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Votes

Dec. 16, 2021 Passed 3rd reading and adoption of Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19
Dec. 2, 2021 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19

An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 3:30 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

moved that Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, be read the third time and passed.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

December 16th, 2021 / 3:25 p.m.
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Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. opposition colleague for his comments. I absolutely join him in thanking everyone who works here.

It is an extraordinarily difficult thing, particularly during a pandemic, to provide the support we have seen. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Clerk of the House, Mr. Charles Robert, his wonderful team of clerks, every branch of service in the administration of the House of Commons, including the Parliamentary Protective Service, and the pages, who help us so much in our work, particularly during these challenging times.

Mr. Speaker, I also want to wish you and your family, and indeed all members, a very merry Christmas, happy holiday and happy new year. I hope that all members are able to spend time with their families and are both safe and healthy in these very challenging times.

I think we have demonstrated over the last four weeks, with my hon. counterparts from the Conservatives, the Bloc Québécois and the New Democrats, a wonderful spirit of co-operation. We have been able to get a lot done on behalf of Canadians. I want to thank them, and through them I thank their caucuses for a very productive last four weeks.

This afternoon, we will continue our work on Bill C-2, an act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, and Bill C-3, which would provide workers in federally regulated sectors with 10 days of paid sick leave and make it an offence to intimidate or prevent patients from seeking care.

I will advise that in February, the government will propose a take-note debate on Saskatchewan's proposed constitutional amendment. I would also like to table, in both official languages, an amendment to Bill C-3, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Canada Labour Code.

Finally, there have been discussions among the parties, and I believe if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent to adopt the following motion. I move:

That, notwithstanding any Standing Order, special order or usual practice of the House, Bill C-2, An Act to provide further support in response to COVID-19, as amended, be deemed concurred in at the report stage, that the motion for third reading of the bill be deemed moved and seconded and that the House proceed immediately to a recorded division on the motion for third reading.

The EconomyOral Questions

December 16th, 2021 / 2:30 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we all agree that the cost of living is a challenge, but I do not hear many concrete solutions coming from the Conservatives.

I would therefore like to propose one. Let us support all Canadians who work in tourism, restaurants and other hard-hit businesses across the country by supporting Bill C-2.

COVID-19 Economic MeasuresOral Questions

December 16th, 2021 / 2:30 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I think that COVID is the greatest challenge facing Canada today. That is why I focused on it in the economic and fiscal update. I agree with him that we need to have support measures in place for people in businesses in the event of additional lockdowns. That is why I urge all members of the House to support Bill C-2. It would create precisely those tools. We need them. I really hope all members will support the bill.

COVID-19 Economic MeasuresOral Questions

December 16th, 2021 / 2:25 p.m.
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University—Rosedale Ontario

Liberal

Chrystia Freeland LiberalDeputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I really want to thank my colleague for his question because I truly believe that COVID-19 is the greatest challenge today.

That is why I hope that all members will support Bill C-2. This bill will create support measures for individuals and businesses in the event of another lockdown, precisely because we agree with the NDP members that these support measures are necessary.

I hope that all members will vote in favour of Bill C‑2.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, originally when COVID-19 and the pandemic arose, the Conservatives said we would support a response from the government that was responsive to needs, temporary and would bridge back to a regular economy. Liberal arrogance, as has been said many times, is the greatest kryptonite. It seems the Liberals have not learned anything from their previous experience with the Canada emergency response benefit.

A FINTRAC intelligence brief says, “Reporting Entities indicated that clients who do not meet the CERB eligibility requirements, or who are fully employed, still apply for, and receive CERB benefits, often while also engaging in suspicious financial activity.” There are so many things in in the FINTRAC report that raise the hair on the back of one's neck.

Does the member view this as being a targeted benefit and has the government shown that it has learned from the experience of the CERB with Bill C-2, that it is targeted to the people who need it the most and that there are protections to ensure those who should not receive this benefit do not get it?

