Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022

An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022

Sponsor

Status

Report stage (House), as of Dec. 1, 2022

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Elsewhere

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

Votes

Nov. 22, 2022 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022
Nov. 22, 2022 Failed 2nd reading of Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022 (reasoned amendment)
Nov. 21, 2022 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

moved that Bill C‑32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to begin debate on Bill C‑32, which seeks to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement and budget 2022.

As in countries around the world, the Canadian economy is facing a period of slow economic growth. The global challenge of high inflation with higher interest rates and cost of living increases have left many Canadians worried. Some are worried about whether they can continue to pay their bills, and some are wondering whether Canada's future will be as prosperous as our past. Our message to Canadians is simple. We hear them, and we stand with them. We will get through this difficult period together, and we will come out the other side stronger, together.

The good news is that no country is better placed than Canada to weather the coming global economic slowdown. We have an unemployment rate near its record low, with 500,000 more Canadians working today than before the pandemic. We have the strongest economic growth in the G7 this year and the lowest net debt and deficit-to-GDP ratios in the G7. Less than two weeks ago, we saw our AAA credit rating reaffirmed. We have a talented and resilient workforce, and we are a country to which skilled workers around the world want to move. On top of that, we have key natural resources and innovative ideas that the global economy needs. These are the foundations of strength on which we will get through this difficult time.

However, in this period of uncertainty, it is important to exercise restraint and remain cautious budget-wise. That is why our government continues to pursue a tight fiscal policy to keep reducing the federal debt-to-GDP ratio.

Even as we face global headwinds, the investments we are making today will make Canada more sustainable and more prosperous for generations to come. We are working hard to make life more affordable for Canadians. Building on our affordability plan, which was announced this summer, we are putting money back into the pockets of those who need it the most.

With Bill C-32, we are moving forward with an important measure to make life more affordable for a group of Canadians heavily affected by rising prices: post-secondary graduates with student loans. With the passing of this bill, the federal portion of all Canada student loans and Canada apprenticeship loans would become permanently interest free, including those being repaid. This measure would provide financial relief to young Canadians across the country, helping them to make ends meet and ensuring that their investment in themselves and their education was the right decision to make.

I am already looking forward to the effect this measure will have on young Canadians. There is no doubt that it will help many young people balance their budgets and invest in their future. It will also help give our businesses and business owners the skilled workers they need to continue to prosper.

Last week, I met with student apprentices, and they were delighted to hear about this move that we are making in their future.

Another area where I know Canadians are looking for support is the cost of housing. No one will be surprised if I say that our government believes that everyone should have a safe and affordable place to call home. Unfortunately, that goal is increasingly out of reach for far too many Canadians.

Housing prices have skyrocketed over the past few years and many people are concerned that rent will also go up because of the impact high interest rates will have on the mortgages of rental property owners.

We know that some Canadians need help. That is why, with Bill C‑32, the government is introducing an ambitious range of measures designed to build more houses and make housing more affordable across the country.

We are lowering taxes for new homebuyers so they can put their money in a place to call home. To help young Canadians afford a down payment faster, Bill C-32 would move forward with the new tax-free first-home savings account. This account would allow prospective first-time homebuyers to save up to $40,000 tax-free toward their first home. Bill C-32 would also double the first-time homebuyers tax credit to provide up to $1,500 in direct tax relief to homebuyers starting in 2022.

We would introduce a refundable, multi-generational home renovation tax credit. We are also moving forward in Bill C-32 with measures to crack down on house flipping. By doing so, we would ensure that investors who flip homes pay their fair share, which will play a role in lowering housing prices for Canadians. In short, we have a plan to make home ownership in this country more affordable, especially for young people.

As we continue to provide targeted support for Canadians, we are also hard at work to advance a robust industrial policy that will deliver stable, good-paying jobs. We have to seize opportunities in the net-zero economy, attract new private investment and provide the key resources the world needs.

Without a doubt, an investment in our country's future is also an investment in our workers. That is why the 2022 fall economic statement makes investments in workers to grow Canada's economy, create good-paying jobs and tackle Canada's investment and productivity challenges.

For example, we are proposing to expand the accelerated tax deductions for business investments in clean energy equipment. This will be important as our government moves forward with Canada's first critical mineral strategy. This strategy recognizes that critical minerals, including those found in my own home province of Alberta, are central to major global industries and clean technologies. To build on this, we would also introduce a new 30% critical mineral exploration tax credit for specified mineral exploration expenses incurred in Canada.

There is also a measure in Bill C-32 that I am particularly proud of, and that is the creation of the Canada growth fund. We first announced this fund in budget 2022, and we are now taking concrete actions to make it a reality with Bill C-32. With it, we could help attract billions of dollars in new private capital required to fight climate change and create good jobs at the same time. The $15 billion from us would attract in $45 billion, for a fund of $60 billion, and this growth fund would also help to attract scale-up companies that will create jobs, and drive productivity and clean growth. It would encourage the retention of intellectual property in Canada, while capitalizing on Canada's abundance of natural resources.

The fund will be launched by the end of this year, and the government will take steps to put in place a permanent, independent structure for the fund in the first half of 2023.

It is also important to continue supporting our small businesses, which create jobs across the country. That is why we are proposing through this bill to cut taxes for Canada's growing small businesses by phasing out access to the small business tax rate more gradually, with access to be fully phased out when taxable capital reaches $50 million rather than $15 million.

While we support our growing small businesses, we are also moving forward with the Canada recovery dividend to ensure large financial institutions that made significant profits during the pandemic help support Canada's broader recovery. With the passage of Bill C-32, we would impose a one-time 15% tax on taxable income above $1 billion for banks and life insurers' groups because it is important to ensure that large financial institutions pay their fair share.

In a time of great challenge and uncertainty in the global economy, it is important for Canada to have a clear plan for moving forward.

That is precisely what we have with the 2022 fall economic statement and Bill C-32. This bill includes great measures to build an economy that works for everyone, to create great jobs and make life more affordable for Canadians.

My call to all members of the House is to come together and support the positive, constructive and necessary measures in this bill, support tax relief for home owners, support financial relief for post-secondary graduates and support a strategy to grow our economy and maintain Canada's competitive advantage. Canadians are looking to us to put politics aside and ensure the quick passage of this important legislation.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:35 p.m.
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Conservative

Eric Melillo Conservative Kenora, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the things I want to pick up on is the fact that we are clearly in an economic crisis, with Canadians struggling across the country just to put food on the table and heat their homes. They are struggling to get by. The answer from the government, time and time again, is to spend more money, when this spending is the very thing that is causing the inflationary crisis to begin with.

On this side of the House, we believe we should be measuring our success based on the results of the dollars we are spending, not just on how many dollars we can spend. When will the minister and the government recognize that, take action, stop the spending and ensure we can get things back on track for Canadians who are struggling?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I say to my hon. colleague that he can take a look at the numbers. We had an economy that was producing better than was even projected in budget 2022, and that is thanks to the hard work of Canadian businesses. Therefore, we took a prudent approach to paying down our deficit, which is much lower than predicted in the budget, and we invested money targeted to those Canadians who most need the supports at a time when they most need it.

We are investing in the economy so it will grow. We listened and responded to those Canadians who need it the most. We are making sure we have fiscal firepower for the future, and we are growing our economy so it works for everyone.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague to explain something to me. The word “inflation” comes up 115 times in the document, but there is no mention of concrete measures. I am thinking about seniors, who keep taking hit after hit. There is nothing here for them. It never ends.

Why is that? What does that have to do with the inflation we are seeing now and the looming recession?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are clearly in an inflationary cycle. That is no secret. It is happening here in Canada, and it is happening in Germany, in France, in the United States and in the United Kingdom. It is important to note, however, that inflation here in Canada is among the lowest in the world, as are our interest rates.

What we have done for seniors is make sure all the benefits and supports they get, such as old age security, are indexed. They get their payments quarterly, not annually. That means there is a quarterly adjustment for inflation.

We will work with our counterparts the world over to slow inflation. In the meantime, we will invest in Canadians who need it most where they need it most.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I would like to ask the minister if he could talk more about the Canada growth fund and how it will increase the under-represented groups of indigenous peoples and women in the trades.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, the whole point of the Canada growth fund is not only to crowd in private capital so we can actually green the economy, but also to make sure we are taking a smart approach to how we work with under-represented groups. It is not just the Canada growth fund. The investment tax credits that we are proposing on both clean hydrogen and green energy programs are focused and have a labour provision.

For example, in the clean hydrogen tax credit, 40% goes to those companies that are going to not only pay a good salary but also have apprenticeships. Across the board, we are focused on making sure indigenous peoples, people of colour and people who are under-represented in the workforce are part of these investments.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Mr. Speaker, the riding of Waterloo includes two universities and a college, so there are numerous students. I remember when I graduated from the University of Waterloo, I had Canada student loans and Canada student grants. After I graduated, I had six months to pay them back, but interest started to accumulate the day after I graduated. This took a really big toll.

Since then, many students have been asking for the removal of interest. Most recently, I met with the president of Conestoga Students Inc., who asked when the government would be able to deliver on this commitment. I would like to hear from the minister how quickly we can actually implement this commitment if we see swift passage of this legislation.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for putting her finger on the number one question: How soon can we get this legislation passed through the House?

We can see that in the new year, probably April, and moving forward, we will no longer have student loan interest on the federal portion of student loans and apprenticeship interest. This would benefit not only students at Conestoga, but students at universities, colleges and technical institutes across the country. I met with Polytechnics Canada last week, and they were thrilled to hear that this was our plan and that it was going to be part of Bill C-32.

To all the businesses operating in my hon. colleague's riding and to all members of the House, we are going to work with the banks to make sure that credit card fees get reduced. If the banks do not come to the table before the end of December this year, we are going to pass legislation in the new year to get credit card fees reduced, because it is what small businesses are asking of us. We are responding to post-secondary students and to small business owners.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have to say to the hon. minister that it was very disappointing that during Veterans' Week, the fall economic statement ignored the need for veterans to have their spouses, if they married over age 60, recognized as actual surviving spouses so they can receive the benefits they would have received as a widow or widower after the death of their spouse who served this country. This was ignored in the budget. I noticed that survivors' benefits are dealt with, if we are looking at the multi-generational home renovation tax credit, as is what happens to that benefit for a surviving spouse, but there is nothing for our veterans if they married over age 60.

Would the government be open to amending this bill to end this injustice to our veterans and their families?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her insight. Of course, if this is a policy distortion, we will certainly take a look at it.

On the whole, we have to be mindful of the fact that the fall economic statement is in itself a very thin document. It is a prudent approach. We are paying down the deficit. We are focusing on growing the economy and helping Canadians who need it the most. Budget 2023 will be a whole other cycle. However, I take my hon. colleague's point and will definitely look into it.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the fall economic statement, there is a specific line item solely related to my riding, and that is “Support to Rebuild the Village of Lytton”. It indicates that funds previously allocated in June to PacifiCan are being transferred to Industry Canada.

Why has the government decided to delay the funding to Lytton over a period of what seems to be five years? When the announcement was made in June, there was no indication that the village of Lytton would receive anything but a lump sum payment from the Government of Canada. If we could have some clarification on that, it would be very helpful.

Second, when can the village of Lytton expect to receive the first payment through Infrastructure Canada?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I take the hon. member's point directly. My sense is the change from PacifiCan to Industry Canada, as I am a minister in the IC portfolio, is actually for speed and coordination on the ground.

I am happy to meet with my hon. colleague after this session to give him specific details and to work with him directly to ensure that the citizens of Lytton are able to get the money they need to rebuild their community. I will take up that matter personally.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am seeking unanimous consent to split my time.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Is it agreed?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have only been here for a year, but I have been driving all over the city and I still cannot find the money tree. I do not know where it is, but the government spent $100 billion of added debt before COVID and spent $500 billion of debt during COVID. Forty per cent of the money spent during COVID was not even related to the pandemic. That is not from us. That is from the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Annually, spending is now 30% higher than it was prepandemic. The only answer that this government has to any problem is to spend, spend, spend. Every six months, its members come back to the House and say they found fiscal restraint and do not worry. However, they just keep moving the spending line up; they just shift it up on the graph. Every time they do, they say, “Wait. From here going forward, we are only going to increase spending by 1% or 2%”, but when the real tally comes in at the end of the year, spending is up 6% or 7%, as it has been for every single year.

By the way, this spending profile, the 1% to 2% by which the Liberals are saying spending will grow, does not include new money for pharmacare. It does not include new money for the disabilities act we are passing in the House. It also does not include any new money for long-term health care. After a pandemic, one would think the government would want to give provinces additional money to spend on health care. We are seeing health care systems crumbling across the country, and the Liberals campaigned in 2015 on increasing health care funding long term.

The government initially said not to worry; it can spend because interest rates are so low. The Governor of the Bank of Canada said not to worry because interest rates are going to stay low forever. It was people on this side of the House who asked what happens if interest rates go up. Now we are going to spend more next year in interest on the debt than we do on national defence. We are going to spend almost as much on interest on the debt than we are transferring to the provinces through the Canada health transfer, which is what they spend on health care. Members can let that sink in. In 2024, the government is going to spend $24 billion more, for a total of $54 billion, on interest on the debt.

This is also a government that said inflation was not going to happen. It initially said that we would have deflation. The Deputy Prime Minister even went on TV and asked for people to please send her their ideas so Canadians could spend the cash they have in their bank accounts. I wonder if she still feels the same way.

The Liberals are now slowly sleepwalking us off a cliff. We are walking into economic uncertainty, and they refuse to admit that the world has changed. They are also committed to raising taxes. In the face of economic uncertainty, we are the only country in the world to raise taxes. We are going to raise the carbon tax and are going to raise EI premiums. By the way, I hope members do not like beer, because in June of next year, the excise tax on beer is going up 6.3%, which is incredible.

All the while, the government has also been growing the size of government. It has added 10,000 to 12,000 new full-time equivalent people every single year since 2015, yet services are going down. People cannot get a passport, cannot get immigration papers and cannot get a new pilot licence. Transport Canada will not even review medicals for people who want to become air traffic controllers. It is incredible.

What is the Liberals' answer? Well, it is okay; they will just spend more money. There is $400 million more in this economic statement for the CRA to hire more people, and I hope they are going to be answering the phone. In 2017, the Auditor General said that out of 50-some-odd million phone calls that went to CRA, 27 million got a busy signal. That is incredible. I hope those new individuals are not going to be auditing small businesses and middle-class Canadians across the country to make up for the spending hole that the government put us in.

Let me talk about the interest on student debt for a minute. The government is now going to give interest relief on the debt of students, which some might think sounds like an okay idea. However, here is the issue: We are in a deficit. The government is going to spend $500 million a year on taking interest away from the debt of students who are in post-secondary education.

The government's role should be making sure that additional students go to post-secondary education, not giving people a break who are already there. The government should be playing at the margins to increase the number of people, if they can go, who can afford to go to post-secondary education. It should not be giving that money to people who are already there, as this $500 million a year is money we will not have. Do members know who gets the economic benefit of going to post-secondary education? It is the student.

In fact, Alex Usher, who is a very well-known post-secondary education expert analyst, has tracked that students graduate with about the same amount of debt as they did in the early 2000s. That number has not gone up. It has been anywhere between $23,000 and just under $30,000 every year since the early 2000s.

This is not the United States. I know the government likes to import all of the U.S.'s problems here, but we do not have a student debt problem like they do in the United States. We can surely find better uses for this $500 million. Maybe we should give grants to low-income people who are not going to post-secondary education but who could afford it if they had more support. Instead, we are just going to give it to people who are already there for a problem that does not even exist. It is also expensive.

Dental care featured quite prominently in the House in a previous debate and also in the economic statement, so it is worth spending a couple of minutes on that now.

The government is going to spend almost $100 million in administrative costs to write cheques to people. It is going to use the same process that it used to give out the CERB, which relies on a self-attestation. Two results will occur: There will be fraud or there will be very little use of the program because people will be worried given what is happening now. They are getting calls from the CRA saying they need to give money back for the CERB.

The Auditor General is reviewing the process that the government used for the CERB and has not reported back her findings. I suspect that the government wanted to rush the dental care bill through this chamber before the Auditor General had a chance to tell us what she thought about the process for the CERB. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer has serious concerns with the fraud that can happen.

I listened to a very good podcast called All-In. There is a guy on it, David Friedberg, whom I agree with maybe the least, who always says there is room for nuance in everything. He says that everything is not black and white, it is not elite or populist and it is not left or right. He is encouraging us to embrace nuance, but the government wants people to believe that if they are against the dental care plan, they are somehow against kids getting healthy smiles. If the government was really interested in that, it would have taken the same $100 million, given it to the provinces to increase the provincial programs' eligibility criteria and used the exact same funding mechanism that already exists.

Thinking that people on this side of the House are not interested in healthy smiles is not what this is about. This is about process. This is about efficiency. We are going to spend $100 million in money we do not have to set up a cheque-writing scheme that is going to be used for a few years. It is incredible. This is all happening while service levels are going down and employee and staff costs are going up. Canadians do not have any more patience with this high-spend, high-tax Liberal government.

In closing, I would like to say that the government seems more interested in wealth redistribution schemes than it does in growing the economy. That is pretty clear. Every program is taxed more, put in a pot and then given away to Canadians at their choosing. The Liberals hold strings over the provincial governments, which is very paternalistic, and meddle in a bunch of provincial affairs, saying they have to spend money on this and have to spend money on that, instead of just getting out of the way, giving more money to the provinces and letting them do their jobs.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:55 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Mr. Speaker, I guess I am not surprised that Conservatives are against freeing up important money that students are going to be seeing as a result of not paying interest payments if the fall economic statement is adopted. However, I am surprised at the willingness and candour with which Conservatives are willing to say they are not in favour of that.

The member talked specifically about how those who are currently students are the ones who are going to see the economic benefit of going to post-secondary school. Has he thought about comparing the economic benefit of when my parents and his parents went to secondary school? Thirty or forty years ago, all someone had to do was go to secondary school and they were pretty much assured of getting a decent job that would enable them to provide for themselves and their family. They would have a good kick at the can, so to speak.

We now have a situation in which secondary school is not enough. Most people need post-secondary to come close to getting the same quality of employment that my parents and the member's parents were able to get a few decades ago.

Can he reflect on the fact that as there is more demand for people to go to post-secondary, the government should perhaps start playing a role in helping provide that education?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 3:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do not have a student debt problem in this country. About 65% of the working-age population have post-secondary education. It is wrong to ask 100% of the working-age population to subsidize that 65%. The government should have taken the same amount of money or half the amount of money and put it toward grants for low-income students who are not otherwise able to attend post-secondary education. That would have been a far better use of $500 million a year.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, the economic update mentions inflation no fewer than 108 times. Inflation means financial hardship for most people given that wages do not keep up with rising consumer prices. Historically, high inflation has meant that a recession is on the way. One usually follows the other. A recession means that many people will lose their jobs. The economic update and the bill do absolutely nothing to improve employment insurance, which is outdated and discriminates against 60% of claimants.

I wonder if my colleague could comment on this oversight in both the bill and the economic update.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes, sometimes inflationary readings indicate economic uncertainty. The government's own numbers were projecting 3.1% growth next year, and now it is projecting only 0.7% growth. There are economic challenges on the horizon. The government wants to talk about making the EI system better. We abandoned the EI system during COVID because it was inadequate. I would ask the government where the reforms are that it promised on the EI system to cover more individuals. I agree with the member's comments, and I thank her for her contribution.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have heard many of the Conservatives in today's question period speak about their concerns with the cost of living increasing and Canadians' ability to keep putting food on the table. I have also spoken about this. The concerns from constituents in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith are about not being able to keep putting food on the table.

It is interesting, however, that we are not hearing from the Conservatives about the big grocery chains that are profiting. Loblaws was profiting $1 million a day at a certain point this year, as one example.

Would the member support the government's extending the Canada recovery dividend to big box stores that are clearly benefiting from people's hardship and put this money back into the pockets of those who are struggling most?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that growing the size of the government is going to fix the inflation problem. I support the NDP opposition day motion, which called for a study on greedflation with respect to grocery stores. I hope we do not prejudge the end of that study. I am looking forward to that study being done, as well as the one by the Competition Bureau. It is very important work. Any companies that are price gouging should be held accountable, and we should be looking at other industries too. I would welcome the study of other industries before we start saying whether we would agree to additional taxes at this time.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, the costly coalition strikes again. The fall economic statement gave us a window into the government's ongoing spending problem and the uncertain economic future that Canadians are bracing for. Liberal-made inflation continues to be a reality for Canadians and their families, while Liberal spending continues at a record pace.

After this Prime Minister spent more than all prime ministers before him combined, the finance minister had an opportunity to get her government's spending under control, listen to Canadians, stop new taxes and cancel the tripling of the carbon tax. There was hope that the finance minister would hear the plea to follow the wisdom of the Conservative leader that a dollar of savings would be found for every new dollar spent.

This update shows that the Prime Minister's addiction to spending shut her down. What is unfortunate is that it means Canadians will continue to pay record prices for groceries, gas and home heating. It means mortgages, loans and rent will all cost more, and it means Canadians continue to fall further and further behind.

It is like our country is being pulled back into the days of Pierre Trudeau, a prime minister who also inherited an excellent fiscal position and stable economy but then spent everything in the treasury and more, adding billions to the national debt. One deficit after another increased Canada's debt by 1,000%, and the deficit in his last year in office was over $37 billion, which is roughly $90 billion in today's money and eerily like last year's deficit. Canadians were also hit with high Liberal-made inflation and high interest rates caused by that spending. As a result, it took 13 years for the federal government to be pulled out of the deficit tailspin left by that government.

We are seeing the same pattern re-emerge as this Prime Minister adds hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt. Liberal-made inflation continues, and interest rates caused by his out-of-control spending are rising. The Liberal government took over from the Conservatives, who balanced the budget and left the finances in good shape. Conservatives shepherded Canada through the 2008 recession without record-high spending or inflation. The inflation rate under the previous government never reached 4%, despite the recession and wars in the Middle East.

In contrast, before even one COVID case was detected in Canada, the Prime Minister had already added $110 billion to the debt. He then proceeded to spend and spend and spend, to the tune of half a trillion dollars in just the last two years. Liberals told Canadians that their enormous spending spree was to protect people from COVID. We learned that almost half of the $500 billion was actually not even related to pandemic measures and supports. Even the part of those hundreds of billions of dollars that was COVID related is also very questionable.

In budget 2022, the government continued to add to the debt with a $90-billion deficit as it announced $30 billion in new spending. This was at a time when inflation was at 6.7% and climbing, and stakeholders such as the Conference Board of Canada warned that new spending on this scale would add further fuel to this inflationary fire.

Since fiscal year 2014-15 and all the way to 2020-21, the government's program expenses have increased by 113%. The bureaucracy has also grown to almost 400,000 employees, costing taxpayers $60.7 billion. The government loves to claim it was creating jobs, but it turns out it did it for its bureaucracy, using money it got from Canadians struggling with Liberal inflation. What the government's economic update does not show Canadians is how the Liberals plan to return to fiscal stability or how they will rein in their spending. It instead reannounces several billion dollars from the 2022 budget and adds over $6 billion in new spending.

The PBO, economists and the Conservative leader have all warned the government that its out-of-control spending is driving up inflation. Now Canadians are getting hit from the left with inflation, as well as being squeezed by higher interest rates hiked by the same Bank of Canada that has kept printing money for the Liberals to spend.

Hard-working Canadians and their families are not even getting by, and any support the government proposes is evaporated by inflation, taxes, and higher mortgages and rents. Grocery inflation is at a 40-year record high as prices increased 11.4% in September. That has led to one in five Canadians skipping meals and forced 1.5 million people to visit a food bank in just one month. One-third of those food bank users are children.

It is not only grocery inflation that is eating up Canadians' paycheques. Home heating bills are also soaring. Natural gas prices were hit with 37% inflation, and other fuels increased by 48.7%.

The solution proposed by the finance minister is for families to cancel their Disney+ subscription. How out of touch does one have to be to tell Canadians that billions and billions of inflationary spending is a good thing and they should not worry if they cannot afford to eat, heat their home, or go to work, because cancelling their $14-a-month subscription will fix everything.

This is from a minister who makes way more than the average Canadian, kept her job during the lockdowns, voted to keep COVID measures in place long after the rest of the world opened up, and fed the Prime Minister’s spending addiction with taxpayers’ money. People in my riding and many parts of Canada cannot even afford Internet, let alone Disney+. They choose between heating their homes, feeding their kids, and paying for rent or their mortgage.

I grew up in an immigrant family that had very little. We knew, though, that if we worked hard and kept dreaming of a better future, we could one day achieve the Canadian dream. I know that through hard work and the grace of God, I am lucky to be standing here in this place, representing the community I grew up in and knowing my family is going to be okay.

That is not a luxury that many other Canadians and newcomers have. In a developed country like Canada, it should be possible for anyone, no matter where they come from or what their last name is, to work hard and get back what they are willing to put in. Unfortunately, the reality today is that dream is gone.

Conservatives have stood in the House week after week, demanding on behalf of Canadians that the government stop new taxes and cancel its plans to triple the carbon tax. Even after the Bank of Canada's governor said the carbon tax added to inflation, and even after the inflation numbers showed home heating costs increasing by ridiculous amounts, the costly coalition voted against our motions and responded to questions with condescending statements that ignored Canadians’ pain.

Liberals insist that spending more money and raising taxes is the solution to the fire they started. The left also loves to talk about so-called greedflation, but the real greed here is the profits the government is making off the empty stomachs of Canadians. The government is now making more revenue as inflation drives up the tax dollars the government brings in.

Canadians are hurtling towards a long, cold and hungry winter, and the other side does not look encouraging, yet the minister wants everyone to believe that Canada will be fine while all the spending, inflation and high interest rates wreak havoc on our economy. The government and the Liberal insiders might be fine, sitting on all the taxpayer money, but the people who paid those taxes are already paying the price.

Even more frustrating for Canadians is that this update had the opportunity to do what is right and stop the out-of-control spending, the taxing and the virtue signalling, yet none of that was done. Savings were not found to pay for new spending. The tripling carbon tax, payroll tax, second carbon tax and inflation tax continue targeting Canadians while loading up government coffers.

It is time to stop flooding the economy with government money and create more of what Canadians’ money buys: more homes, more energy and more food here at home. With the Conservative leader as prime minister, a Conservative government will remove gatekeepers. We will build more homes and affordable energy projects and let Canada’s world-class agriculture sector grow the food the world needs. Canadians are out of money, and the costly coalition is out of touch. While the Liberals continue to fail Canadians, Conservatives will fight to restore the Canadian promise and make hard work mean something again in this country.

For these reasons and more, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

the House decline to give second reading to Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022, and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, because the bill brings in new inflationary spending that is not matched by an equivalent saving, and does not cancel planned tax hikes.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The amendment is in order.

Questions and comments. The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:10 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Mr. Speaker, I always get a kick out of it when Conservatives say they left this House in good fiscal order at the end of Stephen Harper's reign.

They are clapping when I say I get a kick out of it, and it is really interesting, because if we actually look back over Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper, there were only three budgets that were balanced in the entire 13 or so years that they were in power for.

More importantly, when he talks about how they balanced this budget in 2015, they did it by selling off shares of GM at bargain prices, by slashing EI and by slashing veterans services. They did all that so they could “balance the budget”. They thought that when they went into the election in 2015, that would inspire people to bring them back into power. Of course, we know that never happened, because people saw right through it.

Can the member reflect on whether he thinks it was a good idea for the government of the day to balance the budget by slashing veterans services and EI, and by selling off the shares of GM at bargain prices?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, congratulations to the member for Kingston and the Islands. He finally admitted it. The Conservatives actually balanced the budget. Let us give him a round of applause, everybody.

I thank him for admitting that, something that his government—

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The hon. parliamentary secretary is rising on a point of order.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member said “round of applause, everybody”. He should know that he cannot talk to other members in the House. He can talk only to you.

I am more than willing to accept and recognize the fact that they balanced the budget in 2015 on the backs of veterans.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

That really is descending into debate. If we get another round, I will make sure I acknowledge that the member can ask another question or maybe a follow-up.

The hon. member for Calgary Forest Lawn.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, going back to the point, the Conservatives know how to balance a budget. They know it does not balance itself.

They also know that they do not need to spend on the backs of Canadians like the government did, like giving $237 million to a Liberal insider MP and jet-setting around the world while the country is falling apart.

We know what responsible leadership looks like. We know how to balance a budget. They need to get on board, do the same and stop causing pain to Canadians.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.

