Appropriation Act No. 1, 2021-22

An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022

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


Jean-Yves Duclos  Liberal


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 grants the sum of $59,304,837,417 towards defraying charges and expenses of the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022 that are not otherwise provided for.


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.


March 25, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022
March 25, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022
March 25, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-27, An Act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the federal public administration for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2022

Bankruptcy and Insolvency ActPrivate Members' Business

April 1st, 2022 / 2:10 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to Bill C-228, because it is a bill that grapples with a very important and long-standing issue in Canada's bankruptcy laws.

For far too long, Canadian workers who have had the company either that they work at or used to work at go into bankruptcy have seen their retirement plans and their pensions up for grabs as part of insolvency proceedings. They are having to get in line behind some of the big banks and financial institutions, who are doing very well and get paid out before they do, the people who contributed in good faith over the course of years, in fact, decades in order to be able to safeguard a retirement plan for themselves and for their families.

It is an important issue and something that we have to deal with. I appreciate that the member for Sarnia—Lambton put forth this effort to deal with this issue.

I also thank the member for Manicouagan who has been working hard to resolve this major issue over the past several Parliaments.

I would remiss if I did not give a big thanks to Scott Duvall, a former member of Parliament for Hamilton Mountain and a proud steelworker out of Hamilton, who I think developed the gold standard on how to address this deficiency in our bankruptcy laws. It is something I have tried to honour by re-presenting his bill from the last Parliament as Bill C-225 in this Parliament.

Some of the features of Scott's bill that I think are important would not only amend the bankruptcy laws so that the unfunded liabilities of pension funds take precedence over secured and unsecured creditors, but also seek to ensure that companies cannot stop the payment of retirement benefits during bankruptcy proceedings. It would also require companies to pay any termination or severance pay owing before paying secured creditors.

I think Scott really put together a package on something that he knows well as a steelworker out of Hamilton. He worked for Stelco for many years, and he was an officer in the union that represented those workers. He saw first-hand the really brutal effects of this kind of game that companies sometimes choose to play in bankruptcy proceedings. The kicker, of course, is that sometimes it is the multinational parent company of the very company that is declaring bankruptcy that is a secured creditor and gets paid out before the workers they made the pension promise to and who contributed in good faith. That is one of the further perversions in the state of bankruptcy law in Canada that have to be addressed.

The member for Durham at one point in the last Parliament or the Parliament previous made an attempt to broach this issue in ways that, frankly, we found unsatisfactory and did not think really got to the point. However, I think it is a promising sign that the member for Sarnia—Lambton has addressed the question of so-called superpriority, where pensioners actually are in the line of creditors who have to be paid out in the case of bankruptcy. We welcome that development in this iteration of a Conservative private member's bill on this topic.

I think it is a promising sign to have Conservatives in the fold, to have the Bloc with a demonstrated history of good advocacy on this issue, to have the New Democrats who have cared a lot about this and to have a Liberal government that did commit, in 2015, to take action on this issue and has had some lines in subsequent budgets about trying to deal with it. However, the important fact to note is that, for as much as there has been some commitments on the part of the government, it has not happened yet.

Unlike certain policies, particularly ones that require spending, the virtue of this issue is that it can be solved by legislators with or without the permission or support of government, particularly in the context of a minority Parliament. Where there is good faith, and we have heard some important and sincere signals of good faith from the member for Sarnia—Lambton to work through some of the issues in this particular bill, then we can make progress. As people know, New Democrats are very committed to working with people, whatever their party, if we think we can make progress on important issues that have a direct impact on people.

I do want to flag some of the issues that I think come out of this particular piece of legislation. I alluded to one of those issues earlier in my question to the member for Sarnia—Lambton. I think there is concern about the ability of fund administrators, consulting only with the superintendent, to be able to change the terms and conditions of pension plans.

Of course, we heard loud and clear from Canadians across the country when the government tabled Bill C-27, which would have allowed for a significant restructuring of pension plans without appropriate permission from members or some consent of members, but we know that unfortunately sometimes companies engage in fear campaigns with their membership about the consequences of not doing what the company wants. The company will say the fund will not be solvent and the members are going to lose all their benefits. Often times, there is a lot of misinformation and disinformation in those communication campaigns with members.

