member's bill, Bill C-208, which my colleague referred to earlier, that made it easier to transfer their farm to the next generation. The one little correction is that it is working. It is out there today and farmers are taking advantage of it, but they are only 3% of the small businesses in Canada. There are 97% of the small businesses in Canada that are not farms, and they are also getting the opportunity to level the playing field, because nobody is getting an advantage here. It is just a levelling of the playing field under Bill C-208.

Returning to the farming industry, farmers are livid that the Liberals recently voted against the Conservative bill to completely exempt them from the carbon tax. We live in Canada, where it gets cold and wet. Farmers need to dry their grain and heat their livestock barns. Farmers are getting punished through no fault of their own.

As the recent “Canada's Food Price Report 2023” stated, a typical 5,000-acre farm, which has been alluded to today many times and of which there are many across the Prairies, will have to pay $150,000 in carbon taxes per year, once the Liberals triple their carbon tax.

When I was a farm leader, I recognized that there is 100 million acres of arable farmland on the Prairies. If that was an average rate, it would require that $3 billion be taken out of the farm pockets and added to the cost of food. I want to remind the Minister of Agriculture that every time the cost of growing food, processing food and transporting food goes up, we see those costs borne out in our grocery store receipts.

Our Conservative motion aims to resolve the long-standing issue of the Liberal carbon tax being one of the cost drivers that is making Canada less competitive and making food more expensive. On the first issue, farmers have seen their input costs soar, which includes energy and fertilizer. With the Liberal carbon tax being applied to many aspects of our agriculture and transportation sectors, it is making farmers less competitive on the world stage.

Lots of farmers in my region experienced a wet spring and had to rely on aerial application services. Those companies pay the Liberal carbon tax, which is passed down to the farmer.

Many farmers get custom haulers to take their grain, oil seeds and pulses to the elevator or their final destination. Those companies pay the Liberal carbon tax, and it is passed down to the farmer.

Most farmers use fertilizer to increase their yields. Those companies that produce and transport the fertilizer pay the Liberal carbon tax, which is passed on to the farmer.

I could go and on, but it is clear that the Liberal government does not know how farmers operate. Almost every product that a farmer needs to purchase to plant a crop, maintain a crop and then harvest a crop gets transported in from somewhere, and the Liberal carbon tax is applied to all of it.

The beef and pork producers in my riding also feel the brunt of the Liberal carbon tax. The trucking companies that haul the supplies they need to run their farms and ship their livestock pay the Liberal carbon tax, and it is passed on to the farmer.

If members are starting to see a trend, it is that a significant portion of our agriculture sector is paying the carbon tax.

As our leader said, our Conservative team wants to repatriate food production by standing with our farmers here at home. The Liberal government's high energy taxes and proposed fertilizer emissions cuts will only drive food production abroad to higher-polluting foreign jurisdictions, which would have them then burn fuel to send that food by ship, train and truck back to us. Our Conservative team wants to repeal these taxes and fertilizer mandates to get out of the way and get off the backs of our farmers.

It is no wonder the Parliamentary Budget Officer said that families are seeing a net loss thanks to the Liberal approach. Families and seniors are getting crushed, and it is time for action. They are tired of the Liberals gaslighting about how much better off they are under the carbon tax rebate scheme.

December 5th, 2022 / 3:30 p.m.
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Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I have a few things to say about Bill C‑241.

The Bloc Québécois supports Bill C‑241, as we've said from the beginning. We think it's a good bill. However, some aspects of the bill gave rise to uncertainty.

I'd like to thank the Department of Finance for addressing those issues recently in a letter that it sent to the committee.

The Department of Finance provided a lot of information in response to the concerns that were raised regarding the definitions and interpretation the Canada Revenue Agency will apply in implementing the measures.

In the House, debate at second reading revolves around the principle underlying the bill. What I like about working in a committee is that members of every party can put forward amendments to make the legislation better.

As I recall, I had been pushing the government to do this. Since 2019, I've noticed that the government doesn't seem to think that an opposition member's bill can actually be passed and implemented. Just think of Bill C‑208 in the previous Parliament. The bill, which dealt with the transfer of family businesses, sought to ensure that families would no longer be penalized when a family business stayed in the family instead of being sold to a third party. The government didn't bring forward a bill to do that, saying that it was going to introduce legislation to regulate the whole thing. A year and a half later, still no bill.

Many things in the finance department's response could have been turned into amendments had the government wanted to set parameters and prevent potential abuse.

That didn't happen, and from what I understand, the departments and the Canada Revenue Agency have the latitude they need to interpret how terms will be defined and so forth. To me, that means it's acceptable.

Obviously, I want to underscore to the members of the committee that it is better to make amendments to clarify and strengthen bills.

Personally, I recognize that the department and the agency will bring forward regulations and the relevant definitions. I still support this important bill, and I again want to thank the Department of Finance for providing information that will no doubt provide clarity around the bill's implementation.

Thank you.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

November 1st, 2022 / 5:55 p.m.
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Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to rise to speak today, and I would like to say at the outset that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of this bill for several reasons. Obviously, designating the first Monday in August as food day in Canada is a good idea because, at that time, farmers will have just finished haying and the potato harvest is beginning. Thus, it is a very good time to have it. It is also an opportunity to address concerns that are often ignored, which is why such a day is so important.

As a society, we make the mistake of taking the agri-food and agricultural sectors in Quebec and Canada for granted. It would be a good idea to promote them more, to celebrate local food and local cuisine. The country is celebrated first and foremost around the table. It is the same all over the country, so this is a great opportunity to highlight that aspect of our happiness on this land.

Obviously, the pandemic has opened our eyes to serious problems with our food sovereignty, for example in our production chains. As a result, we have discovered that we are highly and seriously dependent on foreign countries for many aspects of our industries.

At the Bloc Québécois, obviously the agriculture and agri-food sector has always been a priority. In Quebec, we are constantly investing in food sovereignty, including by promoting our supply management system and ensuring it is protected. It is an indispensable tool for balancing our agri-food market and a system that is used as a model in several countries around the world. Canada may once again benefit from referring to Quebec on the matter. I do not mean that as a boast; well, maybe a little bit.