I believe that his motion indicates that this economic statement was a useless endeavour, that it should have been part of a plan in a budget, and that the government should have been able to predict inflation with the data we already had last spring. This economic statement would have been useful had it included at least three things. First, it should have increased seniors' benefits because they are the ones mainly affected and they are unable to earn additional income. Second, there should have been significant health transfers because that is where we have difficulties. Finally, there needs to be a complete overhaul of EI because inflation could be a sign of a coming recession and, as a result, job losses.

Given that six in 10 workers currently do not have access to employment insurance, would my colleague be prepared to include measures that would support the overhaul of EI?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, we tried to give immediate supports and help to seniors, those who are on fixed incomes. We put many motions forward in the House just in the last two months, including one cancelling the carbon tax and one calling for no new tax increases.

It is too bad the costly coalition does not believe in doing that. It does not believe in helping our seniors and those on fixed incomes, like the disabled. The coalition voted against it. We keep putting these common-sense solutions in front. If one was asking us today what we could do immediately, we would say to axe the carbon tax and put more money back into Canadians' pockets.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, unfortunately, I was quite disheartened to hear the member's characterization of the spending as an addiction to spending. My constituents suffer from real addictions that we have to talk about these days.

However, I want to talk about the need for recovery. It is quite critical, now more than ever. The question is this: Where do we recover these costs from? Does the member not agree that it is better to recover from large corporations that are benefiting from the poverty of Canadians?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Jasraj Singh Hallan Conservative Calgary Forest Lawn, AB

Mr. Speaker, there is a simple way to help recover the cost. It is getting out of the way of our world-leading energy sector, letting it unleash its potential and having more revenues come in.

Right now, what we are seeing is that the government's coffers are being filled up on the empty stomachs of Canadians. It is benefiting from inflation, and it is too bad that the NDP keeps propping it up and letting it do it.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I would like to seek unanimous consent from the House to share my time with my distinguished colleague from Mirabel.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Does the member have unanimous consent to share his time?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Some hon. members

Agreed.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The hon. member for La Prairie.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, part of an MP's job is to acknowledge the achievements of people from our riding. I am going to take a few seconds to talk about an important event that took place on the weekend.

There was a tournament of our national sport, the Canadian Hockey Enterprises Canadian Cup, in Saint-Constant, in my riding. Teams from Ontario and Quebec came to play, along with a local team, Arsenal Cadet D2 from the Jacques Leber school. Under the masterful guidance of Yann Hallé and Matt Grenon, our local team won the tournament. That is outstanding news.

I could list the players who truly put all of their talent on display, but it was a team win. I would first like to say that the goalies really put up a brick wall, letting in just two goals in five games and posting three shutouts. The defence held firm. No one was getting by them. The offence used all their energy to create scoring chances. All this combined helped Arsenal win. The players lifted the trophy in front of parents and friends who were extremely proud of their heroes. Congratulations to the Arsenal players for playing so well.

Now I will turn to Bill C‑32. That is what we are here for, and I get the feeling people are eager to hear what I have to say about it, so here goes.

I want to go over what led to the introduction of Bill C‑32. They say that opportunity makes a thief. They also say that heroes are born in times of crisis, and history has proven that to be true. We have witnessed truly difficult times, and we have seen extraordinary people, in both thought and deed, emerge.

To be honest, I am a very hopeful guy. I am optimistic by nature. People even stop me on the street to say so. I have pondered this difficult economic situation, with inflation at its highest point in 30 years and the looming threat of recession. People who take an interest in economics know how rare it is for these two conditions to occur simultaneously. It is very rare, and the situation is critical.

The health care system is broken everywhere in Canada, including in Quebec. ER doctors recently said we have hit the breaking point. This is serious. ER doctors on the ground working with people say things are really bad.

The rigours of inflation have hit seniors especially hard because they are on fixed incomes. These people were expecting help.

In addition, six out of 10 people do not have access to employment insurance. This system is so bad that CERB had to be created during the COVID-19 crisis because the system was unable to fulfill its mandate. In addition, employment insurance is what is known in economics as an automatic stabilizer. That means that when the economy is bad, employment insurance helps people who are in financial distress. We thought that the Liberals were actually going to do something about it and that the stage was set.

We were looking forward to the economic statement. Someone said to me that it was going to be as sensational as a kangaroo on a trampoline. It was set to be quite a show. I asked him if he was sure. Well, so much for the kangaroo. These are extraordinary times, but the statement was a massive flop. That reminds me of something else.

I went to a baseball game this summer. There was a peewee player who weighed at least 200 pounds and had a moustache. When he went up to bat, the pitcher threw some balls and everyone was sure he would hit one out of the park. He took a swing, hit a 10-foot grounder and basically staggered to first base. The defence was not at its best, but when the player got to first base, no one told him that he had not done well. He was patted on the back, and what he did was somewhat comparable to what the government has done.

The Bloc Québécois has taken stock of what the government has done, the short 10-foot ground balls, and we do have to pat it on the back, not because it has impressed us, but because what little it has achieved is not so bad.

Given the circumstances, we expected 100% and we got 3%. Hooray for the 3% and for the effort. That is what we can say to this government.

What is in this document? Nothing spectacular, but the government does use the word “inflation” 115 times. It was excited. It decided that it was not going to do anything about inflation, but that it was going to do an incantation. The government decided to talk about inflation so much that people would think that it is going to do what needs to be done about it. That is an old, outdated strategy, but the government thinks that it is enough to say “inflation” while gathering around the fire.

In the end, we see that nothing is happening. Simply saying a word over and over is not going to change anything. The government needs to take action, but as we have seen, it is not doing so. The government is staying static, and it is business as usual. That is what this government always does. Regardless of the situation, regardless of whether the issue falls within its jurisdiction, the government does nothing. Things have gotten to the point where, when it finally does do something, we are shocked because we are not used to it.

We can see that the government has dusted off some legislative standards and is serving up the same old thing when it talks about giving back money through the goods and services tax credits. It says that is good news. Last week in the House, the Liberals were applauding and cheering, and one of them even almost sent his glasses flying in the excitement.

That is an okay measure, but the Bloc Québécois had been calling for this to be done for a whole year. The Liberals dragged their feet, but at least they did it. It is the least they could do. It is a grounder, but it is still worthwhile.

What did the Liberals do for seniors? I did not say that because we are also dealing with a shortage of workers. We are not asking them to do something about the shortage of workers because they are way too mixed up. The Bloc Québécois is saying that we need to encourage those who are retiring to re-enter the workforce and give them tax exemptions. We need to tell them that if they want to go back to work, we are there to help, but that they are not being forced into anything. If they do not want to go back, that is not a problem.

What they are doing, what they have said several times, is that they will solve the worker shortage in a very simple way, namely, by giving nothing to seniors aged 65 to 75. Sooner or later, those seniors will have so little money that they will be forced to go back to work, and that will help solve the worker shortage. That is pure nonsense. That is not how it works. It must be an incentive. It should not be forced on them because these people do not have enough money to make it through this period of high inflation. The government does not understand this.

The Liberals have been telling us for seven years that something needs to be done about EI, that we have to wait and something is in the works. We have been waiting for seven years, but nothing has been done. They will not tell us anything. It seems that something is brewing, but no one will tell us what that might be.

It would have been easy to fight inflation intelligently. Inflation, among other things, is a result of supply chain issues. It is a result of our dependence on fossil fuels. That is a problem for us, which means that we are dependent on the fluctuating prices of fossil fuels, including oil. That is very easy to understand. We need to move toward clean energy, but the Liberals are incapable of doing so. They are encouraging oil companies to continue to produce. Canada is the only G7 country to increase its greenhouse gas emissions and they are happy.

I will end with something very simple. I was saying that we expected a lot and that the Liberals did nothing about employment insurance and health transfers. They would rather bicker. It is futile and they are bickering. A fat lot of good that does us.

However, they did do something very important and I am sure that, when I talk about it in my riding, people will say that this is quite the government. The Liberals implemented a Canada-United States agreement on the treatment of public servants who go to the moon. It seems that this is a far-sighted government that talks about what will happen on the moon but has no idea what is happening on earth.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:25 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

Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to hear the Bloc and the Conservatives talk about inflation. They cover their ears or close their eyes when it comes to what is happening in the world around us. It is almost as if the pandemic was not there or there was no war taking place in Europe. Do the leader of the Bloc, the Bloc party in general, the leader of the Conservatives or the Conservative Party in general not recognize that there are things happening around the world that have had an impact on inflation?

In Canada, we believe we can do more, and we have been providing supports for Canadians. We understand the cost of groceries and the hardships Canadians are facing, and that is why we bring forward legislation and budgetary measures to support Canadians.

Will he not at the very least acknowledge that when we make the comparison, we are better off than the U.S.A., England and many of the European countries? Could he provide his thoughts on that aspect of inflation?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for his question.

Last week in my riding, I tried to use the Liberal argument. A 68-year-old pensioner told me that the price of everything had gone up. I tried the liberal technique. I looked him in the eye and said, “Sir, it is worse everywhere else.”

It does not work. These people have needs. They have expectations of the government. We have to help them. We can tell them that it is worse elsewhere, but they do not care. The Liberals have the tools. They just lack the will, unfortunately.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his analogies about sports. It was so nice to hear him talk about that. It brings some excitement into the House.

The member talked a little about what this economic statement is, and it is really just a reannouncement of spending. It was interesting to hear the Liberals use the word “spending” today instead of the word “investments”. I also appreciate the member mentioning the word “inflation”, because I did not realize it was used only 115 times in the economic statement.

However, the members talked about a senior he had seen and looked straight in the face. I would like to hear more of how that senior responded to the inflationary cost of their home heating, which is anticipated to be coming this winter.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, if we are talking about this person in particular, there is a very simple solution. We have been talking about it for years. The member for Shefford does great work trying to bring the government to its senses. It is not complicated. We do not need to draw a picture to make the government understand it.

The Liberals have created two classes of seniors. How did they come up with that idea? Are they going to get a Nobel prize for that sort of thing? They say that there are two classes of seniors, those aged 65 to 75 and those older than 75. Where does that come from?

Given that inflation affects seniors aged 65 to 75 as well as those over 75, why are they treating seniors differently?

We are trying to make them see sense and we may end up succeeding. That is why we are asking questions. Is there a government economist capable of understanding that?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague.

Today, during the debate on Bill C‑32, the Conservatives proposed getting rid of the carbon tax on home heating in order to make life more affordable for Canadians.

In Quebec, where the majority of heating is electric, this would have almost no impact on families who are struggling to make ends meet.

Does my colleague agree that eliminating the GST on home heating would be a better way to help Quebeckers and Canadians?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Alain Therrien Bloc La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in Quebec, fortunately, we use electricity most of the time for heating.

It is simple: When we talk about the carbon tax, that does not apply to Quebec. In Quebec we have the carbon exchange. It is not the same thing. It is not just the term that is different. The entire system is different. When we hear them talk about that, we have very little interest in what they have to say because it does not really affect us.

The thing that surprises me the most is to see the Conservatives from Quebec get worked up into a lather about getting rid of the carbon tax. I do not get it, because that does not affect them at all.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Taxation; the hon. member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, Public Safety; the hon. member for Abitibi—Témiscamingue, Sports.

The Chair would like to take a moment to remind members of the purpose of adjournment proceedings. The late show is a vehicle for brief exchanges on matters initially raised during question period for which a member remains dissatisfied with the response provided, and members themselves select which of their questions they want to raise again during the adjournment proceedings.

Both the member raising the issue and the minister or parliamentary secretary responding are expected to address the matter for which notice was given. As such, members should not be surprised if they are interrupted by the Chair in cases where their interventions are off topic.

Continuing debate, we have the hon. member for Mirabel.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Jean-Denis Garon Bloc Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I wish I could say that it is with great enthusiasm that I rise today, but for me to be truly enthusiastic, I would have had to see something new in the economic update. There really was not much there. As my colleague from La Prairie said earlier, it merely dusts off and updates some old legislation. It is an implementation act and a very long document, but there is not much in terms of real content.

There is one new aspect, though. Once again, as my colleague mentioned earlier, we are doing something we did not do last March when the budget was presented. We are talking about inflation more than anything else. The word “inflation” appears in the document roughly 110 times and is referred to ad nauseam. There is also the prospect of a recession now and, for the first time, the document includes an official forecast of a slowdown for two consecutive quarters. This is an extremely important observation. We are talking about inflation and we are anticipating a recession.

As my colleague from La Prairie said, the situation is such that we are being told that inflation is very serious, and the Prime Minister is doing what he likes to do when he goes on a trip to India: He dresses up as a sorcerer, a magician or whatever, and thinks that repeating it 10, 20, 50, 100 or 120 times will make the problem disappear. However, the people struggling with inflation every day in their homes do realize that 80% of all the money announced and spent in this budget update had already been announced either in Bill C-30 or Bill C-31, or still in the last budget or one-off announcements. That is why there is almost nothing in there.

Part of what is new is that it provides for workers to access certain benefits, to which they are already entitled, a bit sooner. People in Saint-Colomban, Saint-Joseph-du-Lac or Sainte-Anne-des-Plaines who are facing inflation and are afraid of losing their jobs will look at this and surely see that it is largely a rehash.

What should have been proposed? The last election campaign was my first. One of the highlights of the campaign was when the Liberal Party went to the public for ideas. The Liberals called the election even though they did not know what to do. They did not even have a platform. They went door to door and had nothing to say. One suggestion in their suggestion box could have been to fulfill the promise they made seven years ago, which was to make major reforms to the employment insurance system.

Workers are sometimes overcome by life's misfortunes. They may have to go through a recession and face COVID-19 while paying for groceries that now cost 10% more. Currently, not even one in two workers qualifies for EI even though they have paid into the system every paycheque, and their employer has paid into the system every paycheque. The government must reform the system. However, we know that a Liberal promise is basically only good for being torn up and thrown away, much like the motions we vote on in the House.

This government does not know how to listen. Even when it takes a step forward, it fails to implement its very own measures. The Bloc Québécois asked for 50 weeks of benefits for people with serious illnesses, such as cancer, who need treatment for long periods of time. If people are undergoing chemo and not applying for jobs, I think it is fair to say they are not trying to rob the system. The Liberals thought 26 weeks of benefits was fair. That measure was voted on in the House and is ready to roll out, but to this day, workers are not getting even one extra week because cabinet has not passed the order in council. It has been 18 months and still no order in council. That is the very definition of a lack of political will, a lack of empathy for people, a lack of respect for Parliament, a lack of consideration for members of the public, for Quebeckers, for Canadians, for workers and for sick people. The Liberals' appalling failure to take action on employment insurance is a manifestation of all those things.

I had hoped there would be something in the statement about climate change, at least. The energy transition is an opportunity to transform our economy, an opportunity to invest, innovate and export. We have to unlock that potential.

The Prime Minister could not even be bothered to go to COP27. He is known for his judgment, so he surely had something less important to do. He did not go to COP27. We said to ourselves that at least the Minister of Environment, who is a reasonable guy, would go to COP27. Since the Prime Minister was not going with him, the minister was lonely and said he would invite some friends. He called the Royal Bank of Canada, one of the largest financial backers of oil projects, western Canadians and oil people. It seems that there was partying going on in Egypt at the Canada pavilion. Oil spill shots were served, people were standing on tables at midnight or 1 a.m. and they sang O Canada after 3 a.m. It seems that the oil people and the environment minister were really partying.

Now, the minister is saying that it was very important to invite them because they have a role to play in the transition. My colleague from La Prairie would say that it is like inviting Dracula to a blood bank. Those are his words.

My grandfather, who was a very wise man, used to say, “Tell me what company you keep and I will tell you who you are”. Today, we know who the Liberals are, and it is reflected in the budget update. The Liberals tell us that they are supposedly going to eliminate subsidies to oil companies, which is not the case, because they are only eliminating some of them. One positive aspect, though, is flow-through shares.

However, the government is subsidising small modular nuclear reactors. These reactors are only being sent to Alberta and the north to be used at oil sands processing facilities to produce more oil.

Does anyone know of any person, city or street in Canada that needs a small nuclear power plant on a skateboard on a street corner? Does anyone think they are for domestic use? No, these are oil subsidies. That is what the government is shamelessly doing. I wonder how the Liberals wake up in the morning feeling good about themselves when they say one thing and do the opposite. I would have a hard time with that and would struggle to look in the mirror every morning even just to shave. Maybe that is why the environment minister has a beard. Perhaps he struggles to look in the mirror to shave.

There is nothing for health care. As the Minister of Health said, this is a futile debate, and the money is not important. He wants to pay his doctors with love and sunshine. I hope he has good genes. He says that funding is not important, because the provinces have money. This is the new strategy. The provinces have been helping people with inflation by sending cheques, so that means they have money.

We look at the budget statement, in which the Liberals claim that they will reduce the federal debt to GDP ratio from 45% to 37% in a few years. They tell us that they have the money.

The week when the Liberals told us that the provinces have too much money, they announce in their statement cheques to reimburse the goods and services tax. They announce measures, but the provinces do not have the right to do anything at all. Essentially, what the Liberals are telling us is not to spend any more money on education or child care, not to help our seniors any more, not to build any more roads, to give up on public transit and certainly not move into an energy transition because as soon as we spend one penny, we will be told that we should have invested in health. According to their argument, which is flawed and preposterous, we should close down schools to prove to them that we truly need money for health. It is plain to see how the federal government is part of the problem.

Ottawa has money to subsidize the oil companies. It has money for that. Today, it had money for a military intervention. It can give money to Asian countries to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, as announced today. There is money in Ottawa.

There is money to undermine our public dental plans for children. They have money for that. There is money for GST rebate cheques, to lower the second tax bracket for people who make $90,000, $100,000 and more. That is what they call the middle class because they assume that people cannot count. There is money for permanent facilities on Roxham Road for Liberal donor friends. They have money for that.

The Liberals need to stand up, show some backbone, meet with the health ministers and get the money out.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4:45 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

Mr. Speaker, there are many aspects of the fall economic statement that I thought the Bloc would in fact support. We can talk, for example, of the Canada growth fund, an investment that, using our tax system, is going to ensure that we have a greener economy. I would think that is an aspect the Bloc would support.

I get it. There are some other aspects. Bloc members will say that sustainable development in their natural resources is not possible. The Conservatives will say we are not doing enough and we are neglecting the areas that the Bloc would argue we should neglect more.

Do Bloc members actually support the fall economic statement, or will they be voting against it?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 14th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Jean-Denis Garon Bloc Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have already said that we are going to vote in favour of it because the bar has gotten so low with the Liberals that we are now saying that they could have done worse. I hope they are happy with that. That is the highest compliment I can pay them today.

Having said that, this government is the world's foremost greenwashing champion. It is easy for the Liberals to call this or that a green transition fund, except that the reality is that the growth of the oil sands industry out west is still central to the future of the Canadian economy for them.

I am not criticizing them for having a rotten economic statement from top to bottom. What I criticizing them for, as I have since I was elected, and what I criticized them for prior to being elected, is their profound lack of ambition for the future of Quebec and Canada.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, there is one element of this bill that barely scratches the surface of the problem of tax havens and the $30 billion that leaves Canada every year. The government is proposing measures that will recover roughly $600 million out of the $30 billion. That does not go far enough, in my view.

I would like to ask my colleague a question on this topic. In his opinion, is it enough to reclaim 2% of the $30 billion of taxpayer money that goes to tax havens every year?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Jean-Denis Garon Bloc Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, I know those are big numbers, but in the grand scheme of the federal government's budget, $600 million rounded up is zero. Recovering $600 million is a drop in the bucket when it comes to a problem as big as tax evasion and tax avoidance.

Not to mention that the government actually encourages it. I asked the Minister of National Revenue about KPMG. In the U.S., charges have been laid for tax evasion and avoidance schemes, but, in Canada, there has been no investigation, no digging and no desire to make the truth or any information at all known to the public. The government actually seems to be doing its utmost to prevent an investigation.

This despite the fact that the minister legally has the power and the right to investigate. On behalf of the Government of Canada, the Minister of National Revenue is basically telling corporations that want to steal from Canadian taxpayers to go right ahead and help themselves.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Sébastien Lemire Bloc Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, would my colleague go so far as to say that this economic statement is futile?

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Bloc

Jean-Denis Garon Bloc Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, is it futile? It is not nearly as futile as what the Minister of Health said.

Then again, there was an opportunity here. In fact, a budget is presented every year, in March, and there are updates and implementation bills, like the one before us today. The government has the opportunity to put forward more measures, to implement them quickly, but also to present them to the public. When we are dealing with a budgetary or quasi-budgetary exercise like the one we are debating today, the public pays more attention, journalists pay more attention.

The fact that this opportunity was completely wasted and this statement mostly recycles old items shows just how tired and uninspired this government is.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by talking about a meeting I had a few minutes ago before I entered the House. It was with two remarkable young people in Canada, Shay Larkin and Andrei Marti. They are two kids who represent Kids For a Cure from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They are here on Parliament Hill with their mothers, Marsha Larkin and Annelise Brown. Our rules do not permit me to say they are in the gallery, so I will not do that, but this is—

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I would like to say, as a type 1 dad, that it is good to have them in the gallery.

The hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby.

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November 14th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Thanks, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate your help in circumventing the rules. That is very kind and much appreciated.

They are here for a cure and for more funding so we can get the cure for juvenile diabetes. This is extremely important and we welcome their presence on Parliament Hill. This is a sign of the kinds of investments that need to be made, but they are, sadly, not being made through the fall economic update.

There are a number of things in the update that I think we can all support. First is the NDP drive for years to take the interest off apprenticeship and student loans. The NDP has pushed on this for years. Members will recall that when COVID hit back in 2020, on March 13 I was pleased to rise in the parliamentary press gallery to push the government, along with my NDP caucus colleagues, to remove the interest on student loans and to freeze repayment during the COVID pandemic.

To the government's credit, it did move in that regard, but it had not taken the move that so many student groups and students across the country, as well as the NDP caucus, the member for Burnaby South and I, had been pushing for years: that the government should not be profiting anymore from student loans. This is the debt that students undertake in this country for apprenticeship and student loans to gain the skills that will contribute to a vital economy in this country. The government should not be profiting from that, and it is something the NDP has been pressuring this Parliament and the government on for many years. We have finally achieved it, and the interest on the federal portion of student and apprenticeship loans will be eliminated. That is a welcome action, subject to the NDP pushing this consistently and constantly in Parliament.

Also, the government finally took action on what has been a profound loss on behalf of Canadians, and that is the massive amounts of money made by large corporations and the ultrarich in Canada that is taken overseas. The member for Burnaby South, who is our leader, and the NDP caucus have been calling for years for the government to put in place fair tax rules so that everybody pays their fair share. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that it was $25 billion a year under the former Harper government and is now over $30 billion a year. That is money that could be spent on so many other things, but instead it goes to overseas tax havens and tax loopholes.

For Shay, Andrei and their parents, imagine the investments we could make to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Instead of having $30 billion going offshore, we could have substantial investments in our health care system and in research. This would make a big difference in finding a cure. It would make a big difference in the quality of our health care system. It is $30 billion that is lost, and this is a minimum. As we know from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which always admits there is a certain margin, the conservative figure, meaning a modest underestimate of the final amount of money that goes to overseas tax havens and tax loopholes, is now over $30 billion a year.

Given that context, what would the government do? Would the government step up and curb that? The member for Burnaby South called for an excess profits tax, such as we had in the Second World War. During COVID, this was something the NDP repeatedly raised. In the Second World War, at the height of crisis, an excess profits tax was put in place that allowed companies that were benefiting from increased profits to pay their fair share in contributing to the war effort.

As a result of that, Canadians were able to play such an important role in bringing an end to the massive hatred and genocide that was engendered by Nazism and fascism in Europe. That was absolutely fundamental.

The NDP have called for an excess profits tax. The NDP have called for a windfall profits tax, as we have seen oil and gas companies making windfall profits. The big grocery giant chains have been making windfall profits with inflation, raising their prices far beyond, which has engendered the term “greedflation”. That is a result of the fact that we have companies now profiting from inflation by jacking up their prices even more than what the inflation figures would actually justify. That greedflation has promoted and forced incredible hardship on Canadian families from coast to coast to coast.

We called for an excess profits tax. We called for a windfall profits tax. Ultimately, Liberals stepped up in this fall economic statement. They stepped up. Again, the figure is over $30 billion a year. Given the hardship that Canadians are facing and the importance of putting in place investments that will make a difference in their lives, in this corner of the House, the NDP have been fighting hard.

We have succeeded in getting dental care in place, and we know now that families will be able to pay for their children's dental work for kids 12 and under. Next year it will be youth 18 and under, seniors and people with disabilities. We forced a rental supplement that will be paid out to well over a million Canadians who are struggling to pay for their rent right now, and we forced a doubling of the GST to make sure that over 12 million Canadians who have lower incomes will actually have the wherewithal to put food on the table. These are all things that we forced.

We believe that our role is to continue to push Parliament and the government to provide supports to Canadians who are really struggling at this tough time. To do that, we need to make sure we close the loopholes and stop the hemorrhaging of tax dollars by big corporations and the ultrarich's overseas tax havens. As I mentioned, the figure is $30 billion.

I am asking a rhetorical question, but what percentage would colleagues think a responsible government, in a time of crisis, would actually start to curb that hemorrhaging of money to overseas tax havens, those windfall profits, those excess profits? What percentage would it be?

Mr. Speaker, if it were you or I running our household expenditures, I do not think we would be talking in the single digits. I think we would be talking about the idea that we all need to contribute, at this critical time, to the effort to provide Canadians with supports, including those for seniors and people with disabilities. The disability benefit and all of those things need to be put in place. At $30 billion, one would want to take a substantial proportion of that because that is money that could be helping Canadians but is being taken from Canadians and taken overseas.

Did the government take 20%? No, it did not. Did it take 15%? No, it did not. Did it take even 10%? That would be a very modest amount of money, which should be paid into public coffers to help all of us, the commonwealth in this country.

The fact is that Canadians pay their taxes assiduously, honestly, with integrity every year. Small businesses file their tax returns. People with disabilities file their tax returns. Families file their tax returns. People file their tax returns. They pay their fair share to provide that support that all Canadians can hopefully benefit from. Big corporations and the ultrarich do not do this.

One would think that 10% would be a relatively small amount but the government did not even go there. It did not go to 9%, 8%, 7%, 6% or even 5%, 4% or 3%. The sum total of the government's attempt to curb massive overseas tax evasion, windfall profits by the banks and big corporations, is a tax that will bring in about 2% of that amount. It applies to banks and life insurance groups, and that is it. It is 2%.

There is a real problem with Bill C-32. Yes, there is the NDP influence. New Democrats pushed proposals that would make a difference in the lives of Canadian students, and there are the other elements that we brought to bear over the course of the last few weeks, including the doubling of the GST credit, ensuring dental care and ensuring rental supports. All of those things do make a difference.

However, above all, this fall economic statement is a lost opportunity. It is a lost opportunity for Shay and Andrei and all of those activists in Kids for a Cure, who are looking for support for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. It is a lost opportunity for those seniors who are struggling to make ends meet and really need support for an increase in their pensions. It is a lost opportunity when we compare, as far as student loans are concerned, the significant measures taken by the Biden administration in the United States to what we see here. Eliminating interest is an important NDP initiative, but it falls far short of what is actually needed.

Last spring, in the budget, the NDP forced significant investments in housing so that they start to build the housing required to make sure that every Canadian has a roof over their head at night and has that right to housing, and we are going to see the product of that in the coming year or two. However, we still have a long way to go. This fall economic statement is, again, a lost opportunity because there is not that increase in investments that could have made such a difference.

It is a lost opportunity when it comes to taking the GST off home heating. Members will recall that just a few weeks ago, on a Conservative opposition day, we proposed an amendment that would have taken the GST off of home heating. To the surprise of all of us, because in 2019 the Conservatives campaigned on taking the GST off home heating, when the NDP made that proposal for the amendment, they said no, which kind of flies in the face of it. When they make commitments on the campaign trail, they should keep them in the House of Commons. The Conservatives chose not to keep that commitment in the House of Commons. Therefore, this was another lost opportunity in the fall economic statement.

Above all, the issue of tax fairness in this country is becoming a huge and growing problem. We have needs to be met. We have an infrastructure deficit. We have Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet. We really need to have a tax system that ensures that everybody pays their fair share. We know that regular families do. We know that seniors do. We know that people with disabilities do and students do. They file their tax returns. They pay what they owe. We grumble sometimes when we do that, but we understand that there is something better and that is why we make those contributions.

We want to build a better country. We want a country where everybody can benefit and where nobody is left behind. We want to build a country where there is housing for everybody.

The member of Parliament for Nunavut has been an incredible campaigner and incredibly outspoken on the dearth of housing in Nunavut and the housing crisis up there. For a fraction of that $30 billion that goes offshore every year, we could be providing supports so that the people of Nunavut actually get the housing they deserve. These would be supports for housing for people right across the country and indigenous-led housing developments right across the country because, in so many first nations communities, housing is simply not there. We can provide housing for everybody in this country.

