Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1

An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures

Sponsor

Status

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

Summary

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

Part 1 implements certain income tax measures by

(a) providing relieving measures in connection with COVID-19 in respect of the use by an employee of an employer-provided automobile for the 2020 and 2021 taxation years;

(b) limiting the benefit of the employee stock option deduction for employees of certain employers;

(c) providing an adjustment for payments or repayments of government assistance in determining capital cost allowance for certain zero-emission vehicles;

(d) expanding the scope of the foreign affiliate dumping rules to further their objectives;

(e) providing change in use rules for multi-unit residential properties;

(f) establishing rules for advanced life deferred annuities;

(g) providing for an option to deduct repaid emergency benefit amounts in the year of benefit receipt and clarifying the tax treatment of non-resident beneficiaries;

(h) removing the time limitation for a registered disability savings plan to remain registered after the cessation of a beneficiary’s eligibility for the disability tax credit and modifying grant and bond repayment obligations;

(i) increasing the basic personal amount for certain taxpayers;

(j) providing a temporary special reading of certain rules relating to the child care expense deduction and the disability supports deduction for the 2020 and 2021 taxation years;

(k) providing flow-through share issuers with temporary additional time to incur eligible expenses to be renounced to investors under their flow-through share agreements;

(l) applying the short taxation year rule to the accelerated investment incentive for resource expenditures;

(m) introducing the Canada Recovery Hiring Program refundable tax credit to support the post-pandemic recovery;

(n) amending the employee life and health trust rules to allow for the conversion of health and welfare trusts to employee life and health trusts;

(o) expanding access to the Canada Workers Benefit by revising the applicable eligibility thresholds for the 2021 and subsequent taxation years;

(p) amending the income tax measures providing support for Canadian journalism;

(q) clarifying the definition of shared-custody parent for the purposes of the Canada Child Benefit;

(r) revising the eligibility criteria, as well as the level of subsidization, under the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS), extending the CEWS and the CERS until September 25, 2021, providing authority to enable the extension of these subsidies until November 30, 2021, and ensuring that the level of CEWS benefits for furloughed employees continues to align with the benefits provided through the Employment Insurance Act until August 28, 2021;

(s) preventing the use by mutual fund trusts of a method of allocating capital gains or income to their redeeming unitholders where the use of that method inappropriately defers tax or converts ordinary income into capital gains;

(t) extending the income tax deferral available for certain patronage dividends paid in shares by an agricultural cooperative corporation to payments made before 2026;

(u) limiting transfers of pensionable service into individual pension plans;

(v) establishing rules for variable payment life annuities;

(w) preventing listed terrorist entities under the Criminal Code from qualifying as registered charities and providing for the suspension or revocation of a charity’s registration where it makes false statements for the purpose of maintaining registration;

(x) ensuring the appropriate interaction of transfer pricing rules and other rules in the Income Tax Act;

(y) preventing non-resident taxpayers from avoiding Canadian dividend withholding tax on compensation payments made under cross-border securities lending arrangements with respect to Canadian shares;

(z) allowing for the electronic delivery of requirements for information to banks and credit unions;

(aa) improving existing rules meant to prevent taxpayers from using derivative transactions to convert ordinary income into capital gains;

(bb) extending to a wider array of eligible automotive equipment and vehicles the 100% capital cost allowance write-off for business investments in certain zero-emission vehicles;

(cc) ensuring that the accelerated investment incentive for depreciable property applies properly in particular circumstances; and

(dd) providing rules for contributions to a specified multi-employer plan for older members.

It also makes related and consequential amendments to the Excise Tax Act, the Air Travellers Security Charge Act, the Excise Act, 2001, the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the Income Tax Regulations and the Canada Disability Savings Regulations.

Part 2 implements certain Goods and Services Tax/Harmonized Sales Tax (GST/HST) measures by

(a) temporarily relieving supplies of certain face masks and face shields from the GST/HST;

(b) ensuring that non-resident vendors supplying digital products or services (including traditional services) to consumers in Canada be required to register for the GST/HST and to collect and remit the tax on their taxable supplies to consumers in Canada;

(c) requiring distribution platform operators and non-resident vendors to register under the normal GST/HST rules and to collect and remit the GST/HST in respect of certain supplies of goods shipped from a fulfillment warehouse or another place in Canada;

(d) applying the GST/HST on all supplies of short-term accommodation in Canada facilitated through a digital platform;

(e) expanding the eligibility for the GST rebate for new housing;

(f) expanding the definition of freight transportation service for the purposes of the GST/HST;

(g) extending the application of the drop-shipment rules for the purposes of the GST/HST;

(h) treating virtual currency as a financial instrument for the purposes of the GST/HST; and

(i) clarifying the GST/HST holding corporation rules and expanding those rules to holding partnerships and trusts.

It also makes related and consequential amendments to the New Harmonized Value-added Tax System Regulations, No. 2.

Part 3 implements certain excise measures by increasing excise duty rates on tobacco products by $4.‍00 per carton of 200 cigarettes along with corresponding increases to the excise duty rates on other tobacco products.

Part 4 enacts an Act and amends several Acts in order to implement various measures.

Division 1 of Part 4 amends the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act to, among other things,

(a) specify the steps that an assessor must follow when they review a determination of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation with respect to the payment of compensation to certain persons;

(b) clarify that the determination of whether or not persons are entitled to compensation is to be made in accordance with the regulations;

(c) prevent a person from taking certain actions in relation to certain agreements between the person and a federal member institution by reason only of a monetary default by that institution in the performance of obligations under those agreements if the default occurs in the period between the making of an order directing the conversion of that institution’s shares or liabilities and the occurrence of the conversion;

(d) require certain federal member institutions to ensure that certain provisions of that Act — or provisions that have substantially the same effect as those provisions — apply to certain eligible financial contracts, including those contracts that are subject to the laws of a foreign state;

(e) exempt eligible financial contracts between a federal member institution and certain entities, including Her Majesty in right of Canada, from a provision of that Act that prevents certain actions from being taken in relation to those contracts; and

(f) extend periods applicable to certain restructuring transactions for financial institutions.

It also amends the Payment Clearing and Settlement Act to

(a) specify the steps that an assessor must follow when they review a determination of the Bank of Canada with respect to the payment of compensation to certain persons or entities; and

(b) clarify that systems or arrangements for the exchange of payment messages for the purpose of clearing or settlement of payment obligations may be overseen by the Bank of Canada as clearing and settlement systems.

Finally, it amends not-in-force provisions of the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, enacted by the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1, so that, under certain circumstances, an error or omission that results in a failure to meet a requirement of the schedule to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act will not prevent a deposit from being considered a separate deposit.

Division 2 of Part 4 amends the Bank of Canada Act to authorize the Bank of Canada to publish certain information about unclaimed amounts.

It also amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 with respect to the transfer of pension plan assets relating to the pension benefit credit of any person who cannot be located to, among other things,

(a) limit the circumstances in which such assets may be transferred and specify conditions for the transfer; and

(b) specify the effects of a transfer on any claims that may be made in respect of those assets.

Finally, it amends the Trust and Loan Companies Act and the Bank Act to

(a) include amounts that are not in Canadian currency in the unclaimed amounts regime; and

(b) impose additional requirements on financial institutions in connection with their transfers of unclaimed amounts to the Bank of Canada and communications with the owners of those amounts.

Division 3 of Part 4 amends the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2 to exclude certain businesses from the application of a provision of the Bank Act that it enacts, which allows certain agreements that have been entered into with banks to be cancelled.

Division 4 of Part 4 amends the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act and the Insurance Companies Act to extend the period during which federal financial institutions governed by those Acts may carry on business to June 30, 2025.

Division 5 of Part 4 amends the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law) to

(a) provide that the entities referred to in that Act are no longer required to disclose to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates them the fact that they do not have in their possession or control any property of a foreign national who is the subject of an order or regulation made under that Act; and

(b) change the frequency with which those entities are required to disclose to the principal agency or body that supervises or regulates them the fact that they have such property in their possession or control from once a month to once every three months.

Division 6 of Part 4 amends the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act to

(a) extend the application of Part 1 of that Act to include persons and entities engaged in the business of transporting currency or certain other financial instruments;

(b) provide that the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre make assessments to be paid by persons or entities to which Part 1 applies, based on the amount of certain expenses incurred by the Centre, and to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations respecting those assessments;

(c) amend the definitions of designated information to include certain information associated with virtual currency transactions and widely held or publicly traded trusts that the Centre can disclose to law enforcement or other governmental bodies;

(d) change the maximum penalties for summary conviction offences;

(e) expand the list of persons or entities that are not eligible for registration with the Centre; and

(f) make other technical amendments.

Division 7 of Part 4 enacts the Retail Payment Activities Act, which establishes an oversight framework for retail payment activities. Among other things, that Act requires certain payment service providers to identify and mitigate operational risks, safeguard end-user funds and register with the Bank of Canada. That Act also provides the Minister of Finance with powers to address risks related to national security that could be posed by payment service providers. This Division also makes related amendments to the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act and the Payment Card Networks Act.

Division 8 of Part 4 amends the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985 to establish new requirements and grant new regulation-making powers to the Governor in Council with respect to negotiated contribution plans.

Division 9 of Part 4 amends the First Nations Fiscal Management Act to allow First Nations that are borrowing members of the First Nations Finance Authority to assign their rights to certain revenues payable by Her Majesty in right of Canada, for the purpose of securing financing for that Authority’s borrowing members.

Division 10 of Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to, among other things, increase the maximum amount of a fiscal stabilization payment that may be made to a province and to make technical changes to the calculation of fiscal stabilization payments.

Division 11 of Part 4 amends the Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act to authorize additional payments to the provinces and territories.

Division 12 of Part 4 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to Canada’s COVID-19 immunization plan.

Division 13 of Part 4 authorizes payments to be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund in relation to infrastructure and amends the heading of Part 9 of the Keeping Canada’s Economy and Jobs Growing Act.

Division 14 of Part 4 authorizes amounts to be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund, to a maximum total amount of $3,056,491,000, for annual payments to Newfoundland and Labrador in accordance with the terms and conditions of the Hibernia Dividend Backed Annuity Agreement.

Division 15 of Part 4 amends the Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador Additional Fiscal Equalization Offset Payments Act to authorize the Minister of Finance to make an additional fiscal equalization offset payment to Nova Scotia for the 2020–2021 fiscal year and to extend that Minister’s authority to make additional fiscal equalization offset payments to Nova Scotia until March 31, 2023.

Division 16 of Part 4 amends the Telecommunications Act to provide that decisions made by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on whether or not to allocate funding to expand access to telecommunications services in underserved areas are not subject to review under section 12 or 62 of that Act but are subject to review by the Commission on its own initiative. It also amends that Act to provide for the exchange of information within the federal government and with provincial governments for the purpose of coordinating financial support for access to telecommunications services in underserved areas.

Division 17 of Part 4 amends the Canada Small Business Financing Act to, among other things,

(a) specify that lines of credit are loans;

(b) set a limit on the liability of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism in respect of each lender for lines of credit;

(c) remove the restriction excluding not-for-profit businesses, charitable businesses and businesses having as their principal object the furtherance of a religious purpose as eligible borrowers;

(d) increase the maximum amount of all loans that may be made in relation to a borrower under that Act; and

(e) provide that lesser maximum loan amounts may be prescribed by regulation for loans other than lines of credit, lines of credit and prescribed classes of loans.

Division 18 of Part 4 amends the Customs Act to change certain rules respecting the correction of declarations made under section 32.‍2 of that Act, the payment of interest due to Her Majesty and securities required under that Act, and to define the expression “sold for export to Canada” for the purposes of Part III of that Act.

Division 19 of Part 4 amends the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement Implementation Act to require the concurrence of the Minister of Finance when the Minister designated for the purposes of section 16 of that Act appoints panellists and committee members and proposes the names of individuals for rosters under Chapter 10 of the Canada–United States–Mexico Agreement.

Division 20 of Part 4 amends Part 5 of the Department of Employment and Social Development Act to make certain reforms to the Social Security Tribunal, including

(a) changing the criteria for granting leave to appeal and introducing a de novo model for appeals of decisions of the Income Security Section at the Appeal Division;

(b) giving the Governor in Council the authority to prescribe the circumstances in which hearings may be held in private; and

(c) giving the Chairperson of the Social Security Tribunal the authority to make rules of procedure governing appeals.

Division 21 of Part 4 amends the definition of “previous contractor” in Part I of the Canada Labour Code in order to extend equal remuneration protection to employees who are covered by a collective agreement and who work for an employer that

(a) provides services at an airport to another employer in the air transportation industry; or

(b) provides services to another employer in another industry and at other locations that may be prescribed by regulation.

Division 22 of Part 4 amends Part III of the Canada Labour Code to establish a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour and to provide that if the minimum wage of a province or territory is higher than the federal minimum wage, the employer is to pay a minimum wage that is not less than that higher minimum wage. It also provides that, except in certain circumstances, the federal minimum wage per hour is to be adjusted upwards annually on the basis of the Consumer Price Index for Canada.

Division 23 of Part 4 amends the provisions of the Canada Labour Code respecting leave related to the death or disappearance of a child in cases in which it is probable that the child died or disappeared as a result of a crime, in order to, among other things,

(a) increase the maximum length of leave for a parent of a child who has disappeared from 52 weeks to 104 weeks;

(b) extend eligibility to parents of children who are 18 years of age or older but under 25 years of age; and

(c) limit the exception that applies in the case of a parent of a child who has died as a result of a crime if it is probable that the child was a party to the crime so that the exception applies only with respect to a child who is 14 years of age or older.

Division 24 of Part 4 authorizes the Minister of Employment and Social Development to make a one-time payment to Quebec for the purpose of offsetting some of the costs of aligning the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan with temporary measures set out in Part VIII.‍5 of the Employment Insurance Act.

Division 25 of Part 4 amends the Judges Act to provide that, if the Canadian Judicial Council recommends that a judge be removed from judicial office, the time counted towards the judge’s pension entitlements will be frozen and their pension contributions will be suspended, as of the day on which the recommendation is made. If the recommendation is rejected, the judge’s pension contributions will resume, the time counted towards their pension entitlement will include the suspension period and the judge will be required to make all the contributions that would have been required had the contributions never been suspended.

Division 26 of Part 4 amends the Federal Courts Act and the Tax Court of Canada Act to increase the number of judges for the Federal Court of Appeal by one and the number of judges for the Tax Court of Canada by two. It also amends the Judges Act to authorize the salary for the new Associate Chief Justice for the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador and the salaries for the following new judges: five judges for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, two judges for the Supreme Court of British Columbia and two judges for the Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan.

Division 27 of Part 4 amends the National Research Council Act to provide the National Research Council of Canada with the authority to engage in the production of “drugs” or “devices”, as those terms are defined in the Food and Drugs Act, for the purpose of protecting or improving public health. It also amends that Act to provide authority for the incorporation of corporations and the acquisition of shares in corporations.

Division 28 of Part 4 amends the Department of Employment and Social Development Act in relation to the collection and use of Social Insurance Numbers by the Minister of Labour.

Division 29 of Part 4 amends the Canada Student Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on a guaranteed student loan.

It also amends the Canada Student Financial Assistance Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on a student loan.

Finally, it amends the Apprentice Loans Act to provide that, during the period that begins on April 1, 2021 and ends on March 31, 2023, no interest is payable by a borrower on an apprentice loan.

Division 30 of Part 4 confirms the validity of certain regulations in relation to the cancellation or postponement of certain First Nations elections.

Division 31 of Part 4 amends the Old Age Security Act to increase the Old Age Security pension payable to individuals aged 75 and over by 10%. It also provides that any amount payable in relation to a program to provide a one-time payment of $500 to pensioners who are 75 years of age or older may be paid out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

Division 32 of Part 4 amends the Public Service Employment Act to, among other things,

(a) require that the establishment and review of qualification standards and the use of assessment methods in respect of appointments include an evaluation of whether there are biases or barriers that disadvantage persons belonging to any equity-seeking group;

(b) provide that audits and investigations may include the determination of whether there are biases or barriers that disadvantage persons belonging to any equity-seeking group; and

(c) give permanent residents the same preference as Canadian citizens in external advertised appointment processes.

Division 33 of Part 4 authorizes the making of payments to the provinces for early learning and child care for the fiscal year beginning on April 1, 2021.

Division 34 of Part 4 amends the Canada Recovery Benefits Act to, among other things,

(a) provide that the maximum number of two-week periods in respect of which a Canada recovery benefit is payable is 25;

(b) reduce the amount of a Canada recovery benefit for a week to $300 in certain circumstances;

(c) provide that certain persons who were paid benefits under the Employment Insurance Act are eligible to be paid a Canada recovery benefit in certain circumstances;

(d) provide that the maximum number of weeks in respect of which a Canada recovery caregiving benefit is payable is 42; and

(e) provide that the Governor in Council may, by regulation, on the recommendation of the Minister of Employment and Social Development and the Minister of Finance, amend certain provisions of that Act to replace the date of September 25, 2021 by a date not later than November 20, 2021.

It also amends the Canada Labour Code to provide that the maximum number of weeks of leave for COVID-19 related caregiving responsibilities is 42.

Finally, it repeals provisions of the Canada Recovery Benefits Regulations and the Canada Labour Standards Regulations.

Division 35 of Part 4 amends the Employment Insurance Act to, among other things,

(a) facilitate access to unemployment benefits for a period of one year by

(i) reducing the number of hours of insurable employment required to qualify for unemployment benefits to a national threshold of 420 hours,

(ii) reducing the amount of earnings from self-employment that a self-employed person is required to have to be eligible to access special unemployment benefits,

(iii) providing that only a claimant’s most recent separation from employment will be considered in determining whether they qualify for unemployment benefits,

(iv) ensuring that earnings paid to a person because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer do not extend the person’s benefit period, and

(v) providing for an increase in the maximum number of weeks for which regular unemployment benefits may be paid to a seasonal worker if certain conditions are met; and

(b) extend the maximum number of weeks for which benefits may be paid because of a prescribed illness, injury or quarantine from 15 to 26.

It also amends the Canada Labour Code to, among other things, extend to 27 the maximum number of weeks to which an employee is entitled for a medical leave of absence from employment.

It also amends the Employment Insurance Regulations to, among other things, ensure that, for a period of one year, earnings paid to a person because of the complete severance of their relationship with their former employer do not extend the person’s benefit period or delay payment of benefits to the person.

Finally, it amends the Employment Insurance (Fishing) Regulations to, among other things, reduce, for a period of one year, the amount of earnings that a fisher is required to have to qualify for unemployment benefits.

Division 36 of Part 4 amends the Canada Elections Act to provide that the offences related to the prohibition on making or publishing certain false statements with the intention of affecting the results of an election require that the person or the entity making or publishing the statement knows that the statement in question is false.

Elsewhere

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

Votes

June 23, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
June 21, 2021 Passed Concurrence at report stage of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
June 21, 2021 Failed Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures (report stage amendment)
June 14, 2021 Passed Tme allocation for Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures
May 27, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 23rd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
See context

NDP

Jagmeet Singh NDP Burnaby South, BC

There have been consultations, and if you seek it, I hope you will find consent for the following motion: That the House call on the government to take all necessary action, including recalling the House during the summer adjournment, in order to pass new emergency legislation to reverse the $800 cut to the monthly Canada recovery benefit which is set to begin on July 17, 2021.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, what a pleasure it is to address the House on such an important piece of legislation. To be very clear, in budget 2021 the government has outlined a plan to allow us to finish the fight against COVID-19, heal the wounds left by the COVID-19 recession as much as we can, and ultimately create more jobs and prosperity for Canadians in the days and decades to come.

This is critically important legislation, and we would encourage all members of all political stripes to support it. Within it is a continuation of the government's focus on the pandemic. In the last federal election, Canadians wanted Parliament to work well together. They wanted us to come together to do the things that were necessary to facilitate a more positive environment for all Canadians, and being thrown into a pandemic made the priority fighting COVID-19: the coronavirus.

From the very beginning, our Prime Minister and this government have made it very clear that fighting the pandemic was our number one priority. We put into place a team Canada approach and brought together all kinds of stakeholders including different levels of government, indigenous leaders, individuals, non-profit organizations and private companies. We brought them all in to hopefully minimize the negative impact of the coronavirus.

It is because of those consultations and working with Canadians that Canada is in an excellent position today to maximize a recovery. The statistics will clearly demonstrate that. We have a government that has worked day in and day out, seven days a week, and is led by a Prime Minister who is truly committed to making Canada a better community.

I have, over the last number of months, witnessed a great deal of frustration from the opposition, in particular the Conservative opposition. The Conservatives continuously attempt to frustrate the process on the floor of the House of Commons. There was a time when all parties inside the chamber worked together to pass necessary legislation, and worked together to come up with ideas and ways to modify things so we could better support individuals and businesses in Canada. However, that time has long passed. The degree to which we see political partisanship on the floor of the House of Commons today is really quite sad.

Yesterday was embarrassing. I know many, if not all, of my colleagues found it embarrassing and humiliating to see one of Canada's most noble civil servants at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. The New Democrats and the Bloc joined with the Conservatives to humiliate a civil servant who should be applauded for his efforts over the last 12 months. He was publicly humiliated by being addressed in the manner he was, on the floor of the House of Commons, and it was distasteful. I say shame to the NDP, the Bloc and the Conservatives.

There were alternatives. If they did not want to take shots at the civil service, they could have dealt with it in other ways. For example, the Minister of Health provided the unredacted information to the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, which was made up of parliamentarians from all political parties. Instead of passing the motion they did, they could have passed a motion for that committee to table the documents they wanted from the civil service. After all, the civil service provided the unredacted copies to that committee, not to mention that documents that had been redacted for national interest and security reasons were sent to another standing committee.

The political partisanship we are seeing today is making the chamber, for all intents and purposes, dysfunctional. We have seen the official opposition, less than a week ago, come to the floor of the House of Commons and within an hour of debate attempt to shut down Parliament for the day. It actually moved a motion to adjourn the House. The opposition is oozing with hypocrisy. On the one hand, it criticizes the government for not allowing enough time for debate, and on the other hand it tries to shut down the chamber in order to prevent debate.

If we were to look up the definitions of the words “hypocrisy” and “irony” in Webster's, which I have not, I wonder if they would describe what we are seeing from the opposition party, which moves concurrence debate, not once or twice but on many occasions, so that the government is not able to move forward on legislation, including Bill C-30, which we are debating today. That legislation is there to support Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Members of the Liberal caucus have fought day in and day out to ensure those voices are heard, brought to Ottawa and ultimately formulating policy that will take Canada to the next level. However, we have an official opposition that I would suggest has gone too far with respect to its resistance and destructive force on the floor of the House of Commons.

I have stated before that I have been a parliamentarian for approximately 30 years, the vast majority of which were in opposition. I am very much aware of how important it is that we protect the interests of opposition members and their rights. I am very much aware of the tactics opposition parties will use, but at a time when Canadians need us to work together, we have an official opposition that is acting as an obstructive force. When we talk about how Bill C-30 will be there to support small businesses and put money in the pockets of Canadians so they have the disposable income necessary to pay the bills that are absolutely essential, the Conservative Party continues to play that destructive role. It continues to focus on character assassination and on ways to make something out of something that is often not real. The Conservatives are more concerned about political partisanship than getting down to work, which was clearly demonstrated last Thursday. They are more concerned about character assassination, as we saw the official opposition, with the unholy opposition alliance, take personal shots at a national hero, someone we all know as the Minister of National Defence. This is unacceptable behaviour we are witnessing.

We have critically important legislation before the House. We can think about the types of things Bill C-30 would do for Canadians. If we want to prevent bankruptcies from taking place, we need to support this legislation, as it supports small businesses through the extension of the wage subsidy program, a program that has helped millions of Canadians, supporting tens of thousands of businesses from coast to coast to coast.

This is the type of legislation that we are actually debating today. It is not the only progressive, good, solid legislation that we have brought forward. Yesterday, through a closure motion, we were able to push through Bill C-10. We can imagine that legislation not being updated for 30 years. It is a major overhaul. We can think about what the Internet looked like 30 years ago, compared to today.

The Liberal government understands, especially during this pandemic, and we see it in the budget, the importance of our arts community, whether it was with Bill C-10 yesterday, where the government had to push hard to get it through, or the budget implementation bill today, where we are again having to use time allocation. It is not because we want to, but because we have to.

If we do not take measures of this nature, the legislation would not pass. The opposition parties, combined, often demonstrate that if the government is not prepared to take the actions it is taking, we would not get legislation through this House. The opposition parties want to focus on electioneering. We have been very clear, as the Prime Minister has stated, that our priority is the pandemic and taking the actions necessary in order to serve Canadians on the issue. It is the opposition parties that continuously talk about elections.

In my many years as a parliamentarian, in the month of June we have often seen legislation passing. It happens. It is a part of governance. One would expect to see a higher sense of co-operation from opposition parties, in particular from the official opposition party, not the obstruction that members have witnessed, not the humiliation that we have seen on the floor of the House of Commons at times.

Liberal members of the House are prepared to continue to work toward serving Canadians by passing the legislation that is necessary before the summer break. We still have time to address other pieces of legislation. Minutes prior to going into this debate, I was on a conference call in regard to Bill C-19. Again, it is an important piece of legislation. I challenge my colleagues on the opposition benches to come forward and say that we should get that legislation passed so that it could go to the Senate.

I mentioned important progressive pieces of legislation, and the one that comes to my mind, first and foremost, is this legislation, Bill C-30. Next to that, we talk a lot about Bill C-6, on conversion therapy. We talk a lot about Bill C-10, dealing with the modernization of broadcasting and the Internet, and going after some of these large Internet companies.

We talk about Bill C-12 and net zero, about our environment. We can check with Canadians and see what they have to say about our environment and look at the actions taken by opposition parties in preventing the types of progressive legislation we are attempting to move forward with.

We understand that not all legislation is going to be passed. We are not saying the opposition has to pass everything. We realize that in a normal situation not all government legislation is going to pass in the time frame we have set forth, given the very nature of the pandemic, but it is not unrealistic for any government, minority or majority, to anticipate that there would be a higher sense of co-operation in dealing with the passing of specific pieces of legislation. Bill C-30 is definitely one of those pieces of legislation.

Unfortunately, some opposition members will have the tenacity to say they are being limited and are unable to speak to and address this particular important piece of legislation. Chances are we are going to hear them say that. To those members, I would suggest they look at the behaviour of the Conservative official opposition and remind them of the Conservative opposition's attempts to delay, whether it is through adjourning debates, calling for votes on those kinds of proceedings, concurrence motions or using questions of privilege and points of order as a way to filibuster, which all happen to be during government business.

Bill C-3 was a bill that initially came forward a number of years ago from Rona Ambrose, the then leader of the Conservative Party, about judges. We can look at the amount of debate that occurred on that piece of legislation. It is legislation that could have and should have passed the House with minimal debate. It was hours and hours, days, of debate. Even though the Conservatives supported the legislation, even back then they did not want to have the government passing legislation.

Their purpose is to frustrate the government, prevent the government from being able to pass legislation, and then criticize us for not being able to pass legislation. What hypocrisy this is. Sadly, over the last week or so, we have seen the other opposition parties buy into what the Conservative opposition is doing, which has made it even more difficult.

As much as the unholy alliance of opposition parties continues to do these things and frustrate the floor of the House, I can assure Canadians that, whether it is this Prime Minister or my fellow members of Parliament within the caucus, we will continue day in, day out to focus our attention on the pandemic and minimizing its negative impacts.

We are seeing results. Over 32 million vaccine doses have been administered to Canadians. We are number one in first doses in the world. We have close to 35 million doses already in Canada, and we will have 50 million before the end of the month. Canada is positioning itself well, even with the frustration coming from opposition parties. We will continue to remain focused on serving Canadians, and Bill C-30 is an excellent example of the way in which we are going to ensure that Canadians get out of this in a better position. We are building back better for all Canadians.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 a.m.
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Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Madam Speaker, the hon. member spoke at length about dysfunctionality and how the opposition parties were creating dysfunction. I wonder if he considers it dysfunctional when Parliament is not debating bills every day, or when there are no opposition day motions, or when there are no emergency debates, or when there are no tabling of reports from committees, or when there are no private members' bills, or when there are no adjournment debates. That is how his government governed for a big part of 2020.

Could the member comment on that?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, nothing could be further from the truth. In the last eight months, we had more emergency debates than I have seen in the previous six or seven years. We have had just as many private members' hours. We have had opposition days, all be it, some of those opposition days were very offensive.

It was an opposition day that led to what we saw yesterday, the humiliation of a public civil servant, someone who we should be thanking. The combined unholy alliance of opposition parties wanted to make a public statement by humiliating a public civil servant at the bar on the floor of the House of Commons. Shame on the members of the opposition. That collective group should hang its head in shame.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 a.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, the speech we heard was rather predictable. In fact, when the parliamentary secretary rises, we know almost exactly what he is going to say for the next 20 minutes.

We also heard him laying a lot of blame and expressing a lot of criticism toward the opposition, particularly for making the president of the Public Health Agency of Canada appear before the House and for stalling bills and keeping them from being passed on time.

However, is the parliamentary secretary able to identify his own government's shortcomings? If he did some soul-searching, perhaps the parliamentary secretary would realize that some of the problems with the way his own government is managing things are what led us to these conclusions and outcomes.

I would ask the secretary this: Could he show a little humility and identify one of his government's shortcomings during this parliamentary session? It is actually very simple.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, at the beginning of the pandemic, we brought in a suite of different programs to support Canadians and businesses. The programs were not perfect, and we continued to look at ways we could improve those programs. We have never said that everything is perfect. We continue to try hard to ensure that we maximize these benefits for all Canadians. We all have something to learn from it.

Yesterday, the members of the Bloc had a choice. They could have mandated the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians, for example, to table the unredacted documents, and they chose not to that. Instead, they chose to humiliate a public servant, unjustifiably.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the government moved immediately, within four days of the pandemic hitting, to provide an unprecedented $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, and, of course, we have seen record profits of $60 billion so far during the pandemic.

However, at the same time, with Bill C-30, we are seeing significant cuts in the CRB, ultimately from the $500 a week the NDP fought for down to $300 a week, below the poverty line for all those Canadians who still need the CRB over the coming months to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head.

I would like the parliamentary secretary to simply explain why the government is slashing benefits on which Canadians so urgently rely.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, Canadians can see through the NDP's continuously scripted lines. At the end of the day, the Government of Canada, with the help of many, came up with a program, which Canadians know as CERB, to support putting disposable income in the pockets of Canadians. It was a hugely successful program, a program that came from nothing, with excellent civil servants making it happen. Over nine million Canadians directly benefited by that program. Yes, it cost billions of dollars, but it was money well spent to support Canadians.

This government has had its eyes on supporting Canadians from day one, and we will continue to provide the necessary supports to ensure we can get out of this pandemic as best as we can.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
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Conservative

Chris d'Entremont Conservative West Nova, NS

Madam Speaker, minority Parliaments are not easy. I spent six years in two minority parliaments in Nova Scotia. We had to actually work with the opposition to ensure we could get the things we needed for our constituents. We went out of our way to ensure that opposition MPs, or MLAs at the time, got what they needed to help their constituents.

What I hear from the member is bellyaching about the opposition members and what they do not want to do. The management comes from the Liberal side. The management comes from the House leader and the management team. How much has that member reached out? How much have those ministers reached out to us? I have been waiting for weeks for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to reach, and that has not happened.

Has there been some introspective that maybe some of these things the member bellyaches about are because of the Liberals mismanagement of many of these files?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I use yesterday as an example. Yesterday, we had a civil servant come to the bar, which is the first time in 100 years, to be publicly humiliated. I felt ashamed. I thought it was disgusting. That would not have happened if it were not for the NDP, Bloc and Conservatives forcing that civil servant to stand before the House to be admonished. I thought it was distasteful.

A minority government means exactly what we saw yesterday, that the combined opposition have the majority. Anytime they want to humiliate someone, they can easily do it. They know that and they do not have any reservation in doing it even if it is somewhat historical in its very nature. That is not the only example, unfortunately.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, anyone could have seen that speech coming from miles away.

For weeks now, the parliamentary secretary has been calling Parliament dysfunctional and accusing opposition parties of picking fights. What he is doing is setting the stage for what he really wants: a snap election.

I will pick up where my colleague from Drummond left off. Here is my question for the parliamentary secretary. Would the parliamentary secretary humbly state—and humbly here means “not proud; having a low estimate of one's own importance”—that last August's prorogation of the House constituted an obstruction to our parliamentary work?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the prorogation that took place last summer was easily justified in regard to the previous throne speech and the necessity to introduce a new throne speech, which was done on September 23. All one needs to do is just read the document to get a better appreciation as to why prorogation was important, keeping in mind that even through the prorogation, we might have lost maybe two days of debate at best.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, in my earlier remarks about the budget, I noted that with this budget, the Prime Minister had squandered a historic opportunity to reposition our economy for long-term success. I did, however, acknowledge that the budget contained a number of temporary measures that were critical to sustaining Canadians as we struggled to get past the pandemic. I commended the government for extending the wage and rent subsidy programs and a number of other measures that would continue to support struggling Canadians.

That is what a responsible opposition does. We offer helpful suggestions where possible and we call out failure when it happens. Therefore, I wish I could say that we Conservatives will support this budget, because we should not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. However, the reality is that this budget completely fails to deliver the growth budget that the finance minister had promised. Instead, it represents, as former deputy finance minister Kevin Lynch recently noted, the largest “transfer of debt and risk” that our country has ever seen. The finance minister failed to recognize the enormity of that challenge and in so doing, failed to include in her budget the strong fiscal anchor and debt management plan for which her own mandate letter called.

This budget would see our massive national debt swell to $1.4 trillion in the immediate term, with a hint from the government that it plans to borrow even more. The only anchor the minister could point to was a trajectory that would see Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio move slightly below 50%, far above what it was pre-pandemic, with endless debt and deficits for our children and grandchildren to repay.

The minister has been asked many times if she ever expects the government to return to balance; in other words to live within its means. She has steadfastly refused to answer, clearly a signal that the answer is no. Is this the growth budget the Prime Minister promised? It is absolutely not. While it would dramatically grow deficits, debt and the size of government, there is little that would position our economy for long-term growth and prosperity.

While other G7 countries have invested heavily in things like critical infrastructure, cut taxes, embarked on regulatory reform, harnessed the value of their innovators and reoriented trade away from hostile regimes like China, our Prime Minister has simply sprayed half a trillion dollars at targets intended to secure his re-election.

There is no plan to reorient our industrial policy from a tangibles to an intangibles economy, and there is no plan to capture the value of Canadian education, research and development, and innovation to ensure our start-ups commercialize and create jobs in Canada. There is no plan to reverse the dramatic flight of foreign capital from our country and to get nation-building infrastructure built. We now have the dubious distinction of being known as the country where nothing ever gets built. The demise of northern gateway, Keystone XL and energy east, and the potential demise of Line 5 under the current Liberal government, are evidence of that. What is worse is that this budget throws our oil and gas sector under the bus by expressly excluding it from the CCUS tax credit.

Again, is this a growth budget? It is not at all. In fact, even the Prime Minister's former policy adviser, Robert Asselin, recently confirmed this when he said that the budget doubles “down on programs that do not address our innovation shortcomings and have yielded few results to date.” He said, “it is hard to find a coherent growth plan.”

The finance minister clearly has not been taking the advice of her own Liberal advisers. She has also failed to act on other pressing issues. Her budget fails to properly address the looming threat of inflation and with it, rising interest rates, which could have a profound impact on millions of Canadians with mortgages.

In fact, last week we learned from Stats Canada that the cost of living continues to rise and is the highest it has been in over 10 years, proving that the minister's trillion-dollar debt and endless deficits are actually making life much more expensive for Canadians. One of the reasons for this is that the minister injected massive stimulus into our economy when economists were warning that she risked stoking the fires of inflation, and here we are. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer commented that the Liberal government may have miscalibrated the necessity to spend on stimulus.

I will not sugar-coat this. The threat that massive borrowing and spending will lead to runaway inflation is real. I know the government does not want to hear that and is hanging on to the belief that inflationary pressures will be transitory. It says there is nothing to see and do not worry and tells us to be happy. However, Germany's Deutsche Bank is not buying it. It recently warned of a ticking inflation time bomb, a warning our minister refuses to heed.

For example, why is the Liberal government spending hundreds of millions of our tax dollars on the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? It is a bank that makes no investments in Canada and instead supports China's efforts to assert its power and influence across Asia. In fact, why is this government collaborating with the communist regime in China on anything while that regime commits genocide against its own Uighur Muslim population, lays waste to democracy in Hong Kong, engages in harvesting organs from persecuted minorities like the Falun Gong and betrays Canada in the CanSino vaccine debacle? Why are the Liberals partnering with China when the Prime Minister cannot even explain why two Chinese scientists were escorted from a high-security virology lab in Winnipeg and fired? Why is Canadian money being invested in a bank controlled by China's communist regime when our two Michaels continue to languish in Chinese prisons? The minister has refused to answer these questions, as more and more taxpayer money is wasted on the Prime Minister's efforts to appease China.

This budget also failed to deliver a clear plan to safely reopen our common border with our largest trading partner, the U.S. Some two billion dollars' worth of trade crosses our border every single day, yet the budget scarcely mentions border security and trade facilitation, and makes no mention of whether discussions with the Biden administration are under way to safely reopen our border.

We are going to judge the government's budget not on the quantity but on the quality of its spending. Based on that standard, much of this budget remains unsalvageable. We Conservatives are now in a better position to judge the merits of this budget and to determine what it might mean for Canadians in the short, medium and long term. As I said, in the short term there are a number of measures that we can support that will help Canadians through this economic and health crisis, but in the medium and especially the long term, there is very little to get excited about. It is just endless debts and deficits with not even a pretense of the Liberal government ever wanting to return to balance.