There are several ways to go about promoting food sovereignty in Quebec and Canada when it comes to agri-food. First, we need to secure our food chains by changing course with the temporary foreign workers program, for example. We need to make it easier for workers to access our lands. We could promote succession planning in agriculture, for example, by bringing into force Bill C‑208 on taxing the intergenerational transfer of businesses because it is much easier for a farmer to sell to a stranger than to hand over his business to his own son, which is not right. The son invests in his parents' farm his whole life, but they are unable to hand it over because the way the taxation is done does not favour that. We need to help producers and processors innovate and become resilient to climate change. We need to protect critical resources and agriculture and processing facilities from foreign investments, including under the Investment Canada Act. We need to promote human-scale farms by encouraging buying organic and buying local.

I would like to take this opportunity to salute my riding's diverse and exciting agri-food industry, which produces berries, potatoes, ice cider, wine, beer, mouth-watering cheeses and organic pork and poultry on farms all over Île d'Orléans and along the Côte‑de‑Beaupré. Throughout my riding, from Beauport to Baie‑Sainte‑Catherine, our producers' reputation is well established. I could talk about them all afternoon. It would make my colleagues hungry. It is suppertime, after all.

Now I want to talk about an equally important aspect of the agri-food landscape: seafood. Surprisingly, it is easier to buy Quebec's products in the United States or in Europe than in Quebec. Are my colleagues aware that people in Quebec and Canada consume just over 10% of the seafood our fishers harvest and that 90% of the seafood Quebeckers and Canadians consume comes from other countries?

That is appalling. As if that were not bad enough, the food safety and traceability standards that apply to fishers in Quebec and Canada, who export 90% of our resource to Europe and the United States, are significantly higher than those that apply to the imported products that make up 90% of the seafood we eat. We ship our high-quality products out, and then we eat lower-quality things from other countries. That is appalling; it makes my skin crawl.

Simply put, the quality of the food we eat in Canada is not as good as the food we export and that we supply to the international market. Quebeckers and Canadians deserve better.

Following a motion that I moved for that purpose, my fine colleagues on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, whom I thank for their valuable contributions, and I began a study on labelling and traceability. Many observations were made, some of which were worrisome, others alarming, and still others encouraging. Many solutions, approaches and suggestions were also proposed. All of this resulted in the tabling in the House in June of a report entitled “Traceability and Labelling of Fish and Seafood Products”. The government must urgently implement the committee's 13 recommendations and take real action, not just say that it has taken note of these recommendations, but actually take action.

If we want to know what we are eating and where it came from, we need better labelling and better traceability, from farm to plate for agriculture and also from boat to plate for the fisheries.

Our local products deserve to be in the spotlight. If a chef describes a menu item as “St. Lawrence halibut stuffed with northern deepwater prawns from Matane, Quebec black garlic butter and medley of local Charlevoix vegetables”, people go crazy for it. If it is described as just “shrimp-stuffed halibut”, it is not as popular. That is why it is important to promote our local products and to make them available. I think that is crucial.

When people go to restaurants, they want to eat local, they want to taste locally caught fish. When we eat foods from Quebec and Canada, we appreciate our artisans' and our experts' skill. It sustains us to take pride in discovering the quality of the homegrown products available to us and the often distinctive and exemplary practices of our food producers. We know it will be fresh. We know it is from here. We know minimal food miles mean less pollution. We know our money stays here and helps our own fishers and farmers, who, in turn, spend that money here. Buying local is all about the circular economy, and it is good for everyone. It tastes good, and it is good for society, too.

I also want to talk about by-catch. I had a jarring experience that made no sense in terms food sovereignty, and I have yet to recover from it. Fishermen have permits to fish for shrimp, for example. If they catch some halibut, redfish or squid, they are forced to take the dead fish and throw it overboard, because their permit is for shrimp. It is terrible.

In the Gaspé, if someone wants to have some fresh, local fish, they are told it is impossible. The fish they are serving comes from Norway and the shrimp comes from China. I still cannot believe it. I want the House to be aware of this very important aspect. Perhaps permits could be expanded and made more flexible, so that fishermen with by-catch could redistribute it in the area.

The Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans has done a lot of studies. We are completing a study on the right whale and are starting to realize that the expertise and knowledge of our fishers are not always truly taken into consideration. They are not always closely listened to, and yet they have concrete solutions to better understand the right whale.

In closing, everyone has to eat, so we might as well do so responsibly, taking into account our environmental footprint and the social and economic impacts of our choices.

Let us be proud of our local products, our producers, farmers, fishers and food artisans. Let us promote their products, within a balance of supply and demand, before opening up to foreign markets, which are necessary, of course, although they must not control our own supply or affect our market prices, since that would have a serious impact on our food sovereignty.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

November 1st, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
See context


Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to speak to this bill. I would like to announce at the outset that the Bloc Québécois agrees that the first Monday in August should be designated food day in Canada.

There are a lot of interesting things in the bill's preamble. I think they are worth mentioning. First, it says that sovereignty is dependent on the safety and security of our food supply. It is important to keep that in mind. If we cannot feed ourselves, we cannot defend ourselves and survive.

It also states that strengthening connections from farms to tables of Canadian cuisine contributes to our nation's social, environmental and economic well-being. The closer we can bring production to the consumer, the more we will reduce the environmental impact. This cannot be done for everything, and we are not talking about extreme measures here, but it must be done as much as possible.

The next point, support for local farmers, is music to my ears. We have to provide adequate support to the people who feed us. We cannot expect them to cope with the vagaries of annual production alone. Just a few minutes ago, I was talking to a farmer who explained to me that all the extra precipitation this spring had a devastating impact on the entire season; it was so long ago that people have forgotten. Farmers had to redo their drainage to prevent future flooding. There may be years when there is not enough water. That kind of instability and unpredictability are reason enough for us to take good care of our people.

The last part of the preamble states that the people of Canada will benefit from a food day in Canada to celebrate local food. That sounds great to me. As I said, we support the bill.