We heard loud and clear that people who have defined benefit pensions do not want the rug pulled out from under them. They want to make sure that continues to be the case. We think that it is important that, no matter who it is, whether the superintendent or plan administrator, that they not be able to make unilateral changes to the terms of conditions of a person's plan without their informed consent and without some further rules around what can be done, because sometimes members are told certain things that may or may not be true. If a clause like this is going to go ahead, there needs to be a lot more said about the direction that would be given to plan administrators and the superintendent on how they could try to restructure a plan before taking it to the membership. That is an important point to make.

I also would want to look more carefully at the ability of companies to buy insurance against their unfunded pension liabilities as opposed to simply having to fund them out of their own resources. Insurance sometimes can be used as a tool, but it can also create cracks that people fall through. If it ends up being that the terms and conditions of the insurance do not quite match the circumstances surrounding that particular insolvency, then we might see a company discharged of its obligation to its pensioners without the insurance actually coming through and providing the full support of people's full pension, which they should have a right to.

This point was made earlier but I want to make it again. It is really important to note that, when we talk about people's private pensions, which they have contributed to usually over the course of decades, this is not a handout, this is not a charity thing and this is not a nice thing to have. It is part of the wage package. This is deferred wages.

I think Canadians would be outraged if, in a bankruptcy insolvency, the company could call up their former workers to say they had paid them a bunch of wages and now they want it back, and those people would have to pay their wages back from 1975 because the company got itself into trouble and expects the employees to bail it out.

It is no different when the company goes after the assets in the pension fund because those assets were never meant for the business of the company. They were always meant for the workers who showed up to work, did their part, held up their end of the bargain and made their contributions. They deserve to get the pension they were promised. When we, as legislators, fail to ensure that that pension promise is protected, we hurt not only the people who worked and contributed in good faith over all of those years and their families, but also the very idea of the pension promise at all.

I belong not only to a political party but to a political movement that wants to see more people have defined benefit pensions because it is future people can bank on. When we allow bankruptcy proceedings to undermine the pension promise, what we are saying to workers now is that they should be skeptical of a defined benefit pension plan, that they cannot trust it and maybe they should be investing elsewhere. However, we know that often that does not come to fruition. It is difficult as an individual investor in the market to be able to get the kind of pension security one needs, which is why defined benefit pensions have been such an important tool for working Canadians to carve out a meaningful retirement over the years.

It is why it is so important that we do that, and it is why New Democrats are committed to working with people in this place, as well as with retirees, workers and the organizations that represent them, to make sure that we can get a fix to this problem quickly and we can do it in the best possible way.

Opposition Motion—Elections During a PandemicBusiness of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 13th, 2021 / 3:15 p.m.
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Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am glad to have the opportunity today to discuss this opposition motion that was introduced by the member for La Prairie. It is a very important discussion to be having, and I have been listening closely to what members from all sides of the House have had to say about this.

I will admit I am perplexed, as I mentioned in a few different interventions today. Despite the fact that I am squarely in the camp of those who do not want to have an election during a pandemic, I am concerned about the manner in which this motion is being brought forward by the Bloc Québécois. Namely, only two days ago during question period, the member for Beloeil—Chambly, the leader of the Bloc Québécois, said in response to a question from the Prime Minister that he was not afraid of an election and to bring it on.

The Conservatives and the Bloc seem to be startled by the concept that we would like to be prepared in the event of an election, one that could easily be triggered by the opposition. They seem to be confused by that, yet we have the leader of the Bloc Québécois saying to bring it on. This is what he actually said during question period. When the leader of the Bloc Québécois, a party that quite often is put in the position of being the party that decides between going to an election and not, makes comments like that it gives a great need to be properly prepared and bring forward legislation as is being brought forward in Bill C-19.

I also find it very interesting that the Bloc Québécois has talked about consensus when talking about Bill C-19. There is a need to ensure we have consensus when changing our election laws in this country. Bloc members have mentioned it many times today, but this is extremely hypocritical.

Something else that relies tremendously on consensus in the House is changing our Standing Orders. For those who do not know, when we change the Standing Orders, the rules that govern how we debate in the House, how we conduct ourselves and how we follow procedures, they are usually changed with consensus. Only a year ago, the Bloc Québécois teamed up with the Conservatives, the NDP, the Green members and probably the independents at the time to change the Standing Orders and change the number of opposition days given.