As a responsible official opposition, we have no choice but to reject the government's attempt to spend the cupboards bare in order to position the Liberals for re-election, leaving future generations of Canadians to pick up the tab. There is one thing Canadians can be absolutely sure of. A Conservative government will implement a true Canada recovery plan that secures our future by getting Canadians back to work, by helping small businesses recover, by restoring Canada's reputation and competitive advantage and by prudently managing the massive financial burden that the government has left us. The Conservatives have done it before and we will do it again.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Madam Speaker, the member started off by acknowledging the important programs that have supported Canadian businesses and workers over the last year with money that we had to spend as a country to keep our economy going. However, I hear the Conservatives constantly asking how we are going to pay for it.

The NDP says it should be the super wealthy who pay for it, the billionaires who made over $70 billion during the pandemic. We put forward an idea for a 1% wealth tax on Canadians with assets over $20 million. Canadians really like this idea. In fact, 80% of Canadians like the idea, two-thirds of whom are Conservative.

I am wondering what the member has to say. Why does his party not support this? It seems like the most logical idea regarding who should pay for this is the people who can afford to.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, it seems that every time that NDP members get up in the House, their only solution to the fiscal challenges and the financial challenges facing Canadians is to increase taxes on this and that.

I want to point the member to the fact that the NDP, the Bloc and our Conservatives are working together at the finance committee to find out how the Canadian government can better collect taxes that are owed. We know there is a tremendous amount of tax evasion taking place and an aggressive avoidance of taxes within Canada. Some of the biggest companies and the richest Canadians are finding loopholes for, and other ways around, paying taxes that they should be paying in Canada.

I am hopeful that as we continue to study this challenge, with all of this tax revenue falling through the cracks because the federal government cannot properly collect the tax that is owing, we will deliver some of the additional revenues required to bring our country back on track and will find a way to balance the budget, something the Liberal government has refused to tell us it is going to do. Sadly, the government has repeatedly refused to answer when it will return to a balanced budget or if it will ever return—

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, given the answer the member gave to the last question about tax avoidance, loopholes and the various mechanisms that people are using to avoid paying taxes, I am reminded of discussions I have heard, in private settings and publicly, about looking at the tax code in its entirety, rather than looking at individual sections of it.

There have been calls to look at the whole tax code and basically start from the scratch. Does the member agree with the position that this is a good way to proceed when trying to address some of these problems?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, the short answer is yes. In fact, if the member looks at the pre-budget consultation report that the finance committee came up with, he will see that the dissenting report from the Conservatives contains the recommendation that the government finally engage in comprehensive tax reform. It should find a way to simplify our tax system to make it fairer, making sure that everybody pays their fair share, and should simplify it so that it is easier to collect taxes and it is easier for Canadians to fill out their tax forms every year

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:20 a.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives continue to bring up China and the Liberal Party. I would like to remind the member that it was the Harper Conservative government that signed an agreement with Communist China, the 2012 Canada-China FIPA, which gave Chinese state-owned corporations a great deal of power over our democratic authority. It was Rob Nicholson, the defence minister at the time, who signed an agreement with the Chinese for military co-operation in 2013.

I would like to step back into taxes. We know that trickle-down economics has not worked. Cutting taxes for the ultrawealthy has meant that they have lined their pockets, and the burden of taxation has gone to the working class and the middle class. That is not working. It is not good for our economy and it is not good for working people. I agree with the member for Kingston and the Islands that we need serious tax reform and need to make sure that the wealthy pay their fair share.

Would the member not agree that the burden falls too much on working people in the middle class?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, the member knows that I just responded to the question. I am in favour of comprehensive tax reform to bring our tax system back to fairness and balance to make sure those who should be paying taxes are paying taxes.

With respect to the FIPA, I would say the member obviously has not read it. I have, and it does not in any way create additional market access. This agreement is called a post-establishment investment protection treaty. In other words, it only protects investments once they have been made in Canada. The decision the federal government makes is whether it is going to allow a foreign investment to be made in Canada if it is above a certain threshold value.

The suggestion that somehow this agreement opens up the market for Chinese investment is patently false. In fact, this agreement protects Canadian investors when they make investments in China and are then discriminated against by Chinese governments. This—

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Tako Van Popta Conservative Langley—Aldergrove, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Abbotsford for his comments on this year's budget. He mentioned that inflationary pressures are already embedded in the economy. We know that the best way to tackle inflation is to grow the economy to make sure that it is producing all the goods and services that people need.

Does the member have comments about what this budget does to grow the economy?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, inflation does represent a significant threat to our economy and to Canadians right across the country because as inflation grows, interest rates typically follow. That is something every family who has a large mortgage needs to be concerned about.

My colleague is also right in that the best way to address a recessionary economy, a large budgetary deficit and a massive, growing debt is to grow the economy. What we can do is cut spending, which I do not believe any of the parties in the House of Commons are talking about; increase taxes on Canadians, which is what the NDP, the Bloc and the Liberals always propose; or grow the economy, thereby finding a way to manage the debt and start to return to balanced budgets, at least in the long term.

Given the massive debt we have now incurred, growing the economy is the best way forward. One thing the Conservatives will not do is increase taxes on Canadians at such a difficult time.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I know the member for Abbotsford has constituents who rely on the CRB. Particularly in the tourism industry and a number of other industries, people will rely on it to put food on their tables over the course of the summer.

I would like the member to comment on the government's slashing of the CRB from $500 a week to $300 a week, which is below poverty levels. Does he feel it is in the best interests of his constituents to see the marked slashing of those benefits at such a critical time?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the member's work at the finance committee. I think we work together quite well on that committee.

We have repeatedly said that Canadians need to be financially supported by government until such time as all of us have made it through the pandemic. We are not advocating for slashing and burning. We are advocating that once Canadians make it through to the end of the pandemic, they are weaned off of these supports. We do not believe in slashing and burning these programs, because they are absolutely critical for sustaining Canadians through this very difficult time.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:30 a.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank all my colleagues for giving me their consent; it was very nice of them.

This morning, it seems to me that I will be repeating things we have been saying for a while now. Evidently, it takes a lot of repetition for the message to sink in.

I will start by talking about health transfers.

Of course, it is important to pass Bill C-30 swiftly, that is to say, before the session ends, because, among other things, the support measures need to be extended. We all agree on that point. However, there are significant flaws.

The main idea in my speech is that the federal government wants to hold all the power and be omnipotent. It wants to exert its dominance over the other levels of government and over Canadians. The health care transfers are a darned good example.

Why is the current government, the Prime Minister, refusing to give 28 billion dollars annually to the provinces and Quebec, who are all asking for the same thing? If it did so, after three to five years the health care problems in the provinces, territories and Quebec would mostly be resolved, which would allow us to better manage the health system. As a result, the provinces, territories and Quebec would no longer need to ask the federal government to kindly come to the rescue by giving them a few billion dollars.

Politically speaking, it is much better and more relevant and advantageous to hold a big press conference, with a big smile and a sunny disposition, and look like the great saviour. We are offered only a billion dollars, and told to come back on our knees and beg for more again next year, because Ottawa wants to hold on to that power. The unreasonable spending power is the evil side of the Canadian federation, and so is the unreasonable sharing of taxation powers: 50% of Quebeckers' tax dollars go to Ottawa, but Ottawa does not take on 50% of the responsibilities. That is the problem.

That is one of the themes I wanted to address in my speech, but I will now move on to something else.

Old age security comes to mind. Why are the Liberals increasing old age security? They probably want to hold on to that as a nice election promise. Government members are always waiting for the next election campaign. FADOQ members and seniors' groups are paying attention to the government's promises. The benevolent government tells them not to worry and promises to take care of seniors if it is re-elected. What a crock.

The government has an opportunity to do this now. All the opposition parties are on board. We were calling for this before the pandemic began, not now because of the pandemic. Things were not going great before the pandemic, and the situation is much worse now.

Every day, or nearly every day, people tell me that they received an adjustment of $1.59. It is a slap in the face. People ask me what we are doing and whether we are still delivering the message. That is why, with every darned speech I make on the budget, I bring these things up. I do this work for my constituents.

I do not want to blame anyone, but I would like to offer members of the House some food for thought. Sometimes I get the impression that members may have forgotten the initial commitment we make. I invite each and every one of us to remember our first election campaign, even though some members have been here for 25 or 30 years. That is a nod to Mr. Plamondon, who has never forgotten why he is here. There are others who have been here for a long time. Let us not forget—

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:35 a.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, it is because this man's name is etched on my heart. The name of his riding is Bécancour—Nicolet—Saurel.

I was saying that members need to remind themselves of their commitment. I invite them to think of the people who call their riding office to tell them how they are struggling to put food on the table. I have been helping some of those people this year.

Let us remember the older people who supported the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and the establishment of the society we live in today, which has allowed us to thrive because it is so generous and prosperous. I would not be here today if not for the Quiet Revolution. I am a son of the proletariat, of the working class. If these people had not created the good public education system that we have in Quebec, I would not be here. Could we remember that from time to time?

I will talk about the renewal of an agriculture-related measure because, as members know, I cannot make a speech without talking about agriculture. Another good example of the arm's length relationship that the federal government wishes to maintain was the extension of the tax deferral on patronage dividends of agricultural co-operatives for another five years. This measure has been in place for more than 10 years, actually 15 years. It works well, but, every time it is about to expire, the sector panics. They have to ramp up their lobbying system and contact all of us. All elected members of the House with farmers in their riding have been contacted this past year because of concerns about the lack of an official commitment to renew this measure.

People in the agricultural sector are happy the measure has been renewed for five years, of course. They would not say they are unhappy, but it is not exactly what they wanted. They wanted the measure to be permanent.

Why would the government make a measure permanent and make people's lives easier when it can score political points and come off looking so good and generous by making a wonderful announcement every three or four years about renewing the measure?

Make that measure permanent and move on to other things. Elected representatives should be working to improve people's lives and their constituents' lives for the long term, regardless of their political interests. We have all noticed the announcements happening all over the place, little mini-announcements about $25 million for this or $100 million for that. That is fine, and I am not saying I do not want those announcements, but let us do some really structural, long-term things for our people.

Take, for example, the emergency processing fund, which was implemented during the pandemic. I forwarded some cases to the minister's office but nothing came of it. These cases involved people who had started modernizing their regional processing plants—plants we so desperately need—in good faith, but ended up being told that the program had run out of money. They were told that it was unfortunate, but that they would have to try again another time. When the government is feeling generous and people have begged enough, it will see whether it can inject another $1 million or $10 million. When I raise the issue, they tell me that $10 million more were invested, but that is not enough. Sure, $10 million is great, but what businesses need is effective, long-term assistance.

My time is running out and I would be remiss if I did not bring up the point I raised the other day about support for temporary foreign workers. As of June 16, the $1,500 amount has been reduced to $750, even though bringing in temporary foreign workers is no less expensive than it was before. Quarantines are still mandatory and necessary. The farmers who are bringing in foreign workers right now are just as important as those who brought in foreign workers two months ago. Why are businesses being treated differently and unfairly? It still costs money.

In my last speech, I cited a letter from the agricultural community addressed directly to the government and the minister asking them not to cut this money. What is more, these people lost a tremendous amount of money in the Switch Health mess. Not only should these amounts not be reduced, but more money needs to be given to these people to compensate for the problems they encountered with Switch Health.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I am curious. From the member's tone, body language and speech, he seemed to be pouring it on pretty thick on the government for all of its failures and its wrongness in its approach, yet the member and his party are supporting it. I would ask him to reconcile the two.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, we can certainly reconcile the two. I thank my colleague, who I dare not name, for his good question.

Sometimes what the opposition parties and often the government seem to fail to grasp is that we are a party of propositions. There are two ways to be the opposition in life. We can stand up and say that the government is rotten or we can stand up and say that it did not get it quite right and here is what we propose. We have been doing that consistently since October 2019 and we will continue to do that. The member's impression may come from the fact that we collaborate, we make improvements and we vote in favour of the budget because it is important to extend certain measures, but that does not mean that it is perfect, which is why we criticize it at the same time. We are doing our job as parliamentarians.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Bloc

Martin Champoux Bloc Drummond, QC

Madam Speaker, when I hear my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé discuss topics that affect so many colleagues in the House, particularly on the issue of agriculture and the urgent need to treat our farmers and dairy producers with the respect they deserve, I must admit that I am surprised not to see more of a reaction to his speeches.

As he just said, dairy farmers in Quebec and farmers in general face a huge number of challenges, and they need to feel that the government and their MPs are behind them.

I would like to ask my colleague whether he feels that this work is going well on the ground, in the various ridings, based on the relationships and discussions he has with the community.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague from Drummond for his question.

My answer will be mixed. There have indeed been actions taken to support farmers, but often they are inadequate one-offs, involving meagre amounts that, I just said earlier, are used to make “mini-announcements” rather than bring in anything permanent.

There are requests, and I will give three examples. If the House feels strongly about the question asked by my colleague from Drummond and wants to do something for the farming community, Bill C‑216 protects supply management once and for all. All parties voted overwhelmingly in favour of this bill, which was referred to committee and must now come back to the House. I wish it had come back before we leave.

Bill C‑208 is currently before the Senate. I find it very fishy that it is taking so long. I hope the Senate passes it before Parliament rises.

There are several measures like that.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague a question about cuts to the emergency benefit.

So far, people who are out of a job and need an emergency benefit to put food on the table and keep a roof over their head have been getting $500 per week. Now the government is about to cut that back to $300 per week, which is below the poverty line.

How have my colleague's constituents reacted to this massive cut to the emergency benefit?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 11:40 a.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent question.

It is all in how these things are handled. The important thing is making sure support measures incentivize people to work. We have hammered that point home constantly over the past year. Let us help people. Rather than reducing benefit amounts, let us create an incentive for people to get jobs. At the same time, it makes sense to start reducing the amounts to get people back to work. This is about balance.

Unfortunately, I would need much more time than I have to answer the question properly.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:45 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, my esteemed colleague and seatmate, the member for Berthier—Maskinongé, is a tough act to follow. Since he was a teacher, he knows that repetition is the key to success, and that is what we need to do. My husband, who works in advertising, would say the same thing, so that is what I am going to do today.

It is with excitement for the end of the year that I rise today to speak to Bill C-30 at report stage. Many of my colleagues and I have said it before, so the House already knows that the Bloc Québécois will vote in favour of this bill to implement certain measures in the 2021 budget.

However, as the Bloc Québécois critic for seniors, I want to remind the House that we first voted against budget 2021 because the federal government was not responding to our two main requests, which remain essential.

Before the House adjourns for what might be an indeterminate period of time, I want to reiterate those requests. First, the Government of Quebec and the Canadian provinces are formally requesting adequate, recurrent health funding. Second, seniors are calling for an increase in old age security for those aged 65 and up, a request brought forward by the Bloc Québécois.

The government continues to ignore Quebec's request. I know because I recently met with many elected members and employees at the National Assembly of Quebec, who speak to me about this regularly. This is a unanimous request from the provinces, Quebec, the National Assembly, and even the House of Commons, which adopted a Bloc Québécois motion last December that called on the government to significantly and sustainably increase Canada health transfers.

The government refuses to increase the current level of health transfers from 22% to 35%. Instead, Bill C‑30 offers only a one-time increase in health transfers, as announced last March. At the time, I showed that the amounts were clearly insufficient.

In this speech, which will quite probably be my last before the summer break, I will address our key requests for health and for seniors, as well as our requests for businesses and business owners. I will finish with a few wishes for the future of this Parliament.

The Bloc Québécois has made sensible choices in the best interest of Quebeckers. The deficit announced in budget 2021 is lower than expected: $354 billion instead of $382 billion. The difference happens to be $28 billion, the exact amount that Quebec and the provinces are asking for. With the government clearly gearing up for a massive spending spree, by refusing to increase transfers, Ottawa is making a political choice, not a budgetary choice, to the detriment of everyone's health.

The saddest part, however, is that Bill C‑30 is strictly an election budget. It merely repeats the Liberals' 2019 campaign promise to seniors to increase old age security, but only for those aged 75 and over and by only $766 per year, or $63.80 per month. This increase, which will not take effect until 2022, is not enough for seniors or for the Bloc Québécois. More importantly, it leaves those aged 65 to 74 out in the cold, which is practically half of the current beneficiaries of old age security. Let us also not forget the one-time $500 payment to made in August 2021, also only to those 75 and older.

That is why I continue to keep talking about our support for seniors. The Bloc Québécois will continue to demand a substantial increase, namely $110 more a month, for all seniors aged 65 and over. We do not accept the Liberals' argument that financial insecurity begins at age 75 and that younger seniors can just go to work.

For that reason, I am currently sponsoring petition e-3421, which was put online by Samuel Lévesque on behalf of his grandparents. Several seniors' groups have also sent letters in support of this request that comes from the entire House, except the Liberals, who continue to be isolated.

Ottawa is not doing as we asked and is creating two classes of seniors. Seniors' groups and seniors want to know why only seniors 75 and older are getting this increase and why it only starts in 2022. There are testimonials posted on FADOQ's web site showing that the lives of seniors 65 to 74 can also be difficult, and that they have needs that cannot wait until they turn 75.

For the Liberals, vulnerable people 65 and over do not deserve their attention. For the Liberals, insecurity only begins at 75. Naturally, we are not against the idea of a good number of seniors, about 50%, receiving the help they need, which is what Bill C‑30 would do.

In terms of the economy, I am elated to know that Bill C‑30 has finally rejected the foundation for creating a pan-Canadian securities regulatory regime, which the Bloc Québécois and Quebeckers strongly opposed. I would like to congratulate my colleague from Joliette for this important win and his hard work on this file. Ottawa could not be allowed to centralize securities regulation in Toronto. This is a big win for Quebec.

The Quebec National Assembly adopted four unanimous motions calling on the federal government to abandon this idea. Seldom had we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose a government initiative. A strong financial hub is vital to the functioning of our head offices and the preservation of our businesses.

As we have seen with the pandemic, globalized supply chains are fragile and make us entirely dependent on other countries. We must develop our own chains and restore economic nationalism. Some measures in the budget are good, and we support them and support implementing them. For example, the budget will extend some essential, albeit imperfect, assistance programs, such as the wage subsidy and rent relief, until September 25, 2021. This is a positive because businesses, especially the ones back home that made good use of these programs, need some predictability in the programs they will have access to in the coming months. I should point out that this extension comes with a gradual decline in the amounts provided, which is a concern.

The Bloc Québécois will ensure that our businesses have access to programs that meet their needs for as long as they need them, particularly in the sectors that will take more time to get back to normal, such as tourism and small- and large-scale live events. These sectors are very important to Shefford, which relies on Tourisme Montérégie and Tourism Eastern Townships, and, of course, on many cultural events, such as the Festival international de la chanson de Granby. I could go on.

The bill also introduces some measures to combat tax evasion, but it does not go far enough. The government is presenting these measures as a massive campaign against corporate tax evasion, but in reality, these are just some highly specific, minor changes connected to ongoing litigation. The fight against tax havens will have to wait, even though it is a very important aspect of building tax fairness to enhance social justice.

Another thing to highlight is the creation of a new hiring subsidy program for businesses that are reopening. It could be useful. Bill C-30 would create this new program to encourage businesses to rehire their staff. We know that the hiring subsidy will come into effect in November 2021. Businesses will then have the choice of applying for either the hiring subsidy or the existing wage subsidy, whichever works out better for them. These are measures that could be very useful.

Since my time is running out, I will try to cover everything quickly. I have a wish list. I would have liked to see more investments in social and affordable housing in this budget. This problem continues to affect my riding in particular, especially the city of Granby, which is otherwise considered a great place to settle down. Businesses in my region are experiencing a labour shortage and need housing to attract workers with families so they can try to recruit them, but they have nowhere to house them.

There are also some bills that will not receive royal assent. That really saddens me. I would have like to see the Émilie Sansfaçon bill passed to allow people who are suffering from a critical illness to have 50 weeks of leave instead of 15 weeks. It is a matter of recovering with dignity.

I would have also liked to see the House pass my colleague from Manicouagan's Bill C-253 regarding pension protection and for it to receive royal assent. People who worked hard their whole lives have the right to enjoy the fruits of their labour. This bill would help them age with dignity.

I would have liked a budget with more support for our farmers. That is so important in my riding, which is part of Quebec's pantry. I would have liked to see a greater willingness to help the next generation of farmers. I want to point out that, right now, farmers are suffering because of frost and a lack of precipitation. They need better risk management programs and more precise traceability programs. Farmers are also feeling the effects of climate change.

I would have also liked to see tougher environmental measures for a greener recovery. For example, the government should invest just as much in forestry as it does in the oil industry. My Bloc Québécois colleagues and our political party established a comprehensive plan to focus more on renewable natural resources to get out of the crisis and to drive our regions' economies.

In closing, I would like to add one last thing. It goes beyond the budget, but as the status of women critic, I cannot give my last speech before the summer break without mentioning the crises that have been affecting women in particular since I arrived in the House. We commemorated the 30th anniversary of the École Polytechnique attack, but the issue of better gun control has still not been resolved because too many people are not satisfied with Bill C‑22. Femicides are on the rise. There have been 13 just since the beginning of the year. Quebec is calling for transfers with no conditions and fewer delays to provide better funding for women's shelters. Quebec knows what to do. There are also the cases of assault in the Canadian Armed Forces. The Deschamps report needs to be implemented.

In short, there is still a lot of work to be done. Let us reach out to one another and work together. The federal government's paternalism and interference needs to stop. We need to take action. There is still so much to be done.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the member mentioned that the Bloc would like $110, I believe, for every senior over 65, and there are about three million seniors who would benefit by the increase from the government for those 75 and over. I wonder if the member could provide a cost to that particular commitment. Is that a Bloc Québécois commitment?

Also, it is encouraging to hear a Bloc member talk about the national housing strategy, for which we are literally spending billions of dollars. It is not too often that we get a member from the Bloc actually encouraging the federal government to have that footprint in housing, so I would like to compliment her on that. I think most Canadians see the value in having a national government, and as the government, we are providing historic amounts of money to invest in non-profit housing.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I will try to give a brief answer.

If I understood correctly, my colleague had a two-part question.

First, he talked about seniors aged 75 and older who will get something. However, there are just as many seniors who will get nothing, because they are under 75. This means the government is completely turning its back on 50% of seniors.

Do my colleagues know how much this would cost? The Bloc Québécois has done the math, and it would cost $4 billion. That is roughly what it would cost to include people between the ages of 65 and 74. I cannot believe Ottawa cannot find $4 billion to help all seniors.

In response to the other question from my colleague, I would say that this is clearly an area of jurisdiction that must be transferred to Quebec. I realize that agreements need to be signed when it comes to social housing.

I recently spoke with quite a few elected representatives in Quebec, specifically on the issue of seniors. Some seniors want to remain in their homes, and they need safe and affordable housing. Quebec is asking for increased funding to deal with social housing so that seniors who want to stay in their homes longer do not have to spend all their money on rent.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Shefford for her speech.

I want to tell her that I have the same concerns as she does about seniors aged 65 to 74. These seniors know that they too can count on the support and solidarity of the NDP. The NDP is standing up for them.

Why does she think that the Liberal government wants to cut support for people who need it right now? She talked about the culture and tourism sectors in her riding, and I must admit that I share her concerns. The Canada recovery benefit is going to be cut. It will be reduced from $500 to $300 per week. That is a 40% cut. The Liberals offer no rational explanation as to why this has to happen now, in July, when the economic recovery is not fully under way yet.

I would like to ask my colleague what she thinks about the Liberals cutting direct support to workers.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, the Bloc Québécois firmly believes that a number of measures will have to remain in place until certain sectors have fully recovered from the crisis. The culture and tourism sectors, for example, will suffer the effects of the crisis for longer.

I invite my colleagues to think about what my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé said; he said that we need to strike a balance. Many entrepreneurs and businesses in my region are aware that there was already a labour shortage before the crisis. Therefore, there needs to be a delicate balance to ensure that these measures make work more attractive. I realize that there is a balance to be struck. As long as we are still in this crisis, we will have to look at this. We have to help people in the sectors most affected, while allowing companies to have incentives for people to return to work.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 11:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my esteemed colleague for mentioning Samuel Lévesque, a young man from my riding, whose parents live in my colleague's riding, who is circulating a very important petition. This 20-year-old young man is fighting for his grandparents to help put more money in their pockets. I congratulate him.

Does my colleague think the federal government's unreasonable spending power, which another colleague mentioned earlier, is a way of holding Quebeckers and Canadians hostage?

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June 22nd, 2021 / noon
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I think the government's spending power could be interpreted as “power to not spend”.

Under the pretense of a crisis, the government does not want to reinvest in certain sectors, particularly health, insisting that it will see how things are after the crisis, that it will determine if, and how much, it can afford to invest. Is that spending power or “power to not spend”? One has to wonder.

As I said at the end of my speech, the federal government must stop interfering in provincial jurisdictions. As for the much-touted national frameworks, the national framework for reproductive health, the national framework for women's health and the national framework for mental health, the federal government should give the money to Quebec. Quebec knows how to use that money.

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June 22nd, 2021 / noon
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I am speaking from the traditional, unceded territory of the Qayqayt First Nation and of the Coast Salish peoples.

I am rising today in the context of the final days of Parliament. This is perhaps the final speech that I will make in this Parliament. The Prime Minister has made no secret about his deep desire to go to elections as quickly as possible, and the rumours appear to show that by the end of the summer we will be in an election.

In this pandemic Parliament over the last 15 months, it is important to review what the NDP has been able to achieve, where the government has clearly fallen short and where I believe Canadians' aspirations are in building back better after this pandemic.

We pay tribute every day to our first responders, our front-line workers and our health care workers who have been so courageous and so determined during this pandemic. Whenever we speak of it, we also think of the over 26,000 Canadians who have died so far during the pandemic. We know that it is far from over. Although health care workers are working as hard as they possibly can, some of the variants are disturbing in their ability to break through and affect even people who have been fully vaccinated.

We need to make sure that measures continue, because we need to make sure that people are protected and supported for whatever comes in the coming months. It is in that context that the NDP and the member for Burnaby South, our leader, have been so deeply disturbed by the government's plan to massively slash the emergency response benefit that Canadians depend on.

Hundreds of thousands of Canadian families are fed through the emergency response benefit, yet in budget Bill C-30, the government slashes a benefit that was above the poverty line to one that goes dramatically below the poverty line. This is something that the Prime Minister wanted from the very beginning. We recall that 15 months ago, the Prime Minister was talking about $1,000 a month for an emergency response benefit. He talked about $1,000 a month for supports. It was clearly inadequate. That was why the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed back to make sure that the benefit was adequate to put food on the table and keep roofs over their heads of most Canadians, raising it to $2,000 a month or $500 a week.

We did not stop there, of course. We pushed so that benefits would be provided to students as well. Students were struggling to pay for their education and often struggling to find jobs. We pushed for those supports. We pushed for supports for seniors and people with disabilities. Regarding people with disabilities, I am profoundly disappointed that the government never chose to do the work to input every person with a disability to a database nationally. When they file their tax returns, they should be coded as people with disabilities. The government refused to do that, so the benefit to people with disabilities only went to about one-third of people with disabilities in this country, leaving most of them behind.

We pushed as well to ensure that the wage subsidy was in place to maintain jobs. This is something that we saw in other countries, such as Denmark and France, always with clear protections so that the money was not misused for dividends or for executive bonuses. We pressed for that to happen in Canada with those same protections. We succeeded in getting the 75% wage subsidy. The government refused to put into place the measures to protect Canadians from abuse so, as we know, profitable corporations spent billions of dollars on dividends and big executive bonuses at the same time as they received the wage subsidy from the federal government.

We pushed for a rent subsidy for small businesses as well. I know the member for Courtenay—Alberni, the member for Burnaby South and a number of other members of the NDP caucus pushed hard to make sure that those rent subsidies and supports were in place. The initial program was clearly inadequate. We kept pushing until we eventually got a rent subsidy that more Canadian businesses could use.

We are proud of that track record of making sure people were being taken care of, and this is part of our responsibility as parliamentarians. Some observers noted that NDP MPs are the worker bees of Parliament. We take that title proudly, because we believe in standing up and fighting for people.

Where did the government go then by itself, once you put aside the NDP pressure and the fact the government often needed NDP support to ensure measures went through Parliament? We were able to leverage that to make sure programs benefited people, but there were a number of programs the government put forward with no help from the NDP, most notably the $750 billion in liquidity supports for Canada's big banks, which was an obscene and irresponsible package.

The $750 billion was provided through a variety of federal institutions with absolutely no conditions whatsoever. There was no obligation to reduce interest rates to zero, as many credit unions did. I am a member of two credit unions: Vancouver City Savings and Community Savings in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Both of these dropped interest rates to zero at the height of the crisis.

Many of the credit unions that are democratically run understood the importance of not profiting or profiteering from this pandemic, but the big banks did not. They received $750 billion in liquidity supports with no obligation to reduce interest rates to zero and no obligation to remove fees or service fees.

We have seen unbelievable amounts of profiteering through this pandemic. Those massive public supports were used to create the space for $60 billion in pandemic profits. To ensure the profits were increased even more, the big banks increased service fees. Often when they deferred mortgages, they tacked on fees and penalties and increased interest. They acted in a deplorable way with free agency from the federal government, because the federal government refused to attach any conditions to the massive and unprecedented bailout package.

We know from history that past federal governments acted differently. Past federal governments put in place strict laws against profiteering. They made sure there was a real drive to ensure the ultrarich paid their fair share of taxes. We got through the Second World War because we put in place an excess profits tax that ensured companies could not benefit from the misery of others. This led to unprecedented prosperity coming out of the Second World War.

This is not the case with the current government. It is not the case with this Prime Minister. Instead of any measures at all against profiteering, it was encouraged, and we have seen Canada's billionaires increase their wealth by $80 billion so far during the pandemic. We have seen $60 billion in profits in the banking sector, largely fuelled by public monies, public supports and liquidity supports.

We have also seen the government's steadfast refusal to put in place any of the measures other governments have used to rebalance the profiteering that has occurred during the pandemic. There is no wealth tax and no pandemic profits tax. When we look at the government's priorities when it acts on its own, with the NDP removed from the equation and all the measures we fought for during this pandemic, it is $750 billion in liquidity support for Canada's big banks with no conditions. It is no break at all from Canada's billionaires reaping unprecedented increases in wealth during this pandemic. It is no wealth tax, it is no pandemic profits tax and it is also a steadfast refusal to crack down on overseas tax havens.

Let us add up where the government went on its own over the course of the last 15 months. There was $750 billion in liquidity supports for the banks and $25 billion that the Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us goes offshore every year to the overseas tax havens of wealthy Canadians and profitable corporations. There was $10 billion in a wealth tax that the government refused to put into place: That is $10 billion every year that could serve so many purposes and meet so many Canadians' needs.

However, the government steadfastly refuses to put in place that fiscal measure that so many other countries have put into place. It is a refusal to put in place a pandemic profits tax that would have raised nearly $10 billion over the course of the last 15 months.

We are talking about a figure of close to $800 billion in various measures that the government rolled out, or refused to in any way curb, that could have been making a huge difference in meeting Canadians' needs. When Canadians ask, as they look forward to a time, hopefully soon, when we will be able to rebuild this country in a more equitable way that leaves nobody behind, we need to look at why the government steadfastly refuses to put these measures into place. It is not because there is not the fiscal capacity. We have surely seen that.

I need only add the incredible amount of money the government has poured into the Trans Mountain pipeline: According to the PBO again, it is $12.5 billion so far and counting. It is an amount that keeps rising, with construction costs that are currently either committed to or will be committed to in the coming months. It cost $4.5 billion for the company itself, which was far more than the sticker price. Add those numbers up and we are close to $20 billion that the government is spending on a pipeline that even the International Energy Agency says is not in the public's interests or in the planet's interests. That is nearly $20 billion. We have to remember that the government and the Prime Minister came up with that money overnight, when the private sector pulled out of the project because it was not financially viable. Within 24 hours, the Prime Minister and the finance minister at the time announced that they would come up with the purchase price to buy the pipeline. Subsequently, they have been pumping money into this pipeline without any scant understanding of or precaution to the financial and the environmental implications.

The government has proved that it can come up with big bucks when it wants to, but Canadians are left asking the following questions.

Why can Canadians not have public universal pharmacare? The government turned down and voted out the NDP bill that would have established the Canada pharmacare act on the same conditions as the Canada Health Act. The Liberal members voted against that, yet we know that nearly 10 million Canadians have no access to their medication or struggle to pay for it. A couple of million Canadians, according to most estimates, are not able to pay for their medication. Hundreds die, according to the Canadian Nurses Association, because they do not have access to or cannot afford to pay for their medication. The Parliamentary Budget Officer tells us that Canada would save close to $5 billion by putting public universal pharmacare into place. Of course, the government has completely refused to implement its commitment from the 2019 election. The Liberals will make some other promise in the coming election that the Prime Minister wants to have.

Why can we not have public universal pharmacare? The answer, of course, is that there is no reason why we cannot. It is cost effective. It makes a difference in people's lives. It adds to our quality of life, and it adds to our international competitiveness because it takes a lot of the burden of drug plans off of small companies. The reason we cannot have pharmacare is not financial: It is political. It is the Liberal government that steadfastly refuses to put it into place. The Liberals keep it as a carrot that they dangle to the electorate once every election or two. They have been doing that now for a quarter century, but refuse to put it into place.

Why can we not have safe drinking water for all Canadian communities? The government members would say it is complicated and tough. It was not complicated and tough for the Trans Mountain bailout. It was not complicated or tough for the massive amounts of liquidity supports, unprecedented in Canadian history or any other country's history, that the government lauded on Canada's big banks to shore up their profits during the pandemic. It certainly has not been a question of finances, with $25 billion in tax dollars going offshore every year to overseas tax havens.

Therefore, the issue of why we cannot have safe drinking water I think is a very clear political question. There is no political will, as the member for Nunavut said so eloquently in her speech a few days ago.

Let us look at why we do not have a right to housing in this country. We know we did after the Second World War. Because an excess profits tax had been put into place and we had very clear measures against profiteering, we were able to launch an unprecedented housing program of 300,000 public housing units across the country, homes like those right behind me where I am speaking to the House from. They were built across the country in a rapid fashion. In the space of three years, 300,000 units were built because we knew there were women and men in the service coming back from overseas and we needed to make sure that housing was available. Why do we not have a right to housing? Because the Liberals said no to that as well. However, the reality is we could very much meet the needs of Canadians with respect to affordable housing if the banks and billionaires were less of a priority and people were a greater priority for the current government.

Let us look at access to post-secondary education. The amount the Canadian Federation of Students put out regarding free tuition for post-secondary education is a net amount of about $8 billion to the federal government every year. I pointed out that the pandemic profits tax is about that amount, yet the government refuses to implement it. Students are being forced to pay for their student loans at this time because the government refused to extend the moratorium on student loan payments during a pandemic. Once again, banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority for the government, but people not so much.

Let us look at long-term care. The NDP put forward a motion in this Parliament, which the Liberals turned down, to take the profit and profiteering out of long-term care and put in place stable funding right across the country to ensure high standards in long-term care. We believe we need an expanded health care system that includes pharmacare and dental care. The motion to provide dental care for lower-income Canadians who do not have access to it was turned down by the Liberals just a few days ago. It would have ensured that long-term care would be governed by national standards and federal funding so that seniors in this country in long-term care homes are treated with the respect they deserve. The government again said it could not do that. Once again, the banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority, yet seniors, who have laboured all their lives for their country, provided support in their community and contributed so much are not a high priority for the government.

Let us look at transportation. The bus sector across this country is so important for the safety and security of people moving from one region of the country to the other, yet we saw the bus and transportation services gutted, and the federal government is refusing to put in place the same kind of national network for buses that we have for trains. In a country as vast as Canada, with so many people who struggle to get from one region to the other for important things like medical appointments because they do not have access to a vehicle is something that should absolutely be brought to bear, yet the government refuses to look at the issue because banks, billionaires and the ultrarich are a high priority.

Finally, let us look at clean energy. We know we need to transition to a clean energy economy. We have seen billions of dollars go to oil and gas CEOs, but the government is simply unprepared to make investments into clean energy. I contrast that vividly with the nearly $20 billion it is showering on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is for a political cause rather than something that makes good sense from an economic or environmental point of view. It is willing to throw away billions of dollars in the wrong places, but we believe that money needs to be channelled through to Canadians to meet their needs. That is certainly what we will be speaking about right across the length and breadth of this land in this coming election.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard this NDP member refer to the NDP as the “worker bees” on a number of occasions. He is selling himself short, as worker bees are nothing more than mindless drones that fly around and contribute to the hive mind. The NDP actually offers quite a bit more than that in this House, and I would encourage him to consider a different term.

To the member's discussion about fiscal capacity, he seems to suggest that just because we were able to take on this fiscal capacity during a pandemic, we should be able to do it at any time. That is simply untrue. The reason why Canada, a country like ours, can take on this fiscal capacity right now is because our allies, our partners that we interact with and that we trade with regularly throughout the world, are also taking on that capacity. We are going through this together, globally, with other nations. That is why we are able to take on this kind of fiscal burden at this particular time. It is because we are going through it with other like-minded nations.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member has made our point for us, and that is that other countries have put in place wealth taxes because they see that massive gulf between the very wealthy in their countries and most of their population.

That is why when we go to other social democratic countries, we see much stronger protections around health care and ensuring that there is a transition to clean energy economy. We see, in other countries, our international allies are far ahead of Canada in terms of making the investments that count, investments in health care, investments in education, ensuring as well that people have a right to housing, and that we transition to the clean energy economy.

Canada could learn a lot from our international partners. My point is very valid, that the Liberal government is refusing the good examples that would make a difference in the quality of life for Canadians.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, I want to applaud my fellow British Columbian for the work that he has done in terms of the all-party credit union caucus. He raised the profit-taking by certain companies, particularly the large banks. I would also point out that many small credit unions, unlike the big ones, like Vancity, already do so much. Valley First credit union in my area does Feed the Valley. Interior Savings Credit Union does bursaries for students.