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to be following the hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil, who spoke so eloquently about the struggles that independent travel advisers are having. I have met with many of them as well. Absolutely, they do feel left out of what the government is doing.

The government is essentially proposing in Bill C-2 that we give it all the money it needs right now and it will worry about accountability and transparency later on. I think the member went through some of the FINTRAC issues that were reported and the fraud issues that have been mounting. I will return to FINTRAC in a moment to read off some of its other concerns.

We, on this side of the House, supported Canadians who were banned from returning to work because of various health restrictions. We opposed the Liberals giving COVID cheques to prisoners, organized criminals, suspected fraudsters, and corporations paying out bonuses and dividends to executives. We did not support paying people not to work while the economy was open and there were a half-million vacant jobs. I remember my province of Alberta did reopen briefly.

I was just speaking with a hotelier who said that they can only reopen their kitchen three days a week because they cannot find staff. They are cleaning rooms all day long and until all hours because they just cannot find enough people to work during those key morning hours when they are trying to turn over a room for their next guest. Having a major hotel kitchen being open three days a week is not a way to run a business. It is going to lose business. People simply will not travel. The hotels are also losing out on the income needed to keep paying people for their work. It is a struggle on both sides, for employees and employers but we, on the Conservative side, are there for them.

I think the principle we should remind ourselves of is that, if a provincial government or a federal government takes away someone's ability to earn a living, it owes them compensation. I would call that a regulatory taking. It took something away from a person through no fault of their own so it should compensate that person, but that compensation should not extend to periods where the person chose not to work; made a choice. As well, if a person is engaging in criminal activity, of course that person should not be getting government benefits to facilitate their criminal enterprise.

We want help for tourism and hospitality companies hit by travel restrictions, but we oppose legislation like this that opens the floodgates to do whatever the government thinks necessary. This is $7.4 billion of new spending on top of all the other spending it has been doing.

The House has already heard from two of my colleagues already who said that they tried to fix this at committee. We offered ideas to improve things. We set out four conditions that we thought would drastically improve this bill.

I was here during the last Parliament and we saw the government go out of its way to rush bills through the House and only come back later on to fix the errors that were made. Typically, those errors resulted in billions of dollars of taxpayers' money either being spent unwisely or being impossible to spend because the program just did not work for the people for whom it was designed. All of those things typically get fixed at a House committee. That is where witnesses testify whether the programs will work the way they are identified and where federal officials come to actually explain the programs.

We saw at the Standing Committee on Finance that there was a complete inability of officials to explain where the money was going to come from. I thought it was a very simple question, needing only a referral to the estimates. I have a Yiddish proverb, which I know many members expect. It is that, “Sins hide not in your sleep but in your dreams.” I remember the debate on a different bill in this House just a few days ago. I mentioned that usually with government legislation there is a difference between what the bill says and the intentions that the government has behind the bill. The two are usually completely separated from each other. The sins in this bill are that there is not enough accountability and transparency for the taxpayers who are being asked to shoulder a huge bill to get our country back on track.

The member who spoke previously talked about FINTRAC, so let me just continue reading off some of its summary concerns. “Reporting entities indicated that clients have applied for and received CERB despite not living in Canada and they appear to be residing in a 'jurisdiction of concern'.” We are paying for people outside Canada to get taxpayers' money that we really have no way of verifying whether they should be getting any of these funds and they are outside Canada. It is difficult for me to explain at the doors, through emails and on phone calls to taxpayers as to why they are subsidizing people outside of the country. “Reporting Entities noted that clients received multiple CERB deposits over a one-week period/made multiple applications for CERB benefits using one or multiple identities/conducted transactions to cash CERB cheques at multiple locations.”

In any normal situation, this would be considered fraud. It would be something that we would be very concerned about and we would be looking for opportunities to restrain, constrain and stop it at the earliest of opportunities.