In any conversation about agriculture and agri-food, food sovereignty is bound to come up. We hear that expression a lot. It is a bit overworked and gives people the impression that we are trying to be entirely self-sufficient. That is not the idea. It might be better to talk about food resiliency than food sovereignty. The idea is to ensure that we can feed our population and that farming remains a viable occupation going forward. That involves a number of factors.

I will start with temporary foreign workers. Everyone knows that our agricultural production is now dependent on this essential and valuable workforce. It is also a great way to redistribute wealth around the world. When these workers return home, they take a good income with them and a different kind of wealth and drive. It is a win-win situation. For us, it means production can continue. Otherwise, the crops would remain in the field.

However, we have to smarten up. We have been saying for years that this is not working. Quebec has asked to have full management of this program to make it more efficient, so that only one level of government manages it. I think this is a good idea. I invite Parliament to consider this option very seriously. In the meantime, there are things that can be done, like improving processing times. Why does it take so long to renew a permit? When the same worker has been coming back for 12 years, why are all the security steps repeated? It is completely ridiculous and appallingly inefficient.

I am talking about agriculture because the debate is on a food day, but there is growing number of sectors that are using foreign workers, including the entire tourism sector. We need to facilitate these operations. We need to acknowledge the state of the employment market in Quebec and Canada, this shortage that is affecting us, and recognize that we need these people. Let us be effective. Let us welcome them. It is a win-win, as I was saying.

The second point I want to address is succession planning in agriculture. I look at the governing party across the way. The Speaker does not want me to address them directly, but I am looking at them and asking them when they will adjust Bill C‑208, which was democratically voted on in the last Parliament and crossed every stage, including the Senate.

Members know that the Senate is not my favourite institution, and the senators I know are also aware of that. However, it is part of the process. The bill was approved everywhere and it must be implemented. Officially, it has been, but the minister and the government have raised some uncertainty about the transfer of these family farms that is causing significant harm to our Quebec businesses.

I have said it many times here in the House: Financial advisors recommend that our farmers wait before transferring their family farm because they are concerned about the amendment that the Liberal government wants to make.

The new alliance is like a majority government. They can do anything. I am therefore asking them to shed some light on this so that we can see what is happening and where things are going. This bill was passed and no one should be preventing it from being implemented. Our next generation of farmers is important.

We spoke about our local production and feeding people. I would be remiss if I failed to mention supply management. Every time I rise, I have to mention it at least once, and I am going to talk about it again.

It is a great system that allows self-regulation within markets, and it costs nothing. These folks are not going to come up to us and ask for subsidies, because they are self-regulated and the system works perfectly. All the Canadian government has been doing for these people for the past ten years is hurting them by giving foreign countries access to these markets, which were working very well.

The principle behind supply management is about controlling the entry of goods. If the entry of goods is not controlled, it does not work. When nearly 20% of the market, for example in the dairy industry, comes from abroad, if our local producers reduce their production in a particular context, for example COVID-19, if foreign countries continue to bring in the 20%, then control no longer works. I will say it again today: We are dealing with a government that appears set on gradually eliminating this system because it does not have the courage to assume the political cost of making that decision.

We are hearing lofty words. The government says it will protect supply management, there is no problem and no more concessions will be made. If that is true, then the government can readily vote as it did the last time. I again congratulate the government and I invite it to start over. The last time, it voted in favour of our bill. If not for the unnecessary election in the midst of a pandemic, the law would probably be in effect already. Therefore, I am asking that we deal with this quickly, because it is an important sector.

The motion also mentions the environment. People increasingly want to eat healthy and organic products, but this does not exclude other products and other techniques. I believe that we must pay attention to our organic industry. Paying attention means continuing to identify foods that have been genetically modified, even with the new techniques.

As we know, there was a minor controversy recently. The Bloc Québécois does not oppose innovation, but is in favour of transparency. People must be able to choose what they eat and they need the relevant information when they eat something.

We are talking about local production, but of course we engage in international trade and will continue to do so. One thing we should do is implement reciprocal standards. Why do we allow products in if they do not meet the standards that apply to our own producers?

Something about that does not make sense. Why are we not making it possible for our consumers to know exactly what they are buying?

I challenge my colleagues to figure out where the chicken in the frozen chicken pot pie they buy at the grocery store tomorrow comes from. I challenge them to give it a try. It is not easy. Appropriate food origin labelling requires traceability. Some companies have come up with interesting innovations in that respect.

My colleague on the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans is also working on this. These are great ideas.

I see that my time is up. I therefore invite all my colleagues to joyfully and happily pass this bill.

Food Day in Canada ActPrivate Members' Business

October 4th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Sylvie Bérubé Bloc Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill S‑227, an act to establish food day in Canada.

The purpose of this bill is to establish the Saturday before the first Monday in August across the country as food day in Canada.

I will say right away that the Bloc Québécois will be voting in favour of this bill as it addresses and highlights important issues in the lives of all Canadians and Quebeckers, issues that are ignored all too often.

The wealth of the Canadian and Quebec nations makes us take for granted the agricultural and agri-food sector. The Bloc Québécois has made the agriculture and agri-food sector a priority. We speak constantly of food sovereignty, in particular by promoting the supply management system, which is a good example.

Food sovereignty is a relatively new concept. It was first introduced by the movement known as La Via Campesina, which introduced the idea and presented it for the first time at the World Food Summit of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome in 1964. Since then, it has been championed by various movements, which have adapted it to reflect the concerns and values of their own organizations and the socio-economic situation in their country.

Over time, the Bloc has raised several issues to promote food sovereignty in Quebec and Canada. Specifically, we should be securing our food chains by giving a boost to the temporary foreign worker program; fostering the next generation of farmers by passing Bill C-208 on the taxation of the intergenerational transfer of businesses; promoting local agriculture and processing, particularly by increasing slaughtering capacity; helping farmers and processors innovate, especially when it comes to building resilience to climate change; protecting critical resources and agriculture and processing facilities from foreign investments, including under the Investment Canada Act; and promoting human-scale farms by encouraging buying organic and buying local.