Rather than focusing on what we agree on, we are in elected office, so I am going to ask the member a question where we maybe part ways. I agree with the member that the Trans Mountain pipeline should not involve taxpayer funds. In fact, Conservatives believe that pipeline projects should go forward on the basis that they are safe and let the market work from that.

NDP members in my riding of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, support that, specifically in merit, because they believe in supporting jobs. What does the member have to say to his own party members in my section of the province?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the reality is I have not met a single NDP member who believes in spending $18 billion of public funds in the Trans Mountain project, that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has evaluated and has indicated is not a viable project given the context of today, given the report of the International Energy Agency.

Pouring more billions of dollars into this pipeline that is not a viable project, according to the PBO, is money that would not create jobs. Ultimately, after Trans Mountain is completed, we know it would be 60 full-time jobs for the province of British Columbia. It is an unbelievable amount of money for 60 full-time jobs.

For folks in—

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for New Westminster—Burnaby for his speech. As with the previous speaker, we agree with the NDP on many things. Quite honestly, I have to tell my esteemed colleague that I am disappointed we have not been on the same page more often.

I would like to talk about health transfers. In his speech, the member went to the trouble of pointing out that national standards are an essential part of the conversation about health transfers. I disagree. Is the member aware that there are provincial standards in Canada and Quebec and that a dire shortage of resources is to blame for the tragedy that struck those facilities?

Can the member look his voters right in the eye and tell them that Canada is so great and is going to give them money but that there will be strings attached because the government is going to tell them what to do with the money even though the people on the front lines are the ones who know what to do?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, nobody has pushed for health transfers more than the NDP. We opposed the Harper government's cuts, and we oppose the fact that the current government is refusing to dole out enough cash to maintain the health system. That is very clear.

We want the government to give Quebec and the provinces more resources to improve everyone's health and create a better health system. The pandemic affected seniors' health services in British Columbia, but it had an impact elsewhere too. We saw what things were like in Quebec's long-term care facilities. The government has to provide adequate funding to ensure a better quality of life for seniors across Canada.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend for the great work he does.

Day in and day out, all I hear from the Liberals' side is that they are supporting Canadians, that they have Canadians' backs and that everything is a high priority, but what we do not see in Bill C-30 is the supports for people with disabilities, except for a three-year study on who has to live on $1,200 a month. That is inadequate. Then, we find out the Liberals want to extend the CERB with Bill C-30, but they did not tell us the story. They want to give us the rates that people with disabilities are living on and to reduce it to that low below poverty. Then, we have the great work they do in supporting seniors, but they only want to support half the seniors.

Does my friend believe this is the way we are supporting Canadians and having their backs, or does he feel it is very shameful, what the government would implement?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member for Hamilton Mountain is a real fighter for his constituents and for people right across the country, like workers and seniors. I really want to thank him for his service to Hamilton and to the entire country.

He is right. The Liberal speech is nothing, until we look at where the money goes. When we look at where the money goes, it goes to banks and billionaires. There is $750 billion in liquidity supports. Without batting an eye, they did not announce it publicly, they just doled it out. Billionaires are up $80 billion in increased wealth through this pandemic, and the government steadfastly refuses to use any of the tools that other countries have put into place. There are enough vacuous, vapid Liberal speeches. We follow the money and we see where the priorities are, and the priorities of the current Liberal government are banks, billionaires and the ultrarich, and that comes to a real detriment of people.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the member talks about banks. One of the things I think about, and this comes from the parliamentary library, is who owns the banks. It is the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and the Ontario Pension Board. That is for the RBC. Then for BMO, there is the Health Care of [Technical difficulty—Editor] Plan trust fund, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the Ontario Pension Board. Then for TD, there is the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan.

Would the member not recognize, be honest with Canadians and say who actually owns the banks?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, will the member actually recognize that it is obscene to provide $750 billion of liquidity supports to Canada's big banks, with absolutely no conditions, to allow them to increase service charges, to impose penalties and fees and to do all the damage they have done over the course of this past year by refusing to provide supports to so many small businesses and people who are actually relying on the banks to provide some support during this pandemic? The Liberals do all that, and then say they are going to cut CRB by $200 a week and they are going to cut other supports Canadians rely on.

Will the member acknowledge that is inappropriate, given how much the Liberals have given to the banks and billionaires and how they are cutting back on the needs of people?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Essex.

Before I get started on the budget, this may be the last time I get to appear in front of you, Mr. Speaker, given that there seems to be a lot of chatter about an election. I want to take this time to thank you for your service to your country and say what a pleasure it has been to be able to serve with you. I wish you the very best in everything that you do into the future.

I am standing here again on a budget bill. Although much of this budget was important because it helped families and businesses ensure that they had some kind of income so they could manage through this crisis, it is also important that we talk about how it will potentially burden the future of many families and younger people as we have amassed this enormous debt.

This February, I was appointed as the shadow minister for COVID-19 economic recovery. It has been an incredible honour to serve in this role, because it has given me the opportunity to go across the country virtually and look at the economic impacts COVID has had on every sector, every region and every demographic of the country.

A strong economic recovery should be inclusive to all demographics, sectors and regions, ensuring that all persons and all areas of the country thrive and that we have specific objectives with measurable strategies for every sector to ensure that nobody gets left behind. It is impossible to implement a cookie-cutter plan, which is pretty much what I see in the Liberal budget. We will not get a full recovery unless we look at every economic sector to make sure it is successful.

The budget outlined how the federal Liberals proposed to rebuild the Canadian economy in a way that will bring Canadians along. This is another example of a lot of talk without a clear, precise, strategic and thoughtful action by the government.

If the government was actually interested in bringing all Canadians along, it would have laid out outcomes for job creation, growth and prosperity in this country's agricultural sector, maybe the energy sector, the forestry sector and the natural resources sector, just to name a few. There are millions of Canadians who work in these sectors. It is time that the government at least got honest about what it is trying to accomplish. Quite frankly, it seems like we are stuck in this never-ending cycle of spending more to achieve less. It is all talk and no action.

I hearken back to when I first had the opportunity to get involved as a contributor to the economy. I was able to buy into a business when I was 21 years old. I look back at those times and how I looked at the world as my oyster, that I would be able to do something, build something, grow something. Sadly, I do not hear that from youth anymore. I do not see that in this budget, which does not necessarily set people up for success.

A bunch of stats have come out of this budget, like the largest debt and deficit we have seen in the history of our country, and yet very little to show for it. We are certainly not moving forward. In fact, I often think we are moving backwards. It is important that we look at a few stats. Canada fell out of the top 10 ranking of the most competitive economies. We have fallen near the bottom of our peer group on innovation, ranking 17th, as stated by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Canada ranks 11th among G7 countries, among 29 industrial countries, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 33%, and Canada fell to 25th out of 29 countries. In other words, Canada has the fifth-highest level of total indebtedness. No other country experienced such a pronounced decline in its debt ranking. The debt-to-GDP ratio will rise from 31% last year to 56% this year. The Bank of Canada projects business investments to grow at 0.8% over the next two years, failing to recover to 2019 levels until 2023.

Consumption and government spending will represent about 80% of economic growth over the next two years, while investment and exports will be next to zero. An important industry like mineral fuels accounted for 22% of our country's exports, the number one exported product, which is something we should not forget about. We still have the third-largest proven oil reserves in the world and are the third-largest exporter of oil.

Just as the government continued to do since 2015, it has ignored the Canadian natural resource industry. There is virtually no mention of the energy sector, which is Canada's number one export. By ignoring the strength of Canada's resource, forestry and agriculture sectors, among others, the government has failed to recognize the impact these sectors would have on our battered economy. The world wants and needs more of our natural resources, so we should be thinking about expanding our market share, not hastening its decline. At the very least, we should be trying to develop policies that make sure we have an active role in these sectors.

There is an entire chapter in the budget dedicated to environmental initiatives aimed at net-zero emissions by 2050, which includes $18 billion in spending, but with dubious assumptions about the impact on economic growth. Rather than supporting a proven catalyst for economic growth like the natural resource sector to accelerate Canadians' recovery and get Canadians back to work, the Prime Minister has decided to continue the abandonment of this industry and hedge our future on uncertain technologies.

Conservatives are not opposed to developing and enhancing Canada's environmental-oriented sector. In fact I, along with the Conservative Party, highly encourage Canadian market participants in this sector to continue to grow and create more jobs and revenue while making sufficient contributions to the nation's ecological sustainability. I am proud of our industry. Our industry has been doing fantastic work and is a leader in the world. We should be proud of that and stand up for it. As we continue to combat this pandemic and the economic damage it would cause, we must unleash and utilize the capabilities of all profitable revenue streams. That includes green technologies and natural resources.

There are some vague references in the budget to growing green jobs and retraining the workforce for new jobs. It is very vague. Where and in which sectors are these jobs going to be created, and by when? Words are great, but actions speak louder. In the province I come from, people want to know, if they will be trained into a green job, where that job will be, what kind of income they will get and how they are going to be able to support their families in that new role. We have heard lots about retraining for these jobs that do not exist yet, but the need for tradespeople only happens if something is approved and built in this country.

What is it going to take? If the economy is going to grow, it has to be private sector-driven. The high cost of doing business in Canada, the red tape and the over-regulation make it almost impossible for small business owners. That has to change. There has been a real and visible impact on Canada's capacity to attract foreign investment. We need to be able to tell people they are welcome in this country and their investments are welcome. The perceived risk around investing in Canada's energy sector has to change.

What does the future look like? What is the trajectory? What does the country look like? We see inflation now. The target was 2% and it is running at about 3.6%. It is very concerning for people who are trying to live on a budget. My biggest fear for the country is that this budget will continue to invest massive sums of money into under-tested, under-productive schemes that fit the government's political agenda. The title is “A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience”, but the federal government's budget contains very few details on specifics and a lack of measurables, and it really does not say how it is going to execute on this plan.

I am concerned this budget is far from resilient and far from sustainable. If it were resilience that the government was after, it would be asking itself how this federal spending is going to position the country for post-pandemic success. We need to ensure that any spending helps with productivity in this country and ensures we have long-term sustainability. The well-being of our people and our economy cannot afford to be stuck in this never-ending cycle of the government's scheme of throwing money into the wind and hoping something sticks.

The most important focus for our country right now needs to be investment and commitment to ensuring Canadians get back to work. That is why the Conservative Party of Canada would implement the Canada recovery plan, a plan that would recover the hundreds of thousands of jobs in the hardest-hit sectors. Canadians deserve strong leadership, inclusive leadership and a robust plan for not only recovery, but prosperity for many years to come.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, I know that the member comes from a part of our country that has contributed so much to Canada's economy and prosperity for years. If there was ever a time when Canada needed to do all that it can to strengthen our sectors, our producers and those who actually produce our energy, work our fields and grow our food, it is now.

I wonder if the hon. member would be willing to comment on the absolute need to have a government with a vision to bring the best out of Canadians. We have so much to offer to the world and those who want to do business with us. We have the most responsibly produced energy in the world. We have the best producers of food and agriculture. We can only increase our manufacturing capacity.

We have great opportunities that are missing. Would the hon. member like to comment on that? What are his thoughts?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am an incredibly proud Canadian. We have an enormous capacity and potential in this country. It is time we recognized it. It is time we let these sectors grow and prosper.

I firmly believe the rest of the world wants more of what Canada produces. We are leaders on the agriculture side, leaders on the forestry side, leaders on the energy side. Let us recognize that. Let us look at our strengths and make sure we emphasize those strengths, get behind those strengths and grow this economy so that kids will have something to look forward to in this country.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the one thing I did not hear the member mention in his speech was tax evasion and the need to ensure that the wealthiest Canadians pay their share. I was reading in the news today that since 2015, the CRA has only investigated 44 Canadians with net worth over $50 million for tax evasion. Only two of those went to prosecution and no fines were issued.

I wonder if the member could inform us what his approach is to cracking down on tax evasion and what message this news sends to Canadians who work hard and pay their share.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, my position would never change on this. If people earn an income and owe taxes, they should pay. We should use the full force of the law to make sure that we go after those who are trying to take advantage of any kind of scheme that would allow them not to pay their fair share of tax.

In the same breath, we should also recognize that wealth creators are good for our country. They are creating wealth. Creating more jobs and more investment in Canada is good for our country. Those who do it by the rules, let us support them and let us cherish them because they are the ones who are going to help us grow this economy.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Marty Morantz Conservative Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my great colleague from Edmonton on his amazing speech and the great job he is doing in the House in his various roles.

In the Financial Post yesterday there was an article that said, “Brace for even higher rates when the Bank of Canada does start raising” and “Interest rates expected to climb above the previous peak for the first time in decades amid robust recovery”.

Could the member comment on the threat that higher interest rates will pose to the sustainability of our economy, which he so eloquently spoke about during his speech?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is a great concern, as we see inflation starting to move to 3.6%. We have issues with supply chains. We have issues with housing costs. We are seeing a lot of things drive up costs. The concern is that we are going to see interest rates do the same thing.

The level of debt that we have taken on in this country has to be paid back, and there is going to be interest that has to be paid on that debt, even if it is termed out over a period of time. A lot of the budget is now going to have to go toward debt repayment. That money could be spent on housing. It could be spent on some of the things that we desperately need in this country. That is a big concern.

Future generations will be stuck with this burden. That is the thing that is most distressing.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-30.

I want to thank the member for Edmonton Centre for his incredibly compelling speech, and he did a fabulous job. As well, to follow up on his comments, all the best to you, Mr. Speaker, in the future.

As I was walking up to the House today, I was given to thought. I thought about my family, my staff, my friends and the people of Essex, and the impact that Bill C-30 would have on each and every one of them. Each of us will be affected by the bill. I want to give many thanks to my family, my staff and my constituents of Essex for the opportunity to be in this place to speak to Bill C-30.

Fifteen months ago, after the government's failure to heed the early warning signs of the pandemic ravaging Asia, Parliament was shut down for three weeks to flatten the curve. These many months later, the government's record is characterized by bad ethics, poor decision-making, undemocratic measures and huge deficits.

The government, propped up by the NDP, Bloc and Green Party, has repeatedly failed Canadians, from its early and repeated power grabs, its failure to shut down international flights in the early stages of the pandemic, its failure to secure PPE and its disastrous back-scene procurement and rollout. On top of that, we had the ill-conceived Canada student support program and the resulting WE scandal that led to the prorogation of Parliament to avoid scrutiny. For 15 months, we have seen the Liberals reward their Liberal buddies with contracts and now judicial appointments.

Only the Conservatives, as the official opposition, have stood against the Liberal excesses. The NDP has voted with the Liberals basically at every turn, even joining with them to shut down committees to help the Liberals avoid scrutiny. At a time when Canadians needed true leadership, ideology partisan interests have trumped principle.

Why am I mentioning this record in a speech on the budget? Because post-COVID, Canada needs an economic recovery plan and, yet again, the Liberal-NDP-Bloc-Green Party alliance has failed to offer anything but shiny baubles. The record speaks for itself. The NDP-Liberal budget is a massive letdown for workers in my riding of Essex. This is not a growth budget, and it fails to put forward a plan to encourage Canada's long-term prosperity.

I have three children just entering adulthood, and my first grandchild was born just a few weeks ago. I think of families in my riding, generations that have made their home in Essex County, and I wonder if my children and their children will be able to have the things that previous generations took for granted: a well-paying job, affordable housing and saving for their children's education. I am receiving hundreds of emails from constituents who remember the Canada of my youth. They tell me that they have no heart to celebrate Canada this year. They see the writing on the wall.

Rampant corruption, unchecked, has tarnished our hallowed halls. Bill C-10 threatens our Charter of Rights, and deficit spending and high debt always leads to tax increases and program cuts down the road. It is an open question if we will be able to protect our social safety net and our senior's pensions, who should be able to enjoy their retirement worry-free.

As the government continues to print money against Canada's GDP, as Conservatives predicted, inflation has risen to 3.6%. The cost of housing has soared and, as I said previously, putting it out of reach for many young families. As the cost of living rises, so does the cost for basics, like food, which hurts the lowest-income Canadians and seniors on fixed incomes the most. The government spending today borrows against our children's future. It is not a cliché; it is a simple reality that everyone who has a personal or household budget to manage understands.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted that a significant amount of the Liberal spending in the budget will not stimulate jobs or create economic growth. The Conservatives support getting help to those who have been hit the hardest by the failure of the Liberals to create jobs. In fact, the Liberal government has spent more and delivered less than any other G7 country. Canada's Conservatives were very clear that we wanted to see a plan to return to normal, that would safely reopen the economy and get Canadians back to work.

It is very clear that the Liberal-NDP budget was more about partisan politics than creating jobs or growing our economy. With their uncontrolled spending, the Liberals made it clear that they had no plan to return to a balanced budget. Throughout the pandemic, the Conservatives have made emergency support programs better for Canadians.

Alas, unemployed Canadians are hoping to see a plan to create new jobs and economic opportunities for their families. Workers who have had their wages cut and hours slashed are hoping to see a plan to reopen the economy. They were let down.

Layoffs at the Fiat Chrysler plant in Windsor mean that expectant mothers will see their maternity benefits cut, with all the money going out the door in income support. What has the government done for them?

Small business owners have been devastated by repeat lockdowns. Many have closed their doors permanently. Many are hanging on by the slimmest of margins.

Gyms like Xanadu in my riding have petitioned the government for ongoing aid. I have stood in the House for them. It will take months for them to recover, if they do at all.

Many hair salons and barbershops, many of them owned and operated by women supporting their families, do not qualify for business support.

Travel advisers went 15 months without any revenue. What does this budget do for them? Absolutely nothing.

Manufacturers in my riding whose entire business model is based on cross-border transactions have experienced losses of major contracts because the government did not see fit to deem them essential despite repeated appeals to their government. It is a tone-deaf government that cannot not grasp the concept that we cannot export goods without the free movement of the people who make and sell them. The effects of this will be felt for years. It will take many years for manufacturers to get back to where they were.

While they brag about the numbers, the Liberals fail to understand that the stuff manufacturers are working on now was negotiated two years ago, before the pandemic. Manufacturing is 13% of Canada's GDP. This sector is the largest contributor of taxable income. In Essex and Windsor, 54,000 jobs are represented in this industry. Eighty-five per cent of those goods produced go to the United States of America.

Manufacturers have done a good job. They were mandated to keep open and they did everything required, yet the government did not see fit to recognize their good work. When I first raised this issue with the minister in the House, and other government officials appearing before the special committee on Canada-U.S. economic relations, the government's response revealed its total ignorance and outright indifference.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the loved ones who have been separated by the Canada-U.S. border closure. Even when changes were made to broaden the definitions, many were left out or could not afford to quarantine for 14 days. To make matters worse, the government then added quarantine hotels and exorbitant costs with unsafe substandard care. The human toll has been deep. Here are but a couple of examples: grandparents unable to meet their grandchildren for the first time; parents looking to be with their son, graduating after 10 years.

The simple fact is that this budget does nothing to secure the long-term prosperity for Canadians. It does nothing to help my excellent riding of Essex. Canada's Conservatives got us out of the last recession. Canadians who are worried about their future know that we can and will do it again.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned many times how people were struggling and needed help, especially through this difficult time. Does he agree with me that people with disabilities need immediate help now, some funding to help them during these hard times? Does he agree with the NDP and the Bloc that seniors should all be treated the same and not have a two-tiered system?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree that everyone needs help. The budget should be helping everyone; nobody should be left behind. Be it seniors, young adults, our youth or people with disabilities, everyone should be helped, especially, and hopefully, at the end of a pandemic.

Yes, we need to look from 100,000 feet down and ensure that everybody is duly taken care of.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague if he agrees with the Bloc Québécois that, in order to better protect all workers and meet needs created by the pandemic, the federal government should have accepted the idea of transferring the amounts requested for health care to the provinces and Quebec through the Canada health and social transfer. That would provide better support for the entire health and social services network in Canada.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is so important for the federal government to work with individual provinces, with their leaders and, quite frankly, with their governments. Everyone has to come to the table. It is important that everyone has a voice at the table and whatever works best between the federal government and each specific province is a direction about which we certainly need to talk.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Essex for pointing out that the Liberals love making things up. One of the things that they suffer from is a disease called “dyspocketnesia”. What it means is taking from “this pocket”, which is the taxpayer pocket, and putting it into “that pocket”, which is the government's pocket, and then forgetting about why they did it.

One person who does not forget about things that the Liberals do is the Parliamentary Budget Officer, who points out the Liberal claim that they would create 315,000 jobs this year, 334,000 in 2022, and 280,000 in 2023. He notes that it is more likely 39,000 jobs this year, 74,000 next year and 94,000 in the year after that.

I wonder if my colleague would mind commenting about these job numbers.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Chris Lewis Conservative Essex, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, there are other people who know about the taking money out of this pocket and putting it into that one. It is everyday taxpayers. It is the young 20 or 21-year-old man and woman who pays taxes and wonders what is left in their bank account at the end of the day.

As I mentioned in my speech, 54,000 jobs directly related to manufacturing in Windsor-Essex are coming under the gun if we do not get this ship righted really soon.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest to the member's speech. He said that everybody needed help, and I agree. Seniors who are not getting their OAS increase because they are under the age of 75 but over the age of 65 need to be treated equally.

People are going to be cut from their CRB payments when they are not going back to work yet. Businesses, in particular in the tourism industry, are not going to have the wage subsidy extended in time.

The member also talked about the debt. I wonder how he sees these two things fitting together. Who should be bucking up and paying their fair share?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to speak to the budget implementation bill.

Before I do that, I would just like to say thank you to some people. Undoubtedly, one of the problems with a minority Parliament is that we never quite know when that election might come. Whether the rumours are true or not, two years is certainly, by conventional wisdom, on par with the standard length of a minority Parliament, so I will take this opportunity to give thanks to some people.

I have been coming to this House for 75 sitting days in a row. I have been in the House almost every single hour, every single minute. I just referenced my own participation and attendance in the House, which I think I am allowed to do.

I could not have done this work without the incredible work of the folks back in my offices. We all know we have these incredible teams of people who work behind the scenes. In particular, in Ottawa, I have Kaitlin and Kelly, who have been working to help me prepare for here.

Then, of course, because I have been here so much, I have not been able to be back in my riding or working on a lot of that constituency work. I have three incredible women in my Kingston office, Ann, Nicole and Jennifer, who have been handling that case work and working with the government to help people through these difficult times.

I just want to give a huge thank you to them for being so supportive in the functions and for being an incredible team that really knows how to come together.

I also would like to say thank you to you, Mr. Speaker. When you first announced you would not be running again, I said something briefly, but I have really enjoyed you as Deputy Speaker. I hope that means something coming from the riding that also produced the longest serving Speaker of the House of Commons, Peter Milliken. We certainly have a keen eye for a good Speaker.

You have undoubtedly done such a good job in your role as Deputy Speaker throughout the years. Whenever you are in the chair, I have admired your patience with us, even at times when we seem to be at each other's throats. Thank you for that.

Getting toward my discussion on the budget, I would like to talk about the first responders out there who have literally been fighting this pandemic on the front lines for the last 15 to 16 months. We come to this place and we fight, argue, debate and create policy with the hopes that it impacts those on the front lines and makes a genuine difference in the work they do. At the end of the day, they are the ones we need to be looking out for, making sure they have the right tools to fight and do the incredible work they do.

A lot of those frontline workers are probably not even all that keenly interested in what is going on in this place, but nonetheless we have an incredible obligation to make sure they have what they need to do the job they are doing on our behalf.

To that end, I know it has come up in this debate from a couple of different members, I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to members of the House with respect to something that happened in this House yesterday. Hopefully we could learn from the experience.

I learned very early on in my political career, back in municipal politics in Kingston, that it is fair game to be fighting and disagreeing with other politicians. We are elected. We choose to be put in this position. We choose to come forward, voice our opinions and engage in those debates and that dialogue. However, staff do not. What we witnessed here yesterday was something that, quite frankly, has not happened in this Parliament, in this institution, for more than 100 years.

We dragged a public civil servant to the bar of the House of Commons, to Parliament, to receive a scolding from the Speaker. I am appealing to members because of my desire to try to have them recognize that that is not proper conduct toward a public servant. If there is disagreement or concern over the manner in which a government or a particular minister is acting, it would be entirely appropriate to engage in holding them accountable, and if they wanted to, to pull that minister before the bar, if they could do that, and to exercise the same kind of decision or scolding on them.

I just do not think it is right to bring a public servant, especially the lead of the Public Health Agency of Canada while we are in the middle of a global pandemic, to be used as a political tool, as we saw yesterday. It is just not appropriate and, in fact, it has very rarely ever happened. Never has a public servant come before the bar. The last time a private citizen did was in 1913.

For all the differences we have in this place, I really hope we can learn something from yesterday and commit to never doing that again. Politicians are here to be the ones who are in the line of fire, not our public servants, who are doing the incredible work on behalf of Canadians. I will note that my understanding is that that particular public servant has been in executive positions in public health for the last 17 years, which spans multiple governments of different parties.

I did obviously want to speak to the budget implementation act, and I am very proud to be supportive of this. I am very proud not just of the government, but also of this Parliament, for the way it acted 15 or 16 months ago to get supports to Canadians, quite often through unanimous consent motions. We were passing motions in this House to immediately trigger sending money to Canadians who needed it. It was not just because Canadians needed the money, although that is incredibly important, but also because we were encouraging people to stay home.

In the beginning of this pandemic, the objective was to get people to stay home. We did not want people to go out because we did not want them to become infected and for the pandemic to spread. We saw our public service working through the direction of Parliament to send money out in record speeds. When we think about what it did in four short weeks back in March of 2020, it is truly remarkable. I am indeed proud of all members of this Parliament for working together.

I know different parties had different ideas about how much the wage subsidy should be, and I think we ended up with better proposals and better policies as a result of those deliberations and discussions. I am very relieved to see this budget, and it looks like it will be supported and that it will pass, so we can continue those supports through to the end of this pandemic.

We see the light at the end of the tunnel. We can see what is coming, and we can see we are going to be, fingers crossed, in a much better position in the coming weeks and months in terms of relaxing restrictions throughout the country. We can see Canadians will be getting back to life like it was before the pandemic.

I think knowing the government and Parliament were there for them genuinely means a lot to Canadians because, when it was necessary to provide the supports, the government, and indeed Parliament, had their backs. It is extremely rewarding for me personally to see that we were able to do that.

I also think there is a great opportunity here. I will choose my words carefully, because when our Minister of Finance said that there was a political opportunity she was pounced on and her words were taken out of context. At the heart of this, there is an opportunity in all of this to look at the way in which Canadians are supported, where we can do better and where we can make corrections. For example, long-term care homes and developing national standards on long-term care homes is something we can do better in.

This pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to say that we failed many seniors in long-term care homes and must do better. It is a provincial jurisdiction, and I certainly do not want to reopen the debate with the Bloc Québécois about who is responsible for what. I totally accept provinces are responsible for long-term care, but the federal government could play a leadership role in defining how we can develop some long-term care standards, just like we do with our national building code, as one example.

We can also look at this as an opportunity to say we need to invest in our economy now if we want to come roaring out of this and ask ourselves where the best place is to invest right now. If we look throughout the world, we see new technologies developing.

There is an opportunity here for the government to determine if it should continue to invest just in traditional infrastructure like roads and bridges or also look at some of these new technologies. We could help businesses develop them so these technologies and new opportunities can continue to spin off for years and decades to come.

Therefore, I think it is entirely appropriate to look at where we can position ourselves in the global economy in the years to come and use that as a strategy for where to invest money now. It is incredibly indicative of the government to take that approach and quite frankly for any government would take that approach.

I find it concerning and unfortunate that the words of the Minister of Finance were taken out of context when she said that there is a political opportunity to look at child care. The opposition clipped half of her sentence, because what she was really saying is there is a political opportunity to look at the way we are approaching child care.

I am very happy to see the budget announcement on child care. I will start off by saying we probably owe to the Province of Quebec for the desire and need to move toward more affordable child care. Quite frankly, it has done an incredible job of showing what child care supports can mean to individual families and some of the burden it relieves.

It has recognized that, in 2021, it is not only the responsibility of parents to raise children, but also that of our collective society. That is where child care comes in, and why I think we are better off as Canadians because of Quebec's experience with child care.

Not only has Quebec seen an increase in people in the workforce as a result of its incredibly good child care program, it has particularly seen more women in the workforce, which is incredibly important because, more often than not, it is women who end up staying at home with the children. By using child care opportunities to help subsidize those costs, Quebec has seen more women enter the workforce, which has contributed to more economic activity, which means more income taxes paid. It has also contributed to more women pursuing the entrepreneurial desires they may have held back on because they chose to or were expected to stay at home with children.

Therefore, I look at this child care plan in the budget as not only a support for families, but also as an economic opportunity to unleash into the marketplace and the labour force those people who want to work, but for one reason or another, based on their family situation and young children, have chosen not to participate. That would result in more people working and paying taxes.

This would also result in having more entrepreneurs and people running family businesses, generating income and creating ideas, which would be better for our entire society and indeed all Canadians. Therefore, as the government strives to provide more supports with respect to child care, I hope it takes a long, hard look at the incredibly efficient model Quebec has produced and how it has changed the labour force, according to the statistics that have come out.

I will also touch briefly on seniors and the OAS. I know that has been coming up a lot. In particular, there has been a lot of criticism about how the increase should be for every senior over the age of 65, which is a really good talking point. It sells well and delivers well when the Bloc and NDP members continually bring it up. However, the reality of the situation is that, the longer seniors are in retirement, the more of their savings they go through and the less they have as they get older. This is not the case for every senior, but it is the case for low-income seniors in particular.

The government had a choice here. It could either increase the amount for everybody or increase it even more for those aged 75 and over. Of course, in response to that, we are asked why we did not increase it for everybody. Well, there are limitations. There are budgetary limitations and decisions that have to be made from time to time with respect to how much money to spend. I think the government is trying to balance the objective of having meaningful supports with the genuine need for them.

I do not hold the NDP and the Bloc entirely in distain, for lack of a better expression, for using that argument. I think it is a very effective political argument, so I can appreciate why they are doing it, but I think it is important to recognize why the current approach is the right one.

Finally, I want to talk about the debt incurred as a result of the pandemic, because I know that has been coming up a lot. The reality of the situation is that if we had told any member of the House two years ago that the debt would be over a trillion dollars, they would have probably laughed and said nothing. When I think back to the first majority Parliament session that I was a part of, I remember that people were harping about an extra $10 billion being spent or said the deficit was supposed to be $10 billion and it ended up being $20 billion.

We are now talking about hundreds of billions of dollars. It is over a trillion dollars. Indeed it is a lot of money, but the choices were quite clear: Do we invest in Canadians so that we can come out of this in a much better position, or do we leave people on their own? It is not a Liberal, Conservative or NDP thing. Every member agreed on it. Every member voted in favour of it, and we had unanimous consent motions to spend the money because members knew it had to be done.

As I indicated in a question for the member for New Westminster—Burnaby earlier, this was acceptable because every country did the same thing. Every country took on incredible amounts of debt. If Canada had been the only country that took on this kind of debt, it would have been detrimental to a lot of our policies. It would have sent companies running out of the country. It would have done a whole bunch of other things that could have been seen as extremely negative.

The reality is that all of the ally countries that we interact with in the marketplace through commerce and our various trading relationships did the exact same thing. We are going through this together with our partner nations. Also, we had an incredible debt-to-GDP ratio going into the pandemic, and if we expect to come out of the COVID recession with relatively similar economic activity, we will have to invest. I genuinely believe that everybody agrees with that. I think that is why everybody, at the end of the day, supported the measures. They recognized that it was important.

I believe that because of the measures we took and because of the spending that was authorized by the House, we will be in a better place when we come out of the pandemic in a few months. Our economy will come roaring back and we will see the debt-to-GDP ratios return to what they were before. We will also see unemployment return to some of the historic lows that we previously had. Why? It is because when we went through this, we did it in the right way. It cost a lot of money, there is no doubt about that, but we did it in conjunction with our global partners and did it in the responsible way according to the vast majority of economists.

I hope that after my run of 75 consecutive sitting days, this will not be my last opportunity to speak. However, I know I have had my fair share of time over the last 75 days, so if it is, I am entirely content with that. I look forward to questions.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I did not hear the member use his favourite word, according to Open Parliament, which is “Conservatives”, so I want to congratulate him for being able to avoid the rhetoric.

I am grateful that he talked about some things of substance in the budget bill, particularly child care. The federal government has a $30-billion plan for it. There has been a lot of interest and a lot of feedback on that in my riding. A lot of people are concerned about the costs that are going to be shared with the provinces. People are looking at the finances of the provinces and asking how on earth the provinces will be able to afford their portions of this.

Can the member comment on that?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, it would be a mistake if we tried to develop a national plan that was completely done by the national government. It is indeed something that will be done through collaboration with the provinces. The first stop in this exercise needs to be Quebec. We should have a real thorough look at how it has been so successful at this, and then try to see how we can apply this model to other provinces, respecting the fact that everything is different from province to province to territory.

There is a great opportunity here, and I think the provinces will have to be partners in this. They will have to want it too, which is why it will take negotiations and discussions with the provinces.

To answer the member's question, I do not know what the exact cost will be, but I do know that it is something the feds want to do. If the provinces want to do it, I am sure we can find the solution.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Luc Desilets Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, I too would like to congratulate our colleague because he is his party's sole representative across the aisle, in the actual House, of course. There are Liberal members who we will not recognize when the Liberals decide to resume sitting in the House.

My question for my colleague is the following: Concerning child care, can he guarantee that Quebec will obtain the full amount that it is due?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not know. I guess that will come out in the discussions with the provinces. The formula will be set up through negotiating with Quebec and the rest of the provinces, such as Ontario and Alberta, wherever it may be. If we can replicate Quebec's success, I certainly would not want to try to change the program considerably. We know something already works successfully in Quebec, so I agree that we should be looking at that and having those discussions. If the outcome the member is suggesting is determined to be the best course forward, then I suggest that is what we need to do, if it is why Quebec has been so successful at this.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take the opportunity now to thank you in public, although I know I had a chance to speak with you privately last week to thank you for your years of service and gentlemanly conduct in the House of Commons. It has really been appreciated by all of us.

To the member for Kingston and the Islands, we have heard repeatedly about the senseless cut in CERB payments that the Liberals have brought in, but there is a similar senseless cut to other pandemic supports. One is very important in my riding: the seasonal agricultural worker program. The federal government has been providing $1,500 per worker to pay for extra costs, including from the two-week quarantine and charter flights from Jamaica, Mexico and Central America, because there are no public flights. These costs are not going down any time soon, yet this benefit is being cut in half right now, to $750.

I wonder if the member could comment on where the sense in that is.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, at the end of the day, it is important to recognize that these programs were never designed to be there forever. There needs to be a transition away from them. There needs to be a transition back to regular life, so to speak, that does not depend on these programs specifically.

There will be some industries that are affected for quite some time. A good friend of mine is an audio engineer who works at a lot of big concerts and conventions. His industry was one of the first to be hit. He went from having six months' worth of work ahead of him to having absolutely nothing in 48 hours, and it will be one of the last industries to come back, later on. He is equally worried about these kinds of supports and what the changes are going to mean.

Will we have to continue to revisit this and look at new opportunities to support people? I think that is the fair thing to do, and I hope we will be able to consider the people who will be impacted by the pandemic for longer than others.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me say, and not in a back room in a private conversation, that you are awesome. Thank you for your service.

To the member for Kingston and the Islands, the demographics in this country are getting older, and we know that means there will be less of a tax base for governments, both provincial and federal. We also know that there has been criticism, even from the member's own party. Mark Carney has said publicly that this is not a growth-oriented budget and so has David Dodge, both former governors of the Bank of Canada. We need to see more investments for the long term that make us more productive, but unfortunately it seems that the government is only focused on consumption today.

I agree that making sure people have supports during the pandemic is important, but why is the government always fixated on giving people money for things that will not build long-term value in the way that we need for growing this economy to help support public services, like health care, that we all depend on?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately I could not disagree more. There is a reality, and I spent a lot of time talking about child care, for example. That is not about just giving people money right now to deal with their children; it is a long-term growth strategy.

The member asked how we are going to get more people into the economy. I submit that one of the ways we are going to do that is by unleashing the economic potential of the many people who are stuck at home taking care of their kids. That is not a bad thing, because a lot of people want to do that, but there are a lot of people who would also like to be working.

To the member's point specifically about how we deal with the labour shrinkage, it is in the budget. Child care is one way. However, it is not something that will work when we start spending the money. It is going to take years to get to a point where the labour force has the injection. To that point, we need to be investing in ways and in places that are going to help our labour market later on.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague why the Liberals absolutely do not want to provide stable and adequate funding for health care systems by increasing health transfers.

Health care systems in Quebec and the provinces have reached the breaking point. Cuts in health transfers have left them with insufficient funding. In the meantime, the Liberal government is meddling in Quebec's jurisdictions with its spending power.

Why not increase health transfers, as Quebec and all the provinces are asking?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not think my intervention would be complete without a question from the Bloc Québécois about health transfers. It is my understanding, at least from what I have heard the Prime Minister say in the House over the last several months and from discussions out there in the public, that it is the intention of the government to revisit this issue. Could it have been done in this particular budget? I think everything that has been going on with the pandemic, as we get through it and focus on it, has made it more difficult to do. However, there is an opportunity, as we move into the future, to have those discussions.

I know that people within our party are talking about it. I certainly hear it a lot from the Bloc Québécois, and I hear it from the Conservatives. I think there is an opportunity here, but it was perhaps too challenging to accomplish in this budget in addition to all of the other stuff that needed attention.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola. Let me inform you, Mr. Speaker, that you will have a much more enlightened speaker because I plan on sharing my time with the member for Elgin—Middlesex—London, who, I am sure, will do a fantastic job.