Bloc members come in here and say that we need consensus for Bill C-19 and that there absolutely must be consensus among all parties. However, their actions a year ago when it came to changing the Standing Orders indicated that consensus was not needed because they had a majority. The rules could just be changed with their majority. I find it extremely hypocritical when the Bloc comes in here and starts preaching about consensus.

Of course the response to that suggestion, as I heard before, is that the rules were only being changed temporarily to add those three days. They were not being changed indefinitely. Guess what? Bill C-19 is just a temporary bill. It would temporarily be putting some temporary rules in place in the event that an election happens to get called.

The Bloc really needs to stand up. Somebody needs to stand up and explain to me what the difference is between consensus on Bill C-19 and consensus on Standing Orders. From my position, the only difference is the Bloc's opinion on the matter and its desire on the outcome. We need very important measures in place during a minority Parliament in the event that an election happens to be called, and people change their minds all the time.

The Conservatives right now are saying that they do not want an election, but I sat in the House for five years when the Conservatives said that they did not want carbon pricing. Guess what? They changed their minds on that. Who is to say that they will not change their minds on an election? Maybe, in the event that the Conservatives suddenly say they have changed their minds, as they did on carbon pricing, and that they want an election now, we should have some measures in place on how our Chief Electoral Officer should run an election. That is all that Bill C-19 would do.

Members have been saying it is a permanent change to our election process. I have heard Conservative after Conservative say that we are changing the way that Canadians vote and other misleading information, such as that we could count the ballots until the day after the election, which is totally false. One small exception built into the legislation talks about if an election happens on a holiday Monday when mail is not delivered, then there should be a consideration to count those ballots on the Tuesday morning because they would not have been delivered on the Monday. However, the Conservatives talk about a massive shift in the way that we run elections and count ballots, and about counting ballots after election day.

Think of the possibilities of that happening. There are only so many holiday Mondays during the year, and if it happened it would only be because the mail was not delivered. However, there is a deeper problem to this. When people start making comments like that, when they start talking about counting ballots afterwards, it starts to sow the seeds of doubt in the minds of Canadians as it relates to the integrity of their elections. Did we see that anywhere else recently? I think we did. Not that long ago, our neighbours to the south had a leader who sowed the seeds of doubt for months. I think all members of the House would do very well to be very careful when it comes to sowing the seeds of doubt about our electoral process.

Members need to be up front. If they have a problem with the fact that under certain circumstances ballots might have to be counted on a Tuesday, if the Monday was a holiday, they should at least identify that is the case. They should not outright say that all ballots will be counted after. They could then take it to committee and see if the committee could look at how to fine-tune that, but they should not intentionally sow the seeds of doubt in Canadians. I will say I am skeptical on this, because when PROC was studying this in the spring I was on the committee and indeed, Conservative members at the time were sowing the seeds of doubt. I would refer members to David Akin's reporting from back at that time, where he specifically said as he was watching the committee meeting that Conservatives were sowing seeds of doubt about the validity of mail-in ballots.

Bill C-19 is really about temporary measures. It is about putting measures in place just in case. I have also heard numerous members in the House talk about the Liberals being the only ones talking about an election. The member for Calgary Nose Hill said that. I encourage anyone to go on to the Twitter and Facebook feeds of the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, and tell me who keeps talking about an election. The Conservatives shared a tweet yesterday. As if there was nothing else to get political gain from, they shared a tweet of a meme that had two pictures in it. The top picture was a bunch of people having fun and dancing in the sun. Above it, it said a one-dose summer.

The picture below that was of a middle-aged man with an oxygen mask on his face, lying in a hospital bed. The caption above that said “Trudeau's summer”. I am referencing it. I am quoting it. I maybe should not have said that. I am happy to be corrected.

However, that is what it said. My point is, who is looking for an election right now? Who is trying to gain political points right now? Go no further than the social media feeds of the two political parties, and we will see who is talking about an election.

We have the Conservative Party blasting out these tweets that are politically motivated. We have the Bloc Québécois whose leader said in the House, two days ago during question period, “bring it on,” in reference to an election, and then opposition members are standing here trying to wrap their heads around why it is we want to be prepared with Bill C-19. It really should not be a mystery to anybody.