The pandemic has opened our eyes to the cracks in our production chains and, especially, to our over-dependence on foreign imports for many aspects of these critical industries.

In November 2021, Quebec's agriculture minister, André Lamontagne, launched the $12 challenge, which encourages Quebec consumers to replace $12 worth of foreign products with local food during their weekly trip to the grocery store. If every Quebec household replaced $12 worth of foreign products with $12 worth of Quebec products each week, Quebec's bio-food industry could grow by $1 billion a year, and there would be an estimated $2.3 billion in annual economic benefits for the province. I encourage every Quebec family to take up the challenge.

We are spoiled. Our cuisine offers a wide variety of possibilities. It is regional and seasonal, with a touch of our multicultural history thrown in for good measure. There are blueberries from Lac-Saint-Jean, tourtière, maple syrup, shrimp from Matane, not to mention fruits and vegetables from Abitibi-Jamésie. Those are all good local products.

Buying local is everyone's business: retail stores, restaurants, caterers, canteens and food trucks, establishments that serve alcohol, food services for the health care system, schools, correctional services, municipal services, factories and businesses, day cares, hotels and other tourist sites.

It is also important to have purchasing policies that integrate the origin of products in their food supply selection criteria. Broccoli from abroad travels a long way between the field and our plate. Imagine the thousands of kilometres apples from South Africa or raspberries from Mexico have to travel before arriving in Quebec. What about all the pollution generated by the transportation of these foods, from their production to our plate?

According to a study published in 2021 in the scientific journal Nature, one-third of all greenhouse gases come from food production, especially food transportation.

Choosing to consume local products when they are available is an easy way to reduce one's ecological footprint. Buying local helps support the nation's economy and regional vitality. Everyone wins. This summer, I visited farmers' markets in Val-d'Or, Malartic and Senneterre, where people can buy foods produced close to home.

According to Statistics Canada, when the second COVID‑19 wave hit in the fall of 2020, approximately one in 10 Canadians aged 12 or older said their household had experienced food insecurity in the previous 12 months. That is unacceptable in a country like Canada.

Fortunately, Quebec is one of the provinces where the number of families experiencing food insecurity has dropped significantly. It seems likely that Quebec's progressive social safety net—its child care centres, parental leave, education system and so on—has something to do with that.

With respect to the regions, I want to talk about the riding of Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou, which I proudly represent, and, more specifically, Nunavik.

Despite several decades of government efforts, food insecurity remains a significant and complex problem in the north. This insecurity has to do with both the quantity and quality of food consumed and is caused by different factors such as the very high cost of living, the increasingly limited access to products from traditional subsistence activities such as fishing, hunting and gathering, a lack of knowledge of the harm and benefits of market foods, as well as the repercussions of climate change and environment pollution on the traditional food systems.

To deal with the major challenges of food insecurity in the villages in Nunavik, the development of a nordic agriculture is considered an innovative solution. Focusing also on the health and well-being of the Inuit communities, the installation of community greenhouses helps enhance the supply of local fresh produce and improves the quality of food in a sustainable way, while taking into consideration the cultural dimension of food insecurity.

The approach used in this interdisciplinary project allows a local and sustainable supply system to be built with the community and to include the contribution of a horticultural project for improving the quality of life and health of the people.

These community greenhouses also help to slightly lower the price of groceries, which cost far too much in Nunavik. For example, the people in Nunavik pay 48% more for their groceries than people in the southernmost regions of Quebec.

Some 84% of Inuit living in the Hudson Bay region of Nunavik are food insecure. Inuit people experience the highest prevalence of food insecurity of any indigenous people in Canada. It is vital to find effective ways to ensure their food security.

The bio-food industry is helping to shape Quebec's identity and contributes to its wealth. It helps feed Quebeckers with food of the highest quality. It enjoys a good reputation on international markets thanks to the uniqueness of its products. This sector is more than just an essential activity for Quebec's economic prosperity. It is intimately linked to how the land is occupied and how each region is developed.

Quebeckers are privileged to be able to count on a dynamic bio-food sector that responds to their expectations and does everything possible to meet their extremely diverse needs. This industry is well established within our territory and has a presence in markets beyond our borders. It also supplies fresh agricultural products and original, high-quality processed foods.

A food day, as proposed in Bill S-227, would showcase farmers, fishers, processors, distributors, retailers, restaurateurs and, ultimately, Quebeckers, who are growing more and more fond of Quebec products.

I know I said this before, but that is why the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill.

October 3rd, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Gabriel Ste-Marie Bloc Joliette, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I echo Mr. Baker's words about our commitment to Ukrainians, and it's not about roots, but first about justice. I congratulate you on your commitment to that, Ms. Freeland. We want a just peace as soon as possible.

As my time is limited, I will ask you two questions in quick succession.

The first is about the Canada Community Revitalization Fund and the programs through which the federal government funds municipal infrastructure programs.

Given the shortage of labour and the number of companies that can carry out work under these programs, turnaround times can often be very long. In addition, municipalities may find it burdensome to enforce the deadline for completion of the work, which is usually March 31. The government shows little flexibility with respect to this date.

Can the government commit, in general, and in particular with respect to the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, to showing more flexibility in extending the date that municipalities must meet?

I'll ask my second question right away. It concerns a bill that was passed before the last election. It is Bill C‑208, on the transfer of family businesses. The bill was passed and came into force. Yet, in Quebec, tax specialists and accountants do not want to use these legislative provisions, because they are still waiting for guidance from the government or institutions on how to apply them properly.

Is the government committed to producing the guidelines or proposing a new bill that will spell out how it will be applied, as soon as your economic update, which is expected this fall?

June 21st, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Director, Public and Economic Affairs, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Mathieu Lavigne

Indeed, it shouldn't be referred to anymore as Bill C‑208, since it's now an act.

In our opinion, it's a matter of fairness for business owners who want to transfer their business to family members. This is a very important issue because there are a lot of owners in Quebec who are nearing the end of their careers. There's a pool of young people, often within the same family, who are ready to take over. However, the current tax rules penalize people in this situation, both those transferring the business and those taking over.