From a parliamentary perspective, we live in dangerous times. I say that because I would like to take us all back to 2015 and a comment that this Prime Minister shared with Canadians. “[W]e are committed to delivering real change in the way that government works”, said the Prime Minister. He followed up with, “It means setting a higher bar for openness and transparency, something needed if this House is to regain the confidence and trust of Canadians.”

When we look at the actions of this Prime Minister today, it is profoundly obvious that this PM had absolutely zero intention of honouring those words to Canadians. In fact, as is so often the case with this Prime Minister, it is all just words. The actions are always at odds with reality. Look at where we are here with this omnibus budget bill from a Prime Minister who had promised he would not use omnibus budget bills, promised he would not use prorogation, and promised he would deliver a balanced budget, cast in stone, in 2019. He also promised openness by default.

I could go on and on, but we are not here today to debate the character of this Prime Minister. We are here to debate the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-30, a bill that the finance minister has repeatedly stated, if it were not to pass, would be the single greatest threat facing Canadians. Honestly, the finance minister said that multiple times in question period. Here we have a government that tells us we do not need a budget for over two years, and suddenly not having a budget is the greatest economic threat facing Canadians. What unbelievable arrogance that is.

In reality, this budget is really about furthering the Liberals' electoral chances. I would submit it that does not do so. It is not in the long-term best interests of Canadians. However, in my view, this is a Prime Minister who will always place his needs and those of his powerful friends and insiders ahead of the needs of everyday Canadians.

People should not just take my word for it, but read very carefully the many criticisms of this budget bill. They come from prominent people not accustomed to criticizing Liberal government budget bills: Parliamentary Budget Officer, Yves Giroux; former Bank of Canada governors, both David Dodge and Mark Carney; and even former senior Liberal adviser Robert Asselin. They have all provided well-articulated concerns over this budget. To summarize them, ultimately this bill proposes to spend money that the government does not have to spend and, according to these critics and many other experts, does not not need to spend.

However, that is what this Prime Minister does. He believes he can spend his way out of any problem or circumstance, but that in itself creates problems. Let us look at our communities' local downtown. If they are anything like the communities in my riding, there are increasingly more help-wanted signs out there. A huge number of small and medium-sized business owners have said they cannot get people to work.

I am going to share something with this place. Recently, my Summerland office was contacted by a woman, and we will call her “Nathalie”. Nathalie is very concerned about her brother, whom we will call “Doug”. Doug has a trade. Unlike some trades, Doug got very busy during the pandemic. Last fall, Doug decided to quit his job so he could collect the CERB. Granted the system was not supposed to work that way, but it was, by design, set up so people like Doug absolutely could quit their job and still collect it. At the time, Doug told his family it was just for the winter months and he would go back to work in the spring. Over the winter months, Doug began drinking. His drinking led to the loss of his place. The family now says Doug lives in a recreational vehicle. He collects the Canada recovery benefit and spends most of the time drinking. Doug now refuses to return to the workplace. Doug's position is that he paid the government EI and taxes for years and now he is owed this money, and not working while he is collecting benefits is his way of getting even with the government.

I am not suggesting for a moment that everyone collecting benefits is in Doug's situation, but speaking with many who work with individuals in addiction and recovered, many will share privately just how damaging the CRB has been and how it has derailed many recovering addicts. The problem remains that the Liberal government has absolutely no exit plan that ultimately will help people like Doug return to the workforce.

Indeed, according to the Prime Minister, people like Doug do not exist. Some will say if only employers paid more, we would not have this problem. However, in Doug's case, he had a trade that provided net take-home pay of $60,000. Doug can make much more money returning to work, however, the $2,000 a month he collects now is enough money that Doug can choose not to work.

I come back to all those help-wanted signs. A local small business owner told me his small business could survive the pandemic, but he was less sure it could survive the government assistance programs like CRB. I am not raising this to be partisan, I am raising this because this budget by design extends all of these benefits into September and it does this by design because the Prime Minister wants to go into an election where everyone is still getting paid those benefits. He wants to use the payment of these benefits as an election issue. That is ultimately what the bill proposes; that and massive amounts of spending that even former Liberals and friendly experts have said is excessive and largely unnecessary.

However, when it comes to winning power, we know that the Prime Minister is capable of basically anything. We know from his many promises in 2015, he will say basically anything. We know from his governance, from prorogation to multiple Liberal filibusters, to being found in contempt of Parliament, he is capable of doing anything to remain in power. Indeed, Bill C-30 is just another example of this.

Is there seriously a person in this place who does not believe that Canada needs an exit plan to get Canadians back into the workforce? I am starting to think that maybe there are some who believe we can continue on this current path that the Parliamentary Budget Office has repeatedly told us is not sustainable. Do we listen? Bill C-30 suggests we are not listening. Indeed, even raising these issues is rarely done.

We all know that there are people like Doug out there who are struggling. This budget fails people like Doug. This budget fails the many small business owners who need Doug back in the workplace. Let us hope that he can rejoin the workforce. His sister Nathalie blames the government programs. She pointed out EI, as one example, never used to work this way. She asked how long can the government continue to pay people benefits that they do not qualify for. It is a fair question, yet I do not hear any member of the Liberal government ask this question.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer has raised it. Various ministers have promised to address it, but when the opposition has raised it, they never do. We all know that the EI system ultimately has to be sustainable and currently it is not sustainable. The government has no plan to address this. This should trouble all of us because ultimately we need to defend the integrity of the programs that Canadians depend on. We are collectively failing to do that.

It is just not responsible. This is ultimately what troubles me so greatly about Bill C-30. It is great for a Prime Minister trying to stay in power, however, it maximizes short-term political gain for long-term pain that will be felt by future generations of Canadians.

Somehow in this place, we have drifted away from long-term thinking, of building a foundation for the success and prosperity of future generations of Canada. Worse, we have seen this movie before, as it was the former Liberal governments that made some very difficult and unpopular decisions, but necessary decisions. Many of what I refer to as traditional Liberals, at least in my riding, wonder where the Liberal Party has gone.

Before I close, I will leave with one final note. When the finance minister introduced this budget, she told us that we must “build a more resilient Canada; better, more fair, more prosperous, and more innovative”.

We should all ask ourselves who has been governing this country for the past five years to have made Canada so unresilient, so unfair, so unprosperous and so lacking in innovation. We all know the answer to the question. This budget bill, Bill C-30, simply offers more of the same.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, I know the member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola is a real champion for the wine industry, which is very important in the Okanagan, and has a private member's bill that could help the wine industry. I am worried that, with the constant rumours about an election, that private member's bill will not make it onto the Order Paper in this Parliament.

I would like to give the member the opportunity to talk about the situation that we have seen with the wine industry losing the excise tax exemption through a WTO challenge. The government has a promise of funding in this budget, $101 million over two years, but now we hear it has back-loaded that promise so that only a third of the money will come in the coming fiscal year. This is a time when the wine industry has really been suffering, like a lot of sectors.

I am wondering if the member could comment on that decision by the government.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, obviously small family wineries, small craft breweries and artisan distillers are hurting. The foot traffic is gone, tourism has dropped, people are not buying from them and they are often going to liquor monopolies, so this is a big issue.

My Bill C-260 deals with trying to get around provincial liquor monopolies. I will let the member know that the leader of the official opposition gave a speech to the Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce where the question was asked: What if this bill dies on the Order Paper? Guess what, we are going to be campaigning on this so that we can bring some resiliency and opportunities to that industry.

In 2015, I said that the Liberals would say anything, then disregard what they said, do what is right for them and not the long-term interests of Canadians. They are doing the same thing to the wine industry, and it is wrong.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is lots of talk in this budget about training for new jobs, green jobs, jobs that are not here yet. Does the member have any idea what specific jobs the government is talking about that people will be retrained for? In my province, people want to know where these new jobs are, how they are going to get started and what these training programs are going to do for them in the near future, not looking out five years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is one area where the government continually talks a game about innovation and skills. Kevin Page, former parliamentary budget officer, is now heading up the University of Ottawa's Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy. It is a think tank that analyzes these issues. When the government first came to power, it was presented with a report from the think tank that showed that for years it has been funding employment skills training with tens of billions of dollars and it has never been reviewed. When we look through it, and I met with the expert who penned the report, there are no metrics. The government continually adds more rhetoric and more money, but there are never any results.

That is the big problem. We are not thinking in terms of the long-term interests of Canadians. With our demographics and the pandemic debt, we have to start asking the tough questions. We cannot let the Liberal government and the Prime Minister slide by with nice words and a quick wave. My community deserves better than the government is offering.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again, I get to speak to you while you are in the Chair. To anyone who is tuning in right now, I wish all the best to the Speaker in the Chair right now. I know that the next chapter of your life will be very fulsome. It has been wonderful working with you. Hopefully, we will be able to work together again in September.

I will continue with some of my thanks. I know so many people are involved in making sure that this chamber can run. I am thinking of all the House staff, the interpreters about whom we have heard so much, making sure we are not popping in the mike, the technical support folks for the hybrid virtual Parliament who have been very busy, and the table staff, especially one of my favourites, André Gagnon. I have always said that he is going to be stuck in my living room forever, because one of my favourite photos is of him and me at my second swearing in. Thanks to all of the great people working in our House and making sure the democracy of Canada continues.

It truly has been a great pleasure serving in the 43rd Parliament, 2nd session, as the deputy House leader for the Conservative Party. There has been a lot of learning to do and a lot of procedural things, as well. All of us are working together to get that done.

I thank my colleague who spoke before me, because when we talk about results, that is something we really focus on. I would like to see results. When I first got here in 2015, we would talk about the government. We would talk about what we had done in government for nine and a half years, and some of the positive changes that we saw here in Canada. Some very good legislation was put forward. Every single time I was on a panel, I recall that the words used against me were, “Ms. Vecchio, that's rich.” Those were the words of our Liberal government members, all of the time: “That is rich,” any time we asked for something to be justified or asked for verification on things.

The government just does not want to answer. When we see an omnibus bill like this budget implementation bill, we should not be surprised. When we try to have debates, we should not be surprised when we do not get answers. I know that shortly we will be going into Question Period where that will continue.

In this Parliament specifically, we have seen things, such as the WE scandal, prorogation and Bill C-19 being done wrong. I want to focus on that. As of yesterday, Bill C-19 was reported back and tabled in the House of Commons. The fear that I have, and the fear that I think so many other Canadians should have, is that we are putting forward bills that have no witnesses coming to talk about these things. When we wanted to discuss Bill C-19, there was a motion to have important organizations representing everyone from seniors to people with disabilities look at this legislation and ask what it means. We were looking to speak to chief electoral officers who were on the ground and could talk about some of the things we needed to do.

What would a pandemic election look like in London North Centre or London West? I am looking at the member of Parliament for London West right now. What would it look like for London West? What would it look like for Elgin—Middlesex—London? I am seeing that special member look at me right now. I would like to thank her for all of the work that she has done. It has been great having a person beside me in London West who is part of the government and who has always ensured that when I give her a call, she knows what is happening in Elgin—Middlesex—London.

On behalf of all the constituents of Elgin—Middlesex—London, on behalf of my municipalities, I know I can call that member and say that we need an announcement, and the member for London West will ensure that announcement is made. If it is sitting on a minister's table, she is one person I know who can get it done. I really appreciate all of her hard work.

Moving on, when I am talking about some important things, I see that we are truly not doing what we should always be doing. We talk about due diligence. Last night, I got to listen to the member for Winnipeg North talk about the Conservatives and how awful they are. Although the word “corrupt” was not being used, he loved to use the word “obstruction.”

I will tell Canadians what obstruction looks like. Obstruction looks like 101 days in a filibuster when we are talking about prorogation of the government. That is what obstruction looks like. I love looking at the member, because he is laughing. I think it is because he knows exactly what I am getting at. He knows. He has been in politics for over 30 years. He knows how to wing this. He knows when we are playing these games, and we know that when the member for Winnipeg North is coming to a committee, the plan is to filibuster. When some of the greatest speakers who can speak 700 or 800 times in Parliament are brought in, we know the government is bringing in the big guns to filibuster. I would like to commend my colleague for Winnipeg North because that is exactly the type of work that they are able to do.

We have seen committee reports delayed. As the former chair of the status of women and as the former shadow minister of the status of women, I am really concerned that the defence committee could not table a report. Why it could not table a report, I think, has to do with the obstruction in committee. There has not just been obstruction in the Procedure and House Affairs committee. There has been obstruction in the committees for defence, ethics and any other committee in which the reports and information going forward are not to the liking of the government. That is just the type of thing that I have been seeing.

I do a lot of outreach as well in my riding. When reflecting on this budget, what do we see and what is important? I like to go out and speak to my constituents. We do a lot of householders. We do a lot of mailers and get a lot of information back. I would say that we probably got the most information back ever from replies to our last householder. We looked at that data. Do not worry. We were not using Liberalist. We actually looked at this data in our own office to see what my constituents were saying. I did not send it off to somebody to ask them to please look at it analytically and then let us know, while targeting my voters. I actually wanted to hear what they have to say. It is not just about how I am going to get their vote the next time. I want to be sure that I am serving them with a purpose.

However, 66% of our respondents believe there should be an increase in health care funding to the provinces. The government can talk about the funding put forward through this pandemic when it comes to health care. It did have to put some forward, but why? It was not prepared for a pandemic. It had taken some of the money and it had taken some of the programs. We know that the system to alert us of a coming pandemic and its impacts was not there. The information we should have been able to receive was not there because of some cuts and things they were doing while thinking that it was not important.

Sixty-six percent of our respondents believe there needs to be more money put into this health care system, but in this budget we do not see an increase in health care. We can see some things when it comes to pandemic spending, but as the former speaker talked about, we need to look at long-term plans as well. They cannot just be short-term. They cannot just be about how we get people voting for us today. It is about how we can provide good lives and better opportunities for them.

Coming from a farming community, one thing I always talk about is sowing the field. How do we prepare the field so that people can be the best crop possible? How do we encourage great growth? I look at all of these programs coming forward from the government and I am very concerned. What do we see for these people moving forward? I look at my son, who is 27 years old, and know that if he were to try to purchase a house in Elgin—Middlesex—London and put down the $20,000 he has been able to save, it would get him nothing. Why? It is because we have seen a 46% increase in housing prices in my area alone.

Those are some of the things that I think the government needs to tackle, along with the fact that we see inflation going higher and higher. That inflation is going to impact us greatly, especially if the interest rates go up.

I look at my own children who want to buy houses. The rates for getting a mortgage are awesome, but how can they buy houses when the prices start at almost half a million dollars? How are they ever going to get into the housing market and out of renting? I think that 55% of renters have been paying more in the last six months than they were before. How are people able to move forward and go up the housing ladder? How will they be able to go from being renters to being home owners and into those next homes for retirement? How will they be able to do that? I just do not see the path, unfortunately. I am very concerned with that.

We have 73% of respondents who were concerned about Bill C-10, which we voted on last night. At about 1:30 a.m. we saw that some amendments went through. We also saw the bill pass, unfortunately. I can tell colleagues that in my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London this was an issue about which I heard from tons of my constituents. They said they did not want Bill C-10, and that they believed it needed to be amended. The amendments we put forward did not, unfortunately, go through.

Finally, 86% of respondents were concerned about the level of debt in this budget. These are the types of things I talk about.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, when I reflect on standing committees, the potential within them is fairly significant. Some standing committees perform exceptionally well and produce fantastic reports for Canadians.

I am wondering if the member could provide her thoughts on another situation in which we can do fine work if we take out the partisan politics. I am not reflecting on a specific committee, but generally speaking, would she not agree we can see some positive work come out of standing committees when the partisan politics are put to the side, for a little while anyway?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am actually also looking right now on my screen at the Chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women. I am the former chair of the status of women committee. Last July we met on July 7 or July 8, I believe, before prorogation. We had a standing committee that worked really well together. It was a minority Parliament so we had a variety of different views. The member for London—Fanshawe was on the committee and we had members from the Toronto area. It was a really good mix.

The report we would have tabled right before prorogation was fantastic, but it has a lot to do with what the interests are. We know in some committees there are topics we really want to work on and then there are committees that are a bit more partisan, so I absolutely agree with the member.

It is always a delight to work with the member for Winnipeg North. He keeps us going.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Madam Speaker, I am happy to speak from the traditional territory of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation and the Ta'an Kwach'an Council. As tomorrow is the last day that Parliament will sit before the summer, I want to thank all Yukoners, again, for the great honour they have provided me to represent them. It is a very eclectic riding, which makes it an even bigger honour. With 14 unique first nations, we are dealing with over 50 countries in immigration. It has the largest icefields outside the polar caps; the highest mountains in Canada; the world's greatest gold rush; the greatest poet, Robert Service; and the great painter, Jim Robb. Most important, the people are very caring, which is why it is such a great honour to represent them.

I will not use all my time. The budget is so important and we need to get it done quickly, which I think members realize. I will talk quickly and try to limit what I have to say to some highlights.

First, the $3.8 billion toward 35,000 more affordable units is very important. I made a number of big announcements related to housing, even before the budget. It is very exciting for my riding.

Another big investment is the $3 billion to extend sickness benefits from 15 to 26 weeks. There are also flexible EI provisions to help people through the pandemic, which are being extended until the fall of 2022.

The Nutrition north Canada subsidy program is being expanded. It provides nutritious foods to those in the Arctic and remote communities as they cannot get food for a reasonable price. That is very exciting.

I could spend my whole speech just on climate change. I am sure no one objects to the money, $17 billion we have provided and the support to the resource sector for mining, forestry, etc. to transition to a clean economy. I am sure no one objects to the zero-emission technologies like hydrogen that we are supporting and renewable energies. There is a big tax cut to clean energy technology producers. Hopefully with that $17 billion we can also help get mines that are off the grid in the very remote areas like my area off diesel.

Another area I could spend my whole speech on are the $18 billion for indigenous people. People will remember the Kelowna accord and the historic $5 billion proposed by Paul Martin, one of the greatest prime ministers in history. This is $18 billion. I will just mention two items of the many. One is over $4 billion for indigenous infrastructure. Another area is community policing and safety.

I want to give a big-shout out to Chief Doris Bill of the Kwanlin Dun First Nation as well as Gina Nagano and the Selkirk First Nation. They have provided some great leadership, and innovative and very successful community policing.

I am very happy with the IRAP expansion. It is one of the most successful programs in Canada, and more than in any other government's history, and harnesses industrial research excellence. For NGOs and charities, where there are seldom things in budgets, there is a social financing fund of $200 million; a Canada community revitalization fund; $50 million for getting ready for the social financing fund, and even a social bond. Looking at those and the green bond of maybe $5 billion on the first issue, NGOs and charities will also be eligible for the small business financing fund.

I think everyone in rural Canada too is pretty excited about the recent announcement of the rural transportation fund. I am very happy that the declining debt-to-GDP ratio makes it possible for us to help so many people and businesses that are in need.

I want to move on to to the north. On top of everything else, there are things that are particularly exciting for us in the north. One is the new exciting community revitalization fund for main streets, farmers markets and other gathering spaces that underpin local economies. There are $500 million to help people in these rural communities. If someone is in a little village, a hamlet, a town or a small NGO, this is specifically for them. They should start getting those applications ready for this brand new community revitalization fund.

What is really exciting for the northern half of Canada, is the very large northern travel allowance deduction. Before this, only people whose employers gave them a travel allowance and put it on their T4 slip could access it, but now all northerners will be able to access to it, which is very exciting.

The biggest employer in my riding is tourism as a private sector employer. The historic, first-time ever $1 billion dedicated to tourism is very crucial and exciting. There are $200 million for small festivals, small cultural events, heritage celebrations, local museums and amateur sporting events, which is perfect for my riding. We have a lot of those. For the bigger cities, there is also another $200 million for all the same events but in bigger cities. The $500 million tourism relief fund will help tourism businesses adapt their products and service, and meet public health requirements.

Then specifically in my riding is mining, which is the biggest GDP since the gold rush. Its biggest ask was help for hydroelectricity. The finance minister came through with $40.4 million for hydroelectricity studies and for preparation in the north. Also, the Yukon government has one of the most effective climate change plans, and we are giving $25 million to that.

A lot of people probably do not know that all five species of Pacific salmon: chinook, sockeye, coho, chum and pink, come into the Yukon through the Alsek-Tatshenshini drainage, or the Yukon River, the longest salmon run in the world, 2,000 miles. Therefore, historic amount of $647 million for salmon is very exciting. In fact, I had a first nations organization contact me a couple weeks ago, happy that the consultations had already started with it.

The northern trade corridor fund is essential for infrastructure for the north, $1.9 billion in the budget for that of which the north get 15%. Considering we are less than half of 1% of the population, this is tremendous support for the north as are funds for the polar continental shelf for Arctic research.

The work to lower credit card interchange fees and to have those fees the same for small businesses as large businesses is music to our ears as is the $146 million for women entrepreneurs. We have a higher average in Yukon of women entrepreneurs.

The critical mineral strategy, which I do not have time to go into as much as I would like to right now, is very important, again, mining, which is so important to our economy in the north. Mines like Victoria Gold are a very big support.

There are small business financing changes, with working capital lines of credit now being allowed, and lending against intellectual property, which would be great for our large NorthLight Innovation Centre. The digital adoption program would bring us into the new economy, with many young helpers for businesses, potential zero-interest loans and grants to help transition.

To get into the new economy, we have a plan. I am glad the Conservatives are onside for a long-term prosperity growth budget, which is exactly what this is, with money for food security; indigenous and women entrepreneurs; an artificial intelligence strategy; the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research; a quantum strategy; the Photonics Fabrication Centre; business-led R and D through colleges; Mitacs for 85,000 placements; CanCode; the net-zero accelerator; the clean-growth hub; support for Measurement Canada; strategic innovation funds; Elevated IP; the strategic intellectual property program review; innovation superclusters; data in the digital world; Stats Canada data gaps; and support for the Standards Council of Canada.

I think most people in this place and the other place know how important it is to get this budget through, and that a number of major supports are going to expire in eight days, including the wage subsidy and the rent subsidy. There are 447,000 employers that have accessed the wage subsidy; five million people in Canada need it to put food on the table, and 192,000 organizations for rent subsidy. The Canada recovery benefit will be extended for 12 more weeks, and the Canada recovery hiring benefit would not be able to go ahead without it.

People realize the importance of getting this bill through. Those programs will expire in eight days if we do not get this through today or tomorrow. Even the Conservative member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes said yesterday that a number of our expenditures were great, like the County Road 43, recreation projects like the new arena in Prescott, the Vincent de Paul project in Brockville, with affordable housing for seniors. They will ask for many more government funds for Gananoque, Westport, Rideau Lakes and North Grenville.

For all these reasons and with these important investments, I hope all parties will support this bill that would help so many workers who are still in desperate need and so many businesses that need support to get through the last part of this pandemic, to ensure these programs do not expire and all the initiatives that can get help us into the new, modern digital economy to create even more jobs. Eighty per cent of jobs have already been brought back, but much more needs to be done.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Madam Speaker, the budget references rural and remote communities. I have a very large rural riding and so does the member. I am wondering if he wants to comment further about what this budget would do or, in my opinion, would not do for rural and remote communities. Maybe he has something he would like to share with the House that will benefit rural and remote Canadians.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I emphasized in my speech things like the new community revitalization fund, $500 million for small villages, hamlets and NGOs. There has not been a fund like this recently to which small organizations will be able to apply. The rural transportation fund is brand new and exciting for rural Canada. There are some agriculture initiatives like food subsistence funding. The increase to the northern food security program is very exciting. There will be hydroelectric generation for far more remote areas. Remote air transport in the north is helpful right across the country to keep small communities connected that depend on it for their supplies. The regional development agencies have helped thousands of businesses in remote Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 4 p.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to hear from the parliamentary secretary that there is a fund for rural, remote and northern regions.

The problem with federal funding is that it uses the same approach from coast to coast to coast, as they like to say. Every region has different needs, especially rural, remote and northern regions.

Will this funding take a one-size-fits-all approach, or will it be at least somewhat tailored to the circumstances of each region?

Will the regions be empowered to take charge of their destiny, influence the program content and have access to the types of funding they need from the different types of programs?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, to my understanding, the answer is yes. This is going to be a very flexible program that will be targeted at those who have less access. There is up to 75% support for it. It will help with the needs of small communities. With the RRRF approvals by the regional development agencies, there are 7,000 projects in Quebec and over a million jobs have been created, and 173,000 business have the CEBA loan grants. The regional development agency in Quebec is a reason for the money being provided to regional development agencies, as it is totally in tune with the local economy and the people. Instead of the direction coming from Ottawa, it is received by local employees.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague especially for talking about the climate crisis. Earlier our colleague from Cowichan—Malahat—Langford talked about indigenous communities in B.C. that were announcing their intention to take back control over resource stewardship of their traditional territories. Many of these territories have ancient old growth rainforests, watersheds, estuaries and headlands that are critical for our planet's biodiversity and are absolutely essential when it comes to fighting climate change.

In this budget, $2.3 billion were budgeted for the nature legacies program over five years, which is clearly not enough. Seven times that was spent to twin the Trans Mountain pipeline. To support indigenous-led initiatives and indigenous protected areas to protect ancient old growth rainforests and the watersheds, the government needs to commit more resources. Instead of quantity in terms of size of lands or protected areas, it needs to look at really important climate mitigation pieces and quality, instead of just quantity.

Does my colleague agree that the government needs to provide more resources and work more closely with indigenous communities, the provinces, local governments and stakeholders to create a conservation economy that protects these critical ecosystems, much more than it committed in this budget?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, of course we support the very important role indigenous communities play in protecting the environment. As the member mentioned size, we are protecting record amounts of land and water. Also, there are record amounts of funding to support the nature funds he mentioned, which support the increases of protected areas to the record levels they are at now and will continue to be.

In the fall economic statement, I believe, is our mandate to increase indigenous guardians because of the important role they play. I do not know what happens in other ridings, but in my riding of Yukon, almost all the indigenous communities are really showing leadership on climate change and accessing our program to help indigenous communities get off diesel. They have wonderful projects to get off greenhouses gases with wind, solar and biodiesel. They are really showing leadership, and that is why we are happy to support them in any way we can with the funds we are providing.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Saanich—Sooke, BC

Madam Speaker, I know that in the member's riding lots of workers in tourism have not been able to get back to work yet. I would like to know if the member supports the cut in CRB by 40% that is going into place on July 1. What kind of incentive does it provide for those people? They have not been able to get jobs. There are no jobs available, so why cut their benefits?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for his very thoughtful work in Parliament which I am well aware of.

I answered that question for a colleague yesterday. What I forgot to say was that in all the tourism supports to get people back to work was the new $700 million fund for small businesses. I also mentioned that 80% of jobs lost in Canada during the pandemic are back now, but as people move back, the various supports for businesses and individuals will start to go down.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I know my friend has been a long-time, passionate advocate for the north. Even when I was in opposition, I can recall having discussions with him. The environment is very important to him. He made reference to that.

Could he expand upon why, from his perspective, the environment is so critically important to northern Canada?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Madam Speaker, it is especially important for the north because the north, as I have been saying for two decades now, is experiencing climate change three times more than the rest of the world. Some of the species our indigenous people depend on are moving or dying out.

New pests and diseases are coming in, such as spruce budworm, which hurts the forests. It is very important for the north to have adjustments and innovation related to climate change. There are some specific funds that first nations are involved in. A couple of days ago we announced some great projects where they are adding traditional knowledge to scientific knowledge to come up with a plan for the future, so they can adapt to these critical changes to the environment that are happening in the north.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, the Prime Minister thinks he has discovered a cornucopia of cash. In the last fiscal year he ran a deficit of $354 billion. From February 2020 until February 2021, the Bank of Canada increased the money supply by, guess what, $354 billion. The Prime Minister thinks this is great: It is easy money. He is starting to get addicted to this idea of cash flying out of printing machines and new coins being machine-gunned off the top floor of the Bank of Canada building, only a few minutes from where we stand.

I raise this today because there is a very interesting debate that is not happening, for which the deadline is quickly approaching, about the Bank of Canada's inflation target. Starting in 1991, the bank and the government signed a deal that inflation would be targeted between 1% and 3%. They called it the “monetary policy framework”: These are sleepy, boring words that may impact the financial health of Canadians more than anything else that happens here in Parliament. That deal to target inflation renews every five years. It comes up for renewal on October 24 of this year. The Prime Minister has made it clear he is going to call an early election during the summer, meaning that if he were to win he would be able to impose a brand new rule about inflation without Canadians having anything to say about it. I suspect that 99% of Canadians do not even realize this is up for debate, but here is why it matters.

If the Prime Minister were to change the bank's mandate this coming October, he could begin to permanently fund larger shares of government spending with printed Bank of Canada cash even if it leads to above 3% inflation, as we have right now. That would have been impossible prior to the pandemic. Based on agreements with the bank, we as Canadians were protected from undue price increases and unacceptable and unjustifiable money creation, but with the renewal of this agreement, about which there has been absolutely no debate in the House of Commons or at the finance committee, the Prime Minister may be able to carry out the biggest unapproved tax increase in Canadian history: the inflation tax.

What is the inflation tax? It is very simple. When the Bank of Canada creates cash to fund the government, it provides the government with a new revenue source. Last year, cash newly created by the Bank of Canada was the single-greatest source of revenue for the government. It was not income tax, the GST, tariffs or even borrowing from private sector lenders, but new cash creation that constituted a $303 billion source of revenue for the current government. The Prime Minister might like to see this go on into the future. The problem is that, like all taxes, it increases costs for Canadians. This tax would be paid in the form of higher prices. The price of housing went up by 30%. The prices of food, lumber, automobiles and transportation have all broken recent records. That is naturally what we can expect when the government floods the marketplace with cheap money. When money is cheap, everything else suddenly gets expensive.

We might ask if it is viewed as a tax by the experts. Let me quote the experts. I will go through them one at a time.

In a 1978 lecture, Nobel prize-winning economist Milton Friedman stated:

There has never been in history an inflation that was not accompanied by an extremely rapid increase in the quantity of money. There has never in history been an extremely rapid increase in the quantity of money without inflation....

This is why Dr. Friedman wrote, in his exhaustive study entitled “A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960”, that “inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon”. He also said that “inflation is taxation without legislation”, thereby violating the basic principle that Parliament should approve every single tax before government is able to apply it.

Some might say that this is just a classical economist view. Let us take a look at John Maynard Keynes, who is obviously not a classical economist. He said:

By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.

This has been demonstrably proven. Inflation does benefit the extremely wealthy. That is why, in the last year of inflationary money printing, we saw a large increase in economic disparity between the rich and the poor. In the first six months of the central bank's money-printing bonanza, the 28 richest Canadians got 32% richer. That happened while our economy was tumbling by $120 billion.

Where did they get all the money from? The bank created cash, which inflated the assets of the super-rich while devaluing the wages of the working poor. This is one of the reasons we have the principle of no taxation without representation: It is not simply to approve the quantity of taxes, but the composition of taxes. Quantity refers to the dollar value. Of course, that was gargantuan last year, but composition refers to who pays it.

We know that the poor overwhelmingly pay the inflation tax. In fact, the governor of the Bank of Canada conceded that point to me when he came before the finance committee. He said the poor pay more in inflation because they deal more in cash. They are not able to hold their limited wealth in inflation-proof assets, like gold, land, stocks, bonds, etc. Therefore, the very small amount of money they have gets nibbled away by this silent thief we call inflation.

No one in this chamber would be able to get re-elected if they stood in their place and voted for an increase in taxes on the working poor and used the money disproportionately to inflate the wealth of the super-rich. That is why no such vote was held. The government simply passed that process on to the Bank of Canada to let money creation do the dirty deed on its behalf.

I will return to Dr. Milton Friedman, a Nobel Laureate, who said, “Inflation is the only form of taxation that can be levied without any legislation.” He was, of course, speaking as an economist. I will show the deliberate choice that the inflation tax has made and that has done so without the parliamentary approval of Canadians. I will show it by referring to the undeniable empirical evidence that Dr. Friedman produced.

He showed that, in the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany and Brazil, there was a perfect correlation between the rise in the consumer price index and the increase in the money supply for each unit of economic output. In other words, in all five of those countries on four continents, inflation rose almost perfectly in line with the growth in the money supply. That is empirical evidence proving beyond a doubt that when we create cash, we raise prices to the benefit of the rich and at the expense of the poor.

Modern financial sector experts say the same. HSBC's senior economic adviser, Stephen King, wrote in The Financial Times last year that “inflation and taxes are, in many ways, simply two sides of the same coin”. He further said that this is because “higher-than-anticipated inflation serves to redistribute wealth away from private creditors, pensioners for example, to public debtors. At this point, we come full circle: the distinction between the printing press and taxes begins to break down.”

Warren Buffett, the greatest investor of all time, said:

The arithmetic makes it plain that inflation is a far more devastating tax than anything that has been enacted by our legislature. The inflation tax has a fantastic ability to simply consume capital. It makes no difference to a widow with her savings in a 5 percent passbook account whether she pays 100 percent income tax on her interest income during a period of zero inflation, or pays no income taxes during years of 5 percent inflation. Either way, she is “taxed” in a manner that leaves her no real income whatsoever. Any money she spends comes right out of capital. She would find outrageous a 120 percent income tax, but doesn't seem to notice that 5 percent inflation is the economic equivalent.

Let us say that a widow has $100,000 of savings. If she earns 5% on that, and if inflation is 5%, then she gains nothing. All of her savings income is vaporized by inflation. That would be the equivalent of the Parliament of Canada passing a bill effectively taxing her at a rate of 100% on all of her savings income, something we would never do but yet something that ultimately happens because the central bank does it without politicians being held accountable.

Mr. Buffett's business partner, the famous Charlie Munger, said:

I think democracies are prone to inflation because politicians will naturally spend excessively, they have the power to print money and will use money to get votes. If you look at inflation under the Roman Empire, with absolute rulers, they had much greater inflation, so we don't set the record. It happens over the long-term under any form of government.

Onward to John Kenneth Galbraith, a famous Canadian economist on the left, who said, “Nothing so weakens government as persistent inflation.”

Other international economists, Nouriel Roubini and David Backus, wrote, “Note that since the government, by printing money, acquires real goods and services, seigniorage is effectively a tax imposed by the government on private agents. Such a seigniorage tax is also called the inflation tax.” They go on to explain what impact that tax has, particularly on the poorest people.

This is not simply an opinion. This is a mathematical fact backed up by some of the most renowned economists on planet earth, many of them winning the Nobel Prize for their work, many of them having done hundreds of years of empirical research that proves the taxation effect of inflation. These are the insights of some of the world's best-ever investors. They all concur that inflation, when created by central bank money creation, is nothing more than a tax.

This kind of a tax has been mostly done by the worst possible leaders. We think of Henry VIII, for example. They used to call Henry VIII “Old Coppernose”, and that is because, despite the fact that he inherited a monstrous fortune from his father, and I do not know if that reminds members of anybody, he spent the cupboard bare. He kept running out of money, and the British pound, which was literally a pound of silver, was becoming more and more scarce to him.

He needed more coins, but he did not have enough silver to make them all, so what he did was melt down the existing coins and reconstitute them by making them of copper but putting a tiny, thin layer of silver around the outside. He had his face, of course, on the coin because he was an egomaniac, and his face pointed outward from the coin; it was not a profile picture. Because his nose protruded on the coin, it would rub against the inside of pockets and money sacks and the silver would rub away, leaving nothing but a red copper nose. Everybody would know that King Henry had given them a fraudulent, fake silver coin by virtue of the fact that his nose was red. We often say politicians' fibs can be exposed through the length of their nose. In the case of Henry VIII, it was the colour of his nose.

In fact, he did undergo the mass debasement of the currency. Originally, when he took reign, the British pound was 92% silver. It dropped to 75%, then 50%, then 33% and finally to 25% by 1551. His successor brought it down further. The result was, ultimately, that the amount of silver in each coin dropped by about 87%, and guess what happened to the prices. They rose by about 75%. Things got more and more expensive. Life got better for him. Of course, he was known for having the king's disease, gout, which people get from massive self-indulgence, orgies of food and drink. Therefore, life was very good in the king's court because he had created all of this fake cash that enriched him and his friends, but it was terrible for the peasants and the common people who actually did the work of the land. They got poorer and poorer as their money got more and more worthless.

That is the inflation tax, so this Prime Minister of ours teaches us nothing new. This is not a new concept. In fact, if we look throughout history on these matters of economics, we see that leaders make the same mistakes over and over again. As Kipling would say:

That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire—

Therefore, we get burned again and again by making the same mistakes of our predecessors.

That brings me back to the Bank of Canada. The bank recently has been talking about all kinds of different things that have nothing to do with its mandate. For example, the former governor Stephen Poloz regularly commented on things that were completely out of his domain, inappropriately commenting on social policy when he proposed government takeover of child care. That is well out of the realm of the Bank of Canada's mandate. We have seen recent comments by governors and deputy governors of the Bank of Canada on everything from fiscal policy to environmental policy to a whole plethora of things that find their place nowhere within the bank's mandate. Even on the bank's website, Paul Beaudry, a deputy governor, talks about, in his words, “the great reset”, whatever that means. He believes this is part of the Bank of Canada's mandate, and of course it is not.

The worry is that the bank will simply become a political instrument for the agenda of a left-wing government, trying to do undemocratically what it could never convince Canadians to support democratically.

Canadians would never support a massive tax increase on the poor in order to fund the ideological fantasies and the enrichment of the super rich and the super elite. That is why we in Parliament have to reclaim our powers, the powers that have been invested in this chamber and in its predecessor chambers in the mother Parliament for 800 years: that governments, including central banks, cannot tax what the commoners have not approved; that the principle of responsible government remains; that Parliament reigns supreme; that citizen goes before state and commoner ahead of Crown.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, it is almost like déjà vu. I have heard this before from the member because it was not that long ago when he was up on a matter of privilege, arguing why it was a privilege issue. I responded in part by saying that it was not a matter of privilege, but that in fact the member could be talking about it on Bill C-30. Voila, here we are on Bill C-30 and the member is at least relevant to the debate.