If that does not convince Canadians, how about the fact that on 14 occasions, Conservatives and Bloc members have voted non-confidence in the government? It happened on March 8, with Bill C-14; on March 25, with a concurrence motion to pass supplementary estimates; on March 25, with Bill C-26 at second reading, report stage and third reading; on March 25, with concurrence on the interim supply; on March 25, with Bill C-27, which was more interim supply. All of these were confidence votes. On April 15, there was the fall economic statement, Bill C-14; on April 21, there was the budget motion; on April 22, the budget motion amendment; on April 26, another budget motion; on April 30, there was the motion to introduce the budget implementation act. Time after time, opposition members are voting against the government and showing they do not have confidence.

I will hand it to the member for Elmwood—Transcona, who said earlier in his intervention that it was necessary for somebody to work with the government. I will hand it to the NDP: It works with the government from time to time. We used to see that in the beginning, a little, from the Bloc as well. We totally do not see that anymore. The NDP still does, to a certain degree.

I know I am getting towards the end of my time. I want to highlight one more thing with respect to the motion. If we look at the “second resolved clause” in this, it says:

In the opinion of the House, holding an election during a pandemic would be irresponsible, and that it is the responsibility of the government to make every effort to ensure that voters are not called to the polls as long as this pandemic continues.

I agree with this. Actually, I agree with the motion by and large. What I disagree with is that it is only the responsibility of the government. I believe that this is the responsibility of all of Parliament. The government certainly has its job to do in making sure that we can avoid an election to the best that we are humanly possible, but the opposition has a responsibility to do that as well. The opposition plays a key role here in a minority Parliament. It could very easily take down the government, as I have indicated numerous times throughout my speech. I think it is important that what is reflected in this motion is the fact that the opposition has to play a role in that too.

With that, I would like to move an amendment to this opposition motion presented by the member for La Prairie, and I hope it will garner the support of this House. It is seconded by the member for Kanata—Carleton.

I move that the motion be amended by adding, after the words “responsibility of the government”, the words “and opposition parties.”

May 4th, 2021 / 1:35 p.m.
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Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

I am indeed here. I am pleasantly surprised to get a turn a little earlier than I thought. I raised my hand when there was some talk of how we might have a discussion to move past this.

Obviously, there is a lot in Ms. Vecchio's motion about the WE Charity scandal, but what's important to note is that my Liberal colleagues on the committee have also made this about the WE Charity scandal, because they refuse to have a vote because they are trying to protect, presumably, the Prime Minister for sure and others who were mentioned in the original motion from having to come to discuss the WE Charity scandal. All that is to say it's very much the Liberals on the committee who, as much anybody else, have made this about the We Charity scandal.

What I've tried to propose is a way forward that puts the focus back on prorogation. We've heard many times—and I don't think it's in dispute—that the Prime Minister effectively.... While it's the prerogative of the Crown to prorogue Parliament, she does that on the advice of the Prime Minister. It's effectively the Prime Minister's prerogative to decide when Parliament is prorogued.

There are obviously differences of opinion about the reasons for the Prime Minister's prorogation. We've heard also some disagreement, and I think some real questions. We've even heard from Liberals at committee that, well, you know, the length of the prorogation might have been different, and maybe they didn't quite get that right and the timing of when it began.

There are some questions about the nature of the prorogation. We know that the Prime Minister is the decision-maker. I've offered many times on the record and off the record to various folks on the Liberal side that we could bring this back to the topic of prorogation by having the Prime Minister at committee for an hour and, as far as I'm concerned anyway, dispense with the rest. I know there are other committees pursuing the WE Charity question, and rightly so, but for as long as my Liberal colleagues are going to continue to filibuster in order to defend other Liberals from having to talk about the WE Charity scandal, this is what it's about.

If we're going to end up voting on this motion, then I'm going to support the Conservatives' motion. There's no doubt in my mind about that. The question then becomes, can we get back to making this about prorogation? That means having the sole decision-maker on prorogation come before the committee. I know that I'm not saying anything that's actually new here, but I think it's important because we've heard so much, so many words, from other colleagues that I think it's easy to lose the thread here.