It's essential to relax the tax rules immediately. We're pleased that the government at least mentioned it in its last budget, but we'd have liked for it to move much faster on this issue and make that relief a reality.

June 21st, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.

Good afternoon, honourable members.

Good afternoon to those taking part in this meeting. Your comments are very interesting.

I'll begin with Mr. Lavigne from the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec.

Mr. Lavigne, I'd like to address several points with you. First, I want to point out that Bill C‑208 was passed and is ready to come into effect. It just hasn't yet.

In your opinion, what would be the benefits of the legislation coming into effect immediately?

June 21st, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Mathieu Lavigne Director, Public and Economic Affairs, Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec

Mr. Chair, members of the committee, good afternoon.

My name is Mathieu Lavigne, and I am the director of public and economic affairs with the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, or FCCQ. I'm here today with my colleague, Ms. Audrey Langlois, adviser, workforce and economic affairs.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear today by video conference from Montreal.

The FCCQ, which some of you know well, is an organization that comprises 125 chambers of commerce and 1,200 member businesses, for a total of over 50,000 businesses. Our members operate in all sectors of the economy in every region of Quebec. As the largest network of business people and businesses in Quebec, the FCCQ is also a provincial chamber of commerce and defends the interests of its members with respect to public policy.

We thank you for inviting us to take part in this study on the labour shortage and the productivity of our small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs. It's a topic that is obviously at the heart of our work at the FCCQ.

I'll quickly share a few observations and, above all, some recommendations on the various elements included in the study, but rest assured that we can discuss other topics in response to your questions, if time permits.

First and foremost, I'll begin with the labour shortage. It's clearly the main concern in the economic sector in Quebec. For example, in March, there were 259,170 job vacancies in Quebec, double the number there were at the end of 2019, before the pandemic.

There are many causes for the shortage, hence the importance of deploying a wide range of measures. I'd like to draw your attention to some of those, beginning with attracting foreign skilled workers.

Our members are very concerned about the slow processing of applications of would‑be immigrants. While the processing time for a skilled worker is 32 months in Quebec, the wait time for a similar program in another province in Canada will soon be set at six months. Accelerating the processing of immigration applications and the issuing of work permits should be a top priority for the federal government. I want to take this opportunity to second what the rector of the Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue said earlier. We're on the same page.

Obviously, immigration is not the only answer to the labour shortage. There's also a need to better train current and future workers on an ongoing basis, and encourage the unemployed to quickly return to work and experienced workers to remain on the labour market longer if they wish to do so.

That's why we are proposing that the federal government create a voluntary lifelong learning savings plan, based somewhat on the registered education savings plan model. We also suggest that the government undertake a real overall review of the employment insurance system to refocus it on its primary mission, temporary income support with support measures to promote a quick return to work. Finally, we recommend that the government increase the income threshold at which guaranteed income supplement benefits are reduced.

The regulatory and administrative tax burden is another major obstacle to growth for our SMEs. Here again, the federal government can and must act, beginning by bringing former Bill C‑208 into force quickly. The bill promotes the transfer of business ownership within a family. The current tax rules make things difficult for SME owners and hinder the transfer of family businesses to the next generation. The bill must come into effect.

Another source of obstacles for business owners is the duplication of reporting requirements under similar federal and Quebec laws. We've been asking the federal government for several years to undertake discussions with the Quebec government to come to an agreement regarding a single income tax return; we recommend the pragmatic and innovative approach of focusing the process solely on the interests of taxpayers.

We then suggest that the federal government learn from its Quebec counterparts, who have brought forward an omnibus bill on regulatory relief measures for the second year in a row. There's no doubt that, every year, some of the many federal laws and regulations could be eliminated, and others, streamlined, to make life easier for business owners.

In closing, I thank you for taking a serious look at the productivity and labour challenges that our SMEs face.

We would be glad to answer your questions.

June 17th, 2022 / 2:35 p.m.
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Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. van Raalte, last spring the committee conducted a study on competitiveness in Canada. In June 2021, parliamentarians took part in a historic vote on a bill that later received royal assent. By the end of June, it'll have been a year since this historic vote took place. By passing Bill C‑208, parliamentarians corrected a tax injustice long-tolerated within the federal government. The bill grants small businesses, particularly family farms and fishing corporations, the same tax rate on the sale of their business whether it is sold to a family member or to a third party.

However, on June 30 and July 19, 2021, the Minister of Finance issued a press release announcing her intention to delay the entry into force of these changes until January 1, 2022, due to concerns with the wording of the bill. It is now June and there has been no update. Ms. Freeland committed to providing further clarification, yet when we asked her about the matter at the Standing Committee on Finance, she was unable to provide an answer.

Can you tell us if you have any clarification on the implementation of this legislation? People are awaiting news. When will that happen?

June 16th, 2022 / 4:25 p.m.
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Ted Falk Conservative Provencher, MB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Thank you, Mr. Lobb, for the attention you have paid again to our farm community. I want to thank you for bringing this very important issue forward to our agriculture committee.

Last year, when I was on the finance committee, we passed Larry Maguire's Bill C-208, which allowed farmers to successfully transition their farms to their children with the same favourable tax treatment as selling it to a third party. A lot of these transitions to the next generation still mean that the second generation has to be highly leveraged.

I'm wondering if you considered the impact of highly leveraged young farmers when you presented your idea in this private member's bill.

May 12th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I want to say that I know how difficult these conversations can sometimes be, and I do like the tenor, the tone, that we have all embraced as members of Parliament. We are all sent here to try to work together.

I will disagree with some of the things my honourable colleague MP Dzerowicz said earlier, but I'll save that for a moment other than to say that I appreciate that these meetings are not only important to our constituents, but they can be long because you can't put a price on democracy. There are rules that have been enshrined in this place to allow committees to function as independently as possible, as MP Chambers said earlier.