We can provide supports for everybody, including a disability benefit, which the NDP campaigned on. We continue to push the government to actually establish that benefit, and not just talk about but put in place, so it starts helping people today, including people with disabilities.

As members know, as we have seen the growing food bank lineups across the country, more than half of those people who are lining up are people with disabilities. We can provide those benefits now with tax fairness. We have the wherewithal to make those investments in housing and to make those investments to ensure that people get a basic level of income to allow them to live in dignity. We can provide the supports for our health care system so that we can ensure we are moving to an even better health care system.

The architect of our health care system, Tommy Douglas, always believed that it was the funding that was so essential. What we have seen under previous governments, both Conservative and now the current Liberal government, is an erosion of that funding, which has led to a deterioration of our public health care system, an institution that Canadians hold dear. We have to make sure that we are reinvesting in health care, and that includes reinvesting in research, which brings me back to Shay Larkin and Andrei Marti, who are here on the Hill to talk about more money for research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.

There are many other advocates who come to the Hill who need funding, and sometimes remarkably small amounts compared with the $30 billion that we blow away every year to overseas tax havens to help the ultrarich and big corporations increase their profits. However, often for a very small fraction of that money, we could have breakthrough cures for a whole range of diseases.

We can do that in this country. We should be able to do that in this country. We should be able to provide the funding to renew our infrastructure across the country. We should be able to find the funding to ensure that we can provide post-secondary education and apprenticeship training in the whole range of areas where we have skills shortages. We should be able to do all of those things, but that starts with tax fairness. Other countries have put in place windfall taxes and excess profits taxes. They have closed loopholes. They have ensured that they actually cut off that flow of money out of their country, which is really, in a sense, the theft of taxpayers' money.

The money that we keep as a commonwealth, that we put together collectively to ensure the health and well-being of all of our citizens, should be used properly. It is not supposed to be on a beach in the Bahamas. That money is supposed to be helping that senior in Smithers, British Columbia. That money is supposed to be helping in Iqaluit with the dearth of affordable housing that we have. It is supposed to be funding the Nanaimo infrastructure that we are seeing. It is supposed to be funding, in New Westminster—Burnaby, supports for the Royal Columbian Hospital and Douglas College. These are all the things we can achieve when we have fair taxes.

Are there good things in the fall economic statement? Yes, and the NDP is proud to have pushed for those things and succeeded in getting them. However, does this fall economic statement fall short of what is needed? Absolutely, and there is a need for tax fairness that goes far beyond taking 2% of what is going to overseas tax havens. We can do that. One day there will be an NDP government in this country. When there is, we will see the kind of fair tax system that can make such a difference for all Canadians.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Mr. Speaker, I am wondering if the member for New Westminster—Burnaby can speak to one of the comments that was made by a Conservative colleague, the member for Simcoe North, earlier. He said, “we do not have a student debt problem in this country.” I would argue that we do have a problem when it comes to education in this country. The problem is that more and more is being expected of young people now when it comes to education. However, more importantly, it is expected that they will bear the financial burden of it.

Four or five decades ago, one could get a publicly funded high school education and have a meaningful career afterwards that provided for oneself and one's family. Nowadays, a bachelor's degree is not even enough. People are expected to get a master's degree and further post-secondary degrees. However, it is all being done on the backs of their having to pay for it. Whereas, when it was my parents and their friends who were getting educated in high school, they could leave high school and get a good job, and they did not have to pay for it because the public system paid for it.

Does the member not agree that we do have a problem when it comes to education in this country and that we should be pushing for more government support to give people the quality of education needed to get meaningful employment afterwards?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree, but first the government needs to take action on tax fairness. It cannot continue to hide in its shell and refuse to take action, with this hemorrhaging of tax dollars going overseas. It needs to take the steps. The NDP has laid out what it needs to do. All it needs to do is follow NDP leadership, and we will have those resources to start to renew the education sector.

It hurts the families tremendously, but it hurts many of the families because young people cannot go into those chosen professions. They cannot go $100,000 into debt or $120,000 into debt, so it means we end up losing the youth who go through the programs, have huge debt loads afterward, and end up basically having a mortgage on a future that takes 10 or 15 years to pay down. In my case, that is how long it took.

It also means we have skill shortages in every crucial area across the country. We are feeling it most acutely in the health care field, with the shortages of nurses and doctors. That is related to student debt.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

My public service announcement for this evening will be that the quicker we ask questions and the quicker we can answer them, the more people can participate in these great debates we are having. Those last two were very long.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Mr. Speaker, in the fall economic statement there is a specific line item for Lytton, British Columbia, in my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. In June of this year, the Government of Canada made a special announcement, in which it put forward $77 million for the rebuild of Lytton. In the fall economic statement, the government extends the payment periods over five years and transfers the funds from the Pacific economic development agency to Infrastructure Canada.

In the consultations the NDP had with its coalition partners, was there any mention of the specific case of Lytton, and does the NDP agree that Lytton, British Columbia should get the money up front for the rebuild versus having it doled out over a five-year period?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the issue of Lytton, what is most important is what works for the people of Lytton. That means a staged rebuilding of that community, which I know the member feels very strongly about, and so do I. It is also an indication, and this is important, about the reality of climate change.

Lytton is not the only community that has been destroyed by the reality of climate change as it continues to increase in its severity, whether we are talking about hurricanes in Atlantic Canada, flooding across the country, the atmospheric rivers that have poured down and cut the Lower Mainland of British Columbia off from the rest of the country, or the heat bombs that killed, as the member knows, in that tragic summer, over 600 people in the Lower Mainland, including 60 in my riding of New Westminster—Burnaby.

As a House, each member of Parliament needs to contend with the fact that climate change is a reality. We have to act accordingly. That means ending oil and gas subsidies, and it means putting money into clean energy so we can make the just transition to ensure we are preparing for this challenge of confronting climate change.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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Bloc

Julie Vignola Bloc Beauport—Limoilou, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to a question that my colleague from Mirabel got a few minutes ago about the $600 million to fight tax evasion.

That seems like fantastic, wonderful news. However, for the past two years, many of us have been asking the Minister of National Revenue about the billion dollars the government invested to fight tax evasion and tax havens. How much did we get back? We know that Quebec managed to recoup more than Canada did from tax evaders.

Is that $600 million really good news, or is it just more smoke and mirrors to try to convince people that the government is going to recover money from the right pockets?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. It is ridiculous to talk about $600 million when we are losing $30 billion. That is 2%.

We have been talking about tax havens, the Panama papers, the Bahamas papers and the Paradise papers for years. Thousands of Canadians are mentioned. Even today, if we were to ask the government, how many of them it has gone after, how many have been forced to pay back the money they owe Canadians, we would find that the answer is not one of them.

The Conservatives completely failed in that regard, and the Liberals are doing the same.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I want to first give the member a special “welcome back”. I missed him while he was away.

I also appreciate that he shared the important policy initiatives that could have been covered in the fall economic statement, including with respect to addressing housing in Nunavut.

I want to ask the member this. Does he agree that any economic policy that comes out of any government needs to focus on the people and not just on numbers? I am thinking specifically about the lack of comprehensive EI reform and the good work the NDP does to protect workers.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:15 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Nunavut. I enjoy working with her tremendously. She is such a fighter for the people of Nunavut and has made such a difference.

If the government would step up when it comes to funding housing, and particularly funding northern housing, we would be making even more progress. That is the reality. The New Democrats are the worker bees in the House of Commons. We work hard, as members know. One of the things we have laid out is how to get things done, solutions.

Certainly, when it comes to Nunavut and housing, the solutions are there. The member for Nunavut has laid them out. The government just has to follow the NDP leadership. Fortunately, it did so when it came to dental care, the rental supplement and the doubling of the GST credit. Those are all welcome initiatives, but it needs to do more, such as with respect to the reform of employment insurance, so that when a person loses their job they have access to it. The member is right; that is absolutely fundamental. This needs to be another area where the government simply follows the NDP leadership.

Tragically, the Conservatives do not see the need for employment insurance, so it could get worse. We are suggesting that the Liberals make things better by following the NDP leadership and putting in place what we suggest, to ensure we have employment insurance when Canadians need it, when they lose their job.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:20 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

Mr. Speaker, what a pleasure it is to rise and share some thoughts on a very important piece of legislation.

Over the years we have talked about things the government can do to make a difference in the lives of Canadians, whether we are talking legislative changes or budgetary measures.

What we have before us is a hybrid. We have legislative measures that have significant budgetary impacts on houses and homes across all regions of our country. It is a piece of legislation that I would like to think all members, upon reviewing and taking into consideration all the benefits within it, should be voting in favour of.

I was somewhat disappointed by the Conservative Party's amendment. I believe it does not give any merit to the legislation, and I would suggest it is just not necessary.

I would like to think that when we talk about what takes place here in Ottawa, from a government perspective, from the perspective of members of the Liberal caucus, it is about making an economy that works for all Canadians. That is a priority that we all take very seriously.

That is the reason, when we take a look at the fall economic statement, I want the people I represent and indeed all Canadians to see clearly what it is all about. I want them to see that we have a government, a Liberal caucus, that understands the hardship that Canadians are having to play today.

I have often made reference to the issue of inflation. Even when I made comparisons to other nations, it is not good enough that Canada's inflation is lower than that of countries like the U.S.A., England and many European nations.

Canadians want us to respond in a way that is going to be favourable to addressing what is happening here in Canada, whether it was the budgetary announcement made by the Minister of Finance months ago or, more recently, the fall economic statement that was issued just prior to the week we spent in our constituencies or doing constituency work, wherever we might have been.

Inflation is a serious issue. I am concerned about the price of margarine, and of groceries in general, and the impact it has, especially when the holiday season is around the corner. Many will go out and have to purchase all sorts of items, as Canadians from coast to coast to coast recognize and celebrate the holiday season.

For many it is going to be that much more costly. I understand the impact. That is why I started off by saying members should take a look at what the Government of Canada has been doing since the presentation of the budget, since the presentation of a series of legislative actions that are designed to support Canadians during this difficult time.

Yes, we had a worldwide pandemic, and we have a war that is taking place in Europe. Both of them combined have had a profound impact on the issue of inflation.

When we talk about what we can do, we look for leadership and ideas from within the House. I have made reference to it before, and I will continue to do so, whether it is today or into the future.

We have a Prime Minister who wants members of Parliament to look at what is happening in our constituencies and bring that to the floor of the House of Commons, into the standing committees and into our caucus discussions to have those discussions among ministers. I believe, whether in the budget of 2022 or the fall economic statement, we will find those consultations, those reports and those comments. I know I have been canvassed on numerous occasions from different departments, and I am somewhat of an opinionated person. That is hard to believe, but I can tell members the thoughts and ideas I share originate quite often in the constituency I represent.

I look at the many different leadership roles that are played within this chamber. We had the Minister of Finance answer some questions today. That is something I have also made reference to. If members had been listening to the answers, they might feel a little more comfortable in knowing this legislation would go a long way in meeting the needs of our constituents. Then, there is always some free advice provided on the issue of leadership, which I truly believe we have seen consistently, virtually from day one, with this Prime Minister and the government, whether it was with the tax break for Canada's middle class back in 2015, the tax increase for Canada's wealthiest 1%, or the growth of social programs.

There was the GIS and the Canada child benefit, and the supports for small businesses, seniors, people with disabilities, students and many others all the way through the pandemic. Yes, we did spend a great deal of money, and we listen to the Conservatives today criticizing the government by asking why we borrowed so much, yet they voted in good part for the money we borrowed, which they now criticize.

There has been inconsistency coming from the Conservative bench. They stand up, speaker after speaker, often just to criticize the government, and that is fine. That is their role, I guess, but there is a need to hold the official opposition to account for some of the things it does. When it comes to financial matters, and that is what we are talking about today and have been talking about them for a long time, we have been talking about the issue of inflation.

The leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, in one of his very first economic statements, and I remember it well, because he was talking about inflation, talked about how the Government of Canada needs to do something on inflation, and he shared his idea. Do members remember it? I remember it well. It was that one of the ways to fight inflation was to invest in cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. The Minister of Finance gave a fairly good articulation of the impact of the advice provided by the leader of Canada's official opposition party. It was somewhat ill-advised, I would suggest.

We think of our seniors, and the Conservatives criticize us and say we are not doing enough for seniors, which is not true. They say that, yet if those seniors they cite had followed the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party, depending on how much they invested, they would have lost anywhere from 30% to 60%, and even higher than that. A senior who had invested $10,000 following the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party would have been lucky if they had $4,000 left from that $10,000 in their savings.

I think it is valid when the Minister of Finance asks the leader where the apology is. Where is the withdrawal? I do not quite understand it. Did the leader of the Conservative Party actually invest in cryptocurrency? Let us get a show of hands. How many of the Conservative members of Parliament followed the advice of the leader of the Conservative Party and bought cryptocurrency? If we canvass the House, we are not seeing any hands. They might be a little embarrassed to raise their hands.

Today, the Conservatives are quoting the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the very same governor the leader of the Conservative Party said he would fire. One day he is going to fire the Governor of the Bank of Canada, but today they are quoting the Governor of the Bank of Canada. Do they support the institution of the Bank of Canada? Other prime ministers have, including Stephen Harper.

These are the types of things we should all be concerned about. It is about contrast. If we listened to some of the Conservative members' speeches, what did they say? They said that when it comes to the government's legislation to forgive the interest, to get rid of the interest on student loans, they took exception to it. We had a member who stood up and said it was a dumb idea. That is the essence of what he was saying.

Are we to understand that the Conservative Party of Canada does not support students and does not understand the impact that interest is having on student loans? This is a great way to support students in every region of our country, especially now, when they have to deal with inflation. The Conservatives do not support that.

The Conservatives say that not all the funding the Liberals spent went toward the pandemic. Of course it did not. Why? We have record amounts of dollars going toward health care. We are talking about additional hundreds of millions of dollars. Is the Conservative Party now saying that the money should not be spent, even though it and the Bloc will say we need to spend more and give more money? On the one hand the Conservatives say to give more money, but then they criticize us because we spent more money that was not related to the pandemic.

Let us talk about the issue of health care. Canadians should be very concerned about the Conservative Party. I believe a vast majority of Canadians understand and want to see national leadership on the health care file.

The member for Avalon brought forward a resolution dealing with long-term care, because he is right in his assertion that the federal government has a role to play. We have the Canada Health Act. There is a role. I am concerned that the Conservative Party is not much better than the Bloc when it comes to health care.

That is unfortunate for people like me and many others who reflect what Canadians want, which is a national government that has an interest in health care. That is why we negotiated agreements with the different provinces and territories. That is why we are recognizing long-term care. That is why we are investing in mental health. That is why we are looking at ways to save on pharmaceutical costs.

We understand that health care is important to Canadians and the federal government has a role to play. We are not just an ATM. In fact, if we go back to the seventies, we would find that there was an agreement that took cash out of the system in favour of tax point shifts, which premiers actually wanted.

Now we have a government that continues to support health care, because it is the right thing to do. It is what Canadians want us to do. However, they should be concerned by the Conservative Party of Canada. We could fast-forward and take a look at child care. Again, there are hundreds of millions going into the billions of dollars. Yes, I agree, that is a lot of money. However, we are investing in Canadians.

We recognize that bringing in a national child care program is costly, and it was not directly pandemic-related. However, Canadians would benefit by it, and it has been proven. All one needs to do is to take a look at the province of Quebec, which initiated the idea. Much like other issues on health care, one province brings it forward and the national government takes the idea and expands it so that it benefits all Canadians. We are seeing the same thing here with child care.

Canadians need to be aware. The Conservative Party of Canada does not want it. It is going to get rid of it. These are the types of differences between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party. We could even go to more recent things. Let us look at the dental legislation that we passed. We are saying, as a government, that we want to be able to support those who are 12 years and younger by providing some dental insurance. That is going to be money in the pockets of individuals, and it would assist them in getting dental work for children.

Do members realize that one of the biggest reasons for admissions into our hospitals today from a child's perspective is due to dental work? Indirectly, we are actually helping provinces on the health care file. By investing in dental care, there will be fewer children going into our hospitals. That is not to mention that it is the right thing to do. However, it is another initiative that the Conservative Party voted against. It is hard to believe, but Conservatives do not support children under the age of 12 receiving that.

There are more direct grants that I have not had time to talk about. I have not even talked about some of the other benefits, whether it is the doubling of first-time homebuyers tax credit or the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. I love that program. I could speak for half an hour plus just on that one program and how our communities would benefit. If I had leave from the chamber I would do just that, but I am already being told to wind up. I cannot believe it.

There is the anti-flipping tax. This is incredible. If members want to talk about housing-relating issues, this is in the legislation. We should be passing this. There are increases for taxes on banks. That is something that is critically important. There is a doubling of so many things that are positive.

However, I will sit and hope to get a question or two.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Madam Speaker, I know the member opposite cannot believe it is not butter, but we know that this fall economic statement is not the real thing either.

The government is purposely engineering a famine by increasing the cost of fertilizer on farmers and the cost of fuel on farmers. It has manufactured a climate emergency and that is the rationale for the Liberals' tripling the carbon tax. No matter how much the costly coalition steps on the gas to accelerate to net zero, we are never going to get there because there simply are not the minerals available on the earth to make these batteries and all these things that they think are going to get us to net zero by 2050. I just wonder when this person is going to look at and take a hard read of the Finnish study that shows that net zero is an impossibility.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, there is a lot in there that I would like to be able to attack. However, the biggest thing that I have to address is that the member said that the Prime Minister and the government, my Liberal colleagues, are manufacturing a climate emergency. Seriously, does the Conservative Party really believe that our government has manufactured a worldwide climate emergency? Why are they even meeting at COP? That is absolutely incredible.

This is a government that recognizes that the climate is changing. I can only encourage my colleagues and friends within the Conservative Party to sit down with the member and explain that it is worldwide and it is not because of this government that there is a climate emergency around the world. We like to think that we are actually making our communities better through many of the initiatives within this budget.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:45 p.m.
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Bloc

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

Madam Speaker, I acknowledge that, in principle, Bill C‑32 is about implementing economic provisions. First of all, I want to say that my colleague's comments towards his opposition colleagues are mean, nasty and pure rhetoric.

The opposition members are clearly stating that the government is missing some good opportunities and avoiding big challenges that it could have attempted to address. I will give one example found in this statement, an example of a ridiculous measure that demonstrates it has failed to address major challenges. The statement indicates that the government will work on a Canada-U.S. agreement for compensation for government employees who go to the moon. What a fine and urgent priority.

Does my colleague believe that it is important and pertinent to work on an agreement on compensation for government employees who go to the moon?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:45 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I am sorry if the member feels that I have hurt his feelings and I am being too harsh on the opposition, but at times it is necessary to be harsh on the opposition and some of the things that the members say.

The member talks about housing issues in the legislation. The Bloc members talk about the cost of housing, and I will use it as an example because I made reference to it. Within the legislation, there is the anti-flipping tax. When we talk about initiatives that are necessary for the federal government to continue to demonstrate leadership on the housing file, this is one example where we are looking at ways homes are being used for the marketplace as opposed to being used to live in. Are there things we can do? Yes, there are. Within this legislation there are at least one, two or three good solid policy ideas.

I am glad that the Bloc members are voting in favour of the legislation, but I would reinforce that just because they are in opposition does not give them right to make irresponsible policy announcements.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:45 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I always enjoy how loudly the member speaks. I never have to wear a earpiece. In fact, if I do it actually hurts my hearing, so perhaps we should have a warning when he speaks in the House.

In all honesty, I represent a large rural and remote riding and, in some of my smallest communities of 3,000 people, we are seeing homelessness reach a state that I never thought possible. Part of the reason is that there is no non-market housing, housing that is really reflective of the need, so that when people get there they are only spending about 30% of their income, which we know is best for everyone.

With all of the discussions the member was having, why is there not an investment in getting that housing out the door so that people can have that respect they so well deserve?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the question. When I think of housing programs, a number of initiatives come to mind right away. The rapid housing initiative is one example. We have indigenous housing commitments from the government. There are programs that are both urban and rural. One of my favourite ones is housing co-ops. I am a big advocate for housing co-ops. We now have a government that is committed to looking at ways to increase the number of housing co-ops.

Habitat for Humanity is a fantastic organization. We have a national government that is investing in Habitat for Humanity. Many initiatives were taken to support Canada's housing industry and it goes right back to when we made the multi-billion dollar commitment in a national housing strategy, which is a first in Canada, a number of years ago.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Madam Speaker, in this fall economic statement, I was looking for measures to support Canadian youth. In my riding of Don Valley North, we have Seneca College, and I have spoken to many young people. They have reasonable anxieties about getting through school, coming out and looking for a job, finding a place to live, having a family themselves and eventually owning a home.

Can he share with the House some of the measures in the fall economic statement that will help young people in Canada?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, when we look at the needs our communities have, and if we want to be able to assist young people, one of the best ways we can do that is to take a look at the loan capacity students have had to go through over the last number of years.

We want to say to our students that we will directly help them by not having them pay interest on loans. That is going to give students and apprentices in every region of our country the opportunity to save money. That money is going to assist them, not only with the issue of inflation that we are dealing with today, but also into the future. We are making schooling that much more affordable.

We have a responsibility to work with provincial jurisdictions. Supporting students by coming up with this particular fall economic statement and Bill C-32 is one of the ways Ottawa can demonstrate leadership.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, we could swear just by the member's comments in his speech across the way that everything was just great, but it is not.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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An hon. member

It is.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, he just said that it is. He heckled me and said it is. I have an article by Kelly Hayes entitled, “Northerners are hitting the cost of living breaking point”. We are seeing a skyrocketing amount of people who have to use food banks in the territories.

If everything is just good, what does the member have to say to northerners, when clearly it is not great for them?

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I think it is really important that we recognize that in every region of our country people are having a difficult time. I recognize that. That is one of the reasons we will find Liberal members of Parliament consistently advocating for supports that will help citizens in all regions of the country where the demand is high. It is one of the reasons we have been so successful in lifting hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty. It is one of the reasons we have seen initiatives such as helping over three million seniors over the age of 75 in dealing with inflation, no matter where they live in Canada. There is a lot in here and we continue to work hard every day to make a positive difference so Canadians have better lifestyles.

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November 14th, 2022 / 5:50 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies.

A staggering $1.2 trillion is how much debt the finance minister tells us we will be up to our necks in by just next year. The Liberals have doubled our national debt since they came to power. The Prime Minister has incurred more debt than all prime ministers who came before him. The Liberals have doubled the debt, they have tripled the carbon tax and, to make matters worse, they have quadrupled people's mortgage payments, because Liberal inflation has led to Liberal interest rate hikes.

A favourite quote of mine is from Winston Churchill, who famously said, “Gentlemen, we have run out of money; now we have to think.” Well, it turns out the Prime Minister not wanting to think about monetary policy has had absolutely devastating consequences for Canadians.

The Conservatives had two simple asks: one, no new taxes, and two, no new spending unless it is paid for with equal savings. However, the Liberals did just the opposite. They are going to triple the carbon tax and increase spending by $21 billion. That is their brilliant plan to combat inflation. It is obvious that a Prime Minister who does not mind spending Canadians' hard-earned tax dollars on a swanky $6,000 hotel room and a finance minister who defines belt tightening as cancelling her Disney+ subscription just do not get it. However, do members know who does get it? It is everyone else.

This economic plan does nothing to address Canada's cost of living crisis. With a $40.1-billion increase in revenues just this year, this statement shows that inflation is not only increasing the cost of living but increasing taxes on Canadians. Instead of giving Canadians much-needed relief during this time, the costly coalition seeks to profit off increased inflation.

Canadians are out of money and the Prime Minister is out of touch. Members opposite do not seem to know the facts. Do they not know that interest payments on our debt will double this year, costing nearly as much as the Canada health transfer? Do they not know that Canadians continue to cut their diets, and mothers are putting water in their children's milk because they cannot afford 10% annual food inflation? Do they not know that home prices have doubled over the last seven years, forcing young Canadians to live in their parents' basements? Do they not know that food bank usage has soared to an all-time high, recording 1.5 million visits in just one month? No, they do not know, but the Conservatives know what it will take to solve this inflation crisis. Let us stop creating more cash. Rather, we should create more of what cash buys.

If I had to sum up the fall economic statement in one word, do members know what word I would use? I would use the word “deceptive”. It is deceptive because its central theme is this farcical tale that tough times might be ahead of us, but hey, Canada is on the right track, our fiscal policy is sound and at least we are doing better than everyone else. It is deceptive because it portends to be fiscally responsible when it is not. It is deceptive because it portends to rein in spending when it does not. It is deceptive because it portends to rein in inflation when it does not. It is deceptive because it portends to offer relief to Canadians when it does not. It is deceptive because language like “economic slowdown” belies the reality of a looming recession.

Now, we know that the Liberals are experts at shirking responsibility. Inflation is not their fault. Blowing up people's mortgage payments is not their fault. If one cannot get a passport, it is not their fault. If we cannot afford gas, groceries or home heating, that is not their fault either. Who do they blame? Well, it is Putin, of course, the war, supply chains, COVID or corporate profiteering. It is never their fault. They will blame anything. However, when we pose the question asking whether inflation was caused by a failed domestic monetary policy that ballooned the money supply by 27% in two years from $1.8 trillion to $2.3 trillion or by massive deficit spending, they will say no, that is not it; it is the war. Do members not see that it is Putin?

This is what is happening. The cost of government is driving up the cost of living. Half a billion dollars in inflationary deficits means more money chasing fewer goods, which drives up the cost of everything. Inflationary taxes drive up the cost of goods. The more the Liberals spend, the more things cost. Their argument that inflation was not triggered by domestic policy simply stretches credulity.

In recent weeks, experts from across the country have presented the government with an uncomfortable truth: The inflation crisis is in fact a domestic crisis. After doubling our national debt, now the finance minister says it is time to be fiscally responsible. It is time to turn off the taps, and more spending would, in her words, “force the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates even higher. It would make life more expensive, for everyone, for longer.”

Remarkably, in the same statement, she increases spending anyway, by $21 billion. By the way, spending is already way up. In 2020, just before the pandemic, federal program spending was $338 billion. Now the finance minister says in 2023 it will be $437 billion, a whopping 29% increase in spending over prepandemic levels.

When it comes to COVID, I will offer the Liberals a bit of an olive branch. The pandemic necessitated a certain degree of spending, which Conservatives voted for. However, the problem is, of the $500 billion they spent in deficit, over $200 billion had absolutely zero to do with COVID. Even before 2020, in the good old days of sunny ways, the government added a staggering $112 billion to our debt.

I understand why the Liberals do not want to think about this. When Canadians realize how badly their tax dollars have been mismanaged, make no mistake, they will hold the government to account.

Here is another uncomfortable truth. For far too long, Europe was content with getting its energy from a brutal despot, but today that is no longer an option. Now the continent prepares for a winter that can only be described as hellish. We could have been there for them. However, the Liberals once again dropped the ball. While Canada sits upon the most ethically produced supply of natural gas on the planet, our friends in Europe are being held for ransom, begging to buy overpriced blood natural gas from Putin.

We could have been there for them, but the Prime Minister decided not to invest in exporting our natural gas. We could have been there for them, while creating good-paying Canadian energy jobs. We could have been there for them while generating revenue for Canadians, but the Prime Minister did not want to think about developing Canadian natural resources, and now Europe is paying the price. Canada does not get the sale, and Putin rakes it in, all the while funding his brutal war.

It is frustrating to see the Liberals being so inflexible and so ideological that they refuse to accept this fact almost 10 months into this brutal war. Talk about choosing posturing over prosperity.

I wish I had something positive to say about the fall economic update. I wish I could commend the government for exercising even an iota of the fiscal discipline that it claims to have suddenly converted to. This so-called fiscal discipline is relative only to the massive spending over the last two and a half years. Just about anything is a success when working with such a low benchmark. It is the financial equivalent of gorging on Halloween candy, minus a few chocolate bars here and there, and telling the world that the diet is “going well”. Ironically, when Conservatives propose fiscal responsibility, Liberals brand it austerity. When Liberals feebly try to do the same, it is called fiscal discipline.

We have been trying to reach across the aisle for months now. Just a few weeks ago, it looked like we had seen some progress when the finance minister endorsed our “pay as you go” approach to her cabinet colleagues. However, there is not a word of that policy in the update. When will the government commit to a real plan to balance the budget and stop adding fuel to the inflationary fire?

It goes without saying that $1.2 trillion is a lot of money to owe. Right now, I say that Canadians have 1.2 trillion reasons to reject the Prime Minister's failed economic policy.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6 p.m.
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Liberal

Lloyd Longfield Liberal Guelph, ON

Madam Speaker, I had a chance to have a round table with seniors in Guelph last week, and I wonder whether seniors in my colleague's riding are seeing some of the same things around grocery prices.