“Reporting Entities indicated that clients who appeared to be engaged in illegal or suspicious financial activity are also in receipt of CERB payments and employment income.” Last, “Reporting Entities indicated that clients appeared to receive CERB payments while also receiving income from their business and/or are receiving CEBA while also engaged in suspicious or fraudulent activity.” This is an indictment. The member who spoke previous to me started down this path. We rely on FINTRAC. I used to be a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, and I have had in-camera briefings where FINTRAC explains this. It is an amazing service that it provides to the Government of Canada to ensure that we do due diligence when we hand out benefits. Benefits must go to the people who are most in need of them, and it saps trust in government when it simply says it is going to open the floodgates and everyone will figure it out after the fact.

There is an Auditor General's report that has come out regarding border controls with the testing of individuals at the border and then following up with them as to whether they have actually quarantined. It is a damning report. I know you, Madam Speaker, have served on that committee before and you enjoy Auditor General reports, likely as much as I do. It is a damning report that in a situation where the government set up a program such as for cash payments that go out to people who need them, there is always a small group of people who will engage in fraud. The system should be designed to ensure that does not happen, so that taxpayers and citizens trust the system and trust that the government has a handle on this situation and that it will pursue those who abuse the system. It is reasonable for taxpayers and citizens to expect that we do this.

We have spent a prodigious amount of money and we are being asked to approve even more spending in this bill. We have proposed amendments that would drastically improve this bill to ensure we have that accountability and transparency mechanism. We just saw a fall economic statement that called for even more spending. There is more revenue and more spending going down, and in my riding residents are asking who is going to pay for all of these bills.

At the end of the day, this pandemic will end. I always tell people that this will end. I do not know when; I am not a doctor or a scientist. It will end and, at some point, these bills will come due. We are going to have to be rolling over some of this debt. Who is going to pay for all of this spending? We are well over a trillion dollars in debt.

I am reminded of John Diefenbaker. I was talking to my caucus and it reminded me of a quote from the 1960s when the great Diefenbaker was in this House debating with a Liberal, Pickersgill, on the other side and describing at the time some of their financial measures. The fall economic statement reminds me of this. He said that it is like homeopathic soup made from the shadow of a pigeon that died of starvation. I cannot imagine a better description of what I see there. Diefenbaker said it 50 or 60 years ago and nothing has really changed with the Liberal government. It is the same thing all over again. There are vast amounts of spending and very little in constraints and controls.

I can bring up another example. A PBO report came out just today on the icebreaker program. Two icebreakers were supposed to cost $1.3 billion back in 2013. That cost now has ballooned to $7.25 billion. They are not getting more icebreakers; they are just getting the two. It is cost controls and project management. The current government has been in power for six years, and this is entirely on it. The Liberals cannot blame anybody else.

In 2015, they were handed excellent books with balanced budgets. We repeatedly told the Liberals to get ready for a disastrous situation or a downturn. We could never have predicted that there would be a pandemic like this, that would be a drastic downturn in the nation's finances, where people would be told to stay at home. They would be prohibited from working so they would lose their livelihoods. In that situation it is absolutely legitimate for the government to step in and support people. Some would take advantage of it unfairly and we would have to follow up and make sure that fraudulent benefits were repaid to the taxpayer. In situations like that, I understand that we should support people.

However, taxpayers are asking themselves, “When is it enough?” They are asking when government will actually provide the transparency and the accountability that is expected when it borrows on the nation's credit card that all taxpayers are responsible for.

Like I said in my proverb, “Sins hide not in your sleep but in your dreams.” The government is dreaming that either the fall economic statement or a bill like this will restore trust in government.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Madam Speaker, I listened to my friend very closely as he spoke today about a particular section of our economy: the independent travel advisers. I know that a number of people on this side of the House, and I expect on the other side, have heard from those people. Primarily it is women who work from home. They have been lost in government assistance. These people do not get paid until a trip is taken, which might be months down the road, but there is nothing in Bill C-2 to help them. From listening to them, I know they feel they were almost deliberately cut out of it. I wonder if my friend has any comments about that.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, that is an interesting point, although I am not fully aware of the details of that particular case. More broadly, the government, in its haste to get this money out the door, should have been considering oversight. It should have been considering accountability and transparency as well. It should have been putting in place measures allowing investigative bodies and jurisdictions that have authority, such as the CRA and others, to investigate more quickly where this money had gone.