Would my friend across the way not acknowledge, at the very least, that his theory is based on the fact that the government had a need to support Canadians during a pandemic by investing billions of dollars into direct support through programs like CERB and the wage subsidy program, along with a number of other programs? Is he advocating on behalf of the Conservative Party that we should not have done that?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, once again, we have an example of a Liberal judging his success by how expensive he can be. If we look at the other countries that responded to COVID, they managed to deliver better results. They managed to deliver better COVID outcomes and lower unemployment with significantly smaller deficits. In fact, we have the largest deficit, as a share of GDP, anywhere in the G20. In fact, we had a bigger deficit last year, as a share of GDP adjusted for inflation, than we did in World War I, in the Great Depression and in the great global recession.

What the government is building us toward is a debt crisis. It has massively inflated the housing market by flooding the mortgage system with printed cash. It is now creating consumer price inflation, and our $8.6 trillion of household, corporate and government debt will “debtonate” if interest rates rise before our debt ratios come down.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Caroline Desbiens Bloc Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his statement. There was a lot packed into it.

After the pandemic and a major global crisis that has affected much of the world, the economy is obviously destabilized. There is therefore a temporary imbalance and adjustments to be made.

I think that we are entering a period of adjustment. There are not that many ways of addressing this imbalance and trying to make adjustments. We can inject new money, hoping to stimulate the creativity of our country, of our Quebec and our Canada. We can invest in innovative economies to find our balance in the national and international economy. We can also apply austerity measures to limit fluctuations as much as possible.

Contrary to what you said, if the government did things wrong, does that mean that you support austerity measures?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.

The problem is that all of the other parties measure success as a function of how much it costs. Personally, I measure results based on people’s quality of life. For example, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia spent far less than Canada and had far fewer COVID-related deaths. Moreover, their unemployment rates are far lower than Canada's.

It is true that the Liberals’ approach is the most expensive among all the G7 countries, but that does not mean that we received the best product. If someone pays more for a car, that does not mean that it is a better car. Personally, I want value for our taxpayers; I want the best outcome for the lowest price. That is the Conservatives’ approach.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, while 53% of Canadians are $200 away from being unable to pay their bills, Canada's 44 billionaires have accrued close to $80 billion in pandemic profiteering, and 87 families have hoarded more wealth than 12 million Canadians. Since 2015, the CRA's program to combat tax evasion by individuals worth more than $50 million has resulted in zero prosecutions and zero convictions, despite having 6,000 audits, yet this member and his Conservative colleagues joined the Liberals to vote down our NDP wealth tax.

Does the member, having referenced the working poor in relation to tax fairness, not agree that the government needs to finally close the flagrant tax loopholes and finally begin to aggressively prosecute those who hide their wealth offshore in tax havens in order to avoid paying their fair share to Canadians right here today?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, yes, we do support going after people who do not pay what they owe, especially the richest. The member is quite right: The richest are making off like bandits when it comes to tax evasion in this country, despite the rhetoric from the other side.

However, I would point out that it is actually not profits that are most enriching the wealthy; it is capital gains. It is the monstrous increases in capital gains that have resulted from flooding the economy with $350 billion of new Monopoly money. That money has gone into asset price inflation, making the rich vastly richer and creating a kind of aristocratic feudal economy, as opposed to a free market, bottom-up economy.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Tracy Gray Conservative Kelowna—Lake Country, BC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very informative and well-researched intervention on inflation. From meeting with manufacturers, importers and retailers, I have heard a lot about a number of new regulatory burdens that have either just come into effect or are about to come into effect and concerns about pricing, product availability and Canada's competitiveness.

I am wondering if the member could speak to how regulatory burdens may affect inflation.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, they can affect it very drastically. For example, I think the member has been looking into new appliance regulations that would make the appliances that Canadians buy far more expensive than the same appliances that are available south of the border, even though we live in an integrated market for those same products.

By the way, big corporations do not pay the cost of regulations; they pass it all on to their workers in reduced wages and on to consumers in higher prices. In fact, many of the biggest companies love regulation, because they can use it to shut out their competition by making it more and more difficult and more and more expensive for other entrepreneurs to get into the field.

What does that mean? Less competition always means higher prices for consumers and lower wages and fewer career opportunities for workers.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I enjoyed the historical part of the speech made by my colleague from Carleton, the part where he spoke about the value of currency under Henry IV, if I remember correctly.

I see that my colleague has some appreciation for history. Sovereignists were teased a lot about the “Lévesque dollar”, which was supposedly worth 70 cents. However, in recent decades, there were times when we would happily have taken that 70-cent dollar.

I would like to know what my colleague thinks about today’s “Trudeau dollar”. Can he tell me how much the “Poilievre dollar” would be worth if he were minister of finance?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, the member did not use my name. He simply mentioned the official name of the currency that I am going to create in the future. If the Bloc Québécois opposes that currency, then I will be able to say that it was a Bloc member who suggested that the Conservatives create a currency bearing my last name. It would be a currency that maintains its value, that workers would appreciate and that would enable them to buy more. That is the best idea I have ever heard here in the House.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to talk about Bill C-30, the budget implementation act.

I realize this will probably be my last speech before an election. Before I get to the budget, I would like to acknowledge that it is an honour to represent the people of Markham—Unionville in Parliament. When I first came to this country over 45 years ago, I barely spoke English and never imagined representing my community on the town council, let alone in Parliament. I want to thank my community for its continued support.

COVID-19 will be an event people will talk about for generations. A virus ground the whole world to a halt and killed millions. No government was truly prepared, and politicians were put in a position where they needed to make important calls quickly instead of waiting years to address the problem. In come countries, politicians rose to the occasion and worked with one another to help their country overcome the pandemic. In other countries, governments kept people in the dark about the pandemic, denied there was a problem and turned every decision into political showmanship. It is clear that Canada was in the second category.

In this budget, the Liberal government is planning to double down on many of its terrible ideas. Instead of focusing on what Canadians need to get back on their feet, the Liberals are looking for ways to spend on their priorities. Of course, those priorities always include making Liberal insiders a boatload of money. So far, the consultant and lobbyist business has never been better for people with a connection to the Prime Minister. The Liberals' priorities are adding billions of dollars to the debt that we cannot afford.

We know that when Liberal MPs defend their Prime Minister's spending spree, they like to slip into technical terms that make it hard to follow. I am going to try to do the opposite and make my points easy to follow.

When I came to this country, I pinched every penny. I was an Indian teen with almost no English, and finding a job was not easy. Every dollar I spent mattered. I made a lot of tough decisions in those days about what I could go without. That meant a lot of cheese sandwiches.

When I started my family, I had to continue making tough decisions. We could not spend more money than we earned. I remember sitting down with my wife Roopa multiple times and deciding to save for the children's education or for rainy days rather than taking a vacation. For us, education was the most important thing. That education included teaching my children about budgeting.

I believe that the hard decisions I made with Roopa at the kitchen table paid off. My eldest child, Rohin, is a physician now, and I could not be more proud of his success. The savings I put aside when he was still a baby helped him afford his medical education. His wife Preoli is a dentist with a very similar story.

My other son, Tarun, went to university and now works in the provincial government. He also used what he learned in school in business. My daughter Shalin was recently accepted into a law program. All of these events proved to my wife and me that saving had been the right choice. We had gone without many of the things we wanted, but we had the money we needed when tuition was due for our children.

I know that Liberals hate it when Conservatives compare balancing the budget with balancing the household. The Liberals say that it is much more complicated than that. While the federal budget is more complicated, the basic facts remain the same.

When money is borrowed, someone is on the hook for it. That may come as a shock to some members of this House. Every time there is a vote in this House to spend money, I think about who pays. Years ago when people talked about the budget, they would say that the government should overspend in the bad years to stimulate the economy, and in the good years the government should pay off the debts. That way, the next time things took a turn for the worse, there would be money ready to stimulate the economy again.

The Liberal government has abandoned that way of thinking. It wants Canadians to believe that no government has to pay anything back, that through careful planning the government could juggle the debts forever and have all the benefits of overspending with none of the drawbacks. It is a terrible plan.

COVID-19 proved that governments need to have room to spend. Without government support, many Canadians would have been bankrupted by COVID-19. I know that even with some government support, many small businesses did not make it.

The pandemic has raised our debt to new heights. When we vote on spending money in Parliament, we need to remember that we must be ready for the next crisis. That means not spending more than we can afford now.

The Minister of Finance has said:

Canada is a young, vast country, with a tremendous capacity for growth. This budget would fuel that. These are investments in our future and they will yield great dividends. In fact, in today's low-interest rate environment, not only can we afford these investments, it would be shortsighted of us not to make them.

That it would be “short-sighted of us not to make them” is an interesting statement. I wonder if the Minister of Finance can name a time when spending more than we have was short-sighted. The Liberal government seems to believe that more spending is always necessary. Just look at the promise the Prime Minister made in 2015: that the budget would be balanced in no time, with just a couple of small deficits and then smooth sailing. The promises of responsible spending have been nothing more than hollow words.

I am going to get back to who pays. Most Canadians probably do not realize how much Canada is paying for its borrowing. Even with low interest rates, it is well over $20 billion. The Prime Minister's plan to add more to our national debt than all previous prime ministers combined will grow the interest payments to new heights.

The Prime Minister told everyone that budgets balance themselves. If he is still under this belief, let me assure him that this is not the case. When we do nothing to tackle the debt and spending, things get worse. People are told to avoid these sorts of debt traps in their personal life. The Liberals think adding historically high debt is responsible. Their plan requires Canadians to think that debt is a problem far into the future, that Canadians will be okay with giving debt to the next generation. For me, that is unacceptable.

I came to this country for a better life. I knew this was a place where people could raise a family and have their children succeed. The last thing I would want to do is hand them a debt bomb that they and their children will need to deal with.

When I talk to Markham residents, I hear the same thing. People work very hard so that their children will have a better life than they have. They do not want to set up their children for hard times.

A debt crisis always ends in hard times with either tax hikes or cuts to services, or both. The new taxes in the budget are puny compared to the spending. To raise the money needed to put a dent in the debt, the Liberals would need to double some of these taxes every year.

Liberal tax hikes make it more unaffordable to support a family. Canadians cannot afford to pay more. Some people think inflation is a solution, but that is a mistake. It is a tax on everything, and it will make it even harder to borrow money.

The other option of cutting services has been done before. In the nineties, the Liberal government, in the middle of a debt crisis, went to the bank to borrow money, but no one was interested in lending it to them. To get their books in order, the Liberals took a chainsaw to government spending. One of the things they cut was the health care spending. The effects of those cuts are still felt to this day. Does anyone think health care in Canada can take another cut? I do not.

I was shocked, like many Canadians, that health care was not a huge part of this budget. Emergency rooms across the country were stretched to their limit over the past two years. Essential surgeries were put off because hospitals were COVID-19 hot spots. It takes a long time to deal with the backlog of the procedures.

The provinces need help from the federal government to address health care, but the Liberals do not seem to care. This mess can be fixed. The way to get ahead of the debt problem is to get the spending under control now. The government cannot kick this problem down the road.

This budget and plan for the future will create more problems and make life more difficult for Canadians in the future. That is why I will be voting against this budget.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, let me say to the member for Markham—Unionville that I have heard his story. He came to this country. He has been everything from a labourer, to a salesperson, to an entrepreneur. He is also a husband and a dad, and his values are Canadian values. When this gentleman stands to talk about what value for money is, folks in my area would agree with this member. We cannot always be spending more than we have, and if we are, we have to think of the next generation.

Could the member point out one thing that the government needs to do better on in regard to its budgeting?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is simple, and it is the borrowing. Borrowing in our personal life is no different than that of the government spending. It is just like anybody bringing in $200,000 a year who keeps spending $300,000 a year, year over year. How long will it be until the bank comes to knock at the door?

Yes, we do need to spend money. Yes, we do look into the small and medium-sized businesses. Yes, we have to make sure they are taken care of, but in the meantime, we must keep in mind balancing the books at the end of day. We want to make sure that government spends what it needs to spend and balances the books at the end of the day.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, there is good spending versus bad spending. In the beginning of the pandemic, the Liberals were announcing 10% for the small and medium-sized businesses. We fought with them to make sure we allowed them 70% of their wages on rent and other things. That was good spending and those were good debts.

I read in the newspaper that they are creating $446 billion in debt and, on their priorities, 87% of the debt money is not going toward the right priorities, which are small and medium-sized businesses.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

If the member for Carleton would let me speak, I will ask my question.

Conservatives like to equate a government budget to a household budget. However, the reality is that they cannot be compared, and that is not comparing apples to apples.

The reality is that, if the Conservatives want to make a better comparison, the member needs to consider the fact that, when we have an economy that is continually growing every year, notwithstanding the fact that we have had challenges over the last year, it would be like saying that a person's household income continued to grow every year and therefore the size of mortgage they could take on would grow every year.

As long as the country's economy is growing at a pace that is fast enough to take on that debt, it is entirely acceptable. Members do not need to take my word or the Liberals' word for it, because, indeed, that is what Conservatives did. That is why, between Mulroney and Harper, 14 out of 16 budgets ran deficits, because they recognized that.

The member for Carleton can check it out. There were actually two surpluses, and they were on the back of Paul Martin. Those were the only two surpluses during an extremely long time.

So, can the member not realize that there is a difference between household debt and debt that is being taken on by—

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, it is the same thing. A debt is a debt, even if borrowing against Canada. Every Canadian household is on the hook for this $446 billion. The money needs to be paid back. The money the government is printing is on the people. Every family will owe $78,000, as the government borrowed that kind of money.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 4:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to congratulate my friend on the other side for his success and his family's success for being successful parents, and I want to congratulate his family.

On the other hand, when I look at this, I have a similar situation to him. We might not agree on some of the policy decisions that are made, but certainly he is one of my favourites on the other side.

However, as he talked about education and the families who needed that money to send their children to school, to universities, my question to my hon. friend is this: Did the Prime Minister make the right decision at that time? Instead of putting the cost on the family credit cards, the government took the decision to support those students with $1,500 a month, families that need it the most with $2,000 a month, and businesses with the wage subsidy and $40,000 for start-ups.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my friend on the other side. He absolutely makes sense. There is that good debt when we were fighting to pay $1,500 to students and many other things.

However, we are more concerned with the 87% of the total debt created. Where did that money go? It was to the government's own priorities, but we will probably find out when we get to be government next year.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member's interventions in this debate.

As a country, we are facing a number of things. Obviously, we are dealing with a pandemic, but we also need to be thinking about our aging demographics and the fact that so many people are going to need things such as health care, which puts more pressure on our tax base to be able to pay for all the spending that is going on now.

It is more important than ever that we build productive infrastructure and make investments for the long term. Would the member agree with that?

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June 22nd, 2021 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, as I said in my speech, there is not much in this budget for the future. We know the population is aging, and we need much more money. As we have seen in the last 18 months, the hospitals were COVID hot spots. Surgeries were delayed and, in some cases, are still delayed.

When Stephen Harper was in the government, we increased the health care sector year over year, but from these Liberals there is nothing in the budget for health care.

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June 22nd, 2021 / 5 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Saroya Conservative Markham—Unionville, ON

Madam Speaker, I am not only concerned about my kids, I am also concerned about all Canadians throughout the country. The debt created by the government is $446 billion and another $437 billion from the last 149 years. All our future generations are on the hook. I really feel sorry for them, and the government should look into balancing the books.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / noon
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue the speech I started on Friday.

Does Bill C-30, budget implementation act, 2021, no. 1, provide adequate guarantees to protect workers, to protect the unemployed, to protect sick workers and to treat seniors and their care workers with dignity? As I was saying, the answer is maybe or no.

I would like to use the five minutes I have remaining to talk about sick workers, who were counting on the government to take action after 50 years to extend special EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks once and for all.

There is no reason for the government to pass up this opportunity, to ignore the testimony and to abandon 150,000 people who benefit every day from sickness benefits, which expire after 15 weeks.

The government decided to take a half step by increasing the benefits to 26 weeks starting in 2022. In the short term, sick workers will have no more than 15 weeks of benefits. We are making a heartfelt plea for the bill to be passed. We heard the evidence; the House of Commons adopted a motion; the bill sponsored by my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was adopted by a majority; the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, of which I am the deputy chair, did a clause-by-clause study of the bill on June 17. All that is needed is one last push. We must act, and the government can do so by seeking royal assent. It must do so now.

Unemployed workers had very high expectations. I remind members that, in 2015, the Liberal government promised to overhaul the EI system, which leaves behind 60% of workers. They cannot access it because it discriminates against women, part-time workers, and workers are are ineligible and abandoned by the system.

It took the pandemic to force the government to implement temporary measures. Once again, all the budget offers is a single, 420-hour eligibility requirement for a period of one year. This is urgent. Where is the government? This is not enough. Once again, the government has everything it needs.

The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities conducted a big study on modernizing employment insurance. The committee's report was tabled in the House last week. The government has everything it needs, it has the solutions and has access to all of the analyses on the flaws of the program. However, according to Bill C‑30, there will be another two years of consultations.

I read an article from Radio-Canada in which the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion was saying that the computer system was in need of updates, that modernization could not happen all at once and that we might actually have to wait another seven years. That is preposterous.

It is unbelievable that the government is going to negate all of the efforts that have been made for so long and invest in consultations. The time for consultation is over. We need to sit down at the drawing board and take action. All of the solutions are in place. We need to do this for women, youth and self-employed workers.

Some might think that the crisis is over because there is a glimmer of hope. However, some sectors of the industry are still heavily impacted and still do not have any answers for their workers. They cannot provide any answers in the short term unless the government changes course and takes immediate action to undertake a reform.

We cannot wait any longer. I think that the government has everything it needs. Although some aspects might technically be more difficult because it is a complex system, the government needs to make them more politically desirable and implement a real employment insurance system. Workers are calling for it, as are groups representing unemployed workers and women.

We cannot continue with a system that discriminates against so many workers. I am thinking in particular about the many regions of Quebec and Canada that rely on seasonal industries. These workers experience gaps and become impoverished between their two employment periods. If we want to revitalize our regional economies, then we need to recognize the unique situation of seasonal economies and adapt the EI system accordingly so that workers in these industries are not penalized by default.

I would like to quote a witness who appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and send a message to the government. The witness said, “Just do it.” It is time to act.

From what columnists are saying, we have probably reached the end of this Parliament. The government could very well trigger an unnecessary election campaign. It will no doubt brag about everything it has done for workers, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the government has not taken any structured, concrete action, even though it has had the means to do so for quite some time now. It has made only empty promises, without any commitments.

Nothing will change as of tomorrow morning for workers who are sick. They will still be entitled to only 15 weeks of benefits, or possibly 26 weeks in 2022. We in the Bloc Québécois are calling on the government to increase sickness benefits to 50 weeks right now, but the government is still asking the unemployed to wait.

The government's Bill C‑30 has many other shortcomings, including the fact that it discriminates against seniors. We asked that a study be done and evidence provided to justify discriminating against seniors between the ages of 65 and 74. Very little information was forthcoming. It is ridiculous—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day we can all reflect on the 215 children who matter, children who really do matter, and murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. It is very important for all of us to work toward reconciliation.

The budget implementation bill is a continuation of support programs that have been there to help Canadians get through this pandemic, whether one is a senior, a worker or a youth. These support programs were there to ensure that we would be in a better position to be able to recover in the pandemic, while at the same time providing disposable income for Canadians at a time in which they need it most.

Could the member provide her thoughts as to why it is important we actually pass this legislation?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, in terms of the length of debate on the bill, that is up to us.

With regard to all the measures, the Bloc Québécois said it would support Bill C‑30. Indeed, this bill does have measures that people need and that we need to implement.

However, I must remind the government that, whether it be the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the Canada emergency rent subsidy, EI, sickness benefits or measures for seniors, all these measures are temporary and will come to an end. The bill does not include any meaningful measures nor any vision.

We have been saying for a long time that, in order to find a way out of this crisis, we need a vision to help us look forward and propose real, concrete and meaningful measures that will be lasting, not just temporary.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I had the chance to listen to both the first part and second part of the hon. member's speech.

I have not heard very much about a part of the bill that proposes an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, which specifically would make it unlawful to knowingly mislead electors during an election campaign. I find it interesting that this is in an omnibus budget bill. Has she had a chance to look into the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act and does she have any comments on it?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question, even though I cannot answer it entirely.

The entire election issue has us scratching our heads. Why make changes with respect to elections when everyone here is saying that there will not be an election during the pandemic and we are still in a pandemic?

I even wonder why there needs to be an election and why we should make changes. I hate the fact that we in the House are unable to reach a consensus on the conditions to put in place to hold an election. It is up to parliamentarians. This should not be done through a regulation in a bill.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I really appreciated the speech by my colleague from Thérèse‑De Blainville.

She talked about employment insurance and the fact that the current system is flawed. Many workers have suffered the consequences. She also talked about sick leave and the fact that the bill provides for only half the period that everyone considers necessary. People suffering from diseases such as cancer need sick leave for up to a year.

There are also cuts to the Canada emergency response benefit. Since the budget was tabled in House, we have been calling for an adjustment to allow people to continue to receive $500 a week. It is important, especially during a pandemic.

According to my colleague, why is the government refusing to make these important changes?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to join in the debate, once again, in the House.

However, from what I am hearing in the media, and the rumours around Ottawa, we very well may be facing an election in the coming months. As this may be my last speech prior to that election, I want to share some brief words of thanks to the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot for the honour to be their voice in Canada's Parliament over the last year and a half or so.

As we have faced an unprecedented time on so many fronts and the need for collaboration and to hold the government to account as a member of the opposition, it has been a true honour. I look forward to life getting back to normal. Alberta plans to open for the summer, with the vast majority of COVID restrictions being lifted on July 1. It is an exciting prospect for Albertans as we look forward to getting back to normal.

Even though Parliament is scheduled to rise in a few days, I look forward to continuing to fight in every way possible for the good people of east central Alberta and Battle River—Crowfoot for whom I have the honour and privilege of serving.

I am rising on debate on the Liberal's budget, an omnibus budget bill, Bill C-30, which the Liberals promised to never do. When a Liberal parliamentary secretary was asked that very question on Friday, he said in effect that this was different because it was a budget bill. I have asked a number of questions and on this and, quite frankly, I have not received much response to them. This bill covers a wide swath of things that, yes, were promised in the much-delayed budget that was introduced a number of months ago, but it also includes some other aspects, such as an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, a change to the gas tax fund and a few other things, which I will dive into in more detail.

However, I would like to address one concern I increasingly hear from constituents, and that is the attitude to which this current Liberal government has approached the legislative agenda and the way it has governed the country. I had a constituent give me a very apt description that I would like to share with members about the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Liberal benches as of late, and it is simply this.

The government is quick to blame the opposition for all its failures, which I think we have been very effective at articulating how absurd that is. Had it not been for the opposition, Canada would be in a much worse spot when it comes to COVID relief programs. The third time is the charm with respect to legislation that has had to be repaired several times. The fact is that the opposition has been exposing many of the areas of mismanagement and very troubling trends related to the approach that the Liberals have taken to government accountability and ethics.

These last couple of weeks, in particular, the government House leader, other Liberal members and the Prime Minister in his press conferences, who would never say this in the House of Commons because he would be held to account on it, have effectively said that it is the Conservatives who have been obstructionists, that it somehow is the opposition's fault that the government cannot get anything accomplished.

A constituent shared with me an analogy that I will share with members. It is a bit like students, after having received the syllabus for the school year, coming upon the night before the deadline for a major assignment at the end of the course and all of a sudden realizing they had lot of work to do but did very little or nothing and now they have a choice: They can either admit their failures or they can blame, pivot and make excuses. The Liberals have chosen to do the latter by blaming the Conservatives for obstruction, rather than acknowledging that they are the ones in charge and that they have utterly failed in their legislative management. If this is any indication of how the Liberals have managed government over the last six years, no wonder our country is facing some major challenges.

Bill C-30 is a large bill and it addresses many aspects of COVID response program changes to other aspects of the functioning of government. I am going to get into those specific things.

However, I want to touch on a couple of things that have not received a lot of air time, so to speak, one of which is the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act. The part of the Elections Act that talks about misleading statements during an election was struck down by a court ruling. The government has inserted in the bill, somewhat innocuously, an amendment to the act that would include the words “knowingly mislead” during an election.

There should be a lot of discussion on the “knowingly mislead” part, especially when we see the failures of the current government to uphold elections commitments, its pivoting away from promises made and, certainly, the astounding level of mistrust that is faced across political discourse these days. I find it troubling that this has not been debated extensively. It calls into question some of the purposes associated with why that would be inserted into the back of a budget implementation bill.

The second thing, and this is typically Liberal, is that in the budget implementation bill, the government plans to rename the gas tax fund. This is the Liberal agenda at its best. It takes something, renames it, shines it up a bit, gives it a little spit and polish, and then suggests they have done Canadians a great service with this new program with its fancy new name. That appears to be what Liberals have done with the gas tax fund, which will be called the Canada community building fund going forward.

The new name certainly has a ring to it, and most Canadians might say that it is a great idea, with grant applications and funds going to municipalities. However, it is very important to highlight that it is simply a change in name of a program, which has some of the challenges associated with government accountability and the increased costs. Then I expect to hear a flurry of election spending announcements, promoted by the infrastructure of government, as we saw prior to the 2019 election. We are already seeing cabinet ministers jet-setting across the country, using the tools they have at their disposal to make a myriad of promises prior to the election.

We are going to see a whole bunch of promises related to this new fund, but the Liberals probably will not call it a new fund. However, under a new name, the Liberals will certainly claim credit for the work, even though it was not the Liberals who brought forward that fund, and how it has benefited many municipalities, including some in Battle River—Crowfoot.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to put that on the record so Canadians know that simply renaming something does not give the government of the day credit.

There are extensions to many aspects of COVID programming and there are some concerns related to not being able to address some of the folks who have fallen through the cracks. There are further changes to health transfers, some of which are very needed. I would suggest the dollars are a little too late when it comes to vaccinations, which speaks to the Liberal strategy. If we had been on time with vaccines, we would not have had a third wave. This was the Prime Minister's third wave, when it comes to the delays we face.

As I have come to the end of my speech, I will simply say this. Parliament is an institution that represents Canadians, and to hear that the government is trying to circumvent, at every cost, the need for this place to carefully and thoughtfully debate and discuss legislation, including something as significant as the bill before us, Bill C-30, is very troubling. It is very troubling to hear the Liberals try to circumvent and dismiss the need for what should be of absolute importance to every single one of us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, like my colleague, I took the time to read and analyze the budget. When taking notes, I use a red pen to indicate interference in Quebec's and the provinces' jurisdictions. There was a lot of red ink.

What does my colleague think of this aspect of the budget and jurisdictional meddling?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, it has become standard practice for successive Liberal governments, whether through direct legislative means, as we see in this bill, or through the myriad of other regulatory or political mechanisms, to blur the lines between the different levels of government.

Our federation works because there has to be respect between the different levels of government, and unfortunately we have seen a significant erosion of that over the last six years. It has led to an increased level of alienation in various regions of the country. Certainly it is being felt in western Canada. A lot of that points back to a Liberal government that refuses to stay within the lines of what our country was intended to be and how the federation was intended to operate.

It is incredibly troubling that time and time again we see an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction by the federal government. It is the Ottawa-knows-best mentality. That may make for great press conferences and great spending announcements, but it is not how leadership works. Leadership needs to be working with provincial partners and—

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the member to expand on his comment that the federal government is going into jurisdiction that is provincial territory. The only thing I can think of offhand in this regard is the fight over the price on pollution, which the Supreme Court said was within the federal government's jurisdiction.

Can the member elaborate on where the federal government seems to be going into territory that it should not be?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, the member emphasizes the problem. Time and time again, he refuses to acknowledge that there are regions of the country that demand respect in our federation. The Liberal government has refused to do this too, even in various pieces of legislation. I think about Bill C-48, Bill C-69 and even the debate around carbon pricing. The federal government has the ability to impose its will on provinces, but the question that should be asked is whether or not it should. The problem is that we have a Liberal government that refuses to respect anyone who disagrees with any aspect of the way it approaches politics, the legislation it puts forward—

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Madam Speaker, we know that during the pandemic inequalities have increased. The ultrarich are becoming richer than ever and those who need help are still struggling to get by. However, we do not see a wealth tax or a pandemic profiteering tax in this budget bill, Bill C-30. In fact, the government has opted to do more consultation in tackling the problem of tax havens.

Does the member think that this is the right approach, or does he think the NDP's proposal to bring forward a wealth tax and a profiteering tax at this time is the right way to go?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, the member asks a question that strikes at the heart of the way the Liberals have pulled the wool over the eyes of Canadians. They are trying to outflank the NDP on the left regarding policy measures, and when it comes to actual implementation to deal with the things they promised to deal with, they end up simply saying that they will consult going forward or they back away from their commitments entirely. That is a further troubling trend we see, and the government is not being honest with Canadians. With a lot of the COVID programming, we have seen that, increasingly, it is the elites who are benefiting from the billions of dollars that were meant to—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I would like to underscore today the importance of National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada. We have much to reflect upon and much to do in terms of the justice that is required for true and meaningful national reconciliation.

From the very beginning of the pandemic, the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus have been pushing for supports that can really make a difference in people's lives. In the beginning, the Prime Minister proposed initial supports for the pandemic that were barely $1,000 a month. That is far below the poverty line, and it was the serious proposal by the Prime Minister. Members will recall that the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed very hard to get that amount above poverty levels, above dire levels. We understood the magnitude of the pandemic and the impacts that were being felt in people's lives, so we pushed for an adequate level of support and ultimately they got $2,000 a month through the CERB, which became the CRB.

It is to our utmost dismay that we are now debating a bill that takes us back to where the Prime Minister originally wanted to go, with barely over $1,000 a month for people struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic who are unable to work because their businesses have closed. Whole sectors, including the tourism sector, have repeatedly raised concerns about the fact that the pandemic is not over yet and that there is no place for a victory lap. Indeed, the variants we are seeing are indicating, in some countries and regions, a disturbing number of new cases. In fact, we are seeing this even in the case of individuals who have been vaccinated with two doses.

People are subject to these variants, which are disturbingly starting to creep up in various parts of our planet and in some parts of our country, yet the government has persisted from the very beginning, with a budget announcement and now with Bill C-30, in slashing the benefits that Canadians so vitally depend on. They need those benefits to put food on the table, to keep a roof over their heads and often to pay for medication because the government broke its promise to put in place public universal pharmacare. However, we still have the situation where the government continues to insist that slashing benefits to below the poverty line is somehow in the best interests of Canadians. This is something the New Democrats have raised from the very beginning and continue to raise as a broad concern. As the variants disturbingly start to make progress across the country, this should be a concern for the Prime Minister and the government.

There are other aspects of this bill that the NDP has raised broad concerns about. One is seniors, who often live below the poverty line. They will not be given an OAS increase unless they are 75 and over, even though we know the poverty rate among seniors who are 65 to 75. That is another measure that makes no sense at all. We raised this at committee and offered amendments, but the government continues to refuse to do the right thing and put in place a broad level of OAS support that lifts seniors up, regardless of their age, and does not create two classes of seniors.

Broadly, our biggest concern with Bill C-30 has been the lack of vision in how we get through the pandemic and rebuild afterward. As my colleague, the member for Vancouver East, has pointed out, there is no wealth tax, there is no pandemic profits tax and there are no concrete measures against tax havens. Despite the plethora of documentation showing that Canadians and profitable corporations are taking their profits overseas, which is well documented in the Panama papers, the Paradise papers, the Bahamas papers and the Isle of Man scam, the government has not, after six years, brought a single charge against any of the Canadians or profitable Canadian companies guilty of tax evasion. Despite the fact that the information is freely available to the public, not a single time has it said that this is wrong and we should do something about it.

It strikes me as incredibly hypocritical for the government to say that it restored some of the cuts to the CRA and that is all it needs to do, when we have databases with the names of thousands of Canadians and profitable Canadian corporations and the government has refused to do a single thing about this issue. It has not charged a single Canadian. It has not charged a single profitable Canadian corporation.

As members know, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has indicated how serious this is. It is something that costs Canadians, in terms of tax dollars, an astounding $25 billion a year. Addressing the lack of a wealth tax, the lack of a pandemic profits tax and the refusal to take action against tax havens would make such a profound difference in our quality of life. We are talking about $25 billion to $40 billion annually that would be available to provide supports for seniors, for students and for people with disabilities, and to broaden our education system. We could lock in place public universal pharmacare. We could put in place dental care, which my colleague from St. John's East proposed and the Liberals voted against just a few days ago.

Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are talking about the fact that there are dozens and dozens of Canadian indigenous communities that do not even have safe drinking water, yet the government continues to say that it cannot do anything about the issue because it would cost too much. The reality, as members know, is quite different. The reality is that the government seems to rely on providing supports to the ultrarich. It does it with impunity and does it regularly, and it does not take care of the rest of Canadians, who have real, meaningful needs that have not been addressed by this bill, nor by government action over the last six years.

I can tell members about the heart of the housing affordability crisis in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia and in my riding. In that context, in the two communities I proudly represent, New Westminster and Burnaby, housing costs have spiralled out of control. However, the government has done very little about this. It makes noise about having contributed in some way to building housing units, but the B.C. government has built more new housing units than the rest of the country put together. The federal government made a small contribution to that, but it has tried to take credit for a program that was put in place by the B.C. government. This is another measures that could make a substantial difference in the quality of life of Canadians, yet the government refuses to implement it.

The member of Parliament for Nunavut did a housing tour showing, in vivid and appalling detail, the housing crisis in Nunavut and in the north, yet the government has not acted. It has refused to take the actions that would make a difference in the quality of life of indigenous communities and throughout northern Canada. It is perplexing to say the least that a government that could have put in place the tools to make a difference in people's lives has chosen not to do that. The government could have made substantial investments in this budget and with this budget implementation act, but it has refused to do it.

To add to that, I will come back, in a circular way, to my initial argument. The Liberals are cutting the emergency response benefit at the most critical time. Canadians who have tried to get through the last 15 months and have managed to survive thanks to the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus, which pushed for a CERB that was above the poverty line, are now seeing, looming on the horizon, a government that wants to lower the emergency response benefit to below the poverty line. That is unacceptable, and we will continue to push the government to do the right thing and not cut the emergency response benefit.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a finance question.

Two great economic historians from Harvard University, Reinhart and Rogoff, have listed five precursors to a debt crisis: asset price inflation, particularly housing price inflation; long-term current account deficits, that is to say buying from the world more than we sell to the world; a drop in output, as we experienced last year with the $100-billion drop in GDP; rising household leverage, and we have the highest household-debt-to-income ratio in the G7; and an increase in overall indebtedness. We now have $8.6 trillion of household, corporate and governmental debt combined, which is four dollars of debt for every one dollar of GDP.

If interest rates rise before these incredible debt ratios decline, does the member believe we could face a debt crisis in Canada of which I have warned in the past and am warning in the present? Does he share that concern, and what would he do to avoid it?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, the member for Carleton and I disagree on many things. We sometimes agree as well, but I always enjoy working with him at the finance committee.

He has raised something that the NDP identified years ago. The household debt crisis is a crisis that was enacted under both the former Conservative government and the current Liberal government by a refusal to put in place a fair tax system. When we force Canadian families to go massively into debt for post-secondary education, to go into debt to pay for medication that their family depends on and to go into debt for housing because there is no affordable housing available, that creates a household debt crisis. What we have seen under former Conservative government and the current Liberal government is a refusal to force the ultrarich to pay their fair share. The household debt crisis is intrinsically linked to the crisis that we have with a lack of a fair tax system that I mentioned in my speech.

There is $25 billion a year going into overseas tax havens, no wealth tax, no pandemic profits tax and a refusal to make the ultrarich pay their fair share.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his remarks. He accurately pointed out which sectors of the economy have been hardest hit during the pandemic and discussed seniors, people with disabilities and the housing crisis. In Quebec alone, 40,000 people are waiting for social housing, for low-income housing, and 450,000 people have urgent housing needs. It is a big deal.

During the pandemic, the government rolled out its big Canada emergency wage subsidy to help people working for struggling businesses. The Conservative Party, the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party all claimed the subsidy, which I find scandalous. The Liberals and the NDP have not said anything about reimbursing the money. We will be campaigning in two months, and the NDP is going to use government money, which was supposed to go to struggling workers, to pay for lawn signs. Is my colleague not the least bit embarrassed by that?

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, we fought for non-profits to be eligible for the wage subsidy to ensure that organizations would not have to choose between laying off employees or keeping them on staff.

As the member just said, the member for Burnaby South and the NDP caucus pushed the hardest for this initiative which, as the member knows, already existed in other European countries, for example. This was important for Canada. The government initially refused, but the NDP continued to push for it, as we normally do, being the workers' party. We want people to stay employed.

We were successful, as everyone knows. The subsidy allowed for workers, including Quebec workers, to remain employed.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise in the House today and speak to the government's budget. I have been spending a lot of time talking to people in my constituency about where they think this country should go coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. What does the future look like? What are the things we need to be focusing on as we move forward as a country?

There are three big priorities that I am hearing from my constituents in terms of their concerns of the direction of the government. Their concerns are around rising government debt. Their concerns are around the failure to support the energy sector and the role that the energy sector will play in our economy going forward. The third concern I hear a great deal about in my riding right now is freedom of speech and attacks on freedom of speech that we hear from the government.

With respect to Bill C-30, the government's budget bill, let us zero in on the first of those two points: government debt and the energy sector. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are looking to see what kinds of plans are in place to allow our economy to grow and prosper and be firing on all cylinders again. In order to do, that we need strong public finances. In order to do, that we need to have support for our key natural resource and other sectors that really drive prosperity.

