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

July 20th, 2021 / 3 p.m.
See context

Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Trevor McGowan

The government has announced that it would not apply before November 1, 2021. As a general rule, income tax amendments often apply as of the date of their announcement.

For example, Bill C-30 received royal assent on the same day as Bill C-208. It was the first budget bill for 2021. That had a number of measures that had application dates based on March 18, 2019, the day of the 2019 federal budget related to, for example, the foreign affiliate dumping rules, some mutual fund trust measures using an allocation redeeming methodology, and individual pension plans. Several amendments had their application dates based upon—

July 20th, 2021 / 2:15 p.m.
See context

Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Trevor McGowan

Yes. It's quite common that when income tax amendments are made, they apply as of a future date. A bill like Bill C-30, the recent budget bill, might have a number of amendments that, even though it also received royal assent on June 29, might not start to apply until a later taxation year or a later date in the future, in order to give the taxpayers and the tax administration time to respond.

July 20th, 2021 / 2:05 p.m.
See context

Director General, Tax Legislation Division, Tax Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Trevor McGowan

I suppose there are two things to discuss there. The first relates to the decision-making process in terms of the press release. In that, the department follows the regular approval process that we use for all of our public communications projects, in alignment with the requirements of the federal communications policy.

In terms of the substantive portion of the question, as I said, on June 29 Bill C-208 produced its effect and amended the Income Tax Act. The government's announcement on June 30 was that the government proposes to introduce legislation providing that the amendments would apply only as of January 1, 2022. It's perhaps a technical point that the June 30 amendment would amend the Income Tax Act, which had been amended by Bill C-30 ahead of time, but the government was announcing its intention to table legislation to provide a January 1, 2022, application date.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

June 23rd, 2021 / 4:40 p.m.
See context

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

Pursuant to the order made on Monday, January 25, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at third reading stage of Bill C-30.

The House resumed from June 22 consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Motions in amendmentCanadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability ActGovernment Orders

June 22nd, 2021 / 8:50 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege and pleasure to speak tonight to this important bill. I am going to take a bit of a different slant on this.

As members know, I was first elected in 2019, so I am a relatively new member of this House. This period of time just before the session ends for the summer is a very busy time, as I understand. This is my first experience with it. It is the first time I have gotten to see the government trying to complete its agenda, which is kind of lagging. What I have been expecting is the very best the government has to offer to get its agenda through before the House rises for the summer.

My background, really briefly, is that I come from the accounting world, and specifically the management accounting area. Efficiency was one of the things I really focused on. I worked in a manufacturing plant and I helped people figure out the easiest way to do their job so that it required the least amount of labour and we could produce the best product, most efficiently, at the best price. Essentially, it is where I learned one of my mottoes, which is “Work smarter, not harder.”

As I have watched what has gone on here in the last couple of weeks from my lens, a relatively new lens, I have witnessed the exact opposite of efficiency. It has been quite fascinating. In fact, I imagine that when our Prime Minister was on his way back from his vacation trip to Europe a couple of weeks ago, he had to stop in a quarantine hotel like all other Canadians, except that he of course stayed in a special hotel that was close to his house and was only there for a few hours—but I digress. He probably would have called his government House leader to ask how things were going and how the legislation was coming along. Unfortunately, the government House leader would have had to give him the sad news that nothing had happened, that in fact everything had stalled out because of the many mistakes made by the government. In fact, everything was in chaos, as he could see if he looked at Bill C-30 or Bill C-10 or anything else.

As we look at this bill, the government House leader has denied many times that the Liberals are going to call an election shortly, saying it is the event that just is not going to happen. However, in April, on this bill, the Liberals seemed to suddenly realize that they needed to pass something, and that is where Bill C-12 came into the picture. They needed to pass something just in case the event that is not going to happen happens.

After months of inaction on this bill, suddenly there was a big panic. Why is the government willing to ram through a flawed bill just before the summer? It is just in case that event that is not going to happen happens. Of course, the Liberals could wait until September, but here we are instead. It is the last panic time before the event that is not going to happen happens. This is hypocritical, and it is very disrespectful to our democracy.

I want to look at Bill C-12 through my new eyes. I had a front-row seat to this bill because I am on the environment committee. I have been able to see this first-hand. One of the questions I was asking myself was, “How do we have success when creating a new law?” Of course, the first step is to write a good bill. When the minister came to our committee, the first thing he said was that he was open to amendments. I am assuming he said that because he knew that the bill was not well written and that it had many flaws.

He just opened the floodgates, because there were 114 amendments that came to committee, and 17 of those came from the government itself. The bill was only 10 pages long at that point. That is over 11 amendments per page, or four per clause. That is a lot of amendments. Those numbers alone should prove that this bill was flawed.