As I said in my speech, the CRA has not yet investigated this, despite the fact that FINTRAC has identified thousands of cases of fraud with the CERB. No charges have been laid at this point. This speaks to the will of the government to really investigate this. Is it just going to turn a bind eye to it?

We need to get to the bottom of this, and the amendments we proposed for Bill C-2 would have certainly helped in that regard.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Calgary Shepard.

The ask in Bill C-2 is $7.4 billion, and the bill is being rushed through the House, with little time at committee to deal with another $7.4 billion expenditure. A lot of these types of situations have happened over the last couple of years, since the pandemic started. I recall that back in early 2021, there was a $52-billion spending bill, and the government wanted Parliament's approval in literally four hours, with little opportunity for oversight and little opportunity to provide any sort of transparency or accountability on that spending. Now, here with Bill C-2, we are being asked to approve $7.4 billion.

I want to focus on a couple of points today. Number one is who is left out in Bill C-2. I think it is very important that we recognize who is being left out in the bill. Second, I want to focus on the issue of accountability, transparency and oversight, which are severely lacking in the bill. The member for Carleton asked finance department officials where this money was coming from, and all we heard were crickets. He suggested that maybe there is a money tree in this country that the government is picking money from, but there was no answer. These are the types of questions we could deal with if we had more time.

I am really fortunate to come from the riding of Barrie—Innisfil, which is also known as “Terminal 4”. There are a lot of Pearson airport employees and airline, travel and tourism employees who live in my riding. Many of them have felt anxiety not just over the past 18 months in trying to pick up the pieces of their lives as the travel and tourism industry has been decimated, but also over the fact that in the last couple of days, we have seen advisories from the Government of Canada on travel. They are really curbing back some of the decisions that Canadians have made to travel over the holidays, to travel internationally to warm destinations, which typically Canadians do, or to travel to simply visit family in the United States. A lot of that is not happening, and it is having a serious impact on our travel and tourism industry, particularly the airline sector, which we know has been hard hit over the course of the last 21 months, and those in the travel adviser business, such as travel agents, many of whom have been left out over the course of the last 21 months from many of the benefits the government has provided for relief. Now they are being left behind again.

I heard the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Tourism say that they will have to apply just like everybody else, but from the discussions I have had with the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors, applying simply does not work. These people did not qualify because many of them are independent travel advisers. They do not have brick-and-mortar properties and do not have storefronts. They work out of their homes. However, they provide $2.4 billion in revenue, at least they did in 2019 before the pandemic hit.

Many of the 12,000 independent travel advisers in this country, like Heather Kearns and Charlene Caldwell from my riding, did not qualify for any of the pandemic benefits. As a result, they have seen a drop, like a drop off a cliff, in their businesses. Oftentimes, they are paid for bookings when those trips happen, so members can imagine what it would be like if we booked travel and that travel got cancelled and clawed back, or if we did not get paid for anything we thought we would be booking.

It has been an awfully difficult 20 months for travel advisers, and it is going to continue that way. What Bill C-2 does not address directly is the demand from the Association of Canadian Independent Travel Advisors, which is for some sort of bridge financing to make it much easier for them to access government programs. I think that is a failure of Bill C-2.

The other thing, which we have heard about from seniors, is the GIS clawback. Many seniors are suffering right now. There is an affordability crisis going on this country, and the cost of home heating, gas, groceries and hydro is disproportionately affecting seniors not just in my riding but right across this country. Many seniors thought to apply for the CERB, and as a result of receiving it, they are now finding out there are GIS clawbacks. The government does address this, but not until May 2022, so many of those seniors will continue to suffer as a result of the affordability and “just inflation” crisis that is going on right now.

Those are a couple of what I think are serious faults in this piece of legislation.