The cost of living is really hitting hard. One of the seniors said to me that one of the pricing set-ups in the grocery store is where one pays $4 to buy one item but if they buy two, they pay only $3. Grocers are making extra money on seniors, single people and students, people who do not need the two items but only one.

Could the hon. member talk about how the fall economic statement might be able to help some of the seniors in his riding?

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, unfortunately I have bad news for the member. The fall economic statement is going to make things far worse for seniors in his riding and all of our ridings. The reason is that the government spent $500 billion in a very short period of time and printed a lot of that money it make it happen. That is the petri dish for triggering inflation.

Conservatives had two simple asks in the fall economic update. We wanted no new taxes and no new spending unless it was paid for by commensurate savings within existing budgets. The fall economic update did neither of those things. In fact, it went the opposite way and increased taxes and spending. Additional spending at this point on the order of $20 billion or more is going to trigger even more inflation and make it much harder for seniors across Canada to make ends meet.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Yves Perron Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, we have here a Liberal government that is unable to deliver passports or issue old age security cheques on time to people who reach retirement age. The Liberal government is also unable to guarantee security for workers through EI. These are all things that are part of its legislative agenda or its current jurisdictions, yet it wants to lecture the provinces and Quebec on health, saying that it knows the truth. I find that rather astounding.

I would like my Conservative colleague's opinion on two things. The Conservatives have already agreed on increasing health transfers to the provinces and Quebec with no strings attached and on increasing old age security starting at 65. We already agreed on this, but since the arrival of the new leader, there has been talk of tightening spending.

I would like a clear answer.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, I will agree with my colleague on one thing, which is that so many things are broken. It seems like the government could not create a program that it could not bungle so badly. Canadians cannot get passports. They cannot get through to the CRA.

The worst is the inflation. The failed monetary policy of the government by a Prime Minister who does not want to think about monetary policy has caused inflation, which is really hitting Canadians hard. More than that, it is enriching the pockets of the government. Kitchen cabinets are looking pretty bare right now, but the Liberal cabinet is pretty flush with all the new tax revenues inflation has granted to it.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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NDP

Lisa Marie Barron NDP Nanaimo—Ladysmith, BC

Madam Speaker, during this debate I have heard from a Conservative that he was opposed to removing interest on student loans and that there was in fact not a student debt problem in Canada. I beg to differ. Students in my riding of Nanaimo—Ladysmith would certainly disagree with this statement as they try to get an education to contribute to our society and are penalized with interest rates that are just not feasible. At the same time, the Conservatives are propping up rich CEOs.

I am wondering if the member can clarify if he is in support of a Canada recovery dividend to ensure that these big box stores are being taxes appropriately and that money could go back into the pockets of those who need it most.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:05 p.m.
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Conservative

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

Madam Speaker, removing interest from student loans is a laudable goal, but we have to put things in context of the times in which we live. The government has spent and is in deficit over $500 billion in the last two years. Now is the time for an iota of fiscal responsibility. We need to rein things in a little so that we can afford to do the things that my colleagues in the NDP want to do, but we are not at that spot right now.

It reminds of Margaret Thatcher's old saying, “the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money”. That is what has happened. We have run out, and it is time for a little fiscal discipline.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, I appreciate the time to debate Bill C-32, the fall fiscal update, as Canadians are hearing it. Sadly, the Liberals had a huge opportunity to help northern Canadians heat their homes and stay out of the food banks, but unfortunately, it does nothing to help northerners stay warm or buy groceries.

Let us start first with Yukon. The Yukon Party up there does a great job of really keeping its own Liberal government to account. A member of the Yukon Party, Wade Istchenko, speaks to what we have been saying in the House on the Liberal carbon tax. He said, “while this Liberal government promotes their federal counterpart's crippling carbon tax, everyday Yukoners sitting down with their families are trying to figure out how to finance this month's oil bill and buy groceries at the same time.”

The member from Winnipeg North says that everything is grand, and he even repeated it for me, but clearly it is not in the territories.

Cutting Disney+ does not do much to cover the $1,800 home heating fuel bill, so Yukon has become an unaffordable place to live under the Liberal government. I would like to mention that $1,800 is the first payment of many to heat our homes for the winter. It is not just Conservatives in Ottawa who are saying this. Members of the Yukon Party are agreeing that it is a huge problem to pay bills in the north. The Liberals have done nothing to address that with Bill C-32.

I will move now to Northwest Territories. We hear that the carbon tax is great. We even heard this evening that Canadians get thousands more back than they ever contribute. It is hogwash, and we all know it.

Another article's headline reads, “Bill to change N.W.T. carbon tax rebates would hurt remote communities the most, say MLAs.” Again, it is supposed to all be coming back, and more, but here is the truth on the ground in Northwest Territories.

The article continues, “The change comes in order to comply with new federal regulations that, in addition to increasing carbon prices, prohibit carbon tax rebates that directly reduce the impact of the carbon tax.”

I heard a member say, “What?” Again, Liberals talk a big game about supporting folks and how they are going to see most of their money back, and more, but they are actually getting in the way of a rebate that would see some of this federal carbon tax money get back to residents of Northwest Territories.

The article goes on, “Questioning the minister, Jackie Jacobson, MLA for Nunakput, said he understands 'the federal government is forcing our government's hand,' but argued 'there has to be a way that the [Government of Northwest Territories] can draw a line to stop rising costs for the residents in Nunakput.'

This is quite a different story than what we have heard. We are hearing from these guys on a daily basis that things are grand, and the NDP beside us here just goes along with it and says that everything is grand, while it is clearly not on the ground in the north. It is not good on the ground across the board in Canada for all Canadians, but especially in the north.

I will talk a bit about housing. In a recent announcement in Yellowknife, the Liberals announced more money for housing in the north. It sounds great on the outset, but how many times have we heard the announcements made but saw zero outcomes on the ground?

I was up in Nunavut and Inuvik, where I asked about this, and I have asked this question in the House before. I asked how many houses had been built this year, after the promises made by the Liberal government. How many houses were built in Nunavut? Zero were built.

We have announcement after announcement after announcement, yet zero houses and residences are getting built for the people in the territories. Promises do not matter. The member across the way from Northwest Territories will know that promises do not go very far when it is -20°C, -30°C or even worse, -40°C, especially when one does not have a place to live.

The promises come, but the impacts of just inflation are real on the ground. We see promises made for houses to get built, but this is what happened in Nunavut. An article from the CBC, related to inflation, states that in one case, inflation led to delays and to a contractor “backing out of a 10-unit Taloyoak project because the housing corporation took so long to award the contract, with building costs spiking in the meantime” due to inflation.

The article continues, “Kusugak also insisted the $10-million bid for a 16-unit project in Iqaluit was, in fact, withdrawn by the company that placed it.” Why was that contract retracted or rescinded? “All housing tenders this year have been cancelled because of high costs”, or inflation.

This is all while the member from Winnipeg says that there is nothing to see here and everything is grand. Well, it is not. Whether it is carbon tax and home heating or it is lack of housing in the north, the Liberal government is absolutely failing.

For my final couple of points, we talked about the cost of living. I got to see this first-hand. In a grocery store in Nunavut or Inuvik or wherever we go, a jug of milk costs us a lot of money. It is seven to eight bucks, and up there it is 20 bucks. That is just a carton of milk. We can look at ketchup or Kraft dinner, and Kraft dinner is almost $4 a box, but everything is grand according to the Liberals across the way.

Another article is entitled “Northerners are hitting the cost of living breaking point”. This is in Northwest Territories. The article says, “The Salvation Army in Yellowknife says it has helped 1400 more people this year compared to 2021”. It is kind of puzzling because, again, according to the Liberal government, everything is great, while we have seen this massive spike in people visiting food banks across the territories.

The article also quotes the organization's executive director:

The general comment is that food price increases, along with other household costs, [are] making it increasingly difficult to maintain bill payments.

As recently as today, I have heard from other non-profits that are expressing the same concerns. They too are seeing an increase in the need for food among other supports.

I will repeat it: If everything was grand, why are we seeing more visits to the food banks? It is not just in urban settings. I am talking about the territories specifically, and I will get a bit more specific with the numbers. We are almost getting to the 10% mark with respect to residents of the territories having to visit a food bank.

The final article that I will quote is titled “'A really alarming crisis': Iqaluit's food bank now feeding 500 people a day, many of them children”. It states:

In October of last year, the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre was serving about 150 meals per day. Blais, the food bank's executive director, says they're now serving more than 500—well beyond their capacity.

The article goes on:

Food Banks Canada's latest report estimates more than 6,200 people across the three territories accessed their local food banks in March 2022 alone, and nearly a third of them were children.

They were at 6,200, and that was in March. We know things have gotten a lot worse. Even the Deputy Prime Minister is acknowledging that we are in for a tough road ahead. Many of our northerners are already seeing this. That number of 6,200 alone, as of March, pointed to a 36% increase in the number of people who have needed to access a food bank.

I started off by saying that Liberal promises in this economic update do not help northerners. The update simply does not help them stay warm; it does not help them buy groceries, and I wish it would.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, earlier we heard the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke say she believed the climate crisis that the world faces is a climate emergency that was manufactured by the Prime Minister. I wonder if the member would agree that the climate emergency is all a hoax that is being put on by the Prime Minister, as the member from Pembroke has alluded to.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, I would ask the member across the way a question in return: Why did he not ask about how we can help northerners stay warm and buy groceries?

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. He talked about two things that caught my attention: the situation of seniors and food banks.

The government often answers that it helps seniors by helping food banks. I think it is an absolutely degrading shortcut to tell seniors that all they need to do is line up at the food bank.

That is a fact. Food bank workers in my riding are reaching out to me to say that the number of seniors requesting food hampers is growing. Is it not time the government realized that something needs to be done to improve their financial situation?

I do not want to get into the issue of the carbon tax because what seniors' groups in Quebec are asking for in the way of help is for the government to improve old age security, which has not been increased for long enough. They also want the Liberals to do away with their proposal to increase the OAS only for those aged 75 and up.

The government is essentially failing half of seniors. All those between the ages of 65 and 74 have to go to food banks because they too are being affected by rising inflation.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, seniors are impacted even more so, especially during these trying times with Liberal inflation and the lack of respect and attention they have been given in Bill C-32. When we look at the visits to food banks, in the territories we are getting close to the 10% mark. Seniors are part of that group. It is sad to say that the government simply does not respect them.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, the member neglected to mention the profits that were being made by grocery stores in the north, so I will mention very quickly that The North West Company, which is a grocery store in the north, including in the northern communities he mentioned, has had increases in sales of 2.4%. It profited by $13.2 million, or 63.9% more than prepandemic figures. It also reported an increase in the dividend payments it will be giving to its shareholders.

Does the member agree that the Canada recovery dividend needs to be extended to these big box stores that are clearly contributing to the hardships people are facing?

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, the member sees the reality of the expenses that the people in Nunavut incur simply to buy groceries. I was up there and I saw the numbers.

I think the question really should be directed to the government, because it delivers the nutrition north program. It needs to look into some of the allegations and the facts the member noted. I absolutely respect that the funds that are supposed to be going to nutrition north should actually make it to the people who need the food, rather than to the companies that profit from it. However, it is a good question to put to the government, and I hope it will answer the member's question.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Madam Speaker, I appreciate that the member came to the Northwest Territories and the other territories to visit us. I would encourage more MPs to come and see our part of the world.

I would point out to the member that there is more to the Northwest Territories than just Yellowknife and Inuvik. He should go into some of the smaller communities, where he would see the many houses that are being erected.

Would he recognize that for the first time in our history, indigenous housing is supported through our government? During the 10 years that the Conservatives were in power, the dark decade of no housing was established. Does the member recognize how that has contributed to the crisis we have experienced over the last while with housing?

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Bob Zimmer Conservative Prince George—Peace River—Northern Rockies, BC

Madam Speaker, the fact remains that 1,400 more individuals in the Northwest Territories are visiting food banks than they did the year before. That is on the member and the government he belongs to. I would challenge him with this: He really needs to talk to the person who sits down in the chair opposite and he needs to do more for northerners, especially in his own territory.

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:25 p.m.
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Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to the fall economic statement presented earlier this month by the Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister. The statement comes at a critical moment when we know Canadians are already deeply concerned about the accelerating realities of a changing climate, they are already deeply concerned by the economic fallout of a pandemic and they are also now worried about the impact of the international phenomenon of inflation impacting their monthly budgets.

In short, inflation is a global phenomenon caused by COVID-related supply issues and Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine, and it is making the goods and services Canadians rely on more expensive. Those rising costs have meant that people are having a difficult time making decisions on how they are going make ends meet each month. Our government recognizes these concerns, and we are not waiting to act on those.

Our affordability plan is already under way, and earlier this month Canadians began receiving double GST credit payments, support that is making a difference for over 11 million households in need. There is up to $234 more for singles without kids, $467 for a typical family of four and $225 more on average for seniors. That is money in their pockets right now to help them put food on the table and pay their bills. Additionally, our legislation to extend dental care to kids and to provide rent support to renters is making its way through Parliament as we speak.

The fall economic statement now goes further, introducing measures to help Canadians in need, and today I would like to share some of the key initiatives in that statement that I believe will support my constituents back home in Halifax and, indeed, the constituents of all members in the House.

The first of those is eliminating interest on student loans. My city is home to many students and higher education students at universities like Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, the University of King's College, NSCAD University, the Atlantic School of Theology and the Nova Scotia Community College. In fact, in 2021, Halifax boasted 35,556 students across all of its educational institutions.

These are young people who have made the decision to get an education so that they can pursue a career of their choice, one that keeps them inspired and employed and allows them to build the future they want for themselves and for their community. However, the cost of tuition has risen steadily over the years. The current generation is in the position where paying tuition has sadly become a prohibitive burden at a time when their careers should be all about opportunity, not about the cost of living and certainly not about debt.

We know some students are fortunate enough to have families that can cover the cost of their education, but there are many more who are not able to rely on their families to cover that expense. That is where federal student loans come in. They are a way for the government to ensure that, if a young person wants to go to college or university, they can do so. This is a necessary support the government ought to extend in the pursuit of levelling the playing field for Canadians of all backgrounds, yet we know the interest that accrues on these student loans means that paying them back can take a very long time and the cost grows the longer they take to pay it back.

That raises an important moral question: Why should the government profit off the backs of middle- and low-income students through student loan interest payments that other more fortunate students do not need to take on?

Beyond the moral question, it is also simply poor economic policy. The government should not be holding back our young graduates at a time when we need to be growing our workforce and getting these young people launched productively into the economy. Therefore, the fall economic statement is permanently cancelling interest on federal student loans, including those currently in repayment. How about that? This change will help recent graduates who have been facing the prospect of paying back their loans with interest in a time when many people are struggling to make ends meet.

When this was announced, I received a number of letters from recent grads in my riding. I have the permission of the authors of just two of those to read them here to illustrate what this means for the folks on the ground in the beautiful city of Halifax. Here is the first one: “I am writing to express my—

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November 14th, 2022 / 6:30 p.m.
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NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

The hon. member will have to save that and keep the House in suspense.

The hon. member will have five minutes the next time this matter is before the House.

The House resumed from November 14 consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, An Act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:05 a.m.
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Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Innovation

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting the remainder of my time with the member for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.

I will pick up where I left off. I was talking about the importance of cancelling the federal portion of interest on student loans. When this was announced, I received a number of letters from recent grads in my riding. I have permission from the authors of two of them to read them to illustrate what the cancellation of interest meant on the ground for folks in Halifax.

The first letter reads, “I am writing to express my wholehearted support for the plan to make student loans permanently interest free. This makes sense on so many levels. Interest rates are way too high for recent graduates to be expected to pay. It's a poor tax. Personally, me and my family are super relieved to hear about this. I just graduated in September and we had our first child this summer. Budgets are tight, we are lucky enough to have an affordable apartment for the time being.... The announcement today is a much needed reprieve from the way things have been going. Please keep it up!”

Another reads, “I just heard about the federal government's proposal to permanently eliminate interest on the federal portion of student loans and I just had to reach out to say THANK YOU!!!!!!!! You have absolutely no idea how much of a burden has been lifted from my shoulders by this announcement. This will be so helpful for myself and all Canadians struggling to pay back their loans, I simply can't thank you enough. I actually burst into tears when I read the announcement, I was so stressed out about my payments going up again in the spring. Things are so hard for a lot of people right now and this move shows that the liberal government truly cares about Canadians. So thank you so much for this incredible move!”

I would now like to move on to the fall economic statement's revamp of the Canada workers benefit.

The Canada workers benefit has filled in a gap in our social safety net. We recognize that many of our support systems have been directed at families, seniors and students, but one refrain I hear often is this: What about single, hard-working folks out there who also need help, the lowest-paid workers who are slipping through the cracks? That is what the Canada workers benefit is all about: topping off the income of three million of our lowest-income workers.

In last year’s budget, we increased the benefit by up to $1,200 for singles and by $2,400 for couples. We are now ensuring that these payments are delivered on a quarterly basis rather than once a year, as they are now, so those who rely on the benefit can access it when they need it.

Next I want to talk about credit card fees and the pledges made in the economic statement to reduce the burden on our small businesses.

Small businesses, as we all know, are the backbone of our local economies, employing the vast majority of Canadian workers. The pandemic has hit them hard. We delivered critical financial supports for them through COVID, which is why we had an economy to return to, but we cannot stop there.

With rising credit card fees, small businesses are feeling the pressure. This is something that has been frequently raised to me by my local chamber, the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, and by business organizations such as the Halifax Partnership. I am pleased to say that in the fall economic statement, we are moving forward with our plan to help lower credit card transaction fees for small businesses. This way they are not forced to choose between lowering their profit and passing on fees to customers. That benefits both the businesses and the customers themselves.

The fourth measure I would like to highlight from the fall economic statement is all about housing.

Halifax has seen remarkable population growth in the last decade, and as such has experienced growing pains. The availability of affordable housing options has become increasingly scarce, and people are looking for the government to act.

The fall economic statement implements many of the housing commitments we ran on in the last election. For example, it creates a tax-free first home savings account that will allow Canadians to more quickly save a down payment to buy a home. Also, because we know closing costs on houses are increasing, we are doubling the first-time homebuyers' tax credit. Next, because we know homes are for living in, the fall economic statement cracks down on house flipping, slowing the rising cost of homes and giving more people the opportunity to buy their own.

The last example I will give, which is one I advocated for for a long time as a city planner well before my time in politics, is support for secondary suites. If a grandparent or family member with a disability wants to move back in, Canadians are now eligible for a multi-generational home renovation tax credit so they can afford to build a granny suite, laneway housing or whatever else to allow family members to live with them while maintaining independence.

I would like to address one more set of measures in the fall economic statement, and they are about climate change. As COP27 has made clear, if it was not already, we need to be moving further and faster in the fight against climate change. That is why I am really glad to see that the statement includes new tax incentives for companies adopting clean technologies. This means a refundable tax credit equal to 30% of the capital cost of investments in electricity generation systems such as solar, wind and hydro; stationary electricity storage systems that run on non-fossil fuel energy; low-carbon heat equipment such as solar heating or air-source and ground-source heat pumps; and industrial zero-emission vehicles.

All this and so much more is included in the fall economic statement. I believe that it provides the necessary support to some of the most urgent challenges facing Canadians, including those back home in Halifax. I look forward to working with colleagues to ensure it passes through Parliament in a timely fashion, as I know that all of our constituents will benefit from the measures that it contains.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Ryan Williams Conservative Bay of Quinte, ON

Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague talked about secondary suites, and they are near and dear to my heart. I was in municipal council and we tried to push for more secondary suites. What we found is that if we are going to create more secondary suites, we need more workers. We need more skilled workers who are able to go into homes and build either a coach house or a secondary suite.

Can the member please give the House some ideas on how we can get more skilled trades into the workforce? We are short about a million skilled jobs in the country and part of that is skilled trades. How do we get more skilled trades so we can build more secondary suites?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, at home in Halifax, we need to be building about 10,000 units a year. We have a complicated machine composed of tradespeople, supply chains, building inspectors, people who grant permits and people who provide the appliances that go into homes, and we can only deliver about 3,000 homes a year. It is clear that we need help across that continuum, that big machine that builds housing, not just in Halifax but across the country.

A critical piece of that, of course, is the talented workforce. We are seeing the Minister of Immigration focus, with great precision, on creating streams that would bring talented and skilled tradespeople into the country.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.m.
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NDP

Taylor Bachrach NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, the fall economic statement includes a bunch of measures the NDP pushed really hard for that are going to help make life easier for Canadians during these challenging times. However, one pretty large omission is any sort of help with the cost of home heating, which is going to skyrocket this winter.

We have been pushing for the federal government to remove the GST from home heating, which of course would help not only the people who heat with fossil fuels but also the 40% of Canadians who heat with electricity.

Could my colleague from the Liberals speak to why so far his government has not chosen to remove the GST from home heating?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, we are always glad to have the support of the NDP caucus for the measures that we work so hard to pass through the House. It is great to have people cheering from the sidelines.

On the question of GST rebates, Canadians can see that we are deeply invested and involved in lowering home energy costs for Canadians, such as through the loan programs and rebate programs to switch from fossil fuel heating systems to decarbonized heating systems.

I encourage the member to stay watchful for other measures that may come that will provide more immediate relief, but he should know that the long game is the important game. We are working to decarbonize in a way that is equitable for all Canadians so that we can all participate in the decarbonization of our economy.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.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, I am wondering if my colleague could provide some additional thoughts with regard to the forgiveness of interest on student loans and the impact that this is going to have on the affordability issue of post-secondary education, something that I know many of my constituents are very concerned about.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Andy Fillmore Liberal Halifax, NS

Madam Speaker, in my remarks, I gave some first-hand testimony from students who are feeling the relief that the elimination of the federal portion of interest will provide. Students and youth are the future of our economy. They are the future of how we are going to fight climate change. They are the future of how we are going to create an equitable, inclusive and low-carbon economy in the future. To accomplish all of those things and to live up to the pressure that we are placing on them to change the world we all live in, they need to be educated and they need to get trained. They can only do that if they can afford it.

There is tremendous relief across my community and across the Canadian student population through this measure. It is going to make education accessible at the exact moment that we need these youth to be getting an education.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:15 a.m.
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Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook Nova Scotia

Liberal

Darrell Samson LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Madam Speaker, as always, it is a great pleasure for me to rise in the House to talk about the work that the government is doing and the impact it is having in our ridings.

Let me share with the House the importance of the fall economic statement. It follows the budget and brings us to the fall. It will look at some of the measures that we passed lately that will help affordability for Canadians, but it will also share some key investments as we move forward, which are so essential.

Let us not forget that we went through two difficult years with COVID, and we were able to help Canadians because we were in a strong and positive position financially. We were able to help Canadians individually, as well as families and businesses. We were there and we had their backs.

Once again, we are faced with affordability challenges for Canadians, like at the pumps and at grocery stores, and we need to be there for Canadians. We need to be more focused on targeted supports for Canadians so that we can help those who are having the greatest difficulty.

Let us look at our accomplishments. When COVID hit, we lost over three million jobs overnight. Since coming out of COVID, by building back better, we recaptured millions of jobs that were lost, but we also added, as of today, 400,000 jobs to the economy, which is a direct indication of some of the successes of our government in building back better. We are in great shape this time around with the strongest economic growth in the G7. We still have a strong AAA credit rating and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, which puts us in great shape to move forward.

Let us talk about some of the things we have done in the last few months with the help of the House and the other parties. We are doubling, for six months, the GST credit for people who receive it. How many people are we helping? We are helping over 11 million families with that investment, which is really important. We are also helping seniors with an average of $225 more over the six-month period. It is a big investment to help people with low incomes with the GST credit.

The second thing we are doing is the top-up for housing for individuals who are struggling. This is a one-time, tax-free payment to make sure that it does not affect their income as we saw with some of the investments during COVID. We were able to make the adjustments beforehand to help 1.8 million Canadians, which is so important.

We also passed a very important tax-free payment for dental care. It is for families with kids under 12 years old, and that is essential. Every member of Parliament has coverage for dental care, but these individuals and these families do not. Families making $90,000 or less will be able to benefit from this investment. This will help over 500,000 children across this great country.

I will mention some of the new initiatives that are so important to Canadians and low-income individuals. Single individuals are asking what kinds of supports are available for single Canadians in the country. Our expansion of the Canada workers benefit will help over three million people with low incomes, people making minimum wage or just above minimum wage who are working extremely hard. Our government recognizes that they too need some supports.

These supports have been put in place through budget initiatives. However, this time with this investment, we are going to be able to advance the payments quarterly so that these individuals can receive these monies, rather than waiting a whole year to get the tax credit. This will be a very big change that will help many Canadians and it will take place in July 2023. It is not that far away. I have spoken to many people in my constituency about this as well.

With respect to the elimination of interest on student loans, as the House knows, I am a former teacher. I know the investment and cost to families and individuals for education, whether it be for university, community college or whatnot. Having to pay interest is one thing, but having to pay it when the interest rate is climbing very quickly makes it that much more difficult. Many of these individuals will save up to $3,000 in interest over the life of their loan. That is a big support for those individuals.

The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has stated that there is big news for students right across the country. Starting on April 1, 2023, the Government of Canada has removed the interest on Canada student loans, and this investment is welcomed by past, current and future students who borrow money for their education.

Housing is also a big initiative. This government is the first government to bring forward the national housing strategy, which has various features to support Canadians in many ways with respect to housing. One of the initiatives we are bringing forward is the tax-free first home savings account, where individuals can put away up to $40,000. There is no tax going in or coming out, which is very similar to the TFSA that has helped many Canadians. Also, there is support of up to $1,500 for closing costs when one is purchasing a home.

The other initiative that is very important is the multi-generational home renovation tax credit. I have heard many families talk about having a second suite for a parent, a senior or people with disabilities. A constituent called me to ask if she would be able to renovate her garage into an apartment for her child who has some challenges, barriers and disabilities. Yes, with this investment, people can receive up to 15% of their investment. Therefore, if someone invested $50,000 to make the transformation, they would be able to receive $7,500 on their tax return. Those are big, focused and targeted areas to support Canadians.

Let us also talk about jobs, growth and the economy, which are so important. We are making investments into skills for a net-zero economy. We need to be better prepared to put forward the necessary skills to meet the needs in the labour market to achieve our transition goal. This investment into a sustainable jobs training centre is extremely important, and departments will come together to help in that area.

Jobs for youth are very important. One investment is the youth employment strategy. For people across Canada facing barriers there is Ready, Willing and Able. In Nova Scotia, this has increased participation in the workforce for people with disabilities. We have been able to establish 265 jobs, many of which are with Air Canada, Costco and Shoppers Drug Mart.

With respect to Canada summer jobs, we have seen over 70,000 jobs. Those are key for young people who not only want to attend university or community college, but also want to achieve success by learning new skills and getting out into the workforce to meet with many entrepreneurs, which will help them get various jobs in the future.

Immigration is a strategic keystone for our government. We need to bring more people into the country. We know we have a shortage of workers for over one million jobs, so we need to find ways to fill those. People forget that just over 60% of people who immigrate to Canada have the skills to meet the needs of our country. That is extremely important. We are also bringing some programs forward that will help the regional and rural communities, and we are doing extra in that area.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, on page 61 of the fall economic statement there is a line item for $135 million. It is indicated that the money is being allocated for temporary lodgings for asylum seekers in need of shelter.

Indeed, during the COVID–19 pandemic, the Government of Canada rightfully shut down Roxham Road and other illegal points of entry.

Why is the Government of Canada opening up these illegal points of entry and putting $135 million forward for people who jump the immigration queue in Canada?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, as I said in my speech, immigration is key to the success of our country and to the growth of our country.

We have made some changes that would bring more people, skilled workers, to support us. We have the family reunification, which would bring families together, adding family members. The francophone strategy would bring a 4.4% increase in francophones to Canada. Those are key areas that we need to work on and support our country by bringing more immigrants to Canada.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Bloc

René Villemure Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my Acadian colleague for his comments. I love working with him on issues affecting francophones.

The government is generally rather quick to acknowledge sensitivities. However, with this bill, it seems as though the government is discriminating between two classes of seniors, those between the ages of 65 and 75 and those aged 75 and up.

I would like to know why a government that is usually so sensitive to such sensitivities, to use a redundancy, is engaging in this sort of discrimination. We think that is unacceptable.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his very important question.

Members know that, when the government makes investments, it has to determine where the greatest needs lie. Research has clearly shown that seniors aged 75 and up have a lot more expenses than younger seniors.