There are obviously other tools the government can use such as a House order. It, in fact, directed the study of Bill C-19 to this committee. Ultimately this committee was created to serve the House, but without having further instructions, we have a responsibility to set our own sail.

While the original programming motion that was put forward by MP Beech as the parliamentary secretary was received in good faith by MP Ste-Marie, who I admire very much for his passion for his constituents, for the questioning he's had and the lack of answers he's been able to receive when it comes to the luxury tax and the occasional intervention by my honourable colleague from the NDP, what has happened is that he put that forward, and now we've had a further subamendment to his amendment, which was to try to make sure that there was a proper process.

The government—let's be mindful, Mr. Chair—at the very beginning tried to apply its direction to what is supposed to be an independent committee. Right off the bat, I believe I made it known that it was an issue. I believe I made some arguments about how there were promises by this government to not have parliamentary secretaries on committee. They would occasionally sit down in the corner and listen in thoughtfully so that they could report back to their ministers the goings of this committee, which is a very august body, and I've always enjoyed being on it.

Again, this is a bill, 468 pages, I believe, because when I put it to the minister when she came in for the hour, I said 421. Again, Mr. Chair, you might be mindful that there are a number of pages we did not know about. The government didn't even give us the courtesy in their courtesy copies to say that there's more on the website, even just a note to go along with it, so there are missing pages, which I raised earlier.

As I open my comments today, I go back to the tone that Mr. Chambers presented earlier. In fact, he made a little bit of a joke saying someone had to listen to him, and when he said thank you for staying, they said, “No, I'm the next speaker.” That was very funny. It reminds me of a very similar joke I used to give when I first set out in politics. I said that my goal in any speech or presentation was three things: to be bold, to be brief and then to be gone. Actually, I think it wasn't to be bold. I think it was to be brilliant.

I'm going to let everyone now know that I used to joke that at least you'll get two out of three. I have become a little bit more of a realist, so I'm going to let everyone know not to expect any of the three today.

I'd like to start with why we should be concerned about the programming motion put forward by the parliamentary secretary, and I have already touched on it. Governments are tethered to this institution. They are not the ones who tell us as members of Parliament to have confidence. They're the ones who have to put forward bills that show confidence. In this case, we have a motion that is directly telling us how many presentations we can have. I guess it just gives us a time limit, and it also puts in when we should have clause-by-clause.

The very thoughtful motion by MP Ste-Marie does actually propose that we divide this up, because in those 460-odd pages there are many clauses that pertain to areas of expertise in other committees, and committees like international trade, industry and technology, the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, and the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights—all very important bodies.

When we send something to them, the very premise should be that we are in good faith seeking their responses. Now if you harken back to our last meeting, Mr. Chair, I believe it was confirmed that clause-by-clause would be done only by this committee. Regardless of what those members on those other committees think, ultimately they will not be able to substantially do what we do, which is to put forward amendments and to debate them. I don't think that is fair.

I should also point out that there is going to be a bit of a challenge, because I don't think independent members are being taken into account under this particular motion by the parliamentary secretary, or even in his amendment. Don't worry, though. I'll save that for closer to the end.

What I think is important to note is that when you offer someone something in good faith, the idea is that it's a legitimate offer. Now for those committees to suddenly decide whether or not they can meet at the time that has been listed here by the parliamentary secretary...and let's note that it is today, Thursday, May 12. When this was first tabled, obviously it was earlier in the week. Already days have slipped by, and while I do understand that MP Baker and MP Dzerowicz had both raised the idea that politics is the art of compromise, compromise means thoughtful discussion and give and take. It does not necessarily mean overriding other members without having some sort of thoughtful process.

As you can see, Mr. Chair, that leaves the Conservatives with very few options other than to say that we do not believe that this particular motion or its amendment.... Actually, I should say that the amendment seems to improve upon it, but the subamendment by the parliamentary secretary is not being done in good faith. Why? Because time has already been whittled away.

We already had to say no to those witnesses who came here on Monday ready to present. I presented a motion to try to see if we could speed that up. The importance of having witnesses cannot be overstated. Why? It's because obviously this is a very large omnibus bill and I find it lamentable that the Minister of Finance, the deputy prime minister, spent only an hour with the committee. I would have preferred a second hour, because I would have asked several other questions that pertained directly to Bill C-19.

I don't see any provision here in the subamendment for having the minister come back. In fact MP Chambers had expressed his desire to have the Minister of Industry come and speak to the competition components, the Competition Act amendments. I do enjoy Minister Champagne. I think he's a very thoughtful individual. If it is the will of the committee to have him come in for an hour, I would certainly make the time in my schedule for that. I think this particular subamendment that Mr. Beech has put forward has neither the Minister of Industry nor the Minister of Finance.

What worries me as time cuts away at this is that ultimately we're going to have less and less time, because the Liberals have not tried to work co-operatively with all members. I think that's really at the heart of this. I don't blame the Bloc or the NDP for playing ball because maybe their preferences have been met.

Maybe they see a different reality from the one I do, but this particular subamendment of Mr. Beech does not necessarily meet those needs from our perspective. Again, while we know the saying that politics is all about compromise, it's usually referred to as the art of the possible.

Do you know what, Mr. Chair? What's possible isn't always probable.

What's probable is where you make.... You don't think you should speak to other members and try to get them on board. Instead, we have motions, amendments and subamendments that do not have the consent of each and every party or member. Obviously, there's a way to have a democratic debate about this and, eventually, a vote, but I am not going to be keen to give that until we have had a thorough venting of some of the issues with this particular motion.

Let me go into some of my concerns.

In the last Parliament—I'm going to give a personal example—I was on the environment and sustainable development committee. It's a very good committee. Much like in this body, I got a chance to work within a group where we may have had distinct views on policy. I felt that the people around the table were generally respectful and understood that we were all here to represent our constituents and to have an exchange of views. Where we might have disagreements, we would talk them out until either we found some consensus or compromise, or we put it to a democratic vote.