Over the last couple of days, I have heard, as I expect many colleagues in the House have, from travel advisers and other people in the travel and tourism industry about how worried they are over the latest travel advisories, particularly at a time when Canada will be seeing its busiest period of travel. Many of those travel advisers will simply lose more income, so we should have broader supports available in Bill C-2 for the travel and tourism industry. They are not addressed in this piece of legislation, and those independent travel advisers will be severely impacted by this.

The other thing we want to see in Bill C-2, and this to me is extremely troubling, is the level of accountability and transparency that was requested by members of the Conservative Party at the finance committee, in particular for oversight. A FINTRAC report was done, and I will remind Canadians that FINTRAC stands for the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada. Its job is to monitor literally every financial transaction that happens in this country. It issued a report, and it was not until an ATIP request made by Mr. Ken Rubin, who is an Ottawa researcher, was received that the extent, scope and scale of the CERB fraud occurring in this country was known. What the Conservatives were looking for, as part of the amendments to Bill C-2 that were not included in the latest iteration of the bill, was an audit, based on the FINTRAC report, by the Auditor General, a review of some of the CRA actions that have gone on to investigate this simply to pursue the fraudsters.

I will provide some examples of what was in the FINTRAC report, and why this is so disturbing and should be disturbing to Canadians, given the scale, scope and amount of fraud. Who was involved in the fraud is also important.

This report was first published in 2020 by FINTRAC. Do members know how many investigations have been done by the Canada Revenue Agency since? It is zero in 21 months. That in and of itself is disturbing. What the Conservatives were trying to do was bring amendments to the bill so we could investigate that on behalf of Canadians, or at least allow the agencies responsible for investigations to look into the issue of fraud.

The FINTRAC report is an interesting read, and I encourage everybody to read it. I will certainly post it on some of my social media sites. There is a great summary in it, but a lot of the information is redacted. I know my time is short, so I will quickly summarize some of the challenges that went on with FINTRAC and why it was important that they be investigated. It states:

Reporting Entities indicated that criminal organizations, using stolen IDs and individuals recruited via social media, are operating "CERB scams" in certain cities....

This was in 2020, so it is in the present tense. It continues:

...prepaid cards are loaded with CERB benefits and other laundered funds.

Reporting Entities indicated that clients who do not meet the CERB eligibility requirements, or who are fully employed, still apply for, and receive CERB benefits....

A Reporting Entity noted that scammers are using stolen personal identifying information to apply online for CERB/GST refunds and arranging for funds to be deposited onto prepaid/reloadable cards.

We also heard about the gangs and criminal organizations that were using the CERB to fund the purchase of guns.

This is critically important to Canadians. The government shovelled billions of dollars out the door with no oversight, accountability or transparency. We as Conservatives think it is important to investigate this.

There is one other thing I will say. The other day at the ethics committee I asked for members to consider a motion to look into the over $600 billion in pandemic spending that has not been accounted for by the government. That motion was rejected at committee by the Liberal members.

We need to get to the bottom of this so that Canadians have confidence and trust in the government and to make sure we understand where the money is going. It is disappointing to see that amendments on accountability and transparency were not part of the amendments accepted for Bill C-2, and it is difficult to understand why.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 1:05 p.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member had some interesting comments. I do not necessarily agree with a lot of them. If I were to agree with them, it would likely imply that we would not have had programs such as CERB, the wage subsidy program and so forth because of fear or delay. What this is all about is Bill C-2, and Bill C-2 is all about supporting small businesses and supporting Canadians in real, tangible ways.

Why would the member not recognize that Canadians have an expectation of the government to be there during difficult times, i.e. the pandemic, to provide the necessary supports? That is where the money is going, to support real people and real businesses. Why not support that?

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Jake Stewart Conservative Miramichi—Grand Lake, NB

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure today to speak to Bill C-2. In the last couple of weeks as a member of the finance committee and of the House of Commons, I learned something really interesting. One of the first questions that was asked in committee was, “Where is the money coming from?”.