We have to have sound public finance and we have to have revenue coming in to government coffers as a result of jobs being created, opportunities being created in our key sectors. There is a great deal of concern about the public debt that has been run up over the course of this pandemic, but it did not start with the pandemic. Let us remember, when the Prime Minister took office, we had a balanced budget. Canada had been through the global financial crisis. We ran deficits during those years, but Canada was back in a balanced budget position in 2015.

In fact, over the course of the tenure of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio had gone down. We had been through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Over the course of the tenure of that prime minister, through those incredibly difficult circumstances, the debt-to-GDP ratio had gone down.

We had a prime minister coming in and saying, “the good times will last forever, do not worry about it, the budget will balance itself, so we can run modest deficits”. Recall that 2015 election campaign, three $10-billion deficits followed by a balanced budget in year four: that was the promise made by the Prime Minister. Teeny, tiny deficits, $10-billion deficits for three years followed by a balanced budget.

What happened? In the first year under finance minister Bill Morneau, the government had a deficit that essentially ate up its promised deficit allotment for the three years all in one year. The Prime Minister had not foreseen perhaps, or maybe he did and just did not tell us, that when opening the floodgates with money for everything, money for this and money for that and we do not have to worry about raising the revenue for it, that can become a bottomless pit. We have seen over time this bottomless pit of willingness to go into debt get deeper and deeper. Instead of three years of $10-billion deficits and then a balanced budget, we had four years in the order of about $30-billion deficits. During relatively good years, the government ran up another $100 billion worth of debt.

Part of the reason we need to have strong public finances is to preserve that capacity during challenging circumstances to run deficits. In the midst of a global financial crisis as we faced in 2008-09, in the face of the pandemic as we dealt with in this Parliament, it is very often necessary to have some degree of deficit spending. However, if we are running deficits already prior to that period and then go further into deficit, we increase our risk of a long-term debt crisis. Certainly we run up massive amounts of more debt that have to be paid off at some point.

The government's long-term fiscal plan coming out of this pandemic involves very large deficits in perpetuity. There is no plan for us to ever get back at any point, even to the $10-billion figure that the Liberals talked about when they ran in 2015. The long-term plan is to spend more that we have every single year.

We have different parties in the House with different approaches to spending. Conservatives believe that it is important for us to move toward a balanced budget—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 21st, 2021 / 12:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I thought it was my children calling, worried about the debt they are going to have to pay off in a few years as a result of the profligate spending of the current government.

As I was saying, Conservatives emphasize the importance of moving toward a balanced budget. I do not agree with them, but I give the New Democrats credit for saying we should be spending more and increasing taxes. That is not an approach that is going to lead to long-term prosperity, but at least they sort of have understood at certain times that if they are going to spend more they have to pay for it somehow.

The Liberal government, uniquely in this place, takes the position that we could consistently spend more than we have: that, during good years, we can run what were historically considered large deficits of $30 billion; and then, during challenging circumstances, we can run astronomical deficits of 10 times that. Notably, this one Prime Minister has accumulated more debt during his time in office than all of the previous prime ministers had up until 2015. This is the great debt Prime Minister. That is his legacy to our children.

It is understandable that people in my riding are coming to me, asking what is the plan here, where is all this money coming from, and how are we ever going to get out from under this. I tell them the reality is that the money we spend today, we are going to have to pay off. It is going to lead to higher taxes, lower social spending or both, in the future, or maybe the government's way of getting out of it is simply printing more money and leaving it to inflation. That too is a form of taxation. It is a form of the government reaching into people's pockets and, through inflation, reducing the value of the money they have. Therefore, yes, we should be very concerned about debt.

The way we can move forward as an economy is going to also require strong job growth and a reoriented, rational economic policy that gets our debt under control. However, also part of balancing the budget is promoting growth. We need to have support for what have always been the engines of economic development in this country, and those are the natural resources and manufacturing sectors.

Conservatives have said very clearly that we want to support economic growth in all sectors of the economy. We want to support in all sectors and in all regions. For energy workers in Alberta, for forestry workers in B.C., for forestry workers and manufacturing workers in Quebec, for people working on the assembly line in Ontario, from coast to coast, Conservatives are supportive of those vital sectors. That is where we differ from the government. The government is disdainful of our energy and manufacturing sectors. The government is imposing additional burdens on those sectors. The Liberals have this notion that the sectors that have driven our success for all of our history could somehow be shut out of economic recovery and, instead, government could pick winners and losers and be subsidizing what it thinks are going to be the technology and the jobs of the future.

If we are going to put the focus on jobs and opportunity for Canadians, then we need to come back to those tried-and-true sectors that have delivered prosperity in the past. That means removing barriers from our oil and gas sector. That means supporting private-sector-driven stimulus, the development of pipelines, energy projects that employ so many Canadians, not just in my riding, not just in Alberta but people from other parts of the country who invest in or come to Alberta or who create component products that are then used in energy-related manufacturing as well as extraction.

We have this opportunity, going forward. We have an opportunity to secure our future; that is, to get our debt under control, to work toward a balanced budget over time, and to do so by controlling spending but also by supporting growth.

On the other hand, we have a government across the way who says we can shut down our traditional sectors and at the same time we could spend more money than we have. The Liberals are cutting the knees out of our revenue sources and they are continuing to insist on spending more and more. It is not going to work to undermine the sources of job growth and opportunity growth and government revenue and, on the other hand, to just keep insisting on spending more and more money. That is a recipe for economic disaster. The government is just bullishly moving forward in this direction that will be disastrous for our long-term economic well-being. We need a change. We need a government that is committed to securing our future.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Arnold Viersen Conservative Peace River—Westlock, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for his great speech on this important topic. He spoke a bit about cutting the knees out of our economy. Perhaps he was talking about the lack of pipelines getting built in this country. I wonder if he can talk a little more about that.

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June 21st, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, what we saw from the current government, immediately upon taking office, was killing the northern gateway pipeline and imposing all kinds of conditions on the possibility of an east-to-west pipeline that would connect Canadian energy with Canadian consumers. It has killed pipeline project after pipeline project, and that is obviously undermining investor confidence. At the beginning of this Parliament, there was the Teck Frontier project, a project that had been through all the hoops. Members of the government caucus openly lobbied to kill that project, which actually had a net-zero target built into it. We see project after project that go through all the steps, good projects that create jobs and take triple bottom line—

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June 21st, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, the member made reference to job creation. It is important to recognize that even pre-pandemic, this government had the lowest historic unemployment rates. In fact, in the first four to five years of governance, we created well over one million jobs, which is far superior to Stephen Harper's record.

When it comes to the deficit, even the Conservatives have been unanimously supporting the expenditure of billions of dollars through the wage subsidy and CERB programs. Is the Conservative Party now saying we should not have brought forward the wage subsidy and CERB programs? Is that—

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June 21st, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, the member is quite correct that we sought to work with the government during the very challenging circumstances of COVID, but that does not mean we were not critical of some aspects of the implementation. There were many problems with the way these programs rolled out. We said there were ways they could have been constructed better. For instance, we talked about having a back-to-work bonus to make it easier for people receiving CERB to get back to work part time without losing all of their benefits. If the government had implemented some of our suggestions, we would have been able to be there for Canadians and also take into consideration the fiscal circumstances. We can do both at the same time; we can take both under consideration, but the government failed to do so.

Much of the spending is far beyond these benefit programs. There are the benefit programs, but we were in a seriously dangerous deficit situation even before the pandemic.

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June 21st, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Madam Speaker, the hon. member talked a lot about the recovery, but we are still in the middle of the pandemic. We hear constantly about the tourism sector and the hospitality industry, many of whose members have not survived. They need and want and are crying out for a continuation of the rent and wage subsidies for a while so they can survive long enough to recover. Do the hon. member and his party support that continuation so these businesses can survive long enough to enjoy a recovery and keep people employed?

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June 21st, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, it has been a pleasure working with this colleague. I wish him well in his planned retirement.

There are different things happening in different parts of the country. My province has announced a complete reopening starting at the beginning of July. There are different circumstances in different places and different trajectories. Hopefully, over time we are expecting the country as a whole to be on its way out of the pandemic as a result of various factors, including the availability of vaccines.

I would say to the member's question that a targeted approach is important. There are certain sectors that have been hurt more than others, and there are certain sectors for which the impacts will be there much longer. Therefore, it is important to look at the changes in the circumstances and how some sectors are continuing to be affected while others are coming out of it. Certainly, we would provide the tools and incentives for returning to a situation of growth as quickly as possible, and that does require a bit of sensitivity with respect to the different circumstances.

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June 21st, 2021 / 1 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to see you in the chair today, giving me this opportunity, I guess, to speak until the end of the programming motion that has been forced upon us because the government and the House leadership on its side seem to really want to do their homework at the very last minute. As a constant procrastinator in my youth, I appreciate that, but with old age we get wiser. I have come around to not doing that in my personal life and making sure that I am on top of my work before the clock strikes the eleventh hour.

What I am going to talk about today with regard to this piece of legislation, the budget bill, the first BIA, is what Albertans and constituents in my riding have cared about for the last 20 years, which is equalization, equalization and equalization. That is some of the biggest unfairness in our Confederation, and I think every Albertan would say so.

Typically in the BIA, the budget implementation act, we would see modifications made to the formula that governs equalization. I remember being on the finance committee when this was indeed the case. I actually missed it at the time, but the government simply rolled over the same formula and then accused the Conservatives at the time of having supported this formula back in 2014. The Liberals said it was not a big deal because it was the same thing.

Here is the deal. Over the last two years, the provincial government in Alberta has run a $24-billion deficit, if COVID spending is excluded. Once COVID spending is included, it will approach a $40-billion deficit over two fiscal years in the province of Alberta, my home province, the province I call home, the place that adopted me. It is patently unfair that Albertans are continuing to see major contributions to federal coffers because, after all, it is not a cheque cut from Edmonton to Ottawa; it is the totality of federal income taxes levied on workers in Alberta, and then the redistribution is based on a formula and the fiscal capacity of the average of the 10 provinces combined together. Now, there are a lot of different revenues included. There are different calculations being made.

At the Fraser Institute, Ben Eisen and another analyst made a calculation that demonstrated that in Canada, equalization and the fiscal capacity of the provinces are actually converging. Over the last five and a half years, my province has gotten poorer because of Liberal policies out of Ottawa. My province is now so poor that Albertans are only 20% above the median income of the people in Ontario, whereas before we were in the range of 80% to 90% above. That is a significant decrease in the common prosperity of the people of my province. It is directly related to policies that the Liberal government has introduced. It has stymied the growth of the oil and gas sector. I have not seen a single major oil and gas project be proposed and built since the Liberals took power. Actually, every single project that was completed had been started under the previous Conservative government.

Equalization by 2025-26 fiscal year is expected to be $25 billion. That is according to the government's own figures. The total number is actually growing over time. It is not shrinking over time, and it should be shrinking because our fiscal capacity is actually converging. The provinces are actually becoming much closer together to the average. One would think that over time there would be less money to redistribute because the provinces are more even, but that is not what is going on.

I want to recognize a member of the New Democratic Party, the member for St. John's East, who has stated several times how unfair equalization is to his home province of Newfoundland and Labrador. I had the distinct privilege of being able to travel with different parliamentary committees to the province as well, and I have read the Greene report. Lady Greene provided a report on the state of the finances in Newfoundland and Labrador. It is an eye-opening read. It is not just unfair for Alberta. It is not just unfair for Saskatchewan and other “have” provinces contributing to our shared prosperity in this country; it is also unfair to Newfoundland and Labrador, which is seeing an immense drop in its provincial revenues and barely any finances being made up in the fiscal stabilization program, the FSP, the so-called equalization rebate.

Let it not be said that we Conservatives and I have not done something about it. I have tabled Bill C-263, the equalization and transfers fairness act, which would have eliminated that cap, but in this budget, in the BIA, all the Liberal government is committing to do is simply increase the cap to another random number.

The Liberals have tripled the cap now to a number that I do not think is defensible. If the cap had been eliminated entirely, my home province of Alberta would have been eligible for a $3-billion refund because of the significant loss in revenues. It is not as if the federal government does not have increasing revenues. I was just looking at the numbers. The income taxes that the federal government is forecasted to raise will go up by $46 billion over five years. That is $46 billion of additional revenue coming in, and it still cannot balance the budget within a five-year timetable.

To conclude, I want to be clear that if Albertans want to know more, if members across the country want to know more, I encourage them to follow Fairness Alberta and Dr. Bill Bewick's work, which gives an eye-opening account by the numbers, not rhetoric, just by the numbers, of the hardship my province is being asked to bear in order to pay for the finances of the federal government, and we cannot afford it. We cannot afford this government. We cannot afford another five years of nothing being done on equalization. The formula needs to be changed, and there needs to be greater fairness for the people of Alberta.

I will finish with a Yiddish proverb, because I know members know how much I appreciate them: “Let your mouth not speak what the eyes do not see.” Albertans have been seeing deep unfairness over the last five and a half years. We have suffered one of the greatest—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 10 a.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, as I was saying, the facts show that Quebeckers cannot count on the federal government to take action against tax havens. There is nothing in budget 2021 to do away with them.

Unfortunately, there are provisions in Bill C‑30 that make it even easier to use tax havens. The federal government is therefore still complicit in tax avoidance schemes, which makes Canada part of the problem and not part of the solution in the fight against tax havens.

In budget 2021, which serves as a springboard for the post-COVID‑19 economic recovery, the federal government offers little or nothing to help small farms get better access to credit. This inability to access credit was one of the most serious problems that farmers encountered during the health crisis. That is unacceptable.

Agriculture is obviously not a priority for the Liberal government, but it is a priority for Quebec and an integral part of our culture. The Liberal government has never been interested in supporting a bill to better protect supply management, which is essential to the survival of the agricultural model. Protecting supply management has always enjoyed broad support within Quebec's agricultural sector, but it is also acknowledged by producers in the other provinces as well as in the United States, which says something.

Why did the Liberal government recently do everything it could to prevent Bill C‑216 being passed in committee? Well, it did pass, and we hope the accelerating pace of the coming days will bring this bill along for the ride. Quebec's agricultural sector is counting on us.

In the Bloc Québécois's view, parliamentary proceedings and debates too often take too long, things do not move fast enough, and people talk even though they have nothing to say. For years, and again this week, members have spoken at length in the House of Commons about various aspects of the housing problem.

Still, there remains a desperate need for housing in Abitibi—Témiscamingue as well as in several other regions of Quebec, and that need is only being made more acute by the communities' sustained efforts to attract workers.

What of the federal government's solutions to this problem? There are none. The federal government has not proposed any. I would, however, like to highlight a local initiative undertaken by the Fondation Martin-Bradley. They organized a radiothon and raised $301,000 to, among other things, build housing for people who are struggling, especially people living with mental health problems.

The Fondation Martin-Bradley got things done. I am thinking especially of Ghislain Beaulieu, and of Jean-Yves Morneau and his son, Jean-François, who organized a fundraiser among the region's entrepreneurs and businesspeople. The amount raised, $301,000, is huge, and I want to salute them. Among other things, the funds will go to finance projects, like for farm outreach workers in Abitibi—Témiscamingue's farming community, for whom psychological support is so essential. I have to say it again: All this stems from the fact that the federal budget does nothing to address the situation.

Legitimate transfer payments to Quebec to encourage housing initiatives are both slow to come and hugely insufficient. Not enough construction is happening, which is having a direct impact on the economic and social development of our regions and Quebec as a whole.

Out of respect for Quebec's jurisdictions, more substantial amounts need to be transferred, especially considering the current context, which includes the significantly higher cost of materials and labour. At the same time, tax incentives for developers would be a way to support and stimulate infrastructure initiatives that offer exciting opportunities for the recovery by building on what has been achieved in our communities, not to mention community-based housing projects that would provide a sustainable solution to this problem.

Finally, why will Ottawa not allocate funding for the regions, with no strings attached, to be administered by Quebec and people on the ground? This would encourage development projects based on specific parameters and priorities linked to specific needs. More than ever, labour shortages are hindering the economic recovery of my region, Abitibi—Témiscamingue. More than ever, the federal government needs to come up with solutions, because we are feeling abandoned right now.

I believe that the particular status of a region like Abitibi—Témiscamingue, which borders Ontario, places it in a certain situation. People back home are moving to the riding of the member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing because immigration cases are processed in 12 months in Ontario, whereas in my riding it takes up to 27 months, or even 30 months in certain cases. That is ridiculous.

As I was saying, in Abitibi—Témiscamingue there is a housing shortage coupled with a labour shortage, and therefore it is important to stimulate housing construction. How can we attract and keep skilled workers in Abitibi—Témiscamingue when they are unable to find a home for their families? The federal government must act quickly.

Bill C‑30 also attacks Quebec once more and its securities regulator. That is unacceptable.

How can we ignore one of the federal government's most blatant centralizing moves in recent years, its attempt to bring the financial sector under federal control by making it responsible for insurance, securities, derivatives, deposit taking institutions except for banks and the distribution of financial products and services?

The objective of this Canada-wide securities regulator is another example of the centralization of financial markets by the federal government. It wants Toronto to become a single Canada-wide regulator, which would be contrary to the independent economic development of all the other provinces. This is not just a jurisdictional dispute or a squabble between the federal and provincial governments, it is a battle between Bay Street and Quebec.

I remind members that the Bloc Québécois and Quebec are strongly opposed to this. Four times now, the National Assembly of Quebec has unanimously called on the federal government to abandon that idea. It is no exaggeration to say that everyone in Quebec is against it. Seldom have we seen Quebec's business community come together as one to oppose this very bad idea of the federal government, which just wants to cater to Bay Street.

Let the federal government and Bay Street take note: The Bloc Québécois will always stand in the way of creating a single Canada-wide securities regulator.

Having a financial markets authority is essential to Quebec's development. This is nothing short of an attack on our ability to keep our head offices. Preserving Quebec's distinct economic pillars is essential to our development. We will not let the federal government get away with this.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Madam Speaker, it is always good to hear members of Parliament talk about housing. However, the interesting issue in this respect is that housing is one of the areas where exclusive jurisdiction has been sought, secured and delivered to Quebec.

If the member's riding is not getting housing money, why is he coming to Ottawa to complain? We have given every single dollar we spend on housing to the Government of Quebec. It distributes the dollars. It sets the priorities. It chooses the projects. It makes the investments.

I realize that the Bloc is here to antagonize the federal government rather than co-operate and work with us, but if the member opposite wants housing in his region, he should be going to Quebec City to get the dollars because that is where we sent them on the request of parties like the Bloc.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, it is plain to see that the parliamentary secretary did not listen to the first part of my speech. I can forgive him to some extent because I gave it at 12:48 a.m. two days ago.

I would say that one of the problems is that it took three years to get these agreements in place. The federal government really dragged its feet on transferring the money to Quebec. Why did the other provinces get their money quickly but not Quebec?

Furthermore, in Abitibi—Témiscamingue, now that housing construction can start, the cost of materials is skyrocketing and these amounts are largely insufficient. I understand that the government did not anticipate COVID‑19, but it has a responsibility to take action on housing.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, the pandemic has exposed many flaws in our health care system, whether in terms of our vaccine supply or the quality of long-term care facilities. Our health care workers and seniors have suffered the direct consequences of years of successive Liberal and Conservative cuts, yet the budget announcement makes no increase in health care transfers.

Could the member tell us about the impact of health underfunding on the worsening of the pandemic?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Hamilton Centre for his excellent question.

That is indeed the crux of the matter, and that is why the Bloc Québécois voted against the budget. We are in the midst of a pandemic and the federal government has a responsibility to respect the agreements it has made in the past.

Under normal circumstances, the costs associated with health care spending should be shared 50-50. We are barely receiving 20%. The provinces and the Quebec National Assembly are unanimous in their request to increase this percentage to 35%.

When we see the federal government rack up more than $1 trillion in debt, money becomes very relative. That really worries me, and I think that one of the solutions would have been to give the people who are managing the pandemic the necessary means to achieve their objectives, instead of trying to impose national standards, as in the case of long-term care facilities.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, interestingly enough, the first speaker asked a question about housing and said that the federal government had invested enough, while the second speaker spoke about health transfers.

I just had a discussion with Marguerite Blais, Quebec's minister responsible for seniors and caregivers. She spoke about two things.

First, she spoke about how the federal government did not want to increase health transfers to 35%, even though that is Quebec's main demand to help our health care system. Second, she spoke about housing, about how we need to help workers—and therefore businesses—back home, in the riding of Shefford, who are struggling to find housing. She also spoke about how we must help seniors, who need safe, affordable housing.

There is not enough funding; we need more. On top of that, the agreements have been dragging on.

I would like to hear my colleague's thoughts on this.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:10 a.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend the member for Shefford for her commitment to seniors. One of the key things missing from this budget is help for seniors aged 65 to 74. It is fascinating that the government wants to create two classes of seniors. I just cannot understand it.

How did the government determine that the needs of seniors aged 65 to 74 are not the same as those aged 75 and up? I am thinking here of prescription drug assistance and rent relief, or even the increase in the cost of Internet services and electricity. Only this government would think that people should have to wait until they are 75 to live with dignity.

Housing is a top priority in indigenous communities, as well as in our cities and towns. It is a matter of dignity. Housing is a tool for economic development, but it is also essential to every individual's psychological and mental health. Every Canadian should have a decent roof over their heads, and that should be the priority of this government and future governments in the years to come.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to respond to Bill C-30, the budget debate.

I first want to reflect on my constituency's strengths and its ability to adapt to these changing times. This is because Egmont is a place where people take care of one another. First, there is a great respect for family, and in a tight-knit community that means the residents are very conscious of both the successes and the challenges faced by their neighbours. Further to that, there is a collective understanding that every individual has a contribution to make. Within that fabric of individuals, families and communities there is a real strength. As a result, Egmont has fared relatively well during the pandemic because virtually every individual recognizes a real sense of duty to the whole.

People have worked hard to keep the community safe, and all the while we have been hard at work building one of the greenest ridings in the country with a thriving economy based on fishing, farming, high-level services and a very successful aerospace sector. Indeed, the City of Summerside has recently been recognized by a national magazine as one of the leaders in the field of green energy. It has spent a great deal of time focusing on wind energy, solar energy with a smart grid system, industrial-scale lithium batteries and the highest per capita concentration of electric car chargers in the country. Those are just a few of the green energy initiatives the city has moved on. I am pleased to be part of a government that has supported the city's initiatives in its innovative, leading-edge green energy solutions and innovations. We have continued to build on those infrastructure investments over the last number of years.

Summerside is just one example I use in identifying Egmont as a leader in the field of green energy across the riding. We were one of the first parts of the country to move toward wind energy and, indeed, the Wind Energy Institute of Canada is located in the riding of Egmont. This has allowed us to build a very successful and thriving green energy infrastructure here in my riding.

Summerside is one of a number of communities that makes up the riding of Egmont. In each of these I could look at the improvements that our government has supported, community by community, in a host of infrastructure initiatives that have built stronger communities right across the riding, including in the rural parts.

We have also maintained a trajectory of success at a difficult time because of hard work, diligence and a constant sense of optimism that these qualities can transcend any difficulty thrown at us. I am proud to be a member of a government that recognizes and celebrates meaningful support for individuals. I say that because I believe this government understands that support for the individual is the foundation of a strong community. From speaking to residents, I know that their confidence levels grew dramatically over the last year because they knew this fact: Our Liberal government has Egmont's back. Why am I so sure of that? Let us look at just a few priorities.

Programs for students are a priority. In 2021, our government has committed record financial contributions to the Canada summer jobs program, which students depend on for securing work over the summer months. We continue to waive student loan interest during the pandemic. We are enhancing repayment assistance on student loans and we are doubling the Canada student grants. These are just some of the initiatives that have been identified in this budget.

We have extended sick time for individuals. When this budget is passed, this will be a major initiative. An issue that we have heard a lot about over the last number of years, especially through the House of Commons HUMA committee, is that the existing sick time benefit is not adequate. I am pleased that our government has recognized that.

We also have an extensive array of business supports that were required to carry businesses through this unprecedented pandemic. We hear constantly in the House of Commons that this is an area where we have to continue to offer more support as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.

We have also supported enhanced educational opportunities for everyone.

For all these reasons and many more, I am proud to be part of a government that is active, that is smart, that protects Canadians and that understands the real challenges that have confronted each and every one of us. I compare that system of values to the one so fondly embraced by the Conservatives.

Too often, I have heard our colleagues in the opposition rail against support for individuals, saying that the so-called “free market” will be the salvation of our well-being. Such a direction would have led to catastrophic results in Egmont, and the deep and terrible worries unleashed by the pandemic would have been swollen with further concerns about bills, putting food on the table and shelter costs.

I believe in a government that will be there to support individuals during difficult times, because if that is not the government's role, then what is it? In a difficult time, we should not only be focused on bean counting and should not reject the legitimate needs of Canadians. Instead, we should be responding effectively, with reliability and in a way that builds public confidence that the government is there to prevent disaster and guide Canadians through a difficult time.

That said, I believe there is an area of public responsibility that requires greater attention. I have always been of the opinion that seniors who receive the guaranteed income supplement require more assistance. These are the most financially vulnerable members of the seniors community, and after a lifetime I believe they have earned the right to have fewer worries and more comfort. Therefore, I firmly believe the GIS should be increased, and I will continue to raise this subject.

My firm hope is that, in the very near future, government will take the steps to adjust these supports in a way that reflects two items. First, I believe we have the capacity as a country to offer this additional assistance, and second, I think it is very important that we recognize the challenges associated with being a senior in a changing world. I will continue to raise this subject in the hope that the government will adjust its plan and decide on a different course that is more helpful to the larger community and that helps individuals in a much more focused way.

To conclude, I want to congratulate the government. In effect, I am grading this budget at well above 90%, which is a very good mark by any stretch of the imagination. I am proud of my constituency and its efforts to get through a difficult year, and with the ongoing and dedicated support of an active and reliable government, the constituency of Egmont will emerge stronger than ever before.

As I indicated throughout my comments, I am pleased to be part of a government that has the backs of Canadians, the backs of Islanders and the backs of the residents of my riding of Egmont. I have been most proud to be part of the decision-making process in supporting those programs that have been so beneficial to Canadians, to Canadian businesses, to non-profit organizations and to municipalities and infrastructures that needed so much assistance during this unprecedented change in the economy created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:20 a.m.
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Bloc

Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. I would like him to comment, in detail, if possible, on the creation of two classes of seniors.

This measure would have cost around $4 billion if the government had included seniors aged 65 to 75. Once taxes are paid, that figure drops to a little over $2 billion.

This is not money that we would lose to tax havens. This money would be reinvested in the economy, so the final cost is relatively low. Would he agree that not only would this have been a good measure to help with the economic recovery, but it would also have kept seniors from falling through the cracks?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Madam Speaker, there are valid reasons we chose to increase the OAS program for those over 75. Those are well documented, but I would draw the member's attention to the record of this government. One of the first actions we took after being elected in 2015 was to raise the guaranteed income supplement for all seniors across the board. At the same time, we have to remember that a Conservative policy that was in place and a decision that was made removed the old age pension and guaranteed income supplement for seniors between the ages of 65 and 67. That, in effect, took well over $18,000 per senior out of their pockets. Yes, we have more work to do, but the initiatives taken by this government signal to the senior community that we know the issues before them and we are committed to working with them to make them better financially.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I find it interesting to hear the Liberals tying themselves in rhetorical knots about defending aspects of policies and trying to distance themselves from decisions that were made in the past. It certainly is a fascinating discussion in rhetoric.

My question for the member is quite simple. In Bill C-30, there are some changes to the Elections Act that are related to a court decision. Specifically, it would make it illegal to knowingly mislead constituents during an election. Now, there has not been a lot of focus on this in the debate on this bill because it is a bit like an omnibus bill, which the Liberals had promised not to do, but this has been inserted into the bill. I would like to hear the member's comments on that particular aspect of Bill C-30.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Bobby Morrissey Liberal Egmont, PE

Madam Speaker, I acknowledge the question from my colleague, and having listened to many debates and speeches in the House of Commons since 2015, I am often perplexed when the opposition Conservative Party rails against our government on the key area of energy as it relates to the western provinces, where the member is from. I am often left arriving at the conclusion that every member from western Canada who was part of the former Conservative government should be apologizing to the people of the prairie provinces for not taking any steps to unlock the oil industry there. They did not get any pipelines approved under that Conservative government because it had a process that was so flawed it was constantly being challenged.

One of the first initiatives of our government was to recognize that we had to have a process in place that met the needs of first nations communities and the environmental community to approve pipelines that met the test of protecting the environment and included first nations communities, and our government has done that. It was a major achievement that—

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for touching on the importance of more investments for seniors, which is absolutely necessary.

As the critic for small business and tourism, I will focus on small businesses because they have been very clear that they want to see an extension of the wage subsidy and rental program into next spring, especially for those in the tourism industry. Many of them cater to international tourists, and we know that they are not going to see international tourists this year.

Does my colleague agree that those programs should be extended to ensure that those businesses survive into next year given the border will not open any time soon?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Madam Speaker, it is good to be here. I am thankful for the opportunity to speak on what could very well be one of the last sitting days of the 43rd Parliament. It remains a tremendous opportunity to represent the riding of Edmonton Riverbend, and I certainly look forward to continuing important discussions during what is likely a potential election around the corner.

Now I want to get to the topic at hand, the budget. I want to highlight an aspect of the budget that I think is important, but maybe has not received a lot of the attention here in the House, and that is Canada's aerospace sector. Canada's aerospace industry was one of the hardest-hit industries as a result of the pandemic, and the budget has not allocated enough for its recovery. Specifically, there was very little mention of Canada's space industry and the government's long-term plans.

Canada's space industry supports approximately 21,000 jobs across the country. The sector is composed of small businesses, multinational space companies, not-for-profit organizations, research centres and, of course, universities across the country. Canadian space organizations are internationally renowned for their scientific excellence and leading-edge technologies, such as space robotics, optical telescopes, satellite communications, earth observation and space situation awareness, and countless contributions to international collaborative science missions over the past five decades.

There is a clear need for Canada's space sector to maximize Canada's leadership at the forefront of space. By charting a new course and taking a balanced approach, we can realize the full economic, social, scientific and strategic benefits to Canada's place as a global leader in the exploration, research and commercialization of space.

This budget was a missed opportunity to provide Canadian space stakeholders clear guidance and a way to contribute to the future of the growing space program more proactively. If Canada is to remain competitive in space, it must adopt an overarching aerospace strategy that includes a clear and visible plan for space for the future. Every other aerospace nation has a national strategy to position their industries for recovery and growth and seize their share of the multitrillion-dollar emerging aerospace clean tech market. Canada needs to proudly support its aerospace industry and plan for the future. This budget fell short of that.

I am a member of Parliament from Alberta, a province that has experienced great upheaval over the last few years. Oil prices have dropped and thousands are out of work. Every day I hear from families who are struggling to get by. This budget, which I will remind my colleagues is the first in two years, missed an opportunity to address these concerns and make long-term plans for the future of the province.

We understand that transitioning to a green economy is in the best interest of our planet, and Alberta can play a big role in that transition. More than 17,000 Albertans already work for energy companies that have committed to net-zero by 2050. There was nothing in the budget about a long-term vision for Alberta's future.

Western alienation is very real. Albertans are feeling like undervalued members of the Confederation, and talk of separation from Canada has become more and more common. There is a real anger toward Ottawa, and the budget was an opportunity for the federal government to make amends and show Albertans they are valuable and needed for a strong Canada. Sadly, it did not.

My colleagues representing Alberta have been working extremely hard in the past number of years, and I am proud to say that our party has released a plan for economic recovery, stood up for Canadian energy workers and introduced a number of our members' bills to help Albertans and all Canadians. We all know that a strong Alberta means a strong Canada, and we will keep fighting for our province to be treated fairly by the federal government.

If I may just beg the indulgence of the House for a few short minutes, I would like to reflect and offer a statement.

In 2017, I was a member of a caucus that largely voted against Motion No. 103 when it was put forth in this House. Although nuanced, essentially it was a vote against recognizing that Islamophobia exists. I was wrong, and I am sorry. I want not just the Muslim community, but all of the communities of Edmonton, Alberta and Canada, to hear me say that Islamophobia is real. Islamophobia does exist within our communities, as witnessed this week at the Baitul Hadi Mosque in Edmonton.

Since 2017, I have spoken to many who have helped show me what this vote meant to their community, and the sense of unbelonging it helped to perpetuate. Quite simply, the impact of our words and actions in this place reverberate throughout our society. I do not want to do this in a self-promoting way, but I wanted to make this statement here, in arguably the most important building in our country, that I recognize that Islamophobia exists here in Canada. The attack in London was an attack against the Muslim community and an attack on Canadian values.

I want my children to also hear this lesson, and that is the lesson that, no matter how hard it can be, they can grow. I needed time to say this not only for my children but also for all children of Canada. I want them to see members from all political parties condemning these actions together because, after all, we are one Canada, and it is never too late to do the right thing.

I will conclude with something that I think has interrupted every aspect of Canadians' lives. Canadians have really borne the brunt of the economic damage the pandemic has caused. Donations to many charities have dropped, and Canadians have seen their incomes impacted. Canadian charities play a critical role in the day-to-day lives of Canadians.

Health charities support people living with diseases with information that has been backed by research and clinical studies. The pandemic has put many research programs at risk. Without funding for research that is usually provided by donors to charities, we could miss out on an important scientific breakthrough that could drastically improve the lives of Canadians. It is vitally important that we keep supporting our important charities.

I was pleased to see the budget addressing the gap created by COVID-19, but we need to act urgently. The budget proposes launching public consultations with charities in the coming months. However, the eligibility has yet to be unveiled and the consultations have only just begun, despite the fact that charities of all sizes have been calling for additional supports from the federal government from the start of the pandemic.

There is no guarantee that large national charities will qualify for this recovery fund. The allocated $400 million is unlikely to be enough to resemble recovery for the charitable sector. The government must have clear ineligibility guidelines and a timeline. These charities and the Canadians they serve need help now.

I have had the privilege of working very closely with a number of Canada's health charities over the past number of months, and I can personally attest to the good work they do in our communities and all across the country. It would be a tragedy to lose the invaluable services that they provide and to lose any research funding that could lead to the breakthroughs. I urge the government to fast-track its commitment to charities.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened closely to what the member had to say, and I was particularly touched by his comments regarding Motion No. 103 on Islamophobia and how he recognizes that it is very real and something that needs to be dealt with in this country.

All I really want to do is thank him for being able to acknowledge that and saying he was wrong with respect to that. We can all learn a great deal from the member's speech, myself included. It is very easy to become blindly partisan sometimes, and I put myself in that camp, but the member has demonstrated how we can learn from what we have gone through and the experiences we have had, and hopefully this place will be better as a result of that.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:35 a.m.
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Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Madam Speaker, Islamophobia is real. We see it daily. We have seen the height of it in the last few days and the recognition of it is important, albeit delayed.

With respect to addressing systemic racism and Islamophobia, in particular, what can we do together as parliamentarians to elevate the debate on issues of racism and Islamophobia, instead of using them as wedge issues? What do we need to do to ensure that we can move forward in building a country where we address underlying issues of systemic racism?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Madam Speaker, it is great to see my friend and neighbour in the Valour Building here in Ottawa. I had an opportunity to see him just this week. It is refreshing to start to be able to see more people around this place.

The member raises some great questions. The important thing to remember, and what he and I often talk about, is that there are a lot of partisan lines drawn in this place. It is unfortunate at times, because I think we do have a lot in common. We could all learn from each other, no matter what part of the country we come from, no matter what political beliefs we have. There are always opportunities to grow. He is a perfect example of someone I have learned a lot from.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Madam Speaker, I just want to share a story and ask the member a question.

I went to a Catholic high school but grew up in a Muslim household. I remember taking a world religions class. It talked about all the religions of the world. It was a great course to introduce students to a lot of different ethnicities, religions and backgrounds. When I was in that high school, I can say without a doubt that I did not experience Islamophobia one bit. However, after 9/11, this has accelerated and brought Islamophobia and the fear of others into the limelight.

Would my hon. colleague agree that these types of education courses in certain particular schools would help alleviate Islamophobia?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Matt Jeneroux Conservative Edmonton Riverbend, AB

Madam Speaker, it is great to see my friend joining us here in the chamber today.

Education is, of course, a very important aspect. I think of my friend who works in my constituency office. She is scared to go out in public to a train station where other members of her faith have been attacked and have had their head scarves pulled off. To me, that means something is wrong.

Together, members from all parties could help to raise that issue more. I can only think that this would help fight the fact that Islamophobia is real and it does exist in our communities here in Canada.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:40 a.m.
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Scarborough—Rouge Park Ontario

Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Madam Speaker, I want to begin by acknowledging that I am speaking to members from Scarborough—Rouge Park, the traditional lands of many indigenous nations, most recently of the Mississaugas of the Credit. I will be speaking in support of Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021.

Before I go deeper into the budget, I want to reflect on the past few weeks. It has been a difficult few weeks for many in our country, and I think it is safe to say that our hearts ache on a number of different fronts.

First and foremost, learning of the graves of 215 children in Kamloops has really opened existing wounds and has shaken us up in a way things have rarely shaken us. This is a moment in time when all of us need to come together and ensure that there is justice, accountability and reflection. There is also a real commitment to ensure that all of the 94 calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report are implemented.

There are sadly going to be other findings along the way, and I think in order for us to have closure, in order for us to truly live up to the past and move forward, we need to support indigenous-led initiatives that will commemorate and remember, and that will ensure that the children are brought home. I send my heartfelt condolences to the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc people and I want to assure them that I, along with my colleagues in the House, will continue to work to support them and others in these efforts.

Just last week, I sadly attended another memorial, in London, Ontario, to pay respects to the Afzaal family. I was joined by members from all parties and leaders from across different levels of government, but most importantly the members of the Muslim community in London.