That does not mean that we should not help seniors between the ages of 65 and 75, but for the moment, the investments are targeting those with much higher expenses, particularly health care expenses.

Older seniors may lose their spouse and have a harder time staying in their home because of a lack of financial support. There are many strategies related to the investments we are making.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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NDP

Blake Desjarlais NDP Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Madam Speaker, our role in this place, and something New Democrats have been fighting for, is to distinguish between the needs and wants of Canadians.

It is important that Canadians, especially right now when they are feeling the cost of living pinch, see our economy get better. Part of that is ensuring that we actually tax those that have been disproportionately benefiting from this crisis, like Loblaws, which has benefited $1 million a day.

I was pleased to see the Canada recovery dividend in the member's speech. I was also pleased to see that the government was going to act on this. That is a 15% tax on banks and life insurers. We have also seen incredible greed from not just food companies but also the oil sector.

Why would the government not expand this tax and tax those that are making disgusting profits?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, one of the first things we did when we formed government was to add a 1% tax on those most fortunate, and that was a key step forward. That allowed us to bring some revenue in to reduce taxes for the middle class, which was essential.

There are very important questions to be asked around banking and the profits of some of the bigger companies. I agree with my colleague that we need to find ways to ensure that they are paying their fair share. That is exactly what we are working on now.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Melissa Lantsman Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to rise once again as Thornhill's voice in Ottawa. I will be sharing my time with my friend, the hon. member for Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon.

Everything is fine; Canadians have never had it so good. That is the constant refrain we hear from the Liberals and their NDP coalition partners, while Canadians from coast to coast to coast are struggling and while everyone in Canada pays the highest taxes on record, ever.

We have a problem in this country, and the Liberals must know it by now. It is hard to ignore. They either are not listening or they do not care. The Liberals have doubled our national debt since they came to power. The Prime Minister has incurred more debt than all prime ministers who came before him. The Liberals have doubled the debt. They have tripled the carbon tax. They have quadrupled Canadian mortgage payments, because Liberal inflation has led to Liberal interest rate hikes. We have a cost of living crisis in this country. The Liberals must have some inkling of that now.

The fall economic statement really could have helped. However, unfortunately it would do nothing to address the immediate cost of living crisis the Liberals seem to be ignoring. We asked for two very simple things from the Liberals: no new spending and no new taxes. This statement delivers neither. We asked for compassion for Canadians trying to get by and fiscal responsibility for future generations, and this statement delivers neither.

For weeks, Conservatives told Liberals this statement would have the opportunity to change the course, to freeze spending, to freeze taxes and to reverse the failed policies that are causing the chaos we see all over the country. It seemed like the Liberals were finally getting the message. The Deputy Prime Minister told Canadians it was time to cut back, that we should live within our means and that the era of big government spending was over. We even heard the Prime Minister utter the words “fiscal responsibility”. I almost fell out of my chair when he said those words together in the same sentence. However, when the update was delivered and Liberal promises and talking points collided with reality, like on every other issue, they fell short. Only a Liberal would think that this year's fall economic statement shows fiscal restraint.

Since April, the Liberals have added $11.6 billion to new government spending, and this update will add another $11.3 billion. The Liberals are addicted to spending, and Canadians are paying the price. On top of all that are the new taxes that this statement fails to do away with, like tripling the carbon tax and putting new taxes on paycheques, and inflation is already at 6.9%.

Interest rates are the highest they have been since the financial crisis. Rental rates are up 15%, and food inflation is at 11%. Where do families find that money? Gas is up to over $2 in many parts of the country. Diesel hit $3. Canadians have never felt worse about their finances. Every survey to every Canadian comes back with exactly the same refrain. All the Liberals have to do is check out of the $6,000-a-night hotel room, turn off the Disney+ and talk to Canadians to understand what is going on in this country.

The Liberals are flooding the market with cheap cash that is driving up the cost of goods, while simultaneously making people pay even more in taxes. How does that make any sense? They hear from the same people as we do, who are just struggling to get by. They read the same statistics as we do. The fact that 1.5 million people in this country used a food bank in a month should not be lost on anyone. This is Canada. The Liberals go back to their constituencies at the end of the week, just like we do. Therefore, why are they not changing course? Why are they not listening? Why are they continuing to do the same thing that got us into this in the first place?

The Liberals know their actions, their policies and their spending are causing inflation. The Deputy Prime Minister said it herself. The Bank of Canada governor said it, and the one before him said it. The banks have said it. Everybody except for members on the other side has said it, with the exception of the Deputy Prime Minister. The simple answer is that the Liberals care more about the power of government than the power of people. They care more about helping making their friends rich than helping struggling families get by. They care more about the voices on the cocktail circuit than the voices of real, everyday Canadians telling them to stop.

It is time to start listening to real people who know that budgets do not balance themselves, real people who know that monetary policy is important, real people who know that cancelling Disney+ is not a solution to put food on the table, real people who know that $6,000 for a hotel room is absurd, real people who know that $12,000-a-month grocery bills at the Prime Minister's house are ridiculous, and real people who know that private jets and limousines are insulting as they cancel their vacations and struggle with driving to work every day. Maybe this is a statement of fiscal restraint for the Liberals, but it is not a statement of fiscal restraint for anybody else in this country.

I will promise Canadians that fiscal restraint, for the Conservatives, means deficits are at zero, not $15 billion and not $30 billion, but zero. For every dollar spent there will be a dollar found, because that is how real people live in the real world. The Deputy Prime Minister herself has warned of difficult times ahead, and for her to spend so recklessly despite knowing all that is, frankly, unacceptable.

What will the government do when the cupboards are already bare? That is the position we are in. How will it be able to deal with the rising interest rates on our debt, which will soon exceed the amount of money the government transfers to provinces for health care in a crisis? We are going to pay more interest on the debt than we are going to pay for health care in this country, from the federal government. Here is a spoiler alert: It will not. It will be the fault of this government, and Canadians will suffer more for it.

As I have said before and will say again, I have been part of budget processes before. In fact, the last one I was a part of in this country was balanced. I have never seen a government's fiscal policy so lacking in vision and so utterly meaningless. At least in the last crisis, Canada had a plan; we had a direction. It was because of our strong fiscal management that we were able to make it out of the worst economic crisis in a generation at the top of the G7. We were the last ones into the recession and the first ones out. We need a plan, no more platitudes, no more talking points and no more half measures of NDP fantasies to keep the Liberals in power.

I would support the economic statement if it had a meaningful solution anywhere in the document, but instead I will tell Canadians what we need to do. Consider this a bit of an edit. There is hope for the future, because we live in the best country in the world. We have so much of what we need right here, like our farmers, our oil sands, our natural resources, our minerals and, of course, our people. It is just a shame that we are not doing more to support any of those things. We are squandering our riches. We need to spend less cash and make more of what cash buys right here in Canada.

We need to build more infrastructure, pipelines and LNG facilities, and get government out of the way to make that happen. We need to increase building new homes by 15% in the biggest cities, where they are needed most, and make sure the people who can help with this, qualified immigrants being blocked by pointless government rules and perpetual backlogs, can get the certifications they need to get the jobs they truly deserve. I am a child of an immigrant, an uncredentialled engineer, who came here to drive a cab. Almost 50 years later, the story is the same, only that uncredentialled engineer will be driving an Uber.

We need no new taxes: no new carbon taxes and no new paycheque taxes. We need to ensure the documents presented to this House have a plan to grow the economy and not flood it with cheap cash. We have the lowest projected growth in GDP of any advanced economy in the world, and that ought to terrify anybody who wants to see this country remain competitive in a race we are losing.

It starts now. It starts with rejecting everything in the fall economic statement and what it stands for. “Bigger government, more spending and higher taxes” should be its title, and it will end when we elect the member for Carleton as the next Prime Minister of Canada.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Leah Taylor Roy Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, I heard you toward the end talk about getting out of the worst economic crisis at the top of the—

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I will remind the hon. member that she did not hear me.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:35 a.m.
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Liberal

Leah Taylor Roy Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her intervention.

I heard the member, towards the end, talk about getting out of the worst economic crisis of our century at the top of the G7, and I can only assume she is referring to what this Liberal government has done during the COVID pandemic, since we all acknowledge that it has been the worst economic crisis. I am wondering, if that is the case, why she is referring to our agenda and our fall economic statement as having no plan.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Melissa Lantsman Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, perhaps the member opposite should listen to my remarks. I talked about being the last ones into the last global recession and being the first ones out. In 2008, this country ran deficits of $58 billion and paid them back by 2015, because there was a plan. There was a responsible plan with leadership put on the table.

The government has spent $500 billion, $200 billion of which had nothing to do with COVID, and instead of showing a modicum of fiscal restraint, the Liberals keep spending to fuel the crisis that they themselves started.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, it is always amusing to hear from our Liberal government friends across the way.

When it comes to health care, the federal government does not run a single hospital, train a single doctor or pay a single nurse. However, it claims to know how health care works and tells the provinces and Quebec to do this or that in order to get money.

The passport crisis has shown us just how unbelievably incredible, outstanding and exemplary the federal public service is. Oh, the lessons it could teach, but it is not going to. Last week in Vancouver, the Minister of Health said that, unless there were conditions in place, there would be no cheques.

If my Conservative friends were in power, would they agree to the demands of all the provinces in Canada and Quebec to increase health transfers from 22% to 35%?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Melissa Lantsman Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, the member opposite raises some very valid points. Canadians cannot get a passport in this country. Those who want to come to Canada cannot come here, because we have a 2.8-million backlog in immigration. The basic government services that the government purports to run are all broken. Everything is broken in this country, and now we see the interest on the debt going up, with our payments in Canada exceeding the current Canada health transfer by next year. That should be concerning to every member in the House; that should be concerning to every Canadian, and until the government gets everything in order, we cannot commit to anything.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, the member asked where families are to get this money from and mentioned that there is no meaningful solution. I would say that there is a meaningful solution in the Canada recovery dividend, which will gain $1 billion over five years.

Although this is not enough, does the member agree that this windfall tax needs to be extended to major corporations reporting record profits, like Loblaws, which has been showing $1 million a day in profits?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Melissa Lantsman Conservative Thornhill, ON

Madam Speaker, Conservatives believe everybody should pay their fair share of tax in this country. We also believe we need a responsible plan to go forward, whereby cheap cash is not flooding the market and cheques are not going to prisoners or corporations who have not made good on their tax payments.

We know the government has flooded the market with cash. Its members talk about cheques in mailboxes. Well, guess what? There is also a credit card bill. They said they would take on debt so Canadians did not have to, and now Canadians are there to pay the debt they have incurred.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of Canada's number one riding, Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon. I am pleased to share some initial thoughts on the fall economic statement.

The economic update released by the costly coalition fails to address the cost-of-living crisis created by the out of control spending government. The Prime Minister's inflationary deficits, to the tune of half a trillion dollars, have sent more dollars chasing fewer goods. His inflationary scheme is hiking up the price of groceries, gas and home heating. Canadians have never paid more in taxes, because of the Prime Minister, and have received less.

To reduce inflation and improve the cost-of-living crisis that Canadians are living with each day, the Conservatives had two very simple and clear demands: first, stop new taxes; and, second, stop new spending. None of our demands were met in the fall economic statement. For that reason, the Conservatives will not support this irresponsible economic statement put forward by the government.

The cost of government spending right now is driving up the cost of living and Canadians have had enough. As the member for Thornhill just mentioned, we have a government that is focused on the power of government, of extending the reach of government. The Conservatives want to put power back into the hands of Canadians, back into the hands of people who can create things, produce things, pay taxes and be responsible citizens. However, because the government continues to spend more, to infringe upon our rights and into our day-to-day lives, it is taking away the power of people to live the type of life they want to live. I am opposed to that.

Before I go on, I would be remiss if I did not mention one line item in the fall economic statement that relates solely to my riding of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, and that is the promise made in June of this year regarding the $77 million put forward in good faith by the Government of Canada to rebuild the community of Lytton. I have yet to receive an answer other than to say that by transferring the funds from Pacific Economic Development to Infrastructure Canada, the village of Lytton would have more flexibility.

What I am concerned about, and what I hope I get an answer very soon from the government on, is why it has decided to extend that unique and historical payment over a five-year term. Right now, my community is without a village office and some core services, and debris removal is still taking place. The constituents of Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon need that $77 million and the flexibility to build in the upcoming spring. Having that money spent over five years, I am afraid, will delay even further the necessary construction work that needs to take place.

Lytton has been waiting long enough. The government came forward in good faith with a response. Let us move forward and let us get that money to Lytton sooner rather than later.

Turning back to the fall economic statement and the other measures included within it, I would be remiss if I did not mention a few points regarding small businesses.

One key item that has broad support across the country is addressing credit card transaction fees. Canadian small businesses pay some of the highest credit card transactions in the world. To the government's credit, in budget 2021, it agreed to address this issue. In budget 2022, it agreed again to address this issue. Now, in the fall economic statement of 2022, it says that if the private sector does not address this issue by December then it will do something about it.

While small businesses are struggling with a very challenging recovery in a post-pandemic economy, the government is dragging its feet on an area that there is broad consensus that needs action right away. My point is that it should take action now to get this problem fixed and help small businesses.

The second point I would like to address is CEBA loans. Over the last number of weeks, industry associations and small business organizations have been coming to Ottawa and speaking about the challenges they are facing.

I met a number of restaurant owners from Vancouver who are dealing with some very big challenges. They have said that in December next year, they are going to have to start repaying their loans. Right now, if they break it out on a month-by-month basis, they are going to have to pay approximately $10,000 to the Government of Canada to meet their loan payments. Small business owners want to pay back that money. They took it in good faith and took responsibility for that, but they asking the Government of Canada to give them some more flexibility, perhaps extending the timeline.

I mention this in the context of what is taking place in British Columbia. On the front page of the Vancouver Sun just a few weeks ago, it said there was lawlessness in Vancouver, that Canadians felt a sense of lawlessness. Property crime has never been higher. Businesses are not only dealing with smaller revenues and labour shortages, but also with property crime that is impacting their ability to produce goods and create money, like they were before the pandemic. My plea is that the government extend CEBA business loans and give our small business owners a break. We all need them, and we need to stand behind them.

The third item I would like to address is the ever-ongoing housing crisis. In budget 2022 and during the election campaign, the government talked in grandiose terms about a housing accelerator fund that would help the private sector build 100,000 new homes by next year. The government is not talking about that anymore because it has not done anything about it. It has done nothing to address red tape or work with municipalities to get housing built. We all need new housing, even in this affordability crunch, that will reduce the cost of living for Canadians. We all agree in the House of Commons that we need more housing. Let us move to do it right now. The government is not, and that is a failure.

The fourth point I would like to make is with regard to tax increases. On January 1, small business owners are going to have to pay more taxes to the Government of Canada. I recently mentioned that a small business owner with, say, 15 employees making over $60,000 will be paying over $20,000 every year to the Government of Canada just on employment insurance premiums. At a time when everyone in the country knows that small businesses are holding on by a thread, why is the government choosing to increase employment taxes on them right now? That is irresponsible and it will not help wealth creation or job creation in our country.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the elephant in the room, and that continues to be overspending by the government. Why is this a problem? It is a problem because in the very near future we will be paying more for debt than we are for health care. That is a sad reality for a country as wealthy and as prosperous as Canada. We have a health care crisis and we need to put more money into health care, not into debt payments. However, we cannot do that because the government overspent when it did not need to, and that is hurting Canadians across the country.

The final point I would like to make relates to government operations. In the fall economic statement, there is a special line item fund for $135 million to provide shelter to asylum seekers coming into Canada. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada shut down the illegal crossings across Canada. Why did it open them up again and why is it putting forward $135 million?

People across the world want to come to Canada, want to be productive citizens and want to have a fair chance to do what my grandparents did and what many members of the House of Commons did, which is to make a fair go of it in Canada, to pay taxes and be a productive member of society. However, with this $135 million, the government is saying that asylum seekers can break the rules and it will still support them. Shame on the government for not taking real action to address our border crisis and support the people who have followed the rules and who have waited for years, in good faith, to have the opportunity just to become a Canadian. We can do better.

We also need to address the brokenness of the federal public service. I was near the Service Canada office in my riding very recently and about 60 people were lined up outside. They could not access government services in a timely manner. Despite the growth in the public service by 24% since 2015, despite more spending than every other government in the history of Canada combined, people cannot get passports, seniors cannot get timely information on CPP and the guaranteed income supplement, and we cannot even give our hospitals enough money to give people the operations they need.

The government needs to get its house in order. This fall economic statement is irresponsible and, frankly, it is damaging to the well-being of Canada.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:50 a.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, many aspects of the member's speech somewhat contradict the way he will be voting.

Let me give an example. He talks about housing being important, and it is important. If we look at what is being proposed, we have the doubling of the first-time home buyers' tax credit, the multigenerational home renovation tax credit and the 1% annual tax on underused housing being put into place. These are some of the initiatives taking place, yet the member says Ottawa needs to do more on housing.

We are taking actions that deal with some of the things the member is talking about, yet he is voting against it. That is consistent with the Conservatives. They say they want to see this, but when they see it happen, they end up voting against it.

Does the member not recognize that many would see that as a sign of hypocrisy?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, the only hypocrisy in the House of Commons right now is for a government to call an unnecessary election during a pandemic, to make pie-in-the-sky promises about addressing housing, and a year later doing absolutely nothing.

Shame on the government for making it harder for young families to have a home. Shame on the government for spending too much. Shame on the government for putting so many Canadians into a position where they cannot afford their variable rate mortgages because the government overspent.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Bloc

Maxime Blanchette-Joncas Bloc Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Madam Speaker, I listened closely to my colleague's speech. We disagree on so many things, but there is one thing we do agree on. In Canada, Quebec and the provinces are of one mind when it comes to increasing health transfers. This sanctimonious government, which professes to be doing good things in certain areas, such as health, but is not capable of doing anything good in areas that are actually within its purview, is trying to tie conditions to a health transfer increase. Let me reiterate that this is a unanimous request to increase transfers from 22% to 35%.

Would my colleague please state, for the record, whether the Conservative Party supports increasing health transfers from 22% to 35% as soon as possible with no strings attached?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, I will be very clear on this. The federal government needs to leave health care powers to the provinces, be it for British Columbia or Quebec. I would add that, if the Government of Canada were not such a big spender, there would be more money left for the provinces and for health care services.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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NDP

Blake Desjarlais NDP Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for a very impassioned speech on the very important need to address the cost of living for Canadians. Hopefully members of the House heard it.

I want to contribute to the conversation in a way, and I hope the Conservatives can, in their response, that highlights the importance of the employment insurance program and the Canadian pension plan.

EI is not a tax. Nor is the Canada pension a tax. I offer this in the most respect to the workers, the men and women who continue to contribute to their EI and their Canada pension plan. EI is a program that helps folks when they are unemployed. Workers pay into that and they also work for that. The same goes for their pension. These are two important programs to our social safety net.

Could the member speak to the importance of EI and the Canada pension plan?

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Brad Vis Conservative Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon, BC

Madam Speaker, that is a very legitimate question.

On employment insurance, when an employer hires people, those employees are required to pay 1.6%, I believe, of their insurable earnings, up to $60,000, into the general revenue fund of Canada toward their employment insurance contributions. The employer is required to pay 1.4% of the employee contribution into the general revenue fund of Canada. The employee and the employer contributions are mandatory.

As it relates to the Canada pension plan, employees are required to pay a portion of their salary, up to a threshold, into the Canada pension plan. The employer is also required to pay a contribution into the Canada pension plan.

On employment insurance specifically, both Conservative and Liberal governments have taken money designated for employment insurance from the general revenue fund to pay for government deficits—

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

We have to resume debate.

The hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.

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November 15th, 2022 / 10:55 a.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to inform you that I will be sharing my time with the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.

I am pleased to rise today in support of Bill C‑32. The economic statement presented by my colleague, the member for University—Rosedale, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, earlier this month once again demonstrates how committed our government is to helping those most in need, to helping Canadians deal with the rising cost of living and the housing crisis, just as we are helping Canadian businesses. This is exactly the kind of bill my constituents want from our government.

It is actually a bit like a bill I introduced in the House, namely Bill S‑207, which sought to change the name of my riding from Châteauguay—Lacolle to Châteauguay—Les Jardins-de-Napierville. Some members in the House told me that they understood my constituents' frustration and they supported my efforts to change the name. Then they voted against the motion, for reasons that I will never understand. They voted against the very will of the people of my region. Others claimed that I was not using my time wisely by wanting to correct a mistake that was affecting my constituents, and that I should have introduced different legislation.

It is not just the fact that I was elected here to represent—

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November 15th, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

I must interrupt the hon. member. There is a point of order.

The hon. member for Jonquière.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Madam Speaker, I totally understand my colleague's frustration, but I do not think the defeat of her bill has anything to do with what we are debating today.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member knows that we have a lot of latitude in speaking. I am certain that the hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle will get to her point.

The hon. member for Châteauguay—Lacolle.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11 a.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I was saying that I am here to represent my constituents, who were frustrated when Bill S-207 was rejected but are happy about Bill C-32, which we are discussing today.

They are happy because this government bill contains precisely the measures my constituents need across every sector. For example, we are delivering on our commitment to make home ownership more affordable for young people and new Canadians with a new tax-free first home savings account that will make it so much easier to save for a down payment. That is very important for young Canadians.

We are delivering on this commitment by doubling the first-time homebuyers' tax credit to help cover the closing costs that come with buying that first home of one's own. We are delivering a multigenerational home renovation tax credit. That is something I am very much looking forward to myself. This will help families across Canada afford to have a grandparent or a family member with a disability move back in if they want to.

We are working to make sure families do not have to choose between taking their child to the dentist and putting food on the table. We are establishing a new quarterly Canada workers benefit, a little-known but important measure for low-income workers. This measure will deliver advance payments and put more money, sooner, into the pockets of our lowest-paid and often most essential workers.

We are providing hundreds of dollars in new targeted support to low-income renters and doubling the GST credit for the next six months.

We are working to deliver lower credit card fees. This is very important for our SMEs, which are often family businesses. That way, they will not have to choose between cutting into their already narrow margins and passing fees on to their customers.

We are taxing share buybacks to make sure that large corporations pay their fair share and to encourage them to reinvest their profits in workers and in Canada.

We are tackling housing speculation and making sure that homes are for Canadians to live in, not a frequently flipped investment asset. That is proof of our respect for the citizens of Canada and Quebec.

That is what we are dealing with, and that is why we must work together here in the House of Commons. That is what Canadians expect of us and why they elected us. They do not want to see frivolous quarrels and they do not want pointless drama. No, Canadians expect us to work together to take concrete action to improve their quality of life.

Bill C-32 includes measures that Canadians are eagerly awaiting, in my riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle and across the country.

I was in Lacolle last weekend, and the mayor asked me a question about Bill S-207. That said, I do not want to stray from the topic at hand.

In my riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle and across the country, people are counting on the government to help them through these tougher economic times. Everyone is feeling the crunch. We are fortunate to have numerous organizations we can count on, such as the Châteauguay Community Centre, La Rencontre châteauguoise, Entraide Mercier, Sourire sans fin and the many volunteer-run centres and services in the region. These organizations help the most disadvantaged on a daily basis. There is also the Société locative d'investissement et de développement social and the Fédération régionale des OSBL d'habitation de la Montérégie et de l'Estrie, which work to offer affordable housing. Some wonderful projects have been implemented in my riding recently thanks to the tireless efforts of these people who work in the field of social housing. That being said, even these organizations are swamped with a growing number of requests from citizens in need.

We need to be there to help our fellow citizens. Canadians expect us to help them by investing in quality of life and by supporting SMEs so that they can continue to operate in a stable environment.

In my riding of Châteauguay—Lacolle, we are very proud of our spirit of entrepreneurship. These SMEs are our partners. They support millions of Canadians by providing jobs that allow them to support their families. Canadians would not want to see us squander our nest egg on cryptocurrency.

What is it with bitcoin? It makes me mad. That is what some members have proposed here in the House and elsewhere.

Our government is aware of the challenges Canadians are facing. Right now, Canadians across the country are feeling the effects of inflation thanks to increased food and rent prices, but they are also worried about the future. It is our role as members of Parliament to reassure them by implementing measures like those in Bill C-32.

We want to continue making life more affordable for people and building an economy that works for all Canadians. It is not complicated. We invest in Canadians in need and ask the wealthiest, especially companies, to pay their fair share. That will help everyone.

The 2022 fall economic statement is focused on building an economy that works for everyone and ensuring that no one is left behind. The investments we are making today will make Canada more sustainable and more prosperous for generations to come.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:05 a.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, it is rather fascinating to listen to my colleague. The Liberal government is pleased to be pleased. It is pleased to be pleased on housing.

In the statement we are looking at today, the first-time homeowner tax credit has been doubled. That increases demand.

Last year, the president of the CMHC said in committee that the first thing to do to help with the housing crisis in Canada is to increase supply. We need 3.5 million housing units in Canada over the next 10 years. We are halfway through the Liberal government's national housing strategy and 35,000 housing units have been built. Bill C‑32 does not provide for any more, either.

Is my colleague truly satisfied with her government's record on housing over the past five years?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I have had the pleasure of participating in debates with my hon. colleague on social housing in our region. I think he knows that projects are under way and people are working on it.

To hear him speak, it is as though the people working for FROHME and for co-operatives back home were doing nothing. That is just not the case. We receive applications, we support projects and we are getting results. We will keep doing the work.

Is there still a lot to be done? The answer is yes, Madam Speaker. However, everyone has to work on it.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, during and after COVID-19, stable employment became and continues to be challenging.

The member's party has not implemented its promise, for seven years now, on a comprehensive EI reform. Could the member explain what the plan is to help protect workers and improve the employment insurance program?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Brenda Shanahan Liberal Châteauguay—Lacolle, QC

Madam Speaker, I have worked in the field as a social worker, and I know how important the employment insurance program is as a safety net.

It has actually expanded over the years, as it started as something very basic after World War II, then over time it has continued to be used. There are mandatory contributions to make sure the fund is healthy and well funded. We never know when we are going to be in need. Any one of us could be in that situation at any given time.

There is reform that needs to be done. I am confident, with the evolution that we have seen to date, that that reform is forthcoming.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:10 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, it is indeed a great honour to rise today to speak to the government's bill, Bill C-32, which is an act to implement some of the measures announced in the fall economic statement just a few weeks ago before we were all home for the week of Remembrance Day in our respective ridings.

Many of my colleague from all parties have spoken about this, but this comes at a time of great struggle for constituents in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford. Overwhelmingly, the correspondence I get in my office regards the high cost of living and the fact that their wages are not keeping up.

We know that the increase in food prices is forcing families to make very difficult decisions at the grocery store. For that reason I am very glad to have won the unanimous support of the agriculture committee to commence a study into that and to have also had a unanimous vote here in the House of Commons acknowledging that this is a very real problem and supporting our committee's work in the weeks ahead. I, for one, am looking forward to hearing representatives of large grocery stores speak to what their companies are prepared to do to address this issue.

There is, of course, the high cost of fuel. The war in Ukraine has sent shockwaves through the energy world. We know this because Russia is a major exporter of oil and gas. Through their geopolitical manoeuvring and attempts to punish countries that are supporting the Ukrainian people in their fight for freedom and in their fight to halt Russian aggression, we have a situation where fuel prices for all sorts of fuels have spiked dramatically.

We have a very real problem of private companies involved in those industries engaging in what I would, frankly, call war profiteering. They are taking advantage of geopolitical tensions to rake in billions of dollars of profit, at a rate that we have never seen in this country before.

As for our health care system, and I think that this is the big sleeper issue in Canada that is only just now starting to get the attention it deserves, it has gotten so bad in my riding that, while it falls largely under provincial jurisdiction, constituents are now coming to me as a federal member of Parliament and pleading with me to do something.

We need to have a nationally focused amount of attention on this crisis. We need to have a Canada where people can be assured that they can have access to primary care when and where they need it. We need to find innovative solutions to help this crisis and address it. I am disappointed that the recent meeting between provincial ministers and the federal minister has yet to result in anything concrete to address the crisis.

Of course, while Canadians are struggling, they see a situation in which it was reported that we collected $31 billion less in corporate taxes than we should have last year. At a time when Canadians are struggling with costs to make their own family budgets work and are seeing more and more of the burden falling on their shoulders, they see Canada's largest and most profitable corporations getting away with it, through innovative tax schemes and hiding their wealth offshore to escape the burden of paying their fair share in this country. That is an issue that we absolutely must pay attention to.

In response to these big issues, my friends in the Conservative Party have focused a lot of their attention on the carbon tax. Yesterday, at the agriculture committee, I agreed with my Conservative colleagues in taking a small step to address some of the challenges that our agricultural producers are facing. We will be reporting Bill C-234 back to the House.