The Liberal government is going to spend $7.4 billion on programs similar to CERB and the other programs in the original suite of benefits it put out during the pandemic. However, we have since learned that some of that money actually bled into criminal organizations. People were able to scam the public's money for criminal intent, and the Liberals are okay with that because just recently they lessened offences for using firearms and other violations.

We know that the Liberal government is weak on crime and soft on criminals. Canadians know this. However, if we look at what the Liberals are doing right now, they are going to take $7.4 billion and dole it out, but they have no oversight of that. The Canada Revenue Agency has no oversight of it. The FINTRAC report showed us that millions and millions of hard-earned taxpayer dollars were scammed by criminals. Other monies went to prisoners. If there were even the potential that those hard-earned Canadian tax dollars bled into terrorist organizations, could members believe the Government of Canada would allow this to happen, but more so, could they believe it would do nothing about it?

The people of Miramichi—Grand Lake do not want to fund terrorist organizations. They do not want to fund prisoners. They do not want to fund organized crime. They do not want to fund criminals in whatever behaviours they are up to, and they certainly do not want to see firearms charges lessened.

The Liberal government right now is sending Canada backward in so many avenues. Let us talk about this first question, which my colleague from Carleton asked at committee: “Where is the money coming from?” The Government of Canada has no concept of where that $7.4 billion is coming from. Eventually it said it is coming from the contingency fund. That is nice, but where did that money come from?

I would like to focus on how that money would be coming from energy revenues. This country is a leader in the energy sector. Whether it is oil and gas, minerals or mining, we are actually a world leader in the development of those industries, and that is where a serious bulk of revenue flows in for our country and its taxpayers. The Liberals are actually funding the CERB and other programs with no oversight using the very tax dollars from the very industries they are trying to kill in front of the rest of the world.

Right now, they cannot solve the softwood timber tariffs. Because the United States needs more oil, they have to go to OPEC and other countries to get help with oil and pipelines. We have to wonder if the Canadian government could say, “We will help you with some oil. Let us build a pipeline together, and by the way, can you take that tariff off our softwood?”

It seems like a general argument. It seems very basic, but I bet the Liberals have not even tried it. They have not tried it because they have no plan for our country. They have no plan for Miramichi—Grand Lake. The only thing they want to do is talk about the climate crisis and having everyone's back. They had the back of the first nations in this country so vastly that they did not even attend the first Truth and Reconciliation Day. They held the flag at half-mast for six months of the year.

We are talking about a government that has no regard for the Canadian public, no regard for the hard-earned taxpayer dollars that are coming from Miramichi—Grand Lake and New Brunswick and the rest of the provinces and territories. We are talking about a government of this country, where the rise in inflation is second in the world.

I am 43 years old. I was fortunate to buy a house built in 1919. I got it in rural New Brunswick. It was very cheap, and I have done a lot of work to it over the years. There are people my age and a little younger than me who are never going to own a house in this country.

I bought a house for $40,000 back in 2006. I could sell that house today for $160,000 or $170,000. I live in a very small town in the middle of rural New Brunswick, where the Internet is terrible and the only industry we ever had was forestry, and I have watched the demise of that over the course of time. If my house went up that much, imagine what a $300,000 house bought in 2005 is worth today. It is probably worth millions of dollars.

People are not going to be able to afford a house in this country. They are not going to have kids. We need to grow our population. I have four children. I can say that having four children in today's Canada is a very expensive endeavour. I would do it all again. I love the fact that I have four children.

However, imagine being 28 or 29 years old today. That person wants to own a home, which should be worth $250,000, but now costs $800,000. They have a partner who wants to have children, and they cannot even afford to have one of them. This is the country that the government is leaving to our children and to the grandchildren we have not met yet. That is wrong.

As a member of the Conservative team, we have to go to committee to make sure that the Canada Revenue Agency is brought in to have oversight of those hard-earned Canadian tax dollars, and to make sure that the Auditor General is coming in to ask those serious questions. It is also so we can ask why they are choosing not to audit the people who scammed Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars.