Every morning we are led in a prayer by the Speaker, and one of the lines in that prayer is “Grant us wisdom....to make good laws....” I cannot sit back and watch this law come into force. It is a bad law. The number of amendments also showed that this was true.

The second way that we could have success when creating a new law is to get feedback. There was a lot of feedback. There were 75 briefs received by the environment committee, which is great. A lot of Canadians put in a lot of hard work to write reports and provide information to the committee. The bad news is that only eight of those briefs were received before we started our study. That was because the study was jammed in. It was rushed into committee with a very short deadline.

That means that 67 briefs were received after we did our study. It means that the work of many Canadians was ignored, and the government was happy to ignore it. It was not particularly interested in listening to the views of people who submitted the briefs. It had a plan, an idea of what it wanted to accomplish, and that is what it was going to do.

The third way we could make sure to have success in creating a new bill is to let the committee do its work. The first thing the government did was make a deal with the NDP. It did not want the committee to get bogged down in any details of actually providing useful information. It wanted to be able to ram things through.

The Liberal-NDP coalition did exactly that. It rammed this bill through the committee. Almost every single vote at the committee was marked by the Liberal-NDP coalition. The Liberals and the NDP made no bones about their coalition.

The NDP member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley posted to his Twitter before the clause by clause started, “[T]he NDP will be proposing amendments that the government has agreed to support.... We have also jointly agreed to a number of other amendments.”

What was the practical result of this? The New Democrats and the Liberals fell silent. They did not ask questions. I am not even sure they read many of the amendments or even understood what they were. They had a plan. They just knew to vote for this and not vote for that. Therefore, it fell to the Conservatives and the Bloc MPs to scrutinize these amendments. As for me, I asked reasoned and thoughtful questions of the departmental experts as to the consequences of certain amendments, but the problem was that there were 114 amendments, as I said.

As I also mentioned, the government put forward 17 of its own amendments. That means that on 17 separate occasions, the minister messed up drafting the bill and he needed his MPs to fix it. That is like us buying a new car, driving it off the lot and just as we are leaving, the salesman says he has scheduled 17 appointments for us to come back for maintenance because the dealer messed up and there are a bunch of problems with the car. Therefore, we drive it off the lot, go back tomorrow and the dealer starts fixing it. It makes no sense.

The Liberals and the New Democrats on the committee were only interested in their amendments. They refused to engage with us on our amendments. To prove my point, there was kind of a funny example.

Subsection 7(4) of the original bill required that the minister would set national targets five years in advance. The government and NDP wanted to change that to 10 years in advance. The problem was the Greens put forward an identical amendment and because they got there first, we dealt with their amendment first.

As was the practice of the government and the NDP members, they did not want to support anyone else's amendments and certainly not the Greens'. Therefore, the Green amendment was voted on and was rejected. Next up was the government amendment that was literally identical. The chair, rightly so, ruled that it was inadmissible because we had just dealt with this at committee and we had decided not to proceed with it. That was a big problem. Everybody wanted to vote for that second one because the members actually wanted the amendment. However, I do not think they read the first one from the Greens, which was the same, and they did not realize they had just voted down, essentially, their own amendment.

In the end, after a very long discussion and a lot of time wasted, the government members finally realized that instead of saying 10 years, they could say “9 years 366 days”, which was different enough to get it passed. I found that quite humorous, that the government members were not able to accomplish this.

I have an amendment that was read tonight, and it is in a section of the bill referring to the work of the advisory body, specifically the annual report that it has to submit. My amendment would require that the minister make the annual report public and, further, that the minister publicly respond to this report. It would require the government to actually take action, which is something we all know the Liberals are quite allergic to. The Liberals tried to make an amendment on this section at committee, but theirs was sloppy and it left the legislation in very bad shape.

Essentially, the Liberal-NDP amendment added words but it did not remove redundant words, so the bill as it is written right now makes no sense in that section. It still includes a long sentence that should not be there and it starts with a partial word. It just does not make a whole lot of sense. My amendment allows that wording to make sense again.

The Green Party put forward some really good amendments. The member for Saanich—Gulf Islands was quite frustrated at committee. I want to quote her because it is quite telling. She said:

I have to say that this is the most dispiriting process of clause-by-clause that I've experienced in many years. Usually amendments are actually considered, people actually debate them and there is a good-faith process....

I condemn this government for what it has done: for telling people like me, who believed in good faith that there would be an actual appetite for change to improve the bill and who accepted it and prepared amendments, only to show up here and watch Liberals stay mute, the NDP stay mute and march through their amendments, passing them in force, and not listening and not caring about the possibility that other amendments might work.

What happens when there is a flawed committee process? Flawed legislation results. Bill C-12 is flawed legislation.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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?

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, be read the third time and passed.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

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

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 / 11:30 a.m.
See context

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—