However, on the larger issue, I think that what is ignored by my Conservative friends is the fact that the federal carbon tax does not apply in all provinces. What they are advocating for will have no effect on residents in my province of B.C. because we, as a province, have chosen not to have an Ottawa-knows-best approach on pricing pollution.

We, as a province, have preferred to retain autonomy, so our policy is determined in the B.C. legislature in Victoria under the good and sound guidance of the B.C. NDP government. It allows our province to basically take that revenue and distribute it in ways that it sees fit because we, as a province, do not think that Ottawa should have control over that policy, so we, as a province, have decided to retain autonomy.

The Conservatives' fixation on the carbon tax does not take into account the fact that the inflationary pressures we see in the world are the result of things that are largely beyond the control of Canada as a country. In the United Kingdom, the Labour opposition is blaming a Conservative government for the same thing Conservatives in Canada are blaming a Liberal government for. This is a problem we see in many of the G7 countries. It is not limited to one side of the political spectrum or the other.

Again, if one is going to talk about inflationary pressures and completely ignore the massive profits oil and gas companies are making, one is doing a disservice to one's constituents. One is not addressing the elephant in the room here, which is that corporations are using inflation to hide and to pad the massive profits they are making. We need to have a serious conversation about that.

If we truly want to help Canadians with the unexpected costs that come with heating their homes and fuelling their vehicles, we need to develop policies to get them off fossil fuels. It has always been a volatile energy source. If we go back to the 1970s when OPEC, as a cartel, decided to cut production, we see what that did to North America. It has always been volatile, and as long as we remain dependent on it as an energy source, no matter what the tax policy is, we are going to suffer from that volatility. If we want to truly help Canadians, we need to encourage things such as home retrofits, and encourage programs that get them on different sources of energy.

In the meantime, if we want a policy that is effectively going to help Canadians no matter what province they live in, why do we not go with the NDP policy of removing the GST on home heating fuels? That, in fact, would benefit residents in British Columbia, unlike singly focusing on a federal carbon tax.

When I look at Bill C-32, there are certainly a few good things. I appreciate that the Liberals are starting to see things such as a Canada recovery dividend are necessary. They are limiting it to the large financial institutions. We would like to see such a model be not only not temporary but also extended to oil and gas companies and to the big box stores. This is about putting fairness into the system because right now the free market, the so-called free market, is largely failing Canadians. The free market is trying its best, but the wages are not keeping up with rising costs.

One thing members have not yet mentioned either is that there is a critical mineral exploration tax credit in Bill C-32. Canada has a very troubled history with mining, and any projects that go forward need to absolutely be done in conjunction and in consultation with first nations. If we are truly going to transform our economy into the renewable energy powerhouse it should be, those critical minerals that Canada has an abundance of are going to be key to developing that kind of technology.

What I have often found with the Liberals over my seven years of being in this place is that there are a lot of good ideas but they are not fully fleshed out. They do not go as far as they could have potentially gone to make the full impact we wish they would have done.

There is a lot in Bill C-32 for the committee to consider, and I hope it takes a lot of feedback from a wide variety of witnesses. There are measures here that are building on what we, as new Democrats, have been able to force the government to do, such as doubling the GST credit, providing an interim benefit for dental care and making sure there is help for renters.

I am proud that a caucus with less than 10% of the seats in the House of Commons has been able to achieve these things. This is what I came to Ottawa to do. I came to deliver for my constituents and bring tangible results that make a difference in their lives. Through this and other measures, I will continue to do that, to make sure they are getting the full benefits and assistance they need to weather these tough times so they can come out even more prosperous on the other end.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Leah Taylor Roy Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite for his thoughtful remarks and for going into detail on some of the measures in this fall economic statement.

One of the things that I was particularly glad to hear was his comments on the price on pollution, and I do agree with them. The member opposite mentioned the program in British Columbia and how the Government of British Columbia knew best how to deploy the resources. However, in the same context, the member mentioned in his intervention that the health care crisis is looming.

Would the member opposite have any comments on the tension between provinces knowing best and wanting to control health care expenditures while the federal government is trying to work to address this crisis, and how the member sees that in contrast to, or relating to, the price on pollution?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, every province is different, and that is why they absolutely need to have primary jurisdiction over health care delivery.

I know in British Columbia we are looking at an innovative model of how we pay primary care physicians, getting them off of a fee-for-service model and more to a salary model. In Alberta, there have been discussions about allowing nurse practitioners to deliver more primary care because of the doctor shortage.

What I will say though, as a federal politician who is in some way responsible for the federal purse, I do not want to just hand blank cheques to the provinces. I do believe that, if that money is going to be consistent with what is already under the Canada Health Act, there should be some national conditions on what we want to achieve as a country. It should not necessarily be just a blank cheque. I do want to see some federal leadership in determining what kind of health care we want to see so Canadians from coast to coast to coast have access to the care they should have.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Madam Speaker, there were a few things in my colleague's speech that I would question him on.

He talked about war profiteering in Canada, resources and the taxes that our natural resources industries paid. They have paid $30 billion more in taxes over the last six months than in the previous year. There has been a rise in commodities across the board. However, in Canada, let us acknowledge our price for oil and gas. For oil, it is $30 less than it is in the U.S., and at times this summer our natural gas price was actually negative.

The member is right in some respects, when he says the free market is failing Canadians, but that is because there is no free market, as the government has held up all kinds of infrastructure, which is, no doubt, one of the things we should be focusing on.

I do want to focus on one thing he talked about, which is the carbon tax. He said that Ottawa should not have control over this part of the economy, and that is something I completely agree with him on. Would he suggest that Alberta was the first province in Canada to have an industrial cost on carbon over 20 years ago? Is he suggesting that maybe this should be the way it is? Would the member side with the Conservative Party here in saying we should get the federal government out of its ridiculous carbon tax regime, which is not working?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I will clarify my remarks because my hon. colleague misinterpreted what I meant.

What I meant was that in British Columbia we are happy that our provincial government actually took leadership. In fact, they were the first province to go down this road. It was a Conservative government. They called themselves B.C. Liberals, but they were the ones that brought in the price. By the way, do we all remember the name Preston Manning, when he used to advocate for a carbon tax? I remember that.

Ultimately, what I meant is that it is good that a provincial capital in B.C. took the reins because it allows us to have a little more flexibility over how we distribute that income and help our local citizens in need.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:25 a.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, my question is somewhat related to Bill C‑32.

I would like to talk about Bill C‑31, because I have never had the opportunity to ask my NDP friends a question about something that puzzles me. Bill C‑32 contains some mini-measures on housing, but they do not really address the housing crisis.

There is an important measure in Bill C‑31, a $500 cheque to help people. I have spoken to every housing agency in Quebec and they were just about beside themselves when it came to Bill C‑31, which hands out so much money without building a single thing.

People had expectations about the agreement between the NDP and the Liberals. They thought that the NDP would be able to push the government to build housing. Does it not seem to my colleague that the NDP members sold their souls for a bowl of lentils with their agreement with the Liberals?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:25 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, no, absolutely not. I am proud to stand in front of my constituents of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford and show them concrete measures that I have been able to deliver as a member of Parliament, which are going to make a difference. Yes, there are going to be some kinks with dental care, and I agree that more needs to be done on housing, but there are measures here that are going to help Canadians, and I am proud that we have been able to deliver on them.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:25 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, it is truly a privilege to rise in this place and have the opportunity to speak to the fall economic statement. Before I begin, I note that I will be splitting my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

I listened with interest to the interventions made during the debate, both yesterday and this morning, and I just want to thank my colleagues on this side of the House for speaking up for Canadians. Canadians are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet, as there is more month left at the end of the money, and they are having to make really tough choices because the Prime Minister and the government did not.

This piece of legislation comes at a critical time for Canadians. There is a severe cost of living crisis, which the Liberal government has done nothing to address in this statement. Instead, it continues to spend more, which continues to push the inflation rate higher, causing the fastest rise in interest rates in decades. This has had devastating consequences for Canadians. In the fall economic statement, the Liberals are predicting that economic growth will be 0.7% lower next year and that Canada's national debt will reach $1.177 trillion.

Home prices have doubled since 2015. The increase in the housing prices and skyrocketing inflation and interest rates have put the dream of home ownership out of reach for millions of Canadians. Paycheques no longer go as far due to just inflation. Nearly 50% of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency, and the price of groceries, gas and home heating just keeps going up.

While the Deputy Prime Minister made the difficult decision to cut Disney+, too many Canadians are being forced to cut their diets. Food bank usage is at an all-time high. With the price of groceries up by almost 11%, moms are adding water to their children's milk, and seniors cannot afford to heat their homes. Canadians are getting closer to the edge, and the Liberal government just keeps pushing them further. The government does not understand how to assist Canadians.

Over the past seven years under the government, it has only gone from bad to worse. While believing that budgets will balance themselves and promising to budget from the heart out with no more than $10 billion in deficits, the Prime Minister has spent more than all previous prime ministers combined, running the most expensive government in Canadian history.

Now I know the government likes to use the pandemic for cover on spending issues, but 40% of all new government spending measures have nothing to do with COVID. That is over $200 billion. By next year, the cost to pay just the interest rate on our national debt will be equal to the amount being spent on the Canada health transfer.

Canadians need relief now, not more empty promises from the Liberal government. With over $170,000 being added to the deficit every minute, every minute counts.

That is why we called on the government to do two things: stop the taxes and stop the spending. The government could have, and indeed should have, committed to cancelling any planned tax hikes, including the tripling of the carbon tax. This would keep more money in the pockets of Canadians as they plan for their futures. Additionally, the government should have cut its wasteful spending and required ministers to find an equivalent savings to any new spending put forward. These are two simple initiatives that would have an immediate impact on helping Canadians.

Businesses are also feeling the impacts and struggling. While at home in my riding this past week, I had the pleasure of meeting with representatives from the Prairie Sky, Rosetown and Humboldt chambers of commerce. It was the first time that we were able to meet face to face. I would like to thank the executive directors and chamber boards for taking the time to meet with me.

While our conversations covered a wide range of topics, a common theme was how difficult the past two and a half years have been for local businesses, especially independent retailers. As I mentioned yesterday, I also heard about how lockdowns have driven customers to larger retailers and online shopping sites like Amazon. I heard how lockdowns have had not only a devastating impact on independent retailers, but a negative impact on supply chains.

The impact of inflation was top of mind for most, whether they were business owners or municipal representatives. For business owners, not only is inflation cutting into the bottom line of their customers, but it is also increasing costs for businesses, making it difficult for them to survive let alone thrive. In addition to the federal-government caused inflation, the recent hike in interest rates by the Bank of Canada is having a big impact on individuals and businesses alike. The likelihood of renewing loans and mortgages at rates more than double what they are currently paying is bringing solvency into doubt for both.

Added to this is the mess the government has made of the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. Many business owners have told me that they are desperate for workers in certain industries but that it takes far too long for qualified people to get through the system. While the government loves to make grand announcements, citizens, business owners and newly arrived immigrants are telling me the system is broken.

The Liberals' mismanagement knows no bounds. The pattern of the government over the years has been to completely disregard the needs of Canadians and a consistent inability to manage Canada's finances.

Inflation is not just hurting individuals and businesses. One mayor told me that inflation is causing municipal projects to run 25% to 40% over budget, forcing municipalities to make cuts and raise taxes in order to balance their budgets. I have also heard from many municipal leaders in recent weeks that they may be forced to cover the back pay for the RCMP following the conclusion of the force's collective bargaining agreement with the federal government. If municipalities are forced to cover the back pay of an agreement they had no say in negotiating, this will put more pressure on municipal budgets. This means individuals and businesses would have to pay more for less from their municipal governments.

Canadians, small and medium-sized business owners and municipalities need a Conservative government that will put an end to the Prime Minister's inflationary spending, which is driving up the cost of everything. Under the leadership of the member for Carleton, our Conservative caucus has been working to develop policies that will address the issues facing our country.

The Conservatives have a plan to make life more affordable for Canadians. Instead of printing more cash and fuelling the inflation crisis, we will create more of what cash buys: more homes, more gas, more food and more resources here at home. By increasing the supply of goods, we can fight the rising cost of living. We will make energy more affordable by repealing the anti-energy legislation of the Liberal government, and we will cut corporate welfare and get rid of the carbon tax.

To fight climate change, we will make alternative energy cheaper rather than making Canadian energy more expensive. We will ensure that paycheques go further. We will reform the tax and benefits system to make sure that when a Canadian works an extra hour, takes an extra shift or earns an extra bonus, they are better off and will keep more of their dollars in their pockets.

The Conservatives will continue to fight for Canadians across the country. We will continue to hold the government to account for its inflationary spending, and we will continue to put forward policies that put Canadians first before Liberal insiders and their friends.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, time after time, the Conservatives get up and say the same thing. They say that this was Liberal-made inflation, and they suggest that it is only happening in Canada. However, the reality of the situation is that this is incredibly false. Among the G7 countries alone, Canada has the third-lowest inflation rate in the most recent summary of them. As a matter of fact, while Canada is sitting at 6.9%, the U.S. is at 7.7%, the U.K. is at 8.8%, Italy is at 8.9% and Germany is at 10%.

How is it that Conservatives say this time after time? Are they completely oblivious to what is going on in the rest of the world?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I do not take my hon. colleague's word for anything. All he needs to do is talk to the past governor of the Bank of Canada or the current one to know they are starting to recognize that this inflation is becoming more and more Canadian made. The Prime Minister has spent more than all previous prime ministers combined, running the most expensive government in Canadian history. As I said, Canada's national debt will reach over $1 trillion next year, and the Liberals are adding $170,000 to the national debt every minute. We cannot afford—

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Questions and comments, the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:35 a.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a brief question for my colleague. We are used to hearing Liberal ministers and members beating around the bush and not answering questions. We spend 98% of our time here not getting answers to our questions, but since the member is from the opposition, perhaps I will get a fairly clear answer. That would be nice.

There is a huge health crisis in Quebec right now. Emergency room physicians are sounding the alarm. People are dying in Quebec's emergency rooms. The provinces' demands are quite simple. Health transfers must be increased, no strings attached.

If the Conservative Party were in power tomorrow morning, would it increase transfers from 22% to 35%, as the Quebec government is calling for?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I think if the pandemic has highlighted anything, it certainly shone a light on the health care system across the country. We know the federal government must respect the jurisdiction of the provinces when it comes to health care, and we now know that the cost of servicing the government's debt is going to equal the health transfer payments. That is staggering and astounding. What we need to do right now here in this place is focus on holding the government to account in getting its financial house in order.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I am glad the member had a focus on some of the social issues that are being experienced all across Canada. One of the things I like about the bill is the Canada recovery dividend, because it would tax banks and major insurers, but I think the gap in it is that it would not be taxing major corporations that are showing great profits.

I wonder if the member agrees that we also need to make sure major corporations that are showing greater profits are included so that the Canada recovery dividend is greater.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Madam Speaker, I would point out to the member that the Conservatives did support the NDP's opposition day motion to study possible price gouging by grocery chains and other major retailers during the pandemic. We are definitely concerned with the allegations, and we want to ensure that Canadians are not being taken advantage of. We recognize that the motion called for a study, but what is really grievous is knowing that the member and her party are supporting the government in taking away resources from committees that would probably be tasked with doing the very study they asked for.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech.

I will start with a number: $1,000. That is how much one mom just paid to fill her heating oil tank for the first time this season. That $1,000 was a big surprise, a huge amount of money for her.

She wrote to me this morning to say that she hopes the winter will not be too harsh, because, at $1,000 a pop, she cannot afford to fill the tank four times, as she usually does every year.

This is not about comparing ourselves to other countries or to what we had in the past. This is not about saying Canada is doing well. This is about making sure everyone knows about this mother, who wrote to me today to say that her bill was $1,000 and that she will probably have to fork out that much cash at least three more times this season if the winter is mild, or maybe five times if the winter is severe.

This mother is desperate. She is also desperate because of the rising price of food. Groceries now cost 11.4% more than last year. That is the overall price of groceries, but looking more closely at the price of meat and essential items, for example, we can see that the price of pasta, which is a staple among students, has increased by 30%. The go-to food for students who do not have much money has just increased by 30%.

That is the reality facing families, students and this mother, who will have to choose between hamburger, pork chops and bologna to feed her family and make sure her children get enough protein. That is the reality.

The reality is also the ever-increasing price of gas. People work and need to drive their car, especially in the regions. Why? Because there is no public transit in the regions. They cannot go to work if they do not have a car. In the regions, jobs are often far from home. People absolutely need a car to get around.

Also, there is winter in Quebec, as in many other regions of Canada. Winter is hard. There are snowstorms, but people still have to drive to work. Their vehicles are a little bigger. They have trucks or SUVs. Unfortunately, the price of gas is rising, and we are hearing more and more from people who wonder how they will be able to get to work. Since they have to get to work, they must make other choices and cut into their food budget. That brings us back to our mother's heartbreaking choice between buying hamburger or bologna to feed her children. With the money that is left after she pays for gas to get to and from work, she will have no other choice but to buy bologna. That is the reality in Canada today.

We asked the government to do something to help families, or at least not to make things worse for them, by January 1. In the economic statement, we were expecting the government to take action and do something, as the hon. member for Carleton and leader of the official opposition requested. We had two very simple requests, starting with the cancellation of the tax increases that are to come into effect on January 1.

The Liberals will say that increasing employment insurance and Canada pension plan contributions is not a tax increase. The result is the same. It is exactly the same thing: The mother I was talking about, who was already having to make difficult choices to pay for heating and groceries, will have a smaller paycheque. She has just been told that on top of all her problems, she will now have a smaller paycheque to pay for everything that costs more.

We expected the Liberals to hear that mother's message instead of including more inflationary spending in the economic statement. It seems that the Liberals have not heard the message, since that mother’s paycheque will unfortunately get smaller as of January 1.

Things will be even worse in some parts of Canada, since several provinces will see an increase in the carbon tax. This will cause this family even more hardship, since absolutely everything will be even more expensive. By tripling the carbon tax, the government is tripling costs for families, who will have less money to pay for gas, food and rent. That is our current reality.

We expected the government to say that it understands that the situation is difficult, that interest rates and food prices are the highest they have been in 40 years, and that it would give Canadians a break.

Well, no, they did not hear the message. When we ask the government ministers questions day after day in question period, they tell us all sorts of things. They tell us that this is a global crisis and that Canada is doing a little better than other countries, and they come up with every imaginable excuse. We are told, for example, that the war in Ukraine is responsible for all this, but we never hear a minister take responsibility for the situation. The government, however, must also look at itself in the mirror and ask what it did to get us where we are today.

To understand this, we have to go back to the election of the Liberal government in 2015. I remember very well that the Prime Minister campaigned on a promise that there would be three tiny deficits, $10 billion the first year, $10 billion the second year and $6 billion the third year, and that we would then return to a balanced budget. Wow. I cannot say that he lied, but I can certainly say that he misled Canadians.

In reality, the deficits were not tiny; on the contrary, they skyrocketed. We are talking about a $100-billion inflationary deficit, even before COVID-19. That is not surprising, given that the Prime Minister stated in his maiden speech that it was the right time to borrow, since interest rates would remain low for decades. At the time, interest rates were 0.5%, 0.25% or 0.75%. The interest rates were very low. The Prime Minister's crystal ball showed him that it was not a problem, he could borrow money and that was the time to do it.

However, members of the House, mainly members of the official opposition, had warned the government that interest rates would go up and make things difficult for families. The government chose to close its eyes and turn a deaf ear. It did not listen and continued to borrow money.

Then the unexpected happened, COVID-19, and another $500 billion was added to the deficit. We would have expected that money to be spent on measures to help Canadians get through the COVID-19 pandemic. However, of that $500 billion, $200 billion was spent on new programs and expenditures that had absolutely nothing to do with COVID-19.

The Minister of Finance's fall economic statement was literally a failure on all counts. We cannot support measures that will just add to the deficit when the government has received $40 billion in new revenue from taxpayers' pockets. Think about the mother I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, who must make difficult choices to pay for her heating and groceries and to get to work.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 11:50 a.m.
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Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, I know the member spoke about inflation as well. I asked a question of the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek prior to this member about inflation being a global issue, not something that is related just to Canada. I asked her to explain what she thought about that. Her response was that she was not going to trust my opinion on it or take my word for it, and now she is saying that is right.

What I am reciting here is from the OECD. These are well-known, factual stats, not my opinion on what inflation is throughout the world. I cannot believe that we have now gotten to a point where Conservatives are openly saying that inflation throughout the world is just someone's opinion. These are stats. These are facts.

Can the member comment on whether he agrees with the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek that this is my opinion?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I spoke in English and French during my speech, so I was expecting that my colleague was listening to me and to what I said. I was talking about the mother who is struggling to pay for the home heating of her house, for her groceries and for the gasoline that she needs to go to work.

No matter where we stand in the OECD, nothing in this fall economic statement, nothing, helps that mother face that new spending.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:50 a.m.
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Bloc

René Villemure Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for giving us his perspective.

I would like to ask him this. He brilliantly explained the risks that going in the direction of this bill would pose for Canada, but I would like him to be more specific and tell me whether this bill contains any measures that are good for Quebec. Let us forget about the rest of the country for a moment. What measures does this bill contain that are good for us and what does he think is important?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, the main thing I see is the direction the Liberal government is taking with the interest payments on the ballooning debt that we are seeing year after year. Next year or the year after, the government will be paying more in interest than in health transfers for all of the provinces. That greatly reduces the flexibility the government could have had to help the provinces, including Quebec, deal with the current health crisis. I am trying to think of something good in the fall economic statement, but unfortunately, I still cannot figure out how it will improve the lives of Quebeckers.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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NDP

Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Madam Speaker, I have yet to hear Conservatives talk substantially about the record profits that oil and gas companies are making. These companies are literally swimming in piles of cash right now. We have not seen profits like this for years.

I am wondering if my Conservative colleague would like to address the elephant in the room. They complain about high fuel prices but say nothing about record profits. Does he have any comments or policies to address that unfair situation, which is affecting people from coast to coast to coast?

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, if we are talking about the elephant in the room, why can we not talk about this costly coalition that the government formed with the NDP? This is the elephant in the room. It will cost us $21 billion more in new spending. That is in the fall economic statement. That is the costly coalition's fault, and I think we should talk about the elephant in the room.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Corey Tochor Conservative Saskatoon—University, SK

Madam Speaker, what I am hearing in my riding and from people calling in is that they are having trouble with the cost of food. I have mothers who call in and are beside themselves because they cannot decide if they are going to have a family that eats or a family that will have heat on.

I am just wondering if the hon. member is having some of those calls into his office as well.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I am glad to hear that my colleague is also getting those kinds of calls, as are all members of the House. I am convinced that we are all getting these kinds of calls from people who are really struggling.

We were asking the government to do one thing, specifically not to raise taxes for all Canadians on January 1 so that everyone could get a bit of a break. Unfortunately, the government chose to do otherwise.

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November 15th, 2022 / 11:55 a.m.
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Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Terry Duguid LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Davenport.

I am thankful for the opportunity to take part in today's debate on Bill C-32, which introduces measures in the 2022 fall economic statement and key initiatives from budget 2022. The 2022 fall economic statement includes a series of new targeted measures that would help Canada weather the coming global economic slowdown and thrive in the years ahead. They are measures that would deliver good-paying jobs by seizing the opportunities of the net-zero economy, by attracting new private investment and by providing key resources to the world.

The next few years offer a historic opportunity for Canada. It is a time when we can continue building an economy that works for everyone and create the good middle-class jobs that Canadians will count on for generations to come. However, if we are to capitalize on the opportunities before us in the years to come, we need to step up and make more smart investments today.

Today, I would like to speak to a measure in the 2022 fall economic statement and Bill C-32 that would grow Canada's economy, create opportunities for workers and continue to address Canada's challenge with investment and productivity that has stretched back for decades.

Our government knows we are at a pivotal moment. The climate crisis is more urgent than ever. Canada is already experiencing an increase in heat waves, wildfires and heavy storms. These impacts and the economic and health repercussions that come with them will continue to accelerate if we do not act now.

We know that climate change is real and the path forward is clear. To protect our planet and build a stronger economy, we must do even more on climate action. Over the past six years, the federal government has taken important steps to position Canada at the forefront of the fight against climate change while also working to seize the economic opportunities provided by the global transition to net zero.

Canada's commitment to putting a price on pollution has provided an incentive for businesses and households to pollute less, conserve energy and invest in low-carbon technologies and services. However, it is clear that Canada will need to do even more to secure our competitive advantage and continue creating opportunities for Canadian workers. This challenge has become even more pressing with the recent passage in the United States of the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRA.

Since 2015, the government has been making foundational investments in clean technology, which the U.S. is doing now with the IRA. We welcome the U.S. legislation as it will play an important, pivotal role in the global fight against climate change and will further accelerate the building of sustainable North American supply chains. More importantly, the IRA's build North American policy for critical minerals and electric vehicle tax credits are also good news for Canadian workers and Canadian companies.

While the IRA will undoubtedly accelerate the ongoing transition to a net-zero North American economy, it also offers enormous financial supports to firms that locate their production in the United States, from electric vehicle battery production, to hydrogen, to biofuels and beyond. Without new measures to keep pace with the IRA, Canada risks being left behind.

As a first step in Canada's response, the government is launching the Canada growth fund, which will help to attract billions of dollars in new private capital to create good-paying jobs and support Canada's economic transformation, as well as bringing forward two new measures to support the adoption of clean technology across Canada. Today's legislation would authorize the Minister of Finance to requisition up to $2 billion from the consolidated revenue fund in order to provide an initial capitalization to the Canada growth fund. The legislation would enable the minister to purchase non-voting shares in the corporation in exchange for capital.

Canada's road to achieving our climate targets, creating and maintaining good-paying jobs and building a net-zero economy that works for everyone will require the transformation of our industrial base, specifically the commercialization and deployment of low-carbon technologies and resources and the continued growth of clean technology businesses across Canada.

We have an opportunity to lead the way on the road to net zero and ensure that Canadian workers can benefit from good jobs for decades to come. However, this will require investment on a scale that government alone cannot provide. There are trillions of dollars in private capital waiting to be spent on creating the good jobs and prosperity for workers that a net-zero economy will bring. Canada is competing with other countries to attract the private investment we need.

To succeed, Canada needs to address two challenges. First, we need to incentivize companies to take risks and invest in cutting-edge technology in Canada. Second, we need to keep pace with a growing list of jurisdictions that are using public financing to attract private capital and create the jobs and prosperity for workers that accompany it, from the United States to the European Union and beyond.

In budget 2022, we announced the government's intention to create a Canada growth fund that will help attract private capital to invest in building a thriving, sustainable Canadian economy with thousands of new, good-paying jobs. It will also help Canada keep pace with a growing list of jurisdictions that are using innovative public funding tools to attract the significant private capital required to accelerate the deployment of technologies required to decarbonize and grow their economies.

Since Canada's economic prosperity has traditionally been built on natural resources and other emissions-intensive industries, a substantial transformation of our industrial base will be required to meet our climate targets and ensure long-term prosperity for Canadians and the Canadian economy.

Canada needs to build the technology, infrastructure and businesses to reduce our carbon reliance, but this will not occur without rapidly increasing and then sustaining private investment in activities and sectors that will strengthen Canada's position as a leading low-carbon economy.

Today, while companies and investors are aware of opportunities to commercialize and deploy emissions-reduction technologies, they are often restrained due to investment risks that are frequently associated with these investment opportunities. That is why the fund is designed to invest in a manner that mitigates the risks that currently limit private investment and unlock the domestic and foreign capital that Canada needs now.

The 2022 fall economic statement outlines the design, operation and investment strategy of the growth fund. The mandate of the growth fund will be to make investments that attract substantial private sector investment in Canadian businesses and projects to help seize the opportunities provided by a net-zero economy.

This includes investments that will help reduce emissions and achieve Canada's climate targets; accelerate the deployment of key technologies, such as low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization and storage; scale up companies that will create jobs, drive productivity and clean growth, and encourage the retention of intellectual property in Canada; and capitalize on Canada's abundance of natural resources and strengthen critical supply chains to secure Canada's future economic and environmental well-being.

In the challenging economic landscape that Canada and the world are contending with, there is no country better placed than Canada to weather the coming global economic slowdown. The measures in Bill C-32, such as the Canada growth fund, will build on actions the government has taken to make sure that Canadians and the Canadian economy come through this challenging economic period as quickly as possible, and that we are ready to thrive when we do.

I encourage all members of the House to support this legislation.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Greg McLean Conservative Calgary Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague in the House and I sit in committee with the member as well. I often think he is reading off a page because so much of what he says is dissonant with reality.