We went to a bill called C-12, and there's something very similar between Bill C-12, the net-zero bill presented by the minister of the environment—at that time, it was MP Wilkinson of North Vancouver, a fellow British Columbian.... Similarly, in that particular bill and study, the parliamentary secretary put forward a programming motion. Unfortunately, the member of Parliament for the NDP at the time decided that they would opt into that programming motion. Again, I don't want to prejudice or call into question anyone's character, including the previous member of Parliament or the current NDP representative at this table, who I'm sure is here in good faith.

What ended up happening was, in my mind, remarkable. We had witnesses come forward and we listened to the testimony. All parties, the Bloc, even the Green individual.... My colleague MP May from Saanich—Gulf Islands brought amendments, as did the Liberals, the New Democrats and the Conservatives. We brought forward a number of meaningful amendments that we felt would have improved the bill, even though we opposed the bill in the House due to some issues over the net-zero advisory committee. I will not get into that discussion of what happened in the House. I will say it was rather unfortunate how that shut down.

What ended up happening was that they jammed through such a tight process that we were literally hearing witnesses when the period for submitting amendments to the bill had already expired.

Think of this. You get a call from the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. You have dedicated your professional career or your voluntary hours and expertise to writing up a brief. In fact, one witness told me that the moment he got the letter, he started furiously typing up his presentation, but by the time he got on the schedule, all of the suggestions that he had presented in his report and in his remarks were moot.

Why were they moot? It certainly wasn't because of bad faith by that individual, but because of the way the committee had jump-started the process and programmed in that there was only going to be a certain amount of time to get amendments in. That person was deeply disappointed, as were others.

The government probably never heard from those individuals in person, but I can say that MP May attested at committee that she heard the same thing. Why? Many groups want to be invited back and they want to keep the government, at least, in a somewhat neutral, positive state.

In that case, I have to say that the environment committee process—a committee ably chaired by one of your colleagues, MP Scarpaleggia—was so bad that we ended up jamming through witnesses after the period for amendments had already closed. People felt that process was not in good faith. I see many of the same hallmarks—many of the same markers—in this process, in fact, and I will say that I did speak up at the time. I did very much what I'm doing today. I said to other members, “If we adopt this process, we are jamming witnesses.” We are going to end up with a process that does not lead to a better outcome than Bill C-12 did.

Unfortunately, that's exactly what transpired. In fact, when we look at the amendments, it was such a bad process. Some amendments were supported by certain witnesses, but others, effectively.... The NDP joined up with the Liberal members and voted down pretty much every single amendment, except for a Bloc Québécois motion that established a five-year review. There are some real parallels that I'm starting to see between that process and now. Where did we end up? We ended up where committee members were at each other's throat. It wasn't very good. Witnesses felt bad and, at the end of the day, the government got what it wanted. I see many of the same things happening here.

I would say that it probably wasn't a lot of fun for Mr. Scarpaleggia, but let me tell you what was even worse. Your former colleague, Mr. Scott Simms, said publicly.... He was on Michael Geist's podcast, Law Bytes, where he talked about what was known as Bill C-10 and the shenanigans that ended up happening there.

Why? Well, there is a direct connection with what has happened here with MP Beech's subamendment. The process and timelines were so tight in the original programming motion that, at one point, during clause-by-clause, because of a programming motion, the committee members, in many cases, did not know what they were voting on. In order to meet the programming motion set out by the government, which happens to be the same government here, they ended up voting on amendments without even knowing what they were voting on. The chair would call out a number, and what's even worse, for the people.... There were stakeholders there, obviously, from industry and cultural groups—artists, etc.—who all had a real concern about this. These were people who study the Internet and freedom of expression—those kinds of legal constitutional concerns. All of them were horrified because they didn't even know what the members were voting on. They just heard numbers being shouted out, and that brought the whole committee process into disrepute.

What's even worse is that Conservatives had to appeal to the Speaker in the chamber regarding such a bad process. Do you know what ended up happening? The Speaker said that was not how Parliament was intended to work and ordered the committee to restart the process. The government did end up getting its way, but, for the people who were following along, the parliamentary committee process was in question.

I would say to all members here that the same issues the environment and sustainable development committee had, and the standing committee on heritage had with Bill C-10.... There are certainly parallels with what we have here today—a large omnibus bill, where the witness time is being dictated by the government.

Again, this particular bill is much larger than traditional ones, Mr. Chair.

On one of the things that MP Chambers pointed out—because there will be some arguments that say, if the Conservatives are so serious about not proceeding on this side, there are tax measures that can affect Canadians and that they will not be able to take advantage of—was that for the ways and means process, actually, the government can table ways and means motion tax measures and the CRA will treat those as having been passed, even if that is not the case. Many Canadians, as I was explaining to one of my constituents the other day on Bill C-8, would be quite surprised.

Now, obviously, during a minority, I would surely hope that they would be very careful around those measures. I know, for example, that Bill C-208 in the last Parliament, Larry Maguire's bill, was a change in law. That was actually passed by Parliament, and they still have not put out the regulations. Most people would say, wait a second, when Parliament passes an actual law that allows that if you're a farmer or you have a fish operation, you could transfer that intergenerationally to your family without having to pay extra costs associated with it.... If CRA and the Department of Finance can hold back on those provisions, how in heck...? Pardon the language. I'll repeat: How on earth, Mr. Chair, can it be that CRA can take a proposed law and start acting like it is a law?

Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1Government Orders

May 9th, 2022 / 5:40 p.m.
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Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague spoke a lot about investigations into money laundering and recovering money. We agree with all that.

However, there is something that really bothers me. How does my colleague explain the fact that his government is not doing anything at all about tax havens? They are perfectly legal and everyone is aware of them. It is estimated that the government is losing at least $7 billion a year to tax havens.

Also, is the member not the least bit embarrassed that his government is creating uncertainty about the coming into force of the farm succession act, on the pretext that our farmers are fraudsters rather than honest people who put food on our tables? I think that is completely shameful, and I encourage him to put pressure on the government from the inside to quickly dispel this uncertainty.

Economic and Fiscal Update Implementation Act, 2021Government Orders

May 3rd, 2022 / 1:25 p.m.
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Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I will begin by saying that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Kingston and the Islands. This is a pleasant surprise for me. I am happy to share something with this colleague. Perhaps this is the beginning of something. We do not usually see eye to eye.