Why is it happening? How could the Prime Minister of Canada support this endeavour? How could he continue to talk about having the backs of Canadians, when people in their 20s and 30s are never going to be able to own a house in this country? How can he say he has their backs? He is causing this inflation on the cost of housing. The cost of bacon has gone up 30% to 35% just in the past year or two. People cannot even afford bacon anymore.

I think what we have is an abuse of power. We have a Prime Minister, who is out of touch with all Canadians. He is certainly out of touch with rural Canada. He is out of touch with people in Miramichi—Grand Lake.

I have the FINTRAC report right here. I could not believe that it says CEBA-related fraud was carried out in a similar fashion with the loan being transferred from the applicant's business account to their personal account, then withdrawn for cash. We have people in this country who are taking tax dollars for their own benefit. We had a million jobs unfilled, a houses that nobody can pay for and food that nobody can pay for.

That is the beauty of being in the House today. I have a good friend here beside me from Nova Scotia. My dad is from Nova Scotia. I have another buddy over here from Newfoundland, and they are here working for the Canadian people who put them here. They are in this House, and they are working for the hard-earned taxpayer dollars to make sure that there is oversight on that money.

The Conservative Party of Canada is the only party that ever had oversight of hard-earned Canadian tax dollars. We have to hold the government accountable because the Prime Minister is out of touch, not just with rural Canada, not just with Miramichi—Grand Lake, but with all Canadians.

We have to ensure that Canadian taxpayer dollars are not funding terrorist organizations, criminal organizations, scam artists and petty criminals. We cannot afford to have the hard-earned dollars of Canadians bleeding into those organizations.

We put forth a motion at committee. The Conservative Party, members of that committee and all members on this side of the House want oversight of the Prime Minister because Canadians are worth it, their tax dollars are worth it, and we have to make sure that we put the Canadian people first.

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 12:45 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member did not specifically answer the question of why the NDP would not support Bill C-2.

Bill C-2 would provide ongoing support to businesses and people in a very real and tangible way. I understand that it does not cover everything that the NDP would like it to cover, but it would support Canadians.

Could the member explain to the people who might be following the debate, or his constituents, specifically why the New Democrats would be voting against legislation that supports people going through the ongoing pandemic?

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 12:40 p.m.
See context

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, I certainly appreciate the member's contributions to the debate today.

In June of last year, when it came to Bill C-208, a bill that would allow someone to sell their family farm or fishing enterprise to their children and be treated the same as if selling to someone at arm's length, the government and the minister said that the coming into force date was not specified in that piece of legislation and therefore they would reinterpret it as coming into force this year.

In this bill, at least Finance Canada seems to have learned its lesson, and there is no coming into force date for the amendments here. Would the member agree that it is important for the government, and in this case particularly Finance Canada, to honour the will of Parliament and if a piece of legislation has no coming into force date when the government amends a current act, that act be deemed, once it has gone through both Houses and received royal assent, the law of the land?

Does the member believe that Finance Canada and the government have learned their lesson, and are doing that in Bill C-2?

Government Business No. 4—An Act to Provide Further Support in Response to COVID-19Government Orders

December 16th, 2021 / 12:35 p.m.
See context

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, in fact, the government and ministers have been very open to working with all members of the House in an apolitical fashion to try to improve legislation, period.

There seems to be a difference when the NDP is in opposition, where it will promise and say absolutely anything, such as $100,000 for every breathing Canadian coast to coast every year coming from the government as a direct payment. Whatever it takes, the NDP will say that.

In government, on the other hand, I will use the example the member just made reference to. In the legislation we talk about 10 paid sick days. In B.C., with an NDP premier, there are more workers and the province has passed five paid sick days. The NDP will praise the NDP government in B.C.

The member and the party have chosen not to support this legislation. This legislation is solid, good legislation for businesses and people. It would provide additional disposable income and support businesses.

How does the member justify explaining to his constituents that the NDP does not support Bill C-2?