He is now talking about a Canada growth fund on top of the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The financial incentive systems, which are built throughout the government to foster investment in Canada, throw money at a wall on some of these technologies that are not going anywhere. The Liberals continue to risk taxpayers' money.

In the time the government has been in power, hundreds of billions of dollars of foreign investment and Canadian investment has left the Canadian economy. The government is now trying to backfill it with more Canadian government money and it is putting a finger in the dike. The government has caused an investment climate that is destroying foreign investment and all investment in Canada.

Can he get to the root of the problem, undo some of the destructive policies and not throw more government money at a wall?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy the hon. member's interventions at the environment standing committee.

I think the hon. member should give his head a shake. We have invested $9.1 billion in the emissions reduction plan. I know that many of his colleagues in Alberta are very supportive of our plans. The oil patch has embraced net zero by 2050. It is working closely with us. We will be capping oil and gas emissions, working with the oil patch. We are investing in carbon capture, which I know the hon. member supports.

The clean technology market is worth $2.5 trillion. It will be worth $80 billion in Canada in just a few years. We have to get on that train. Unfortunately, the hon. member will be left at the stop.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, whenever I hear my Liberal friends talk about the environment, I feel like I am in an episode of The Twilight Zone. I feel like we are not in the same room, not watching the same movie, or not listening to the same story. It is ridiculous.

Last week, in the context of COP27, we learned that Canada is still investing $8.5 billion U.S. a year in fossil fuels. For that reason alone, we should be denouncing the government every day. We learned another exciting little fact. Canada is the worst country in the G20 when it comes to average greenhouse gas emissions per capita. Furthermore, Canada is the only G7 country whose greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the Paris Agreement, in other words, since the Liberals started sitting on that side. They make grand speeches, saying that they are green and they support the green transition. However, Canada is the worst country in the G7 and the second worst in the G20 for investment in fossil fuels. Clearly, we are not talking about the same thing.

What is the Liberal plan to deal with these issues?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I am just curious; I do not think we have quorum in the House at the moment.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Let me ask the Table to do a count.

And the count having been taken:

We have quorum.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on the same point of order. There is only one Conservative in the House. Does that matter with respect to the quorum count?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

That is part of the debate we are having. I believe we have quorum, and I said that, so thank you for that intervention.

Questions and comments. I believe the parliamentary secretary was just finishing up his thought or going to be responding to the question.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am a great admirer of the hon. member because he is a fellow curler, and I am sure he is very good. I introduced him to my father a few short weeks ago.

With respect to his question, emissions went down in this country in 2019 and 2020. We are working very hard with the oil and gas sector. We are going to be capping oil and gas emissions. We are eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.

Like the hon. member, we want the oil and gas sector to step up. It is making record profits. It needs to invest in the clean economy. It needs to reduce its pollution. Together, we can ensure there is a livable planet for our kids and grandkids.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I would like to thank the parliamentary secretary for focusing on the environment. In Nunavut, 25 communities rely entirely on diesel for power, and there needs to be a transition from these polluting energy sources to renewable energy. Oil and gas companies are the largest contributors to polluting the environment.

Can the parliamentary secretary explain why the government did not extend the windfall tax to oil and gas companies to help Nunavut get off its reliance on diesel?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Terry Duguid Liberal Winnipeg South, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know the Arctic is warming at three times the rate of the global average, so climate change is up close and personal. We are challenging oil and gas companies to step up and to invest in the clean economy. They have committed to net zero by 2050, but we need to accelerate the pace and get there sooner.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a true honour for me to rise in the House today to speak to the fall economic statement, Bill C-32, on behalf of the citizens of my riding of Davenport.

I would remind those who may be watching the speech that the fall economic statement provides insight into Canada's economic outlook and outlines the government's intentions moving forward. The fall economic statement also builds on the fiscal and economic work already under way in Canada to make life more affordable for Canadians, to build a stronger economy and to prepare for what lies ahead.

It is also always good to take stock of what the current context is. We have high inflation due to two and a half years of historic turmoil, including the after-effects of a pandemic, the current destabilizing geopolitical situation as a result of Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine, the energy crisis and the impacts of climate change, to name just a few.

I am very proud of how the federal government stepped up to support Canadians during the pandemic. We were generous with our support. Some say it was too generous, but I feel very good about the decisions we made. I am also very supportive of the investments and additional supports to Canadians that we have been making over the last year. National child care is now in the process of being implemented, and my home province of Ontario and the city I live in, Toronto, will see child care costs reduced by 50% in December of this year, which is huge for families not only in Davenport but right across this country. We have seen an increase of 10% in the OAS for seniors over 75; and we have seen the doubling of the Canada student grant for post-secondary students, among many other targeted supportive measures.

More recently, as members will know, we have doubled the GST credit for the next six months, and 11 million Canadians received some additional funding this last Friday. We also have the dental care benefit and the housing benefit winding its way through the Senate. As well, we have announced that students who have Canada student loans will not need to start repaying their loans until they have earned $40,000, which is up from $25,000.

All these measures will go a long way toward helping Canadians who are struggling with the rising cost of living. I hear from Davenport residents every day, and they worry about the prices. They are appreciative of the support the federal government is giving, but they are also hoping the prices come down in the near future.

The fall economic statement puts forward a number of additional measures to support Canadians and to grow our economy, one that works for everyone. I wish I had more time, but I will be able to cover only two or three key measures, so I am going to cover immigration, business investment incentives and growing the clean, green energy economy in Canada.

A couple of weeks ago, the Minister of Immigration announced new immigration levels for Canada that would see us move to invite 500,000 new immigrants to Canada by 2025. This is going to help with the persistent labour shortages that we continue to have, especially in health care, construction and manufacturing. It will also help with ensuring that we continue to have a strong welfare system.

As was indicated to me, about 10 years ago we had one retiree for every seven workers in Canada, and now it is down to one retiree for every three workers. Therefore, if we want to continue to have a strong social welfare system, we have to make sure we are replacing our workforce.

The fall economic statement, more specifically, is going to increase the money to the immigration system, which will increase the capacity to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible and that backlogs are eliminated. It is also going to invest in the systems we need to help make sure we bring the talent and skills we need. The details are that the federal government has committed $1.6 billion over six years for the processing and settlement of new permanent residents, and then an additional $50 million in 2022-23 to address the ongoing application backlogs that I can assure members so many of our offices have. It is very frustrating to try to deal with them, but it is wonderful that we continue to put additional resources towards addressing this issue.

I would note as well that we are bringing in a historic number of immigrants and refugees. We should be very proud that over the last three years Canada has settled the highest number of refugees in the world. That's not the highest number per capita, but the highest number of refugees in the world for each of the last three years. It is something I am very proud of. We believe that diversity truly is a strength. We truly believe the increased diversity makes us a stronger and better country.

The next thing I want to talk about is something I worry a lot about. It is the lack of business investment by our businesses in Canada. I am sad to say that business investment in Canada is about half of what it is in the United States. I was reading a few reports online. C.D. Howe put out a report recently and I agree with a number of the things it says. One of the things it says is that business investment is so weak that the labour force is falling and the implications for incomes and competitiveness are ominous. Basically, it reaffirms the fact that business investment is very weak in Canada, which has huge implications for our competitiveness, both today and tomorrow.

Over the last 10 years, when we have had historically low interest rates, our businesses in general have not invested in research or innovation or in increasing wages. Therefore, the government needs to step in and take some action. One of the key things we are doing, which we are introducing in the fall economic statement, is to introduce a corporate-level 2% tax rate that would apply to all share buybacks by public corporations in Canada. This is a similar measure to the one that was introduced in the United States.

It is estimated that this measure would increase federal revenues by $2.1 billion over five years, while also encouraging corporations to reinvest their profits in workers, in innovation and in their own businesses in terms of growth. I believe this is a great first step. Far more needs to be done to ensure competitiveness in Canada, and there are a number of additional measures that we are looking at and considering as we run up to federal budget 2023. Our future economic prosperity depends on our getting this right.

The next thing I want to talk a bit about is climate change and growing—

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I hate to be a nag but it looks like we do not have quorum in the House.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I will call for quorum, so let us start the count.

And the count having been taken:

There we go. I believe we have quorum.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I would just point out that there are several Liberals who contribute to this quorum but virtually no Conservatives.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Brad Redekopp Conservative Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is not proper to call out the presence of or the absence of anyone in the House. I would also make note that it is the Liberals' job to do the work in the House, with their NDP lapdogs. It is not being done properly.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Thank you. Order.

The hon. member for Kingston and the Islands.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to apologize for pointing out the fact that there are virtually no Conservatives here. I apologize.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I know we do this in laughter. We are not supposed to point out the absence of members or whether or not members are in the chamber. The quorum call should be just that: We count the members who are here to make sure that we have quorum; it is not to underline who is and who is not here.

I am looking at the time that we need to get the number of speakers in. I know the member for Davenport was wrapping up her thoughts. She has about two minutes and 53 seconds left. I think she was starting to wrap up. She had a couple of great ideas there, so I was looking forward to the rest of her discourse.

The hon. member for Davenport.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have lots more to say, but I know I only have less than three minutes left.

The next thing I want to point out in the fall economic statement is because the residents of Davenport are very passionate climate activists. They really feel very strongly that we need to move as aggressively and urgently as possible toward meeting our net zero by 2050 targets, so the fact that there are some measures in the fall economic statement that will accelerate decarbonizing our economy and meeting our climate change goals, I think, is welcome news to them.

We were all alarmed when we heard the Secretary-General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, say this:

And the clock is ticking.

We are in the fight of our lives.

And we are losing.

Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing.

Global temperatures keep rising.

And our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible.

It is incumbent on all of us to take as many measures as possible, so I am pleased to say that the fall economic statement proposes major investment tax credits for clean technology and clean hydrogen, which will make it more attractive for businesses in Canada to invest in technology and to produce the energy that will help to power a net-zero global economy.

The fall economic statement 2022 proposes a refundable tax credit equal to 30% of the capital cost of investments in the following: electricity generation systems, stationary electricity storage systems, low-carbon heat equipment, industrial zero-emission vehicles and related charging or refuelling equipment, among other things. I want to note that the Department of Finance is going to consult on additional eligible technologies. We, of course, are introducing these measures not only because we want to meet our net-zero target by 2050, but also in response to the adoption of the inflation reduction act in the United States, to ensure that we remain competitive in both the current and the future economy.

Given the fact that I have only less than a minute left, I will mention two other small measures, but I think they are significant ones that are going to be helpful to individuals, to all Canadians across the country.

The first is the elimination of interest on Canada student loans and Canada apprenticeship loans. Anything we can do to help students start their lives without debt or with as minimal debt as possible is going to be helpful.

The second is the new, quarterly Canada workers benefit, which is $4 billion over six years. We are going to be issuing that Canada workers benefit quarterly, which will be helpful and put money into the pockets of low-income Canadians sooner rather than later.

I am thankful for the opportunity to speak to the fall economic statement on behalf of the residents of Davenport. I would urge my colleagues on the other side to support this bill as expeditiously as possible.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Anna Roberts Conservative King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing in the fall economic statement that addresses single senior women. There was a report from the CBC. I am sure colleagues have all read it. It was about two women, one in Nova Scotia and one in Toronto, who are still living in their cars and unable to afford housing.

What does the government plan to do to help single female seniors to have the retirement they so much deserve? If it were not for them, we would not be here today.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are a number of measures that we have introduced. As I mentioned as a part of my speech, we have already introduced a doubling of the GST credit for the next six months. That is going to give individuals an additional $234 and seniors an additional $225. That is one of many measures.

We also have a national housing strategy that has put billions of dollars more of investment into building more affordable housing and to make housing more affordable for Canadians. That includes all Canadians, including our seniors. The fall economic statement has some targeted measures that I do not have time to go through, but I would urge the member to review this.

The message I want to leave is that we will continue to do more for Canadians.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Xavier Barsalou-Duval Bloc Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find that surprising. I have been hearing the Liberals boast about the government's economic update all morning.

I do not understand why they think it is so positive, given that there is a really important request, not only from the Government of Quebec, but from all the provinces in Canada. It may be easier for the government to be amenable to a request when it does not come from Quebec. However, since it was not just Quebec that was asking for health transfers this time, we hoped that the government would listen.

Why are they not increasing health transfers? There is no mention of it in the economic update, and yet this is a unanimous request. Everyone is calling for this. I cannot understand it.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are all concerned about our health care system. Not a day goes by that one of us does not hear stories about the backlog in our emergency systems.

I want to remind the member that we have put a massive increase of funds into the health care system over the last few years and that we have made the commitment to put more money into it. I understand that while we want to put far more money into the health care system across Canada, we are looking for some accountability from the provinces and territories to ensure that money actually goes to reducing wait times, producing more physicians and hiring more nurses as opposed to tax rebates or tax cuts that a number of provinces are engaging in right now.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:25 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I was particularly interested in the member's comments about welcoming immigrants.

Nunavut Premier P.J. Akeeagok said in a statement recently that Nunavut was not able to welcome immigrants because there was a lack of housing. I wonder if the member agrees that there needs to be investments in housing so that Nunavut can take part in welcoming immigrants?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree with the member 100%.

New immigrants cannot be brought in without having a housing plan and without ensuring there is sufficient support for settlement services across the country. Both of those things are absolutely necessary.

In the north, in my opinion, there is a need for additional IRCC resources in general just to support the population with respect to additional newcomers to that part of Canada.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:30 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will begin by saying that I am sharing my time with my colleague from Jonquière.

I rise today to speak to Bill C‑32, on the 2022 fall economic statement. Unfortunately, this bill seems more impressive in form than in substance. Bill C‑32 contains maybe 25 various tax measures and a dozen or so non-tax measures. It may seem like a lot at first glance, but these are in fact two kinds of measures. Some are just minor amendments, like the ones this Parliament adopts on a regular basis, while others were already announced in the spring budget but had not been incorporated into the first budget implementation bill in June, Bill C‑19. In cooking we call that leftovers.

Simply put, like the economic statement of November 3, Bill C‑32 does not include any measures to address the new economic reality brought on by the high cost of living and a possible recession. This is a completely missed opportunity for the federal government. This bill will not exactly go down in history and its lack of vision does not deserve much praise either.

However, it does not contain anything “harmful” enough to warrant opposing it or trying to block it. The government often tends to bury harmful measures in its omnibus budget implementation bills, hoping they will go unnoticed, but that is not the case here. The bill contains no surprises, either good or bad.

As my colleagues can see, I am trying very hard to show some good faith. Bill C‑32 contains some worthwhile measures, but they were already announced in the last budget. I will go over them briefly.

An anti-flipping tax has been implemented to limit real estate speculation. That is a good thing. A multi-generational home renovation tax credit has also been created for those who are renovating their home to accommodate an aging or disabled parent. The Bloc has been calling for such a measure since 2015, as have many seniors' groups that have contacted me many times about this issue. I commend the government for introducing it.

There is also a first-time homebuyer tax credit to cover a portion of the closing costs involved in buying a home, such as notary fees and the transfer tax. It is hard to be against apple pie. There is also a temporary surtax and a permanent increase to the tax rate for banks and financial institutions, as well as the elimination of interest on student loans outside Quebec. Quebec has its own system, so it will receive an unconditional transfer equivalent to the amount Quebeckers would have received had they participated in the federal program.

In addition, a tax measure that supports oil extraction has been eliminated. It is just one drop in the bucket of subsidies, but it is a start. A tax measure is being implemented to promote mining development in the area of the critical minerals that are needed for the energy transition. In addition, assistance can be provided to a particular government. That is interesting. A total of $7 billion to $14 billion will be available for all foreign countries, when previously, it was $2.5 billion to $5 billion. While we are still far from the United Nations goal of 0.07% of gross GDP, the government is enhancing Canada's international aid, something the Bloc has been calling for for some time. As the status of women critic, I am regularly reminded that Canada can and must do more and better to safeguard the health of women and girls internationally.

Bill C‑32 sidesteps the big challenges facing our society, but there is nothing bad in it. It puts forward a few measures and does some legislative housekeeping that was necessary under the circumstances.

As such, I will reiterate, half-heartedly, what other Bloc members have said: We will vote in favour of Bill C‑32 even though the economic statement was disappointing. We take issue with an economic update that mentions the inflation problem 115 times but offers no additional support to vulnerable people and no new solutions despite the fact that a recession is expected to hit in 2023. The government seems to think everything will work out with an “abracadabra” and a wave of its magic wand.

Quebeckers concerned about the high cost of living will find little comfort in this economic update. They will have to make do with what is basically the next step in the implementation of last spring's budget, even though the Bloc Québécois did ask the government to focus on its fundamental responsibilities toward vulnerable people.

For the rest of my speech, I will therefore focus on the lack of increased health transfers, the lack of adequate support for people aged 65 and over, and the lack of much-needed genuine reform to EI, which, I should note, is the best stabilizer in times of economic difficulty. Sadly, the government dismissed our three requests, even though they made perfect sense. We can only denounce this as a missed opportunity to help Quebeckers deal with the tough times that they are already going through or may face in the months to come.

First, the Bloc Québécois asked the federal government to agree to the unanimous request of Quebec and the provinces to increase health transfers immediately, permanently and unconditionally. ER doctors are warning that our hospitals have reached breaking point, but the federal government is not acting. It clearly prefers its strategy of prolonging the health funding crisis in the hope of breaking the provinces' united front in order to convince them to water down their funding demand. It is the old tactic of divide and conquer.

I want to remind my colleagues that yesterday, at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women, on which I sit, during our study on the mental health of women and girls, the ministers of Women and Gender Equality and of Mental Health acknowledged that the national action plan concept, which seeks to impose national standards, was slowing down the process. Meanwhile, the women and girls who are suffering are being held hostage. The government's feminist posturing must end.

Second, people between the ages of 65 and 74 continue to be denied the increase to old age security, which they need more than ever before. Seniors live on fixed incomes, so they cannot deal with such a sharp rise in the cost of living in real time. They are the people most likely to have to make tough choices at the grocery store or the pharmacy, yet the government continues to penalize those who are less well-off and who would like to work more without losing their benefits. Unlike the federal government, inflation does not discriminate against seniors based on their age.

Currently, Canada's income replacement rate, meaning the percentage of income that a senior retains at retirement, is one of the lowest in the OECD. We cannot say that the government is treating seniors with dignity.

There is also the increase to old age security, which should prevent demographic changes from significantly slowing economic activity. Contrary to what the government says, starving seniors aged 65 to 75 will not encourage them to remain employed. That is done by no longer penalizing them when they work.

Not a day goes by that I do not receive a message from citizens about this. This morning, I again received comments from important seniors' groups such as AQDR and FADOQ, and they can be summarized in one word: disappointment. I do not even want to talk about the brilliant decision-makers who want to delay the pension process for 10% of seniors.

Third, let us remind the government that employment insurance is an excellent economic stabilizer in the event of a recession. While more and more analysts fear the possibility of a recession in 2023, the Canadian government seems to be backtracking on the comprehensive employment insurance reform that they promised last summer.

Essentially, the system has been dismantled over the years. Currently, six of 10 workers who lose their jobs do not qualify for EI. That is significant, it is a majority, it is 60%. Seven years after the government promised reform, time is running out. We must avoid being forced to improvise a new CERB to offset the shortcomings of the system if a recession hits.

During the pandemic, we saw that improvised programs cost a lot more and are much less effective. Above all, the government's financial forecasts show that it does not anticipate many more claims. In fact, the government is forecasting a surplus of $25 billion in the employment insurance fund by 2028, money that will go to the consolidated fund rather than improve the system's coverage. As for the 26 weeks of sick leave, the measure was in Bill C‑30 to update budget 2021, passed 18 months ago, even before the last elections. All that is missing is the government decree to implement it, but those who are sick are still waiting.

One last important thing: Last weekend, I attended the Musicophonie benefit concert for a foundation in our area, the fondation Louis-Philippe Janvier, which helps young adults suffering from cancer. I was told that the organization does indeed have to make up for the government's lack of financial support. That adds to the unimaginable stress on those who are sick, who should instead be focusing on healing with dignity. Even 26 weeks is inhumane. A person cannot recover properly in that time frame.

In closing, the government is acknowledging the rising cost of living without doing anything about it. It is warning of difficult times ahead this winter without providing a way to get through them. It makes some grim economic predictions without ever considering any of the opposition's proposals as to how to prepare ourselves.

As a final point, I want to talk about supply chains. We learned how fragile they are during the pandemic. Last spring's budget document mentioned the problem 71 times. The budget update mentioned it another 45 times. Neither one includes any measures to tackle the problem, leaving business owners in limbo. The new Liberal-Conservative finance minister missed the opportunity to send a clear message of leadership and instead raised fears about potential austerity. The government is rehashing past measures, implementing what it already announced in the April budget, but there is no indication that it has a clear sense of direction, leaving the people who really need it out in the cold.

For those who lose their jobs, we need EI reform. For those who are sick, we need to increase health transfers. For our seniors, we need to give them more money so they can age with dignity.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:40 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

Mr. Speaker, I understand that the Bloc is supporting the legislation and that it has concerns with regard to health care. When I reflect on health care, it is important to recognize that there is a strong role in health care coming from Ottawa, whether it is through the Canada Health Act or through recognizing things from the pandemic such as long-term care, mental health and so forth.

I am wondering if the member could provide her arguments as to why she believes the federal government should not play more of a role in health care. I would ultimately argue that a vast majority of Canadians want a national government that is there for health care and in more ways than just being an ATM.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Winnipeg North for his question, and I will ask him the same question I asked the Minister of Mental Health yesterday.

How is it that he knows more about the health care system than anyone working in Quebec's health department? What does he know about running a hospital that they do not?

In the meantime, patients are being held hostage and waiting on stretchers. Do not talk to me about the debate at the federal level. The federal contribution was originally 50%, and it has dropped to 20% or 21%. That is a huge loss. The government needs to give back what it owes to the Quebec health system.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Michelle Ferreri Conservative Peterborough—Kawartha, ON

Mr. Speaker, I really enjoy working with my hon. colleague on the status of women committee.

My question is on a lot of what she spoke about and what we work for at the status of women committee in particular. In the fall economic statement, the words “mental health” were only mentioned three times. The Liberal government continues to say that it cares, but its actions show the complete opposite. It continues to solve problems with the problem of inflationary spending.

I am curious to know her thoughts on that aspect of the fall economic statement.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. I enjoy working with her at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women as well.

As I said yesterday to the minister and as we can see, the management of our health care systems is the jurisdiction of Quebec and the provinces. I brought in some organizations during the study in committee. They came to tell us that there are plans on the table that cannot be completed because the organizations do not have the necessary funding. They are being forced to save money by cutting corners because the federal government is not paying its share.

Again, the government says it is championing health care, but it is still incapable of implementing genuine EI reform and it thinks that cancer can be dealt with in 15 weeks.

To come back to mental health, the government needs to leave that to Quebec and the provinces. I think that they already have a plan to address mental health problems and help the women and girls suffering from mental health challenges.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:40 p.m.
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NDP

Blake Desjarlais NDP Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, I agree with my hon. colleague with regard to the crisis we are facing in our health care system. It is no secret that health care, whether in Alberta, British Columbia or Quebec, is facing a dire crisis. We are seeing hallway care prioritized and becoming far more common across the country, and we know the federal government must play a role.

The member spoke about the need for enhanced federal spending in our public health care system. However, what we are seeing in my province of Alberta is a concern that I hope she recognizes and shares with me. In Alberta, we are starting to see a decrease in public spending on health care and an increase in the allowance of private surgeries, which is something Canadians do not want.

We know we need a publicly accessible and publicly administered health care system. Does the member agree?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Andréanne Larouche Bloc Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois believes the health care system must remain universal and free.

I think health transfers will breathe life into the system. This is important. It is crucial.

With respect to private medicine, as I said, the Bloc Québécois is in favour of universal free public health care. That is essential.

That means the federal government has to stop shortchanging the health care system, as it has been doing for far too long. We all know the Liberals and Conservatives have been making cuts since the 1990s. Let us reinvest in our health care system and give Quebec and the provinces the money they need to make good things happen and give sick people the care they deserve.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:45 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, as always, you seem jubilant and you are in shape, so I will be pleased to talk to you about health.

As my colleague pointed out with respect to implementing the economic statement, we do not find the required measures in this bill to counter the reality that affects us today, that being inflation. Members can rest assured; I will not take the same direction as my Conservative colleagues. I do not think that the best way to fight inflation is to feed the gluttons in the oil and gas industry.

As my colleague demonstrated earlier, there are no measures to support seniors, either. This is very disappointing. We have been asking for that for many years now, almost three years.

I would say that the most glaring omission in the economic statement is the increase in health transfers. Whoever watched question period yesterday could see the Minister of Health's usual attitude when we spoke of health transfers, one that I might describe as “stubborn and arrogant”. This makes me want to dedicate all of my speaking time to these health transfers we keep hearing about.

I do not want to impugn the government's motives, but I know very well that, through their action, what the Liberals want in the coming weeks is to break the common front that has formed between the provinces in order to reach a cut-rate agreement. My colleague pointed that out earlier. However, the situation will not disappear that easily. The current situation is putting enormous pressure on our health systems. Mandatory overtime for nurses and population aging are but two of the factors that are putting pressure on the system.

I would first like to go back to why we have been making this request for health transfers for such a long time. Let us remember that this involves $28 billion, which would increase the government's share from 22% to 35%. If we put that into perspective, we know that when the health care system was first created in the early 1960s, for every dollar invested in health, 50¢ came from the federal government and 50¢ from the provincial government. What an interesting system. Health costs were divided fifty-fifty. That is no longer the case today. In Quebec, the government's share is barely 22%.

The pandemic has also played a major role in the drastic rise of health care costs, so much so that everyone now agrees that major federal reinvestments are needed. The Quebec National Assembly passed a unanimous motion in this regard. The circumstances are clear: there are needs. Everyone, except perhaps the Liberal Party, agrees that the federal government is not doing its part.

Now let me try to explain those economic circumstances. I have no choice but to revisit something that is quite annoying to the government and federalists in general, namely the fiscal imbalance. I am not sure if members recall the Séguin report. I am not talking about the guy who has a goat or about Richard Séguin, the singer; I am talking about Yves Séguin, who was a Liberal finance minister. He was not a sovereignist, nor was he trying to embarrass Canada. He simply gave a presentation on Quebec’s fiscal situation in relation to the federal government.

As the Séguin report so well said, the definition of fiscal imbalance, according to Yves Séguin, is as follows: the provinces’ spending structure is such that expenditures grow faster than the economy, while those of the federal government grow at roughly the same pace. Furthermore, when it wants to revise its spending, the federal government can simply act unilaterally by cutting transfers to the provinces with no other political consequences for itself.

I will come back to this often. We should keep in mind what he said: with no other political consequences for itself.

The federation’s major problem is that the federal government can strangle the provinces by cutting its transfer payments, and it never pays the price for that. Allow me to demonstrate this. We have seen the same thing consistently for 20 years, according to reports from the Conference Board of Canada and the Parliamentary Budget Officer, not just the Séguin report: The federal government rakes in surpluses, and it can balance its finances on the backs of the provinces without paying a price for it.

A 2013-14 Conference Board of Canada report stated that if nothing were to be done in subsequent years, which is what happened, the combined deficit of the provinces could reach $171 billion in 2034, while the federal government could amass surpluses.

This analysis predates the pandemic, of course, but it does demonstrate that even a neutral organization like the Conference Board of Canada realizes that the fiscal imbalance does exist. The Parliamentary Budget Officer also reported that over the next 25 years, Quebec's revenues will probably be 0.6% less than its spending, while the federal government's revenues will increase rather than decrease.

This does not come from a member trying to provoke the government, but from neutral entities. Canada has a fiscal imbalance problem, and it is usually addressed by cutting transfer payments.

That brings me to our friend, the Minister of Health. He has come out in the last two weeks saying that he is acting in good faith. I would like to see if my colleagues think the Minister of Health is acting in good faith in making these statements. When talking about unconditional transfers, he said, and I am paraphrasing, that all they want is a cheque made out to their finance minister with no strings attached. That is not a plan.

As for sending a cheque to the provinces without a plan, with no strings attached, is it the role of the federal government to establish a health plan? I would simply like to point out that the provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over health, with the exception of military hospitals, quarantines, indigenous health and drug approvals. The provinces have exclusive jurisdiction over everything else. Why would the federal government want to come up with a plan of its own?

In my view, the plan should come from the people who have expertise in this field. Who has expertise in health care? It is the people who work in the system, people from within the sector. The Minister of Health has said we need to let health professionals do their jobs. I find that interesting. Perhaps we also need to listen to what they are saying. I do not know if my colleagues recall, but with my colleague's help, we got all the stakeholders in the health sector together: physicians' associations, medical specialists, people who work in public health and the major unions. We brought together all kinds of health care personnel. They came here to Ottawa and told the government that it needs to increase transfers. Why will the Minister of Health not listen to those individuals?