The reason we're having this study is that the Prime Minister himself proposed this as a mechanism to prevent political abuses of prorogation. There can be legitimate reasons for prorogation. I think I've said here before—maybe I haven't—that the Manitoba legislature routinely prorogues. Every year, they come back with a Speech from the Throne. There have been uncontroversial prorogations in Canada's history. There were several, I think, in the Chrétien era. Nobody has talked about them, because they weren't interesting.

There are a lot of ways to prorogue Parliament. I'm not disputing that it is a tool that can be used. The pandemic is clearly all-consuming, so the idea that there might be a prorogation having to do with that is not outlandish. It's just that it happened to be announced the day after the minister of finance resigned right in the middle of a scandal and the day before a whole bunch of documents were due that might have shed some light on that scandal. I think any right-thinking person might think that there really is a connection there.

Yes, there may be questions for the Prime Minister about the WE Charity scandal, but also about the timing of the beginning of that prorogation. There are also questions about why the Prime Minister saw fit not to end it earlier, for instance, and to have us come back in order to have a far more fulsome discussion than what took place in Parliament about the expiration of the CERB program and what would replace it. We know, of course, that the legislation ended up being rushed through and there were some problems with that legislation.

Again, when we talk about the sickness benefit and then people later using that in order to quarantine from international travel that they had taken against the advice of the government, that was something that.... All parties agreed to that legislation and didn't identify that as a problem, but in fairness to opposition parties, I'll say that we didn't have a lot of time with that legislation. It was tabled and had to be passed in a matter of days, because the CERB deadline was there, despite the fact that I know I can say with certainty that New Democrats were calling for the House to sit in the month of September so that we could have that longer discussion.

There are a lot of legitimate questions about the timing and the nature of the prorogation that belong rightly with the sole decision-maker in respect of prorogation in the context of a study that has come about as a result of his own proposal for how best to prevent abuses of prorogation.

It makes perfect sense to have the Prime Minister here for one hour, and we could move on. I am putting that back on the table. I welcome a discussion about why it is that people don't think one hour of the Prime Minister 's time, in order to make good on his own proposal for how to prevent abuses of prorogation, the kind that we saw in the Harper years....

I would like some of my Liberal colleagues to say, if they think it's true, that had this mechanism existed in the Harper Parliaments, they would not have thought it was appropriate for Stephen Harper to come before PROC and defend his government's position. Then maybe explain how this mechanism is actually supposed to prevent political abuse of prorogation if the only decision-maker doesn't actually have to defend the decision in questioning to committee, because then I don't think it's a very good mechanism.

Of course, people at this committee will know that I think the best mechanism would actually be to have Parliament vote on prorogation because in instances of non-controversial prorogations—as I have said, there have been more of those than not in Canada's history—I don't think it would be difficult to get Parliament's assent to a prorogation. But in cases where it is controversial, then I actually think it's Parliament that should decide whether Parliament rises. It's Parliament that should decide whether all the work of committees is suspended or not. It's Parliament that ought to decide whether the legislative agenda gets cleared or not.

If a government doesn't want to move forward with certain legislation, it's always their prerogative not to put it up for debate on any given date. We saw that. Bill C-27 was a bill, a bad bill, I might add, that was presented by the Liberal majority government in the last Parliament, and I don't know that it was debated at all, in fact. I was relieved. I would have preferred that the government just withdraw it to give people peace of mind about their pension. That always hung over people's heads in the last Parliament, so withdrawing it would have been a better way forward, or dare I say, even a prorogation mid-Parliament.

There were times in the last Parliament that I did say that I thought we were about due for a prorogation. There was a lot of stuff on the Order Paper that the government clearly wasn't interested in moving forward with and I thought it would be good to just have the government reset its direction. Then the government picked the most controversial moment that it possibly could have, raising the spectre of political abuse for prorogation after over five years in government. So yes, we have questions. That's fair. That's what Parliament is for. That's what the accountability function of Parliament is all about. It's a principle of responsible government that elected parliamentarians be able to pose questions directly to decision-makers within government. Let's get the Prime Minister here and let's get this study over with and let's move on to something else.

Thank you to Mrs. Shanahan for allowing me to make that intervention sooner rather than later.

Thanks to the committee for listening to that again.

Interim SupplyGovernment Orders

March 25th, 2021 / 7:55 p.m.
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Interim SupplyGovernment Orders

March 25th, 2021 / 7:35 p.m.
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Jean-Yves Duclos Liberal Québec, QC