I am going to talk about Bill C-8. The main problem that we have with it is the underused housing tax, which is yet another jurisdictional encroachment.

Allow me to clarify that, fundamentally, everyone agrees on the basic principle that something needs to be done about the housing shortage and foreign speculation. On the substance, we are in perfect agreement. The problem is how to go about it.

The Standing Committee on Finance heard from constitutional expert Patrick Taillon, who explained that the tax was legal, but that the problem lies in using the tax as a way to regulate the sector. We agree, so we think this must be done in collaboration with the municipalities, and especially with the provinces and Quebec. We are seriously concerned about this, and it is going to be a big stumbling block for us when it comes time to vote.

As usual, as the party that believes in constructive, positive, sensible opposition, the Bloc Québécois suggested adding a clause requiring the agreement of the cities involved. Our suggestion was rejected, so we have no choice but to oppose the measure.

There are other things missing from Bill C‑8, such as measures to address the labour shortage. Everyone knows that I am a good sport in Parliament, because I am willing to acknowledge the positives. I will acknowledge that there are things in the budget that will help, particularly when it comes to immigration. However, this is an urgent matter, and I do not think that enough is being done to address it.

The number of calls we are getting about delays is absolutely staggering. Money has been announced, of course, along with a lot of good intentions, but something needs to be done quickly. Processing times are atrocious. The government is all smiles as it makes big announcements to the media, promising to do this or that, which sounds good, but, months later, nothing has changed.

Take, for instance, the increase in the cap on temporary foreign workers in the agri-food industry, which was announced in August but did not end up being implemented until late January. That is too long. The government needs to be more efficient.

We have other ideas for measures to address the labour shortage, such as tax credits for people aged 65 and over. I see that as a simple measure that everyone would support right away. I look forward to seeing that implemented, but it has not happened yet.

We can be creative. Why not bring in a tax credit that would apply once a certain threshold of hours is exceeded in a given week? Let us sit down and get to work, because our entrepreneurs need these workers.

There is also the whole issue of the supply chain. I am willing to believe that Bill C-8 was prepared some time ago, since it has been around for a while now. On this point, I agree with my Liberal friends. However, we can always improve things, especially in the next Parliament, in order to do something to help our farmers.

There has been a lot of talk about agriculture today, particularly about an additional credit for the carbon tax, but now we have other problems, such as the fact that fertilizer from Russia is now subject to a 35% tax. This will have repercussions on all of eastern Canada, which gets its fertilizer from Russia.

We had meetings with the parliamentary secretaries and ministers to explain the situation, and they told us that they would always be there, that they would monitor the situation and act accordingly.

We need to do something, because our constituents are sounding the alarm. We raised the issue in question period last week, because this is ultimately going to have an impact on the cost of groceries, and that affects everyone.

There is nothing about tax havens either; it boggles my mind. Every time that we talk about the budget or the money available to deliver services to the public, I am sorry, but I cannot not talk about tax havens. It is estimated that at least $7 billion is lost to tax havens every year. These amounts are rather fuzzy because nobody is sure of what is really going on.

At the same time, the government is dragging its feet on bills such as Bill C-208, which deals with the next generation of farmers. This is about agriculture. If we respect our farmers and want to provide for the next generation, we have to get rid of the vagueness surrounding this bill. I just quickly touched on this, but I hope that the government will hear my message.

I did not bring up compensation for people in supply managed industries either. Wherever it is paid out, we will be happy, but it has to be paid somewhere.

Let us talk about health transfers. How can we not talk about them? We are being praised for bringing in a dental plan. Again, the same principle applies as to the underused housing tax. We all agree on the substance, but there are areas of jurisdiction in this federation, and they are the responsibility of the provinces. Why not increase health transfers to the provinces and Quebec, which is something they have been calling for?

When we talk about health transfers, we are talking about increasing the federal portion to 35% of expenditures, or $28 billion per year, which represents $6 billion for Quebec alone. That needs to be ongoing funding, not just a sexy press announcement about a one-time shot of $2 billion to show just how generous the fine Canadian government is. That is smoke and mirrors. The pandemic was temporary, but the problems with the health care system have long been an issue and they are not going away.

Of course, then there are seniors. Those 65 and older suffered the most during the pandemic. The government still has its head stuck in the sand.

I see people are looking at me with interest. Earlier, when I was being asked questions, I was expecting to hear that they were there for seniors, that they increased old age security starting at age 75 and that they handed out $500. Those are all temporary measures. We want to see an increase to old age security starting at age 65 so that we do not have two classes of seniors. That is important.

There are other measures in Bill C‑8, including the underused housing tax. We have expressed our reservations about who would implement it and how it would work. Essentially, will a 1% tax actually be effective, considering countries like France have taxes as high as 12% or 13% the first year and 25% the second year? That may be more effective. Why not go a bit further? Again, it is all in the execution.

As far as help for businesses is concerned, we also agree. It is good that the deadline for repaying Canada emergency business account loans has been pushed back, but that is not enough. We have proposed other measures.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has also sounded the alarm, saying that its members are struggling. They have taken on heavy debt loads, and the concern is that many of these businesses will not weather the crisis.

For example, why are we not providing more support to brick-and-mortar businesses facing unfair competition from e‑commerce? That could be a solution. We could also decide to make a larger share of the loan non-refundable. Why not help businesses set up online purchasing and electronic marketing so they can compete?

There is also the issue of shipping costs. I do not understand why it only costs $2.50 for a Chinese company to send a package to Canada when it costs me $20 to send a package to Lac‑Saint‑Jean. Something is not right. Can we help businesses with shipping?

There is also the $2 per book to help bookstores.

These are all Bloc Québécois proposals. These are suggestions we have made, and we will be there to collaborate if the government wants to make improvements.

Some members have given speeches about agriculture and education and a tax credit for electronic devices. These are good measures, but they are too small. Let us get serious and provide appropriate support to our farmers and teachers.