The Afzaal family were walking, like most of us have relearned to do over the past 18 months or so. They were going on an evening walk and they were sadly mowed down by a terrorist, by someone who espoused so much hate. I do not even know if I could fathom the level of hate this individual had to do this to this family, but more broadly, to attack us as Canadians. When we see an attack on one individual community or family, it really is an attack on all of us. It is an attack on the values that we espouse.

Sadly, it did not stop there. We know that incidents of Islamophobia have been on the rise exponentially over the past several days. We have seen incidents in Edmonton, as my friend from Edmonton Riverbend just referenced. We have seen daily microaggressions toward many friends, colleagues and others we may have worked with. This is a real moment for us to reflect on the level of hate speech, the level of hate propaganda on social media. We know that incidents of anti-Semitism are on the rise.

This is a moment for us to reflect and make sure that we do better and we collectively work together, that we do not use race and these differences as wedge issues, but rather as issues that we can all come together to fight against as a common good. I sincerely hope that we have turned the page in our Parliament where we can do that. I hope to work across the aisle with my friends opposite to do that.

On a very personal note, I must thank all those colleagues who are not going to be running again in the next election. Most importantly, I want to acknowledge and thank my good friend from Mississauga—Malton, the former minister of innovation, for his extraordinary guidance for me personally and the doors that he opened for me to ensure my success. I want to pay particular respect and thank him and his extraordinary family, Bram, Kirpa, Nanki, Poppa Bains and Momma Bains, for all they have done.

In his speech, he reflected on the issue of identity, on the issue of being Sikh and being able to practise his faith and live day to day as a Sikh with enormous and extraordinary challenges, and yet he has overcome so many and has led us in ways that I do not have time to describe here.

I do want to get to the budget, and I want to talk about something that has been very important for the people of Scarborough. Scarborough region used to be its own municipality prior to amalgamation with the broader city of Toronto. We have a population of roughly 630,000 people. We are represented by six parliamentarians; we call them the Scarborough caucus. We have set out since 2015 to prioritize one singular ask, which is additional support for transit.

The Scarborough region has not had any higher levels of transit built in a generation. The last project, the rapid transit, the LRT, is coming to an end in 2023. It is broken down. It is far past its best-before date, and it is fair to say that it is not serving the people of Scarborough.

In 2015, Scarborough Agincourt was represented by Arnold Chan. We got together and said we absolutely needed to make sure that we built higher orders of transit. At that time, the singular project that was in the pipeline, with almost a 10-year debate behind it, was the Scarborough subway extension. It was initially a three-stop subway. It became a four-stop subway, then a two-stop subway, and finally here we are today and we were recently able to announce a federal investment of $2.25 billion into a three-stop line, which will start construction before the end of the year, and we are hopeful that it will be constructed by 2030. That is the timeline that has been provided.

This is a game-changer. This is very important, and this is an important investment in the people of Scarborough, all the hard-working people. Scarborough had one of the most affected populations during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have had so many issues of riders, essential workers, going downtown in crammed buses and being affected disproportionately to the population. I believe this is a very important investment.

As much as this is important, this is not the end for us. Scarborough as a region will require additional supports in terms of infrastructure, and that is why this budget is so important, as it outlines a mechanism through the permanent public transit funding that would enable places like Scarborough to build. I am looking forward to supporting the construction of the Eglinton East LRT as the next project.

I look forward to the questions and answers today.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:50 a.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, we heard the hon. member reference the atrocities committed across these lands under the guise of residential schools and we know [Technical difficulty—Editor] from future generations from their lands. Near me, at Six Nations territory, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy council has called for a moratorium on all developments on disputed territories, and yet the government refuses to come back to the negotiating table with the hereditary chiefs.

When will the hon. member and his government finally get back to the table with the Haudenosaunee Confederacy council and honour the request for a moratorium on development?

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to note that the one thing I did not mention is that Bill C-15 passed through the Senate this week, which is the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It has clearly outlined many of the issues that my friend opposite talked about. The declaration offers us guidance regarding how we engage on a nation-to-nation basis with indigenous people. I know that, with respect to his particular concern, we will continue to work with all of the parties to come to a solution on the dispute that he referenced.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:50 a.m.
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Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Madam Speaker, I also heard the good words from our colleague from Alberta in response to a change of position regarding Motion No. 103. The very aggressive and quite frankly dangerous words that were shared around the time of that debate put a number of members of this Parliament in a very precarious place in their private life.

Right now I represent the oldest Chinatown in Toronto. The member represents some of the newer communities of the Chinese Canadian settlement, but the language around China has taken on a very similar tone to the language around Muslims in this Parliament. I know from talking to community leaders and individuals in my riding that anti-Asian hate crime is rising as China is singled out for a whole series of challenges. I wonder if my colleague could talk about the impact some of that rhetoric around China is having on Chinese Canadians in our communities.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, when we were developing the anti-racism strategy in 2019, we realized that racism has a different impact on different communities, and anti-Asian racism is one that has historically, whether through the head tax or other forms of indentured labour to bring people of Chinese origin into Canada to work, had a disparate impact on the Asian community. I know language is important and as we continuously and rightfully criticize China on a number of issues, we have to differentiate between the state and the people. I think that is sometimes lost here and I hope members will be much more careful with the language that is used.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, when it comes to Bill C-30, there are a lot of measures in it for Canadians that have to be passed in order to get us through the rest of this pandemic. I wonder if the parliamentary secretary can give his feedback on how important he thinks it is, now more than ever, to make sure this bill passes as quickly as possible.

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June 18th, 2021 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Gary Anandasangaree Liberal Scarborough—Rouge Park, ON

Madam Speaker, I think there is an urgency here, especially with respect to the supports to individuals and small businesses. I know many of the small businesses in my community are struggling. Although we are on the cusp of opening up in phases, they are really behind with respect to rent and other financial needs, so we really need to get this budget implementation act through in the next couple of days for this to have a meaningful impact on Canadians.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, I rise today to speak to Bill C-30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures.

Canadians have been hit very hard over the past year and a half because of the global pandemic, and many have lost jobs or had hours reduced. Some have had time off work to care for loved ones. Sectors, such as tourism and retail, have been hit especially hard.

After going years since the last budget, Canadians were hoping to see some leadership from the Liberal government, and perhaps a clear direction and a path forward as we move closer to putting the pandemic behind us. Instead, Canadians were presented with a budget that was big on promises and very low on substance. Instead of a concrete plan of investment, increased economic activity and a pathway toward economic recovery and reopening, Canadians were presented with a collection of the greatest hits of past Liberal promises, which have never been delivered on to this day. The government has been high on rhetoric and low on results. Canada has a great story to tell, and we should have a government that is willing to do the work to put Canada in a position to prosper as we transition out of the pandemic.

In the early weeks of the pandemic when Canadians were facing tremendous uncertainty, I took a drive through the beautiful riding of Tobique—Mactaquac in western New Brunswick. During the drive, I remember reflecting on what a difficult time Canadians were facing, some even more than others, and how many sectors were affected by the devastating effects of the pandemic. Some were fully shut down. Others were facing tremendous uncertainty. The headwinds of this unprecedented circumstance were truly overwhelming for many parts of the world, and Canada was no exception.

As I was driving through my riding that day in the spring of last year, something caught my eye, and it left a deep impression on me. I still reflect upon it to this day on occasion. I come from a large rural riding, a farming and agricultural riding, that plays a tremendous role in our local economy. Particularly, I come from potato-growing country. In fact, part of my riding is known as the french fry capital of the world, and I must confess that my physique sometimes portrays that. It is a bit of a weakness. We do have great potatoes, meat and beef in my riding.

This, in turn, drives many other sectors in our region, such as trucking and manufacturing, and our processing facilities. While much of our lives were shut down and despite the great uncertainty, fear and anxiety, some sectors kept going. even in the face of great uncertainty. They kept doing what they needed to do in the face of unprecedented obstacles.

What I observed that day last year left an imprint on me: I saw farmers once again, in the spring, going out into their fields to plant seed in the ground. They did not know what the market would be like and they were not sure about the demand, but they got up and went to sow seed into the soil. They kept doing what they knew they could do, and entrusted things they were not sure about to what would come and who could be trusted to take care of them.

Through faith, through hard work and through pure tenacity, many farmers in my region faced the headwinds of uncertainty head-on, and I drew inspiration from that. I thought that if the farmers can keep doing what they know is right to do in the face of uncertainty, all of us as Canadians can draw inspiration from that and keep doing the things we know are right to do, even though we are not sure what the ultimate outcome may be.

I am glad to report that in my region several sectors kept going. Truckers kept moving their goods, farmers kept planting their seeds and the processors kept processing. The demand for food has remained.

I think this has taught us all a significant lesson that we need to reflect upon: Now is the time for Canada to be positioned to take advantage of a post-COVID world. Now is the time for Canada to make the decisions that state clearly that we believe in ourselves and we believe in our potential as a country to move past COVID-19. This is a time when we can show the strength and fortitude that I saw in the producers, truckers and first responders of my region and that we have seen throughout this entire country. Now is the time to build with the future in mind. Rather than continually speaking to the perils and the overwhelming challenges that we face, let us as parliamentarians and as a collective body in the House speak to our potential as a country.

The world wants to do business with Canada. The world likes Canada and the world sees our potential, and I think often more than what we may see in ourselves. We need the leadership here at home to say that Canada can become even more than what it has ever been. Canada can be positioned to thrive and prosper for generations to come if we make decisions to prioritize Canadian industry, Canadian entrepreneurship, Canadian technology, Canadian resources and Canadian know-how. Our greatest asset is our people, and the more we can empower our people and allow them to do what they do best, the more Canada will be positioned to thrive, grow and prosper on the other side of the pandemic.

I speak with faith and optimism because of what I have witnessed at home and what I have heard from across the country: Canadians rose to the occasion in the face of great uncertainty. What we need now is a government that will respond in kind and say that it trusts Canadians to do what only Canadians can do and in a way that only Canadians can do it, that is, rise to face the challenges of this moment.

Today I stand before the House with a great deal of gratitude in my heart for what I have witnessed in people and what I see in Canadians. I also stand before the House with a challenge for each of us. We should draw inspiration from those we work with, those we have witnessed on the front lines and those who have kept doing tremendous things when they were facing overwhelming odds and obstacles. I feel we can even draw inspiration from our very own coat of arms, which says, “They desire a better country.” That is in our coat of arms.

In this post-COVID time when we move beyond the pandemic and get to the other side of it, why not desire an even better country to hand to future generations? Let us make decisions to invest in our people and entrust our people, and make the decisions we need in order to secure our future in a way that will make Canada sustainable for generations to come.

How do we do that? We do it by maximizing the areas that we do and know so well, whether it is in agriculture, where we grow some of the best and finest foods in the world; in energy, where we have the most environmentally regulated and sustainable energy resources in the world and where we treat ethically the people who produce and work in its sectors; or in our technological fields, which are advanced. We have amazing potential, and I am speaking to it today.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
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Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Madam Speaker, I do not want to get in the way of the member opposite's optimism. I think we all believe that this issue is critically important. However, I will note that yesterday, my family buried an uncle who passed away from COVID this week. His wife, who is even more frail that he was and is still in hospital, has not been told she has lost her husband. The contact tracing shows that COVID came through the health care workers in the family, who continue to battle on the front lines even though the vaccination rates are brilliant and we are leading in the G7 and the G20 on the first dose and are closing in on the second dose. All of these circumstances have to be dealt with, and I would really caution the member opposite not to speak as if the crisis is over, because in many, many communities it quite frankly is not over.

Since he spoke to the future and to the budget, I have one question for him. People tell us to invest in the people, invest in our sectors and invest in the economy. It is invest, invest, invest. However, all we hear from the Conservatives is cut, cut, cut. How do we invest and cut at the same time?

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his insight and perspective, but being wise, being good stewards, planning ahead and seeing around corners is the essence of leadership and good governance. We cannot just speak to where we are currently; we must speak to where we are heading. I find the current government puts too much emphasis on what is behind, what we have gone through already. We need to have the vision to see where we are going in order to traverse the uncertain waters we are in now. That takes away nothing from the horrific challenges that COVID has presented to the country, and is still having its effect on, but we must speak to the future.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech and for speaking at length about agriculture. I understand that he wants us to turn our attention to what comes after COVID-19, but I would like him to speak to what happened during the pandemic.

In question period today, I asked why support for mandatory quarantines was cut in half a few days ago when the war on COVID-19 is not over and our farmers need support.

I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about the general support provided to the agriculture and agri-food community during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the inadequacy of the emergency processing fund.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague's question is a good one as it relates to the inadequate support that we have found for those who literally grow our food and keep our land. Our agriculture producers are the backbone of our economy and are essential to our food security. If this pandemic has revealed anything, it is the absolute need to prioritize our agriculture and food supply chains.

The current government has not. In fact, it has put priorities on so many things, but the one sector that seems to have been overlooked in many cases are those who actually grow and supply and literally keep our land in this time; that being, our farmers and our agricultural sector.

I agree with the hon. member. This must be an ongoing priority for the government and we must do everything we can to ensure that our food supply chains are secure and that proper investment is made into agriculture.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:50 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, it is very clear to me that the member represents a rural riding like I do. Could the member speak to a motion I tabled in the House, Motion No. 53, which talks about an equitable and fair future. It talks about ensuring that resources are going out to rural and remote communities, especially as we know the climate is changing and the economy is changing and our resource-based economies need support to transition and change.

Does the member have any thoughts on that and would he support the motion I have tabled.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Richard Bragdon Conservative Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my hon. colleague for her passion for rural Canadians, and I share that passion.

We need to ensure that rural Canada remains and actually becomes a much greater priority for our governments. Our rural areas literally grow and produce so much of the food that we enjoy and require. Our rural areas oftentimes are the key manufacturers and developers of our natural resources. They are the ones that oftentimes house those who truck and ship our goods all over the world and throughout our continent. Our rural areas will be key in getting us to the other side of COVID-19.

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June 18th, 2021 / 2:55 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to begin my remarks on Bill C-30, the budget implementation act, with a solemn reflection of my time in the House.

When I first began, I had the opportunity to reply to the Speech from the Throne. At that point in time, we were all hopeful that in a minority government, we could work through in a way that would be of the greatest benefit to Canadians. Then, with the next Speech from the Throne after prorogation, I rose in this very spot and talked about the regret I felt, that we could have done better by Canadians in this time of crisis.

I want to take this moment of solemn reflection and centre the conversation back to the 25,000 people who have died from COVID in our country. We heard the remarks from the previous speaker about our agricultural sector. I want to note the recent passing of a migrant farm worker, someone who was left without the basic protections that most Canadians seem to take for granted. I want to think about the key question of what a budget implementation act is meant to do in a time of crisis, in this time of COVID. We have heard the term “unprecedented” time and again.

The last time I rose in the House, I talked about the opportunity we had before us and how, as New Democrats, we could fight for what could be in Canada and not what was. I wish I could suggest today that we have somehow found that dream, but I continue to point to the promises made, but not kept, by the Liberal government to the working-class people of the country. We know this crisis was not experienced equally.

During the pandemic, inequalities have increased. There was not an all-hands-on-deck approach. This has not been a team Canada approach. While everybody else was $200 away from insolvency, while 25,000 people perished, many of them living in deplorable conditions in long-term care facilities that had been privatized and carved out of our so-called universal health care, the ultra wealthy among us acquired close to $80 billion in wealth.

We have learned a lot about the Liberal government over the last few years. It talks a really good game and chases those headlines, but has no intention of delivering. Even elements of its own budget announcement have been left out of this budget implementation act. There is no wealth tax. There is no excess profits tax. The government talks about consultations, so it can report back to the House at a future date, and all the while the ultra-wealthy in the country continue to profit from the misery.

There is a choice to be made each and every time a budget is presented. It is ultimately a choice of which side one is on, that of the ultra-wealthy 1% or the rest of us. Since the beginning, people in my community of Hamilton Centre, noting the chuckles in the House from the Liberal side, are worried about whether they will be able to keep their job or pay rent. Let us forget about them ever being first-time homeowners. That dream is long gone for the people in my city, because the working-class wages have been suppressed. while the ultra-wealthy gained incredibly obscene amounts of money.

This crisis has revealed the fragility of the social safety nets we tout and for which we have so much pride, those measures that supposedly distinguish us from the rest of the world. The whole system has been set up on the backs of working-class people. We only have to look at the way the EI program, which had been raided by previous Liberal governments to balance the budget, completely fell apart and left out part-time workers and people who were self-employed. During this crisis, it was the workers who experienced the direct consequences of years of austerity and underfunding from successive Conservative and Liberal governments.

In this moment of historic crisis, when we stood here fighting for greater benefits for workers and pushing to ensure people had some kind of security, we heard people in the House bemoan the fact the average everyday Canadian may have received a meagre $2,000 a month. All the programs and social spending combined, at about $100 billion, pales in comparison to the $750 billion that was transferred to Bay Street and the big banks.

When were talking about a guaranteed livable income and about increasing CERB supports for people, I remember the hon. member for Winnipeg North asking “What are we going to do, click our heels to support Canadians?” The Liberals certainly did that for Bay Street. This represents the largest transfer of wealth from the general public, the working-class people, to the ultra-wealthy in the country. Main street was absolutely mugged by Bay Street.

We were fighting for workers and tried to find that balance. One of the mistakes made over the course of COVID was the fact that rather than ensure the direct supports for wage subsidies went directly for workers, we allowed it to go to businesses. The Liberals did it in such a way they knew had significant holes and gaps, loopholes almost as big as their tax haven scams. What did that result in?

There were $18 billion that went into oil and gas in 2020. Imperial Oil took $120 million in the Canada emergency wage subsidy, while paying out $324 million to its shareholders. Chartwell received $3 million and paid out 11 times that amount, $33 million, to its shareholders.

Yesterday, in debate, I recall one of the hon. members from the Liberal side tried to challenge the hon. member for Burnaby, suggesting somehow he was not doing enough as an individual to contribute to his community.

I put a question to the House, to all the members who are watching in the Canadian public. When I talk about the theft of corporate Canada from taxpayers in the country, the question is cui bono, who profited from that crime? Who in the House holds stocks and shares that may have been paid off the dividends and off the back of our Canada emergency wage subsidy?

Air Canada was given $6 billion, yet Greyhound leaves and the government does not see fit to support northern and rural communities by expanding government as a service, a national passenger bus transit strategy that would have ensured people had the ability to move around the country. We can look at the close to one billion dollars given to pharmaceutical companies. We have no preferable procurement. We are giving money away to the private sector and getting nothing in return.

Why do we not have in this moment, in this budget implementation act, the ability for us as a nation to procure our own life-saving vaccines? Because the government would rather kowtow to pharmaceutical companies, to allow them to set the agenda, the prices and the market, the global market.

Nobody is safe in the country until the entire world is safe. The government continues to tout how many vaccines it has taken in, while simultaneously taking from the COVAX facility. At the very same time, with absolutely zero moral authority, it blocked the patent waivers for which the international world is calling.

My city was just named a Delta variant hot spot this week. This budget does not deliver on the ability for us to adequately respond to how this could potentially have mutations and could potentially make all our vaccination efforts useless.

I want the Liberals to reflect on the things they have said over the last two years versus what they have actually delivered. At the end of the day, I want them to be accountable for all the people they have left out in this implementation act.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:05 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, this is the cute game that Liberals like to play. They know that we are here to fight for Canadians. We know the Melba toast efforts of the Liberals.

If we do not support this bill, we know that the meagre supports Canadians have would be cut in July. The Liberals like to play those games of half-measures. They would like Canadians to believe that they have been there fighting for them, when at the end of the day, I have people calling my office, every single day, concerned about what would happen when CRA begins to claw back some of the benefits that they are now being told they were not eligible for, that they had not successfully applied for.

When those critical services are cut back, that is going to have a ripple effect on OAS, the guaranteed income supplement. Mark my words, to MPs all around this House, their lower-income seniors will start calling. The Liberals, in their headlines, told everyone to just go ahead and apply, and on the good word of the government and senior members of government, they did so. Now it is going to be clawed back and people are going to be left with the tab, for some, in the tens of thousands of dollars.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:05 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, one of the things that Bill C-30 does not address, and it is a wide chasm, is the issue of those who fell through the cracks under previous iterations of some of the benefits.

I am speaking specifically about travel advisers and businesses that were started in 2020 that did not have access to many of the benefits that other businesses or other Canadians had. The fact is that the implementation bill neglects to address those issues and causes severe problems for those Canadians who otherwise did not qualify for these types of benefits.

Could the member comment on that?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:05 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, let us think about all the businesses that this hon. member just listed. They are small mom-and-pop entrepreneurs, people who are struggling to get by.

By design, the government programs left them out. They absolutely left them out. I brought it to the government's attention, that it needed to close the loopholes for the ultra wealthy and the big corporations that were soaking this country and then paying out CEO bonuses and dividends. Every single person on Main Street who is struggling to get by in the small business sector, when all is said and done, will hold the government to account in the next election.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:05 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, in a moment of candour, I personally do not think it was appropriate. I will say that on the record. At the same time, particularly those parties that were flush have to significantly account for it.

All of our efforts in this House should have been directed at everyday working-class Canadians.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for his very important and powerful speech in the House today.

I know that in my office I am getting a lot of calls from constituents who are hard-working people who cannot go back to work. Their jobs are simply not there. They do not know what they are going to do when the CERB goes down to $300 a week from $500 a week. What is most shameful is how these people are apologizing to the people who work in my office and saying they want me to know they are not trying to be a burden.

What does this do to people who work hard for our country?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, it was glaringly obvious from the outset that the government really only values people who it deemed were contributing directly to the economy in ways that left out people with disabilities and people who continue to fall through the cracks. That is apparent each and every day in the calls we get. If there is an MP in this House who denies the fact they are getting those calls, that is something they are going to have to answer for to their constituents in the next election.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, today we are debating Bill C‑30, but that does not mean much to the average person. This is a budget implementation bill.

It is interesting that we are talking about the budget and the budget implementation bill. It is 2021, and the government was elected in 2019, which means that the government took two years and a bit to finally present a budget. That is a problem. The COVID‑19 crisis started at the beginning of 2020, and it is still not over. It seems like the government took advantage of the crisis to avoid tabling a budget. This is a minority government, and it would normally have been held to account. Normally, the government would have had to try to work with the other parties, especially since it got even fewer votes than another opposition party.

A result like that on the heels of an election should be a wake-up call. The government should have understood that it might be a good idea to face the facts and that it would have to think carefully about its next moves and reach out to others. Unfortunately, it seems that [Technical difficulty—Editor].

Madam Speaker, I just realized that I had some technical issues.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, I seem to have gotten cut off for a moment. I think a member had their microphone on, and a meeting host put everyone on mute to turn the member's sound off. I think that probably put me and the Chair on mute. I could be wrong. I am not a tech expert, but that would be my guess.

What I was saying was that we would have expected the government, upon winning a minority, to make an effort to negotiate with the parties, to present a budget and to make concessions. Instead, it dragged things out and took advantage of the pandemic to avoid presenting a budget, to avoid being held accountable and to do whatever it wanted. Once the pandemic arrived, the government came to us with piecemeal legislation that we always had to vote on quickly. We then noticed all of the holes and all of the problems these programs had.

It is now June 2021 and we are hearing all kinds of rumours about a possible election. Meanwhile, we are still on this government's first budget. That speaks volumes. We agree that that is not much of a record, that it is not very impressive.

Let us also talk a little bit about the way this crisis was managed, the way we experienced it as parliamentarians and the way the population saw it. I am not sure that the Liberals were the great champions they sometimes claim to be.

In fact, when looking at the situation, we see that they took advantage of the crisis to try to give contracts to their friends. They arranged for a nice wage subsidy and included a special stipulation saying that political parties would be eligible. That is about it. They arranged things and no one seemed to be aware of it. However, at a certain point, we realized what was happening. We wondered how the Liberals could take advantage of the wage subsidy when their coffers were already full. It was the same for the other parties. The Bloc Québécois is the only party that refused to take advantage of the wage subsidy.

The Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, two political parties that are far from lacking in funds, took advantage of the pandemic to get rich and fill their coffers, at the expense of people who were in need and who needed the support of the government.

We will not stop reminding the House of this, even though the government may not like to hear it. We are going to repeat it because we know that the public is eventually going to have to vote and pass judgment.

We also saw a company being incorporated and, practically the very next day, magically receiving government contracts at prices that were frankly pretty high. First of all, the company did not manufacture equipment or respirators. Second, the people linked to this company were former Liberals.

We saw the WE Charity program brought in, again in a rush. The government claimed it did not have the expertise or staff to run a program. In the end, we realized that this charity had dubious practices. For example, it might get four or five different donors to fund the same project and just change the name on the plaque out front. We discovered that some people in the organization were particularly close to the Liberals and that the government was going to put the group in charge of distributing about $1 billion in grants for “paid volunteer work” without a competition and without consulting anyone. It is a weird story, and I think that many people had a hard time following the government's reasoning, the Liberals' reasoning. It is so hard to explain. We still have a hard time explaining it. The whole thing was called off when the parliamentary committees started looking into this infamous program, which seemed tailor-made for a group that had ties to the Liberals.

There were other problems that may not have bothered people in the rest of Canada very much, but that certainly bothered people in Quebec. In the middle of the health crisis, when people were a bit worried and stressed out, we sometimes wondered if we would be able to get all the products we needed. Some products on the shelves were dangerous and came with no instructions. Some products had no information on them.

In times of crisis, governments show their true colours, and we certainly saw the Canadian government's true colours. As it turns out, French is a frill for the Canadian government. It is a cute little language that the government likes to trot out from time to time to placate francophones whenever we make a fuss, but when the rubber hits the road, French gets tossed aside. That is exactly what happened with product labelling during the crisis.

We also found out how the federal government was managing its medical equipment. When the emergency supply warehouses were opened up, it turned out that the masks were past their expiry date, and lots of the gear in the federal stockpile was no longer usable. Panic ensued, and the government scrambled to bring in equipment from all over the world.

A similar fate befell our vaccine production capacity. We realized it had become all but impossible to make vaccines here. It is possible, but our capacity is greatly diminished. Why? Because Canada has chosen to outsource everything over the years, often at the expense of our local industries.

As I mentioned earlier, some programs had some deficiencies, like the CERB, which created disincentives to work. Many people decided to stay at home instead of going to work, even though there was a need on the ground.

The government decided not to close the borders, even though it was well known that the virus was entering from other countries. It did not come from within Canada. Some people were getting cheques to quarantine after going on holiday, while others had no access to any assistance.

The government felt sorry for the airlines. Yes, they needed help, but ordinary people were not getting refunds for their plane tickets. Their rights were completely violated.

On top of that, the government has taken to lecturing Quebec on how it has handled the crisis. After everything I just pointed out, in my opinion, that is the worst. There is nothing worse than a government that comes along and tells Quebec what to do in its areas of jurisdiction, that gives lessons on how Quebec should manage its health care system when it is incapable of managing its own jurisdictions.

I will conclude there.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for raising concerns related to the gaps in the programs for small business.

I would like ask him about something in respect to seniors. We have seen that many seniors were outraged that the government left out seniors aged 65 to 74 in its plan for a long overdue increase to old age security payments. We have seen seniors struggle through COVID-19.

As our colleague from Hamilton Mountain so eloquently articulated, the Liberals have now created junior seniors and senior seniors. It sounds absurd because it is absurd, but that is what we would have in our country if this government does not fix it in its budget bill. We would have a two-tiered senior system.

Does my colleague agree that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Seniors need to fix this, and do what is right, so we do not have a two-tiered system for seniors? Does he agree we need to give them the support they need so they are not using their savings? Seniors are getting by on very little, and they need this help right now.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague asked an excellent question.

The phone calls, emails and Facebook messages have been pouring in non-stop. For years, when I have been out speaking to people, both young and older retirees have been telling me that a 50¢ increase in their pension is ridiculous. They feel like they are being made fun of.

Seniors are very frustrated at being disrespected and mistreated by this federal government when they have contributed to society all their lives. It is insulting to receive a 50¢ increase as a result of indexing. That is a joke. What will 50¢ buy in 2021?

Every senior needs support, and the government should listen to them.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very interesting speech.

He showed us the many differences between Quebec and the Canadian provinces.

I know that my colleague has taken a great interest in agriculture, in particular the next generation of farmers. There are very few supports in this budget for the agriculture sector, which is so important. In particular, there is nothing for the Quebec model, which is different from the other provinces' models.

Can my colleague make some suggestions about how the budget could have better supported our farmers?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. She was not very specific, so I do not quite know how to answer. Unfortunately, it is difficult for me to answer at this point.

However, with regard to the agricultural model, I can say that, in the past, we were very disappointed to see the federal government sacrificing Quebec at every opportunity in matters involving international trade.

Quebec has an agricultural model that works. The COVID-19 crisis strengthened Quebec's resolve to promote local agriculture and family farms and to take another look at our vision of agriculture so that we can eat high-quality, locally produced food.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, one of the issues that people in my province have been speaking a lot about is the need for reforms to equalization, as well as to the fiscal stabilization program. Views may not be uniform across the country on that, but one thing on which there is agreement, and that all the premiers have called for, is lifting the cap on the fiscal stabilization program. Provinces agree that it is not reasonable to have a cap on the fiscal stabilization program in light of the nature and objectives of this program.

This is a call supported by premiers in the west and also by Premier Legault. I would like to hear if the Bloc supports this call from the premiers, including Premier Legault, to eliminate that cap as a basic fairness measure for the provinces.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his rather technical question. If I can provide him with a more general answer, I would say that some provinces are very frustrated and have a lot of demands related to the equalization problem, or equalization program, rather. Pardon my mistake.

These provinces would probably have fewer problems if they could raise taxes high enough to meet their financial needs. Often the problem results from the fact that a government makes tax cuts before realizing that it can no longer afford to pay for services. That might be the answer.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to rise to speak to Bill C-30, the budget implementation act.

The Liberals, after failing to deliver a budget for two years, finally got around to delivering one a few months ago. I have to say that the budget delivers. The only problem is that it delivers in all the wrong ways. The Liberals have delivered a historic deficit of $354 billion, the largest deficit in Canadian history, and the Liberals have delivered a mountain of debt, with the national debt projected to reach $1.4 trillion by the end of this year.

To put that staggering figure in some context, the Liberals have managed to nearly double the national debt in the span of less than two years. This Liberal budget delivers yet another near historic deficit for this year of $154.7 billion, with deficit after deficit projected year after year, and no plan whatsoever to see a return to a balanced budget.

The members of the government say, as one of the excuses that they peddle for the massive deficits and massive debt, that it is all about COVID, and that COVID has necessitated all of the spending, except that simply is not true. Indeed, when one looks at program spending for 2021-22 of $475.6 billion, only a little more than 10% of that is attributable to COVID. Speaking of $475.6 billion in program spending, that represents a 40.5% increase in spending from 2019-20 levels. That is right. It is a 40.5% increase in spending in two years under these Liberals.

In the face of this massive, reckless spending, to paraphrase the great late former U.S. president Ronald Reagan, one could accuse the government of spending like drunken sailors. However, as President Reagan would say that at least the drunken sailors were spending their own money. The same cannot be said for the government. Whose money are the Liberals spending? It turns out that a lot of what they are doing is printing money.

In an unprecedented manner, the Bank of Canada is buying the government's debt. There was a $354-billion deficit last year. Of that, the Bank of Canada bought over $300 billion, or over 80%. We have seen, in terms of the supply of money, an increase of some 20% over this past year alone. That represents an increase in the supply of money that we have not seen in this country since 1974, nearly 50 years ago.

There is a price to be paid for all of this borrowing and all of the spending, and we hear the excuses from the government. The Liberals' justification is to say that now is a better time than ever to borrow and spend because interest rates are low.

Interest rates will not always be low, and it must be said that the government does not entirely have control of interest rates. Market forces also help determine what interest rates will be. Putting that aside, there is a cost being borne by everyday, middle-class Canadians in inflation.

Indeed, the consumer price index for April saw an increase of 3.4%. That was its highest recording since September 2011. It was a 10-year record in the consumer price index, and it was broken one month later when it rose by 3.6%. That has hit Canadians hard in the wallet.

We have seen the costs of just about everything go up. Homeowners' replacement costs increased 11.3% from last year, representing the largest annual increase since 1987. Housing prices have skyrocketed 42% in the span of one year. We have seen gasoline prices increase by about 50% from last year.

Regarding essentials such as groceries, the Canada Food Price Report projects that the average family of four will pay $695 more in groceries this year compared with last year. That represents the largest projected increase in the cost of groceries since the report was first published, more than 10 years ago.

I know that for our silver-spoon Prime Minister and other Liberal elites, $695 is chump change. It means nothing to them. For everyday Canadians, at a time when 53% of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency, $695 can make the difference between putting food on the table and being able to stay in their homes.

For this budget, we have heard the finance minister talk so much about stimulus. By the way, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said it was totally miscalibrated. For all the talk about recovery, I say where are the jobs? There were 200,000 jobs lost in April and 68,000 jobs lost in May. Canada has the second-highest unemployment rate in the G7, and the sixth-highest unemployment rate out of 37 countries in the OECD.

For a government that has spent so much, it has failed to deliver as Canadians fall farther and farther behind. This is a failed budget from a failed Liberal government.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:35 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, let me thank the official opposition and their partners for allowing us to debate this particular bill. It is an important piece of legislation, so I appreciate the opportunity to speak to it and ask questions today.

To my friend across the way, does he not see the hypocrisy of some Conservative members saying we need to spend more money in certain areas, in particular on support packages that will cost additional hundreds of millions of dollars, when on the other hand the Conservative right is saying they do not want us spending as much money?

How does he balance what appears to many to be hypocrisy?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, we have a government that has spent a lot of money, but has not targeted the dollars to help Canadians. The member for Barrie—Innisfil posed a question earlier today about new businesses that have been completely shut out of the government's COVID supports. While small businesses and new businesses were struggling, however, the government had no trouble rewarding Liberal insiders like the Kielburger brothers and the WE organization. I reject the premise of the hon. member's question.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:35 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I agree that a lot of folks across the country are really worried about their futures. My concern is that during this time, Canada's richest folks, the ultrarich, have increased their wealth substantially. I am very concerned that neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals seem to be interested in making sure that the richest Canadians pay their fair share. They do not need to pay more: just their fair share, because they are paying significantly less in taxes than everyday hard-working Canadians.

I am wondering this. Could the member explain why his party refuses to make sure that the richest pay their fair share?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, with respect to the hon. member for North Island—Powell River, we on this side of the House have been fighting for everyday Canadians, unlike the Liberal government whose policies have benefited some of the very wealthiest Canadians.

What I entirely reject are the efforts on the part of the NDP to redistribute wealth, increase taxes massively and undermine Canada's competitiveness at a time when we are already lagging.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:40 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I too would like to reiterate that we need to help businesses that are starting up that needed help and did not get it. Lots of Canadians did not get help in this situation. However, we have also seen CEOs take advantage of this situation and shareholders have been paid huge bonuses.

Does the hon. member think it is fair that there is pandemic profiteering by the big banks and large corporations when so many small businesses and working people are struggling?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michael Cooper Conservative St. Albert—Edmonton, AB

Madam Speaker, no, I do not believe it is fair. We saw one example of that with Air Canada. We need to help Canadians get through this very difficult time, and the best way to do that right now is to move forward with a plan to reopen the economy so that Canadians can get working again and Canada can recover. That was entirely lacking in this budget.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, it is with joy that I enter the debate here on a Friday afternoon to talk about Bill C-30.

There is a lot in this more than 700-page budget that we could go over. One of the things we noticed in this 700-page budget document is that it does not include the words “balanced budget” once. Out of 700 pages, there is no plan to return to balance. There is no plan to actually stop stockpiling debt onto future generations of Canadians. That is where I want to start my presentation today, talking about the next generations of Canadians, what this budget would actually do and how it would set up their life.

There was a column, written by Franco Terrazzano, of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Kris Rondolo, who is the executive director of Generation Screwed. That is how the next generation is starting to feel right now. In this column, they wrote, “Canadian babies born on federal budget day 2021 had more than $28,000 of debt the moment they opened their eyes.”

I saw today that my friend and colleague from Battle River—Crowfoot had his seven-day-old son, Winston, on the screen today. I am sorry to tell Winston that he already owes the government $28,000 as of today. What will that look like in a couple of years? By the time these little ones are blowing out the candles on their fifth birthday, Ottawa projects their share of the federal debt will be $35,000. That will be for every baby who was born on budget day this year.

That is something we really need to start considering when we talk about budgets and bills like Bill C-30, and what we are doing to the next generation of Canadians.

It is important to know why the debt is soaring. The pandemic caused government revenues to drop by 11% in 2020, but there is a bigger story. Ottawa's spending, and let us remember that revenue dropped by 11%, has increased 75%. Let us take that 75% increase in Ottawa's spending into consideration.

Even worse, the Prime Minister and finance minister are using the COVID-19 pandemic as a cover to increase government spending for the years to come. By 2026, the federal government is planning to permanently hike government spending by $100 billion more than pre-pandemic.

Where would we get the revenue from? I have often said to the people in Regina—Lewvan that the government does not make money, government only has the ability to take money, through taxes, from businesses and Canadians who have made it. That means that in 2026, the Government of Canada will be spending over $100 billion more than pre-pandemic levels. That money has to come from somewhere, and we all know where the government is looking to get some of that money.

It would be out Canadians' pockets, whether it be through a $170 carbon tax, income tax or a tax on permanent residents. We know the CMHC has been looking at that. We talked about in the 2019 campaign. Everyone said that is was ridiculous and that it would never happen. However, the Liberal government has spent a lot of money to look at how it could take money from Canadians.

Let us look at a few more numbers. On a year-to-year basis, the federal government spends $20 billion on debt interest charges each year. The provinces spend nearly $30 billion. By 2026, annual interest charges on the federal debt will nearly double to $39 billion. To put that in perspective, the finance minister's big announcement on a national child care program was that it was planning to spend $30 billion on day care over the next five years.

It would be $30 billion for a national child care program. How much would the federal government spend on debt payment in the next five years? It would be $153 billion in debt interest. The government is going to spend $30 billion on child care, and that was a big, trumpeted, top platform policy, something it was finally going to get done, yet over five years, it would be spending $30 billion on day care and $153 billion on the debt.

There is a lot of spending in this budget. It is 700 pages and there are programs that are going to have to be rolled out. We do not question the Liberal government's ability to spend money. I am sure the Prime Minister and the finance minister are very good at spending money. What we question is where their priorities lie for spending this money.

As my colleague before me asked, where is the job creation in this? When are people going back to work? Where is the plan for people to start earning paycheques instead of receiving government cheques? That is what we on this side are asking. Despite the size of this budget and the long wait, because we waited two years for it, there is still no plan for Canadians to return to normal life. That is what I have been hearing. I had time to do a lot of Zoom calls in my riding and I spoke with Tracy Fahlman of the Regina Hotel Association. She said that her stakeholder groups and the members of the association know they need help to get by, but they want to know when they will be able to welcome clients back through their doors and start making money again. They do not want to be on government programs for years to come; they want to start living their lives, earn their money, have their employees come back to work and get their businesses up and running again. That is what Canadians are looking for in this budget, but what is sorely missing is the lack of a plan to create jobs for Canadians.

Another thing we talked about in this budget is the ability to secure the future for the next generation. We are really looking forward to having this conversation, because I believe the government is really fired up to get ready for a campaign this fall, so we are looking forward to contrasting its lack of a vision with our five-point plan to secure the future for Canadians and recover those million jobs that were lost. The member for Carleton brings that up often in question period. By the end of this month, in the government's detailed department plan, it is supposed to recover all jobs lost due to the pandemic. However, the members on that side do not want to answer if they will fulfill that promise they made to recover the million jobs lost due to COVID‑19. That is the question that Canadians want answered. It is in the detailed department plan of the Minister of Finance, so why can the Liberals not tell us if they are going to reach that goal? It is a simple question that requires a simple answer: yes or no. However, again today no one on that side wanted to answer that question in question period.

I have often stood in this House and talked about the independent travel agents who have really been forgotten by the government. I tabled a petition on behalf of travel agents across Regina—Lewvan who are asking why, if the government has enough money for big bailouts for Air Canada, which can give $10 million to its executives, there is no money being paid to the independent travel agents who have been without income and unable to collect revenues for almost a year. The government is failing average, everyday Canadians. They been left behind by the government's plan and budget.

Another thing we looked for in the budget was support for pipelines. I do not think they are mentioned in this budget at all, not with respect to the oil and gas sector, so I brought that up several times. They really need some support. We need to fight to make sure that Line 5 does not get shut down. The government gave up on Keystone XL, because we know the members on that side of the House do not like the energy sector. The Prime Minister himself said he wants to phase out the oil sector across western Canada. Ironically, that might be the only promise he ends up keeping for western Canadians, to continue to phase out the oil sector where the hard-working men and women in my riding and across western Canada go to work every day.

I am happy to put on the record that the people of Regina—Lewvan did not vote for a Liberal government and that is why I will not be supporting this budget.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. We do not often agree, but it is a pleasure to work with him, especially in committee.

I really like the part of the Conservatives' discourse on effective spending and the need to target the right people. My colleague spoke of big companies that sought out financial aid, while small businesses, especially travel agencies, did not receive adequate support.

I would like to know my colleague's opinion on the Canada emergency wage subsidy. What does he think about the fact that political parties benefited from this support, while the small businesses it was originally intended for could not benefit from it? What does he think of the amounts his party received from the wage subsidy, and does he think that money should be paid back?

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, the member is correct. I do enjoy working with him on the agriculture committee, and that is why I was very proud of our leader when he said that we would stop receiving the wage subsidy immediately when he became leader and that we would pay it back slowly.

That is what Conservatives believe in. We put our money where our mouth is. I am not sure if the Liberal Party is going to buck up and pay the money back that they got from the wage subsidy, but Conservatives believe that money should be paid back. That is why I was proud to support the member for Durham when he made that announcement during his leadership race.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, the member in his intervention spoke quite a bit about debt and deficit, and this country's position with respect to that. If he is so incredibly passionate about ensuring the deficit is eliminated, can he explain to this House why his own party, in its platform, says that it is only committing to balancing the budget within 10 years? The Conservatives are saying it will take 10 years to balance it.

Why is that? If he is so committed to it—

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, I can tell this member is a little sheepish right now because he did not realize that, during the debate on Bill S-204, the Liberals were filibustering their own budget bill. If they actually had knowledge of the parliamentary process, they would have realized that passing that bill unanimously would have let us vote on their budget bill this afternoon, but they are so incompetent, they did not realize they were filibustering their own budget bill.

It is really unbelievable.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. friend and colleague for the shout-out and comment on how troubling the debt level is that exists for new Canadians. I am very happy to have celebrated the birth of my third son, Winston, so I appreciate that context for what we are debating here today.

However, I want to ask specifically about how troubling the rhetoric coming from the Liberal side is. We saw an example of that here just a moment ago. Somehow, Liberals are blaming Conservatives for their own unbelievable mismanagement of COVID, the economy and the legislative agenda. I wonder if the member for Regina—Lewvan has further comments on that.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Warren Steinley Conservative Regina—Lewvan, SK

Madam Speaker, that is a very tough, but fair, comment.

I really think that everyone in this chamber is honourable, but the government may be angling for a fall election. They are going to try to say that we are uncooperative and that they cannot get their budget passed, which is their own fault because we could have voted on it this afternoon if they were really good at handling their legislative agenda. Sometimes we should not attribute to malice what can be attributed to incompetence.

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June 18th, 2021 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his excellent speech.

It is now my turn to rise to speak to Bill C-30, the budget implementation act, 2021. This budget looks nothing like any other budget in Canadian history. Before I comment on Bill C‑30, I want to talk about an unacceptable situation in my riding that the government is responsible for.

For years, the federal and provincial governments benefited greatly from the asbestos mines in the Appalaches RCM. Then the Liberal government shut down mining operations in the area. We can live with that. It was bound to happen. We can live with the mine tailings left by more than 100 years of mining operations. We can live with that, because we have turned things around. We have diversified our economy. I am very proud of my constituents' entrepreneurial spirit. They have transformed our mining town into a burgeoning town filled with robust small businesses. We can live with the fact that asbestos is still all around us. Asbestos is a natural fibre found in the ground, and closing the mines did not change the local geology. The asbestos was there long before us, and it will be there long after we are gone.

What I refuse to accept is Environment Canada's latest fearmongering campaign. Environment Canada put an ad in our local paper that says, “If you are using mining residues containing asbestos in your landscaping you could be putting yourself, your family and your neighbours at risk.” The hook reads, “DID YOU KNOW THAT breathing in asbestos fibres can cause life-threatening diseases?”

The answer to that question is yes. Used improperly, as was the case for years, asbestos can cause life-threatening diseases. It is ridiculous to tell people to be careful, because the fact is, their environment is dangerous. The government cannot just tell our people that their lives are in danger and then proceed to do nothing.

In 2018, I asked the Prime Minister to help our people rehabilitate mine lands and fix 100 years' worth of mining mistakes. The only answer I got was that my request had been forwarded to the Minister of Natural Resources. I have heard nothing more since, nothing at all. Then this inappropriate, inexcusable and unacceptable ad was printed in the local paper.

The people of our RCM are being asked to assume the full costs of the environmental clean-up needed after 100 years of asbestos mining, and to do so quickly. They are being told that if this is not done, their lives will be at risk.

What is in the budget to help the people in my region? What is in the budget to help maintain economic diversification in my region? What is in the budget to protect people in regions that produce asbestos? There is nothing, other than an advertising budget, which Environment Canada is using to scare people without providing any real solutions.

It may not look all that exciting, but this is a small town in Quebec that is doing its best to emerge from the asbestos producing era and has diversified its economy. Its people are proud to live there.

The government is not offering any solutions. Time is running out. I wrote to the Prime Minister, to the Minister of Environment and to several offices last week. I did not even receive an acknowledgement of receipt.

Governments are responsible for those 100 years of asbestos mining in my region. I expect the Liberal government to take responsibility and provide the means to ensure the safety and prosperity of our people.

Thetford Mines is like a town in a mine, it is like an oasis in the desert. The government cannot turn a blind eye to this reality and it must immediately end the fear campaign initiated by Environment Canada. It must grant my request to create a rehabilitation fund, and it must assume and accept its responsibilities for the 100 years of asbestos mining in Thetford Mines, in Asbestos and in every mining town in the country where there was asbestos.

Unfortunately for us, it seems that the government is completely disconnected from reality, the reality of regions like mine and the reality of the majority of Canadians.

This budget is historic, but for all the wrong reasons.

This week, we saw one of the negative effects of the Liberals' budget. The inflation rate hit 3.6%, the highest level in a decade.

Statistics Canada reported that costs are rising in all areas: housing, vehicles, food, energy, consumer goods and others. Housing costs increased by 4.2% by May, the fastest increase since 2008. The cost of gas increased 43%, the cost of vehicles rose by 5%. Prices rose by 3.2% in just a few months. Everything is going up, including furniture and accommodation costs. However, Canadians do not have more money.

The leader of the official opposition, the member for Durham, summed up the situation quite well in a speech earlier this week, and I quote:

Today's inflation numbers show the damage [the Prime Minister's] risky deficits and trillion-dollar debt are causing Canadians.

...

From housing to post-secondary education, transportation, and groceries, [the Prime Minister] has made life more expensive for average Canadians who are exhausted and want life to return to normal.

It is clear that this government's spending habits will only make life more difficult and more expensive for Canadians.

What does that debt look like? All told, the Liberals increased Canada's spending from $363 billion before the pandemic to about $500 billion for this year alone, and the deficit from $155 billion to a staggering $354 billion. After all of this government's spending promises, our national debt is going to hit the $1.5-trillion mark, a number that we are going to be hearing more and more in the House, a number that we never used before but that will now become a regular part of our vocabulary.

Canadians, my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be paying off this debt for generations. The risk of a rise in inflation is currently weighing heavily on people's shoulders because interest rates are going to go up. That means that this budget will be a real problem for all generations of Canadians.

Before I wrap things up, I want to stress that there are two absolutely unacceptable things in this budget.

The first is the government's decision to divide seniors into two categories: younger seniors aged 65 to 74 and older seniors 75 and up. There is absolutely nothing in this budget for younger seniors. In contrast, older seniors, those who will be 75 before July of next year, will be getting a $500 cheque a few weeks before a possible election call this fall.

The government has a lot of nerve if it thinks it is okay to give money to one group of seniors and completely ignore other seniors who, because of inflation, will have to pay higher prices for gas, food and all the other things I mentioned before. The government projects this image of being such a hero for seniors, yet it thinks this is okay. What a crock.

The second item I wanted to highlight is increasing EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 26 weeks. The House wanted these payments to go up to at least 50 weeks. For its part, our party is asking for 52 weeks. However, the government is not listening and will only increase the payment period to 26 weeks, and only as of next year.

What will happen to all the cancer cases diagnosed between now and then? What will happen to all the people who become sick before the date the change comes into effect and who will not be able to receive benefits because the government decided that the change should only come into effect next year?

It makes no sense. The government is completely out of touch. I am asking that it put both feet back on the ground. Therefore, it will come as no surprise that I should vote against such a budget, which divides and which will put generations upon generations of Canadians into debt, while doing absolutely nothing to protect our future or create jobs.

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague, who I have great respect for, for his speech today. One of the things that has not come up with Bill C-30 is the fact that it is an omnibus bill and it makes consequential changes to other acts including the Judges Act, the Elections Act and many other changes as well. This is coming from a government that ran in 2015, on the premise and the promise to Canadians that the Liberals were not going to impose omnibus bills.

Could the member comment on that and the other pattern of deceit on the part of the government?

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague is absolutely right. This is not the first time that the government has deceived us. Saying something and not following through seems to be their governing style now.

I was first elected in 2015, and I have a vivid memory of the Prime Minister telling us that interest rates were low and that they were going to run teeny-tiny deficits. The $10 billion was supposed to decrease until the budget was balanced.

It did not take long to go from teeny-tiny deficits in one budget to massive ones in the next, and this was even before the pandemic. The deficits are even bigger now, as our national debt is going to hit $1.5 trillion.

No, I do not believe a single word this government has to say about projections and budgets.

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:05 p.m.
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Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency)

Madam Speaker, you are doing an excellent job as always.

The member always speaks very well. I have to correct the last intervention though. The budget implementation act is an exception. It is always an omnibus bill because it always deals with a whole bunch of departments.

It was interesting how parts of the member's speech asked for all sorts of expenditures and then the other half complained about all the expenditures. I wonder if he could tell us what significant amounts of money to reduce the debt he is talking about and the expenditures he is complaining about.

The second item I would like to ask him is about the recovery benefit, the wage benefit and the rent subsidy all running out in 12 days. A lot of businesses in Quebec are going to be hurt. Will he vote for the budget to support them?

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, we have asked this government repeatedly to take action for small businesses in the tourism industry and others that have been completely overlooked. It has not done so. This government is now claiming that we are opposing measures that should have been implemented a long time ago.

The Liberals are in charge of their own legislative calendar, yet almost two years after the election, here we are at the eleventh hour, being asked to pass this government's first budget since the election. It is totally unacceptable. The Liberals are incapable of managing finances, and they are incapable of managing the House.

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Mégantic—L'Érable. Both of our ridings cover part of the Eastern Townships.

My colleague began his speech by talking about natural resources. Is he aware of the new Goldboro project that would cut through part of the Eastern Townships?

Does he believe that we should be building a new pipeline now, in 2021, or should we be looking for green alternatives for a green recovery? Does he think this project is a good idea?

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague from Shefford.

I would like to remind her that she is directing a question like that to the member who represents the people of Lac‑Mégantic, who witnessed a terrible tragedy in their community resulting from the transportation of heavy oil by rail, costing the lives of 47 people.

In response to the question about whether we should use safer alternatives to transport hazardous materials and oil, I would say yes. What is more, I will support any initiative that phases out the transportation of oil and hazardous materials by rail and uses pipelines instead.

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June 18th, 2021 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, if people are tired of working hard and getting nowhere, while watching others who contribute next to nothing get fabulously wealthy, then they should stop whatever they are doing. I am about to tell them five easy tricks that will allow them to get fabulously rich in today's Liberal economy, while contributing less than everyone else.

I know people are skeptical. In today's modern, progressive, altruistic, state-controlled era there is no such thing as greed and profit anymore. Let me quote Liberal luminary Mark Carney, who recently said:

The state embodies collective ideals such as equality of opportunity, liberty, fairness, solidarity and sustainability.

In this collective state, of course, there is no greed and, of course, no one wants to get rich and no one can, except for using these five tricks, so tune in and listen carefully.

Quick trick number one: Apply for a grant claiming it will be used to pay workers, when in fact it will be used to fund CEO bonuses, dividends and share buybacks. Air Canada, for example, used this trick to pay $10 million to its executives.

I can quote The Globe and Mail about the wage subsidy. Remember how the wage subsidy was supposed to be for companies that were so poor they could not pay their workers' wages? Here is what The Globe and Mail said about that:

In some cases, companies have yet to lay off workers, increase shareholder dividends and distribute bonuses despite collecting hundreds of millions of dollars in government money. In the wealth management industry, The Globe found that at least 80 asset managers, including some of the top performing hedge funds of 2020, received the grant.

The rich are always very good at getting money. In fact, remember all of those cash payments that were supposed to be for families in need? The top fifth of households got, on average, $6,700. The poorest households got $4,000, so the rich got almost two-thirds more than the poor, even though the poor are the ones who lost their jobs. People should be rich and apply for government money, then use their connections, consultants and accountants to maximize their take. That is trick number one.

Trick number two: Offer the Prime Minister's cabinet and family fees, expenses and luxurious trips. For example, the Kielburger brothers gave vacations, expenses and fees to the Prime Minister's team worth about half a million dollars. For that they got a half-a-billion dollar grant. Then the Aga Khan gave the Prime Minister a quarter-of-a-million dollar vacation, and he got a $15 million grant. These kinds of returns on investment would make Warren Buffett blush. A pro tip: People must have connections in the RCMP because, of course, much of this is illegal and even criminal, and they might get charged without having friends in law enforcement.

Get-rich-quick trick number three: When central banks are throwing money out the window, stand next to the window. That is what the financial institutions have been doing. The Bank of Canada has created $3 billion and has used it to buy government debt. This is debt that the government sells to the banks on a Monday, and the Bank of Canada buys it back on a Tuesday, only at a higher price and at a profit to the financial institution. The trick here is also to own a mansion, gold, land, stocks or bonds, all of which will be inflated in value, increasing people's net worth. This trick worked for Canada's 20 wealthiest Canadians who, in the first six months of this money-printing scheme saw their net worth rise by a staggering 32%, while our waitresses, airline stewardesses and small businesses got clobbered and $100 billion vanished from our economy. Somehow, the very rich with all of their assets managed to get richer still. The lesson is the next time the government is printing money, start off by being rich, because then people can be richer still. When the Bank of Canada is printing money and throwing it out the window, stand next to the window.

Get-rich-quick trick number four: Get into one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada. Yes, the economy is collapsing, but there are two industries that are on fire. The first is to become a consultant for the government. Since this Prime Minister took office, the federal government consulting budget has grown from $8 billion to $16 billion. For those Liberals over there who are missing their calculators, that is a 100% increase. People can get in on some of that cash.

These are the kinds of jobs people can do these days, working from their living room, in their pyjamas, on Zoom: consulting; writing, for example, presentations that nobody ever sees; making up buzzwords that nobody even understands; doing PowerPoint presentations that no one will ever look at. It is 100% growth, and they can get in on some of that $16 billion too.

Get-rich-quick trick number five is the fastest-growing industry in Canada, in fact, faster than the consultants. This industry is lobbying. Under the previous Harper government, there were 9,300 lobbying interactions in 2015. Last year, there were 28,000, a 200% increase in paid lobbying interactions.

What is a lobbyist? People have heard of stockbrokers, real estate brokers and insurance brokers. A lobbyist is a power broker. For the most part, it is someone whom people can hire. They can pay them and turn their money into power and that power into even more money. If people want a loan, a grant, a handout, a regulatory protection or some other political favour to get rich, they hire a lobbyist.

This industry is on fire for a very specific reason. Why? Because it is a product of government. The bigger a government gets, the more lobbyists it needs. Therefore, as government has almost doubled in size over the last five years, so too has the lobbying industry grown. Why? Because businesses want a return on investment. If there is money in software, they invest in technology; money in copper, they invest in mining; money in government, they invest in lobbying. The correlation between lobbying and government spending is almost a perfect match, not just here but also in the United States. As the government in Washington grosses a share of the GDP, so too does the amount corporations spend on lobbying that government.

They go where the money is, and you should too, Madam Speaker. That is why I am letting you in on these five secret tricks. I am not asking for anything in return, except from time to time you might let me speak a bit more than otherwise would be allow. That is a small price to pay for the kind of big money you are going to be making with these five easy tricks that I am sharing here and now.

How does any of this make sense? We were told by Mark Carney that greed would be gone. We just needed to replace that nasty free market economy, which is motivated only by self-interest, with the altruistic power of the state. What, in fact, is the state? The state is just legalized force. It is the only entity that can apply force. Would they not think that someone who is greedy and self-interested would be less greedy and self-interested if they were acting through a creature that operates by power and force? It means that socialists have been trying to teach us for all these years that if we expand the power of the state, all of a sudden we will bring out altruism, that the weak and the poor will be advantaged. In what relationship of force have the weak and poor ever been advantaged? Of course, the weak and poor are disadvantaged and the powerful and strong get ahead when force is applied.

We know that the same base instincts will exist when the state gets big. As Macaulay wrote:

Where'er ye shed the honey, the buzzing flies will crowd;
Where'er ye fling the carrion, the raven's croak is loud;
Where'er down Tiber garbage floats, the greedy pike ye see;
And wheresoe'er such lord is found, such client still will be.

I notice how he used flies and honey, not bees and honey. Why? Because flies do not make honey. They consume it without producing it. They are the same parasitical creatures that those who get rich off the state are. They do not produce anything. They do not contribute anything. They take without making. If they were bees, they would be contributing. A free market economy is sort of like bees. They cross-pollinate, an aspect of trade and exchange that we see between a customer and a small business, between a worker and an employer, between an investor and an entrepreneur.

That voluntary exchange is coming back, and that is why my five tricks are a limited-time offer. Soon, this state-run economy will be eliminated and replaced with a free enterprise system where everyone will go back to getting ahead by helping others and by improving their country by engaging the voluntary exchange of work for wages, product for payment and investment for interest, a system that makes everybody better off; a system where people have to be truly empathetic because, as entrepreneurs, they cannot improve their own lot unless they sell something to somebody that they want to buy, in other words, unless they make someone else's life better off.

That is the way people will get rich in the future, but for the time being, they have my five quick tricks for getting rich.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I did not accuse the RCMP of criminal activity; I accused the Prime Minister of criminal activity. It is a criminal offence to accept a gift or benefit from any person with whom one is doing government business. It is right there in the Criminal Code.

In fact, we complained to the RCMP about this, and the RCMP did not say that the Prime Minister was innocent of the crime; it said that it could not “productively pursue” the investigation. We still do not know what that means, but at some point perhaps the commissioner of the RCMP will explain why it is that she could not “productively pursue” an investigation into the Prime Minister for taking a quarter-million-dollar vacation from someone who was seeking and was given a federal government grant.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, the member heard my colleague for Windsor West speak earlier today about a proposal for an inclusive, safe border task force to find solutions and to give stakeholders and the public confidence to open up the border, but we heard the government today extend that closure until July 21.

Now, many businesses that cater to international tourism, especially indigenous businesses in the north, have been asking for the wage subsidy and the rent assistance program to be extended into next spring. However, we have not heard the Conservatives call for this support, which is critical to the tourism sector and the hospitality industry.

Do the Conservatives support those small businesses that are going to have another summer go by when they are not going to have international visitors and will end up closing up their doors permanently if they do not get these critical supports extended? Do the Conservatives support extending those programs and providing them the support they need to get through the next year?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, of course we support small business. We have fought for small business from the very beginning of this crisis, and we will continue to fight for small business, but I would add that the solution is to accelerate the safe reopening of our economy so that those businesses can get their customers back. What they want is customer sales, not permanent dependence on government. They know the government cannot pay the bills forever. What they need is their customers back, and for that to happen, we need to safely reopen the economy as quickly as possible.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Carleton for all his optimism and his five points.

I come from Oshawa, which has a big manufacturing background, and I have been hearing about the Liberals shutting down our manufacturing sector, our softwood lumber sector, our mining sector, and the member knows, of course, that Mr. Carney wants to promote Russian pipelines and block Canadian pipelines.

Could the member please explain to Canadian youth who are looking for a good future how modern monetary theory is going to help them get those jobs of the future and how, by 2030, when they own nothing, they will be really happy?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, this is a great question.

First of all, MMT, as they call modern monetary theory, can also stand for “more money today” or “magic money tree”. It is this new theory where governments will simply print cash. The central bank creates the cash, sends it over in a Brink's truck every day to the Prime Minister's Office, and he just starts throwing the money around.

What we have now is a little bit different. To start with, we do not have a direct sale of debt to the bank. It first gets funnelled through the financial sector in Canada so that it can take a cut and get even richer before that newly printed cash trickles down to the people at the bottom. However, the bottom line is that what we have today is very similar to MMT. It is printing mass sums of cash, which inflates the assets of the rich and raises the consumer prices of the poor. It is a massive new inflation tax that will only help big government, big business and the super-rich at the expense of the working class. That is why we are speaking out against it.

As for Mr. Carney, the member is right. He is part of the World Economic Forum, which the finance minister joins, which says that in 2030, only nine years from now, we will own nothing and we will love it. That is the agenda of these people. Maybe that is why, over the last year, they have done everything in their power to make housing completely unaffordable so that nobody can afford it except them, a small group of landed aristocrats, while the common people are out in the field doing the work. We on this side want to democratize property ownership and make it available to everybody.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 18th, 2021 / 4:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I am honoured to have these two minutes and 30 seconds to close out this week's debates in the House.

To speak to Bill C-30 would take several hours. In the short time I have today, I will focus on the implementation of the budget. Will this budget meet the needs of individuals, people who are sick, seniors and workers? Will it meet the needs of our most vulnerable? Unfortunately, I have to say no.

The Bloc Québécois opposed the budget from the moment it was presented. There were two elements that we saw as essential in a budget that we had been waiting for for two years and that followed a health crisis and major pandemic. If there was one response that Quebec and the provinces needed, it was to be given the necessary resources to properly care for people, by increasing federal health transfers to 35% of total health spending.

As spokesperson for workers, I must tell the government that, by not doing what was expected, it is abandoning the workers who supported the health care system and treated people. What health care workers need is the knowledge that the federal government is not ignoring them and that it will stop politicizing the issue of health care at their expense.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:05 p.m.
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Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mona Fortier LiberalMinister of Middle Class Prosperity and Associate Minister of Finance

Motion

moved:

That in relation to Bill C‑30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, not more than five further hours shall be allotted to the consideration of the report stage and five hours shall be allotted to the consideration at third reading stage of the said bill; and

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

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, unfortunately, for the second time in only a few days, the government will shut down debate to keep parliamentarians, the elected representatives of the people, from doing their job and participating in a fair and balanced debate where every point of view can be properly heard. Once again, as it did with Bill C‑10, the government is shutting down debate on Bill C‑30, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget.

It is never a win for Canadians when the government does this. Unfortunately, it has done this twice: last week on Bill C-10, which is an attack on freedom of speech; and today, on a main issue of the government, which is the debate on the budget.

Why did the government not do its homework?

Why did it not let us debate Bill C-30 when required? Why did the Minister of Finance move an amendment last week in the House when she very well could have done so at the parliamentary committee?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Madam Speaker, I would remind all members that we have already spent 22 hours in the House and 40 hours in committee debating this bill. We listened to 160 speeches on this bill in the House, and the committees heard from 132 witnesses.

I would also like to remind all members of the House that it is now June 14. This bill is absolutely necessary for Canadians, for the economic recovery, for the Canada emergency wage subsidy, for the Canada emergency rent subsidy and for the Canada recovery benefit. All these measures are in this bill.

I do not understand why the Conservatives think this partisan squabbling is more important to Canadians than support for the economic recovery.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Madam Speaker, no one is happy about time allocation, especially since these measures are so important and it is important to discuss them. Of course there have been discussions, but limiting debate again is a bit counterproductive because it stops other changes and insights from being proposed.

That being said, would the government have needed to limit debate if it had managed its legislative agenda properly and not prorogued Parliament for six weeks? If Parliament had not been prorogued, the budget could have been tabled sooner and this bill could have been fully debated. Does the government plan to make sure its legislative agenda is sensible and well managed from now on?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.

Again, I wish to remind members of what this debate is actually about. Today we are talking about economic measures that are essential to Canadians. Today we are initiating the economic recovery. For a successful economic recovery, it is imperative that we continue to provide support measures to Canadian businesses and to Canadians and Quebeckers. This support is urgent and essential.

Since we have a minority government, we need the support of progressive parties to bring in what Canadians need. That is what we are doing today.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, as the Minister of Finance knows full well, the NDP has been pushing to stop the slashing of the benefits contained within Bill C-30. We have a situation in which benefits will be markedly reduced at a time when Canadians need those benefits to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. This will have a dramatic impact on people who are still struggling. Even if the government believes that fewer people might be going for the CRB, that fewer people will need it, the reality is that those who do need that benefit can use that $500 per week.

Instead of putting in place time allocation, why does the government not stop the slashing of the CRB so all Canadians who need that benefit at this crucial time, as variants hit our country, can use it to keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I know the member for New Westminster—Burnaby shares my concern for Canada's working people. He, like me, knows they need continued support as Canada finishes the fight against COVID and as all of us work so hard for an economic reopening to punch our way out of the COVID recession. To do that, we need the income supports and the business supports in this budget. We need to extend those to September 25. Without passing this budget legislation, those supports will expire this month.

Due to the Conservative delaying tactics, we have no choice but to move time allocation because we know Canadians urgently need this support. I am calling on all members of the House, particularly from progressive parties, to support us.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the minister. To be very clear, what we have seen from the Conservative opposition is an attempt to prevent legislation from passing. We have seen that in the form of the Conservatives trying to adjourn the debate in the chamber for the day or by moving concurrence motions. They will do anything but allow bills to pass.

Could the minister continue her thoughts on why this legislation is so very important to Canadians, given that the measures in it are a continuation of what has been our priority, which is the pandemic?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for his very hard work. As my colleague points out, this is getting really serious. The time for parliamentary theatrics, the time for parliamentary games and the time for the delaying tactics of the Conservatives is long past.

Today is June 14. The essential business and income support measures in the budget that are holding up Canada right now expire in June. The budget proposes to extend them to September 25. Canadians need that. People have sacrificed so much in the fight against COVID. We need to come together in the House, finish the fight against COVID and support the recovery. That is why we need to pass this budget legislation.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very sympathetic with the position that we need to get Bill C-30 through. There are many provisions there that are helpful. However, on principle, I have always stood against time allocation motions. The House exists to examine legislation and to take the time it takes to review it.

One of the things I am concerned about is that we seem to be under the false time pressure on many bills that an election is looming. We have a fixed election date law. In order to have an election looming, somebody in government must be prepared to break that law because the next election is in October 2023. This bill is important to get through, for sure, because there are immediate provisions that help Canadians, but other legislation continues to need to be studied.

Would the Deputy Prime Minister agree with me that there is no prospect of an election any time soon, unless her government is prepared to break the law?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands for her hard work.

Let me say a few things. First of all, on the question of an election, let me be very clear: Our government has absolutely no desire for an election. We think the job right now is to work hard to support Canadians, to finish the fight against COVID and to support our national effort to punch our way out of the COVID recession. That is our sole and unrelenting focus.

However, we do not have the luxury of time when it comes to the budget legislation. These income and business support measures run out in June. That is why we need to pass this budget legislation now and that is why the government is doing something we do not relish, which is bringing forward time allocation.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Madam Speaker, why is it that the minister does not want the opposition to do its job? Our job is to hold the government accountable and to exercise scrutiny and oversight. This is the biggest budget in Canadian history. It is the biggest debt, at well over a trillion dollars and heading toward $1.8 trillion. Canadians have never seen this.

As Kevin Lynch, the former deputy minister of finance said, this is the largest intergenerational transfer of risk and debt in Canadian history, and this minister wants to give us just two meetings at the finance committee to review this legislation. We are doing our job.

With this huge debt and interminable deficits facing Canadians, does the minister have a plan to return to balanced budgets, yes or no?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, let me just say this to Canadians: Canada continues to have the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7. Following the tabling of our budget, the credit ratings agencies Moody's and S&P both reaffirmed Canada's AAA credit rating. That is the highest there is. That is clear, objective evidence of the reality, which is that this budget presents a prudent and responsible fiscal path. That is the verdict of the judges who really matter.

Let me also say, through you, Madam Speaker, to the Conservatives: It is time to stop delaying tactics. It is time to stop playing games with Canadian jobs and Canadian businesses, and to extend the supports Canadians need.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a very simple question for the Minister of Finance.

Many people in the cultural sector, including those who work in theatre, music, live shows and festivals, are very worried that this budget means the end of direct assistance for workers. That may be all right for the majority of people, but workers and businesses in the cultural sector will need targeted assistance.

Why is the Liberal government trying to impose a gag order, when we could be working together to make direct assistance more flexible and to extend CERB for certain sectors, such as the cultural, tourism and hospitality sectors? I would like to hear my colleague’s thoughts on that.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to answer the questions, because it gives me the opportunity to point out that our concern for creators, cultural workers and tourism companies is exactly why it is so urgent to support Bill C‑30. These people, these Quebeckers, are the ones who need the support this budget will give them.

However, the only way we can help them is with the support of progressive parties in the House. That is what Canadians want, and that is our job.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, it is important to remember that we went without a budget for two years before the government tabled one.

This budget was tabled late in the spring and was preceded by an economic statement in November. We are now being asked to urgently pass the budget implementation bill and, obviously, it would be good if we passed it. However, the government is trying to once again impose closure on us, pushing us and saying that it is urgent we take action for various reasons, when the government is the one that dragged its feet and took two years to table a budget.

It seems to me that the reasons that are being given to justify closure do not take into consideration the work of Parliament or parliamentarians. What does the finance minister think about that?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question.

I would like to once again point out that we have already had a great deal of discussion on this bill. We had 22 hours of debate and 160 speeches in the House as well as 40 hours of debate and 132 speeches in committee.

I would again remind all members of the House that what Canadians and Quebeckers want is to get the help they need. We are in the midst of a crisis, a global pandemic, and they need the federal government's support to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a strong economic recovery. We need to take action and do our job.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

James Cumming Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, it has been two years since there was a budget, and this is a budget that is spending like there is no tomorrow. Parliament was prorogued and the natural resource sector is missing from the budget.

Why is it that the government cannot manage its time and is going to restrict debate on this very important piece of legislation?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, we can manage our time. The problem, which is threatening to become Canada's problem, is that the Conservatives appear to prefer partisan theatrics and partisan games to doing the work of the country: doing the important work we were all elected to do.

This is a national crisis. COVID has plunged Canada into the deepest depression since the Great Depression. It is time for all of us to set aside juvenile games, roll up our sleeves and pass this essential budget legislation that will continue the wage subsidy, continue the rent subsidy and continue the CRB. These support measures expire in June. We have no time to waste. Let us set aside the juvenile gamesmanship and let us do our jobs.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Madam Speaker, I find it very interesting when the hon. minister talks about gamesmanship and so on. When New Democrats came to the table, we came to work to make this bill better and ensure that instead of giving billions to corporations and banks with absolutely no question we actually gave it to the people: to the taxpayers, people in my riding of London—Fanshawe who are struggling and desperately trying to pay their bills, pay their rent and pay for food.

Why is it that when the government talks about a team Canada approach it does not actually mean it unless it is to do what it wants, when it wants, instead of working for people in Canada?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I have to say that this budget is not about any political party. It is about precisely the people the member for London—Fanshawe has just spoken about so passionately. This budget is about giving Canadians the support they so urgently need to finish the fight against COVID and have a robust recovery. It extends the income supports to the end of September. It increases the OAS for Canadians over age 75. It will build a universal early learning and child care system across the country. That is what my constituents and the people of London—Fanshawe need.

Let us pass this budget, and let Canada get back to work.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Green

Paul Manly Green Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, I want to follow up on one comment the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands brought up about not having the government break the fixed election law. Why is it that we have speeches tomorrow for MPs who are not intending to run again if there is not going to be an election until the fixed election date, and if there is no need for an election at this point?

The other point I would make is this. We are here to try to fix this legislation. We have just seen the largest transfer of wealth from governments and taxpayers to the ultrawealthy. The ultrawealthy have made out like bandits during this pandemic. There are flaws in this legislation that would cause people to have their CERB cut when they are not ready. The needs of the small business community, in particular tourism, have been flagged in this piece of legislation, and there are a lot of things to fix. It is our job, as members of Parliament and legislators, to fix this legislation. That takes time and democratic debate.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, let me emphasize that we have already debated this legislation for 22 hours in the House. There have been 160 speakers. We debated it for 40 hours at committee. There were 132 witnesses there.

The member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith asked about an election. Our government does not want an election. We know that Canadians want and expect all of us to get to work to finish the fight against COVID and support a robust recovery. To have that, they urgently need the supports in this budget. I want to remind members of the House that the support measures run out this month. We have no time left. We need to act.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Madam Speaker, we hear the Conservatives say they need more time to debate this. The reality is that not a single Conservative has talked about how they would like to change the bill; rather, they have said how much they dislike the bill. It is quite clear the Conservatives are going to be voting against this very important piece of legislation for Canadians, so for them to suggest that this side of the House is playing political games is completely false. The reality is that we have a budget here to support Canadians through to the end of this pandemic.

Would the minister like to comment on the actual impact this will have on Canadians, and on Canadian small businesses in particular?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Kingston and the Islands for his hard work and excellent question.

The reality is that every budget is important, but this budget is urgently needed. It is going to be the budget that finishes the fight against COVID and supports Canadians in the reopening they have sacrificed so much to achieve. It extends the wage subsidy, rent subsidy and lockdown supports until September 25. It extends the CRB. This budget creates a Canada hiring credit that will help businesses recover and will support them as they bring on new workers. It will establish a federal minimum wage of $15. It will send $5 billion to the provinces to support the vaccine rollout and our health care systems. How can anyone fail to see the urgency and not support this budget that will get Canadians the supports they need?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Beaulieu Bloc La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Madam Speaker, what we see is a government that dragged its feet and took its sweet time deciding whether to table a budget or not. Now it is pushing everyone around to get time allocation, even though it knows nobody will go for it. We will not allow ourselves to be pushed around like that.

Is this not just the Liberals' way of creating an excuse to trigger an election on the grounds that the government is not able to function?

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Chrystia Freeland Liberal University—Rosedale, ON

Madam Speaker, I have a lot of respect for the Bloc Québécois member, but I have to say he is totally wrong about that.

The fact is, our government does not want an election. Our government wants to work for Canadians because we know we are going through a crisis right now. We need to remember that we have spent the past year in a global pandemic and an economic crisis caused by that pandemic.

What our government wants to do now is finish the fight against COVID‑19 and support Canadians as we recover. I hope opposition members will understand that this is the practical, pragmatic work Quebeckers want and need.

Bill C‑30—Time Allocation MotionBudget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 14th, 2021 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

NDP

Leah Gazan NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Madam Speaker, once again we are faced with time allocation. The Liberal government has played games all along, proroguing Parliament and not releasing a bill. Now we are in the eleventh hour and once again the minister is trying