The Minister of Health said we must work together to ensure that patients get the care they need, where and when they need it. I will take the minister at his word. If he wants us to work together, why does he refuse to do what we have been asking of him all along, which is to hold a health summit?

The minister also talks about old ways of doing things. However, the current health care crisis shows that the old ways of doing things do not work. When he talks about old ways of doing things, do members know what it makes me think of? It makes me think of the Liberal government's ongoing cuts. In 1997 and 1998, the government cut $2.5 billion a year in provincial health transfers. Who paid the price at the time? It was Lucien Bouchard. The same thing was done when a Liberal government was in office. Who paid the price? The Couillard government had to bring in austerity measures.

What is worse, the Minister of Health is talking about effectiveness and results. He basically said that before we can talk about money, we need to agree on the objectives. I can give him objectives for immigration, passports, insurance and old age security. There are 70,000 new retirees who are waiting for their cheques. Worse still, the Liberals implemented a dental cheque scheme that is going to be twice as hard for Quebeckers to access.

The culmination of this bad faith is the futile debate. The Minister of Health told us that this debate is futile. The day that the federal government has to invest 42% of its budget in a single budget item, then it can tell me that this debate is futile.

This means that the remaining 58% of Quebec's budget must cover everything else: education, the fight against poverty, child care, infrastructure, municipalities and support for Quebec businesses. Quebec only has 58% of its budget to cover all that. It feels that it is still not enough.

In closing, I would like to say that I had a lofty goal in life, that of making my son and my wife happy. Now, I have another goal, which is to hold the Liberal government to account for all the terrible things it is doing in the area of health care.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his presentation, and I know he is not going to like what I am going to say.

He likes to talk about the 22% health transfer, but I do not know if he is aware that in 1977, which may be before he was born, the federal government transferred tax points to all the provinces. The federal government reduced its tax room and transferred it to the provinces. If we take into consideration the tax room acquired by Quebec and the other provinces, the federal government's contribution to health is actually 33%.

Is my colleague aware of the historic 1977 decision to transfer tax points?

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed aware, but I feel like asking my colleague whether he is aware that since 1977, health technologies have advanced and the tax points given in 1977 are no longer adequate.

Is he aware that the Séguin report came long after 1977? Is he aware that the reports from the Conference Board and the Parliamentary Budget Officer that prove that the federal government is not paying its share came long after 1977?

It is unacceptable today to know that only 22% of health care funding comes from the federal government.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the speech of my colleague from the Bloc, and in particular the conversation around the fiscal imbalance of it. In the context of Alberta, there certainly is a significant fiscal imbalance between transfers going into the federal system and what are being paid out.

More specifically, my question for the member from the Bloc is related to how the Liberals have been hedging a lot of their policy decisions, and we saw a continuation of this in the fall economic statement, on Ottawa determining how provinces should do A, B, C, or D. That flies in the face of what our federation is supposed to be and it is certainly contrary to the work of many provinces. I know there was a meeting with health ministers this past week.

I would be curious to hear his thoughts on how Ottawa should stick to what Ottawa does best and let provinces do what provinces are supposed to do.

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November 15th, 2022 / 12:55 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague. Respecting jurisdictions is one thing that could improve the federal system, which is completely dysfunctional. Unfortunately, we have a government that is very centralist when it comes to health. We now have a Minister of Mental Health. I did not know that was a federal responsibility.

I completely agree with my colleague. Things would be better if the federal government respected its jurisdictions.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I would like to ask about the Inuit in Nunavik in northern Quebec who suffer quite similar health disparities to my constituents in Nunavut. What does he have to say about ensuring improvements can be made to address the health disparities suffered by Inuit in northern Quebec?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1 p.m.
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Bloc

Mario Simard Bloc Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, to be honest, I think the first thing that needs to happen is for the Minister of Health to understand that this is not just about who has the power. There are real needs on the ground. Unfortunately, the federal government does not have the skills to analyze those needs. It has to listen to health experts and it has to listen to the provinces.

That is not what it is doing right now. What it is trying to do is make sure it can balance its budget at the provinces' expense.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1 p.m.
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Liberal

Parm Bains Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize that I am appearing virtually and that I am very fortunate to live, work and play on the traditional territories of the Musqueam and Coast Salish peoples.

I will be sharing my time with the member for Ottawa West—Nepean.

We live in serious times. The world continues to grapple with the economic effects of the pandemic. The Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on, costing tens of thousands of lives, and continues to distort the world economy.

Climate change continues to cause droughts and extreme weather events around the world. We saw the devastating impact of the atmospheric river in my home province of British Columbia and, more recent, the disproportionate harm witnessed in nations like Pakistan.

Inflation and rising interest rates are a challenge for millions of Canadians, for our friends, our families and our neighbours. No nation is immune to these effects and Canada is no exception. As leaders, we must be candid about the future and that is exactly what the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has done in this year's fall economic statement.

Canada cannot avoid the global economic slowdown coming our way any more than we could have prevented COVID from reaching our shores once it had begun. Again, as leaders, we must be able to adapt, adjust, revise and modify accordingly.

The fall economic statement lays out a fiscal and economic road map that is targeted, practical and responsive to the current and future needs of Canadians. It takes advantage of Canada's strengths, our record-low unemployment rate, a shrinking deficit, our AAA credit rating, the lowest net debt and deficit-to-GDP ratios and the strongest growth in the G7. We have witnessed historically low unemployment rates. Just last month, the Canadian economy added over 108,000 jobs.

Due to the Government of Canada's strong fiscal position and outperforming provincial economies, we are still capable of making strategic investments, investments in programs like the Canada growth fund, which will help to attract billions of dollars in private capital to create even more well-paying jobs and support Canada's economic transformation.

This year alone, auto manufacturers have committed to billions in private investment to retool our auto sector, to produce EVs and batteries.

The Canada growth fund will help target these kinds of opportunities to attract private investment.

Ensuring Canadian businesses remain competitive is critical if we are to attract private investment and grow the economy. Building upon billions of dollars of net-zero investment since 2016, the government will implement a refundable tax credit equal to 30% of the capital cost of renewable technology. From power generating and storage systems to low-carbon heat equipment and industrial zero-emission vehicles, helping Canadian businesses go green is not just good for the environment; it makes good economic sense.

To make this transition a reality, Canada must have a steady supply of skilled workers. That is why we are continuing to invest in Canadian workers.

Starting in 2023 to 2024, the fall economic statement proposes to invest $250 million over five years to help ensure that Canadian workers can thrive in a changing global economy. These investments would include the sustainable jobs training centre that would bring unions, employers and training institutions together. The centre will target areas of high demand, such as sustainable batteries and low-carbon building, as well as help forecast future skills requirements and develop on-site learning to train 15,000 workers.

A new sustainable job stream under the union training and innovation program will support unions in leading the development of green skills training for workers in the trades. It is expected that 20,000 apprentices and journey persons will benefit from this investment.

Finally, the government will create a sustainable jobs secretariat to offer a one-stop shop for workers and employers. That will provide the most up-to-date information on federal programs, funding and services across government departments, as Canada works to build a low-carbon economy with opportunities for everyone.

Most of these policies are long-term solutions, but we know Canadians need help with affordability and housing now. That is why we are rolling out a new dental care plan, starting with children under 12, to help families save this year. The government is also doubling the GST tax credit for six months and will start issuing advance payments of the Canada workers benefit in July.

To help more Canadians buy their first home, we are doubling the first-time homebuyers' tax credit, and we have the tax-free first-home savings account. We will also help increase the supply of housing by banning foreign buyers for two years as of January 1 and by taxing underused housing to limit speculation in the housing market.

To help Canadian students, we have doubled the Canada student grant and are permanently eliminating interest on Canada student loans and apprenticeship loans. The government is committed to supporting young Canadians in the economy. That is why the fall economic statement commits over $800 million to the youth employment and skills strategy over the next three years.

Immigration is core to our identity as Canadians, while also being a key driver of Canada's economic growth. Helping Canadian businesses access the skilled workers they need now is essential to reducing the labour gap. That is why the government is investing an additional $50 million in our immigration system and hiring 1,250 new employees. These resources will help tackle backlogs and increase processing capacity, allowing for skilled newcomers to fill critical labour gaps faster.

We stand at a pivotal moment in our history, indeed, in our world history. Climate change continues to threaten the way of life for millions around the world and in Canada. The global economy is still feeling the effects of the pandemic, which is being further aggravated by Russia's ruthless invasion of Ukraine. It is in times like these that Canada has stepped forward to lead.

The future of our earth and our children depends on transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward a green economy. Canada must be a leader in sustainable technology if we are to secure the fruits of this economy. The fall economic statement builds on the billions of dollars in past investments in clean technology and is a clear commitment to ensuring Canada's global competitiveness by continuing to invest in our net-zero economy.

Having the vision to introduce and implement solution-based ideas brings progress, and Canadians elected this government to bring about progress. That is exactly what the fall economic statement would deliver.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Frank Caputo Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise on behalf of the people of Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

I listened to my colleague's speech in which he spoke about climate change. What he did not speak about is affordability. I understand that we certainly do need to recognize climate change, and I look forward to my party leader's plan, which I know will inspire confidence among all Conservatives and hopefully all Canadians. However, how does the hon. member heat his house? How do his constituents heat their houses? What I am hearing from people is that they cannot afford to heat their houses because of tax upon tax, taxes that the member and his party support.

It is a simple question. How does the member heat his house?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Parm Bains Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member from Kamloops. It is a beautiful place in British Columbia, and I enjoy going there.

We absolutely understand that times are tough for so many Canadians today. Over the last couple of months, our government has put forward plans to provide a $500 top-up to the Canadian housing benefit, provide up to $1,300 through the Canada dental benefit for low-income kids under 12 and double the GST tax credit for six months.

As Canadians and the Canadian economy contend with global challenges, our fall economic statement builds on this responsible fiscal plan. It proposes new targeted measures to support Canadians, such as the ones he is talking about, who need it the most and grow the Canadian economy.

This includes permanently eliminating interest on federal student apprenticeship loans and the launching of the new Canada growth fund, which will help bring Canada billions of dollars in new private investment required to reduce our emissions, grow our economy and create good jobs.

We are creating a new quarterly Canada's workers benefit with automatic advanced payments and delivering on key pillars of the government's plan to make housing more affordable, including the creation of the new tax-free first home savings account and a doubling of the first-time home buyers' tax credit, ensuring that property—

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I believe the member has already had his 10-minute speech. We do not need another one. Perhaps we could get onto some questions from members in the House.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I will remind all members of the House that the shorter the questions, the shorter the answers, and the more people who get to participate in the debate. I will remind folks to answer the questions. Let us ask quick questions and give quick answers.

The hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, I cannot guarantee that I will make this short, but I will try.

My colleague talked about climate change; I find that interesting.

In Longueuil, there is an airport. The Pratt & Whitney company is involved in research into developing a hybrid electric engine. It is very involved in this. What is going on there is very important work. There is even a flight school in Longueuil—Saint-Hubert with an electrically powered aircraft. It is starting.

In Quebec, we make electric buses, electric snowmobiles, and even electric personal watercraft. This is the future, but the future takes investment.

Meanwhile, the government of the member who just spoke is investing $8.5 billion U.S. a year in an energy of the past: fossil fuels.

If we took all this money and invested it in the technologies of tomorrow, we would create jobs and wealth, and we would fight greenhouse gases. Does my colleague agree with me?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Parm Bains Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about electric buses. The riding of Steveston—Richmond East has made tremendous investments in businesses, such as Line Electric and Corvus Energy, and investments made in electric batteries. That is a $2-billion investment to make sure that electric batteries are developed domestically in Canada. Those are measures showing the investments we have made in clean energy and clean technology.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, I am going to ask a similar question to the one I asked the parliamentary secretary. The Canada recovery dividend needs to be extended to oil and gas companies. In his response, the parliamentary secretary said they are working with oil and gas companies, but he failed to describe how.

Can this member describe how they are working with these oil and gas companies to address climate change?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Parm Bains Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are working closely to move forward on the climate change initiatives we are introducing to work with oil companies to transition to clean energy.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

George Chahal Liberal Calgary Skyview, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member for Steveston—Richmond East did a great job with his speech. He talked about immigration. I would like to hear more of his thoughts on how the levels plan of increasing to over 500,000 new immigrants by 2025 will help benefit our country and help us deal with the labour shortages we are seeing across Canada today.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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Liberal

Parm Bains Liberal Steveston—Richmond East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for all his great work in Calgary.

If we look back at the unemployment rates we have historically hit, we are having all-time lows in these recent times, all-time lows in Canadian history. We have strong, good-paying jobs coming from a lot of the investments we have already made.

We need the skilled labour, and the people we are looking at with the levels plan are the people who are getting their education here. International students are coming here in droves because this is the place to be. This is the place they want to live, work and play. It will only benefit the growth we are talking about. The economic development, the investment—

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Continuing debate, we have the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:15 p.m.
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Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased today to speak to Bill C-32, the fall economic statement implementation act, 2022.

I hope that we will pass it quickly through the House because it includes much-needed supports for Canadians during these challenging times. The last few years have not been easy. We have gone through a global pandemic. Many of us have lost loved ones. The economy shut down overnight. We witnessed horrific conditions in long-term care homes, and many of the existing divides in society were made visible, including inequalities that have gone ignored for too long.

Since March 2020, the world has changed. I know that many Canadians are struggling with illness, job loss and isolation. Frontline workers have physically risked their own lives and mental health to be there for others, domestic violence has increased and teenagers have missed a key milestone in their formative years.

Now, when everyone wants to get back to normal, we are faced with inflation and the rising cost of living. Our government will continue to be there to help Canadians and build a strong economy for the future.

Just as it seems like we may be putting the pandemic behind us, the world is facing a rise in tyranny and authoritarianism with emboldened dictators around the world acting more aggressively, triggering conflicts and egregious human rights violations. The most alarming of which is Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine. This has shaken a world already reeling from the pandemic with supply chain disruptions; global food insecurity, which has left 50 million people in 45 countries on the brink of famine; and energy shortages, which have led to a global inflation crisis.

At the same time, the world continues to face a climate emergency with extreme weather events that have led to devastation, as we saw recently in Atlantic Canada with hurricane Fiona and, earlier this year, the rare derecho that hit parts of Ontario and Quebec, including my riding of Ottawa West—Nepean.

Canadians are resilient, but these have been trying times. Most of my constituents just want life to go back to normal. We are all exhausted, worried about our quality of life and uncertain about the future, but these are exactly the times when we all need to pull together the most. Through all of this, our Liberal government has been there, responding to keep Canadians safe and healthy and to mitigate against the worst effects of these crises.

I am not going to stand here and pretend that everything is going to be okay tomorrow. According to the fiscal update, while we will see improvements, we will likely still be battling inflation and possible economic slowdown for potentially another 18 months or more as the global economy corrects itself. There are two things we can do. First, we need to keep putting in place the building blocks for Canada to not only recover, but also prosper and lead the world in the new economy. Second, we need to ensure that those who need it most are able to make it through, and that the opportunities we create will benefit everyone.

Let us start with a few facts. One of our key economic goals during the height of the pandemic was to avoid major layoffs, business bankruptcies and high rates of unemployment coming out of it. In this, we were successful. There are 400,000 more Canadians working today than before the pandemic. We have recovered 116% of prepandemic jobs and our economy is larger than it was before.

At the same time, the fall economic statement is fiscally responsible. Canada's net debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest in the G7. Our inflation rate is lower than the G20 average, the European average, the U.K. and the U.S. As, well, both Moody's and Standard and Poor's have confirmed Canada's AAA credit rating with a stable outlook. We are also investing in skills training, tax credits and a Canada growth fund for the new green economy, both to tackle climate change and the costs of climate-related disasters and to make sure Canada is well positioned to benefit from the economic opportunities of a net-zero economy.

However, none of this changes the fact that people are hurting right now. That is why the fall economic statement includes supports targeted specifically for those who need it most. We are doubling the GST rebate for the next six months. In fact, last week, 11 million Canadians automatically received hundreds of dollars in their bank accounts because of this.

About 4.2 million low-income working Canadians are receiving an extra $1,200 a year through the Canada workers benefit. With this fall economic statement, they will receive this four times a year instead of having to wait until tax time.

About 1.8 million low-income renters will receive a $500 top-up through the Canada housing benefit. Families with children under 12 will be eligible for up to $1,300 to cover dental care. We are also eliminating interest on all federal student and apprenticeship loans permanently. This is in addition to previous measures such as increases to the OAS and the GIS for seniors and the Canada child benefit, which have already lifted 1.3 million Canadians out of poverty, including 435,000 children and 45,000 seniors.

Also, we are addressing issues that contribute to the wage gap between women and men, including pay equity legislation, and are cutting child care fees by 50% and ultimately to $10 a day. This is putting thousands of dollars back into the pockets of Canadian families and allowing more women to stay in the workforce.

On top of that, we are making sure that in these uncertain times, vital programs such as employment insurance and the Canada pension plan will be there when Canadians need them. Let us get the facts straight. The opposition is referring to the regular annual increase to EI and CPP premiums as payroll taxes. This is misleading. Putting money away for retirement or in case people lose their jobs is not a tax. It is a safety net and it is essential.

With respect to the so-called taxes on groceries and home heating, what the opposition is talking about is the price on pollution. This is a revenue-neutral tax, which means that every single dollar is returned to Canadians in the province where it was collected. Because everybody gets the same amount back, it means the people who spend the least and need the most will get more. In Ontario, eight out of 10 Canadians are benefiting, getting more in the rebate than what they will pay. If they are seniors or students living in a one-bedroom apartment and taking public transit, they will pay far less for the price on pollution than the amount they get back. Therefore, as this so-called carbon tax goes up, the amount people get back will also go up. This will help not only the people who need it, but also the people who are doing their part in their households to fight climate change.

There are those on the other side of the House who say that a few hundred dollars here and there make no difference, so I want to talk about a young woman who called my office a few months ago. She was very embarrassed to say that she had resorted to using food banks. They only allow people a certain number of points and she had run out of points for the month. This call happened to be the day after the climate action incentive was distributed and I mentioned this to her. While she was on the phone with me she checked her bank account, and she said there was money in her account and that she could now get groceries.

The amounts that our government is providing make a real and tangible difference, and I hope all members will vote for this.

While it cannot solve all the problems in the global economy, the fall economic statement lays the groundwork for a strong recovery. This includes hundreds of additional dollars by doubling the GST/HST rebate, an additional $500 for low-income renters, $1,300 for dental care for children under 12, and an additional $300 every three months for workers under the Canada workers benefit.

We have been there for Canadians during the pandemic and we will continue to be there.

The fall economic statement not only includes vital supports for the most vulnerable Canadians during these difficult times, but also lays the groundwork for stability and future prosperity, a prosperity that we will make sure is shared by everyone. I know that after the last two years, it is very hard for many Canadians to be optimistic, but our economy is strong, our position is secure and our government has Canadians' backs.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Anna Roberts Conservative King—Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a question for the hon. member.

You spoke about facts, targets, housing benefits and the most vulnerable Canadians. Can you please explain this to me? This morning, the Auditor General of Canada, in paragraphs 20 to 24, made some comments on that. I am going to read paragraph 20 to you. It states:

[A]lthough 5 years have gone by since the launch of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy, there is still no organization in the federal government taking the lead on Canada’s target to prevent and reduce chronic homelessness by half by 2028. In addition, the organizations did not know whether their efforts so far had improved housing outcomes for vulnerable Canadians.

This is my concern. We have a lot of single senior females who cannot afford housing. They are living in their cars. How is the Liberal government going to help my seniors?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

I want to remind members to run questions through the Chair. I know that sometimes we get passionate about them.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:25 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very glad to hear the hon. member opposite talk about support for housing, because in the fall economic statement we are including a $500 top-up for low-income renters through the Canada housing benefit, which is one of the benefits from our $70-billion national housing strategy.

I would add that this is very tangible. Right in my riding, at Michele Heights we have been able to build, through federal money, new community housing for families. We have also been able to build, at the Carlington Community Health Centre, affordable seniors housing for the very seniors the member was mentioning, which is right above a health centre so that these seniors have all of the supports they need when they go down the elevator.

This is making a difference, and I am very glad to see that my hon. colleague is so concerned about housing that she will vote for the fall economic statement implementation act.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:25 p.m.
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Bloc

Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Auditor General tabled four reports. In one of them, she mentions that Infrastructure Canada and the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation are not talking to each other at all about the national housing strategy. There is a glaring communication problem.

Similarly, in the economic statement, there is a complete lack of collaboration with colleagues in the same government. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry talks about reforming the Competition Bureau, but there is absolutely nothing in the economic statement.

My question is simple. Do people talk to each other on the government side? Are they working together?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, housing is necessary. The budget for housing is $70 billion.

I would add that right in my riding, with the CMHC's help, we were able to build a new women's shelter. There was an old shelter in a house that was basically falling down, and now we have Nelson House, which not only is a women's shelter for women and their families, but is accessible and modular.

Opposition members say they do not see the results of our housing strategy, but all they have to do is drive 15 minutes down the road here in Ottawa to see what has been built for people with the national housing strategy.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Blake Desjarlais NDP Edmonton Griesbach, AB

Mr. Speaker, I believe there are important measures in this fall economic statement, but it is important that on behalf of my constituents, we talk about the things that are not there so we can invite the government to hopefully take up some serious issues that are facing Canadians.

One of those issues from the community members of Edmonton Griesbach is housing. We are seeing a housing crisis, and it is not just in my community but from coast to coast to coast. Beyond that, we need to see a true mental health strategy. We also need to see a real tackling of the problem we are seeing with the drug-poisoning crisis.

Would the member speak to these three incredibly important issues facing my community?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Anita Vandenbeld Liberal Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have too short a time to talk about all of the initiatives, but in the fall economic statement, there is the $500 top-up for housing for the people receiving the Canada housing benefit.

I am very pleased that the member mentioned mental health, because our status of women committee right now is doing an incredibly important study on the mental health of young women and girls. I know that his colleague is working very closely with the rest of the committee members to make sure that we are addressing what is truly a crisis. The number one issue that is raised by my youth council is mental health, and it is the reason we will be there for Canadians.

I look forward to working together further with all members of the House to make sure that we address these important issues.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will say at the outset that I am splitting my time with the fabulous member for Haldimand—Norfolk.

We are debating the fiscal update, or the fall economic statement, and when we look at the update, it is important that we have some context for the environment it was put into. Let us go back seven years to when the government was elected.

At that time, the soon-to-be Prime Minister said there would be a tiny deficit, one so small that we could not even see it: a measly $10 billion that would disappear by the end of his first term. At the end of his firm term, there was $100 billion in pre-COVID deficit spending. That is literally thousands of dollars of burden that he put on the backs of Canadians. During COVID, there is no doubt there was some good money spent to support Canadians. The Conservatives supported programs like the wage subsidy, but we wanted controls on the wage subsidy to make sure multi-billion dollar corporations were not buying back shares or giving dividends at the same time they were receiving government money.

In addition to that COVID money, $200 billion, according to the Prime Minister's own Parliamentary Budget Officer, went out the door in non-COVID-related dollars. That equates to $5,400 for every woman, man and child in Canada. That is $5,400 for non-COVID-related spending. For a family of four, that is $20,000.

I spend a lot of time, as I am sure all members in the House do, with Canadians when travelling. Of course, we had the unnecessary, unneeded and very expensive election, but I did have the great opportunity during that time to spend my time talking to constituent after constituent. Not one of them had an extra $20,000 in their bank account because of this excess spending, so I question the value of that money spent.

The reality of an extra $200 billion, $400 billion or $500 billion in spending is that the government does not have the money. The government has three ways of raising money. One is by going to the markets and asking for a loan, and it did not have the fiscal framework or the ability to borrow $500 billion from the markets. The second is by raising taxes. Even the current government did not have the stomach to raise taxes that much that quickly. Finally is by printing money. That is through a fancy term called quantitative easing, where the government sells bonds and buys them back itself. In reality, it has the same effect as printing money.

For the last more than 2,000 years, we know what happens in this story, from the ancient Romans to the Weimar Republic to Yugoslavia shortly after War World II to Argentina, to name just a few examples. Actually, there is one right here in Canada. There was a prime minister here by the name of Pierre Elliott Trudeau who engaged in the same type of money printing, and guess what we got. We got inflation.

There was one individual who stood up over and over again and said that we would get inflation and that we should be worried about inflation. That was the member for Carleton, who was to become the official opposition leader. He said that inflation was on the way, and I heard heckles and people saying no. In fact, I cannot believe this is not the biggest news headline every day as we sit in perhaps the biggest monetary crisis of my lifetime.

We had a deputy leader saying that there was going to be no inflation, none. The Liberals said we should not worry about it and that the real problem was deflation. Talk about getting it wrong. Holy mackerel. Then we heard the Prime Minister say in public, not just in the quietness of his own home, that he did not think about monetary policy. Well, that is obvious.

As we see now, inflation is out of control. The inflation numbers will be coming out again and we will see what they are, but I guarantee they will not be in the Bank of Canada's target rate of 1% to 3%. Inflation is not just the numbers, it is not just the spreadsheets, it is not just the statistics; it is having a real impact on the lives of Canadian.

Parties on the other side of the spectrum like to say that the Conservatives are heartless. What is heartless is releasing a fall economic statement in the throes of one of the greatest affordability crises, with high inflation rates, and not addressing it. That means we will continue to see record use of food banks. In one month alone, in this great country that I love so much, 1.5 million Canadians went to food banks, a third of which were children. Five hundred thousand children in our great land were forced to go to a food bank, because the Prime Minister does not think about monetary policy. He should think again. Canadians are really struggling. Twenty per cent more than ever before are using food banks because the Liberals have failed Canadians over and over again.

What was the response in the fall economic statement to the affordability crisis, such as single moms not being able to feed their children; seniors not being able to make it to the end of the month, not being to pay their rent; young adults not being able to afford houses? We are going to have a 2% tax on share buybacks. I have had a number of constituents, neighbours and friends come to me saying they are having a tough time. They are having challenges. What we really need is a 2% tax on share buybacks, because that will create greater amounts of capital incorporation, which will create economic prosperity for all. Is this for real? Is this serious? This is a real document.

As we go on in this document, a document prepared by the Liberals, here is what it says. The bad news is that we are going to have high inflation. The bad news is we are going to have high interest rates. The topper is that we might be going toward a recession. The way the government assembled this document would be funny if it were not so sad. In their economic projection, the Liberals have said that we will have one-quarter of negative growth at baseline and the other one at 0%. Two negative quarters make a recession. It was like my nine year old changed his homework a little so he did not have to call it a recession. By the way, somehow inflation rates, which will come out tomorrow, will drop to 3.5% in 2023, less than 50 days from now. I am not going to buy some swamp land from the Liberals and I am certainly not going to accept that ridiculous notion.

With the fall economic statement, the government had a real opportunity to do something great to help Canadians with the affordability crisis to get them back on their feet by getting off their backs. It could have reduced the carbon tax. We are the only country in the G7 that did not do that. The Liberals had the opportunity to truly help Canadians by reducing the payroll tax, but they seem intent on penalizing, not rewarding, all those Canadians who are working so hard. They take more and more. Their greed knows no end. The government is out of ideas and it needs to be taken out of its misery.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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London North Centre Ontario

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, it is always interesting to hear the member opposite.

One thing I have noticed is that he and his colleagues continue to criticize the federal government for introducing COVID-19 emergency programs. I understand the criticism, but I do not agree with it. If they have that criticism, why did they support those programs? Why did they vote in favour of them?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I may have to repeat my speech for the member as he must have not heard it or he was not here.

It is not the money that was put toward the COVID relief, which we did support; it is the $200 billion in non-COVID dollars and the $100 billion in deficit spending prior to COVID. That $300 billion is more than $20,000 for a family of four. It is that money we want back in the pockets of Canadians.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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Bloc

Denis Trudel Bloc Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, QC

Mr. Speaker, my Conservative friends will be pleased because I am going to triple my question. This morning, I asked my Conservative colleagues the same question twice, but I did not get an answer, so I am going to ask it a third time.

The Liberal government opposite refuses to provide proper funding for the health care system, funding that is sorely needed, especially in Quebec. There is no way that my Quebec colleagues here have not seen the pictures of Quebec's emergency rooms. It is truly outrageous.

The Liberal government is saying no. If the Conservative Party were to take office tomorrow, which is not necessarily something we want to happen, would the Conservatives agree to increase health care funding from 22% to 35%, yes or no?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, what we can all agree upon is that a strong balance sheet helps us with all of our priorities, regardless of what they are. In 2023, we are forecasted to spend $43 billion in interest payments. That is more than the health transfers to all the provinces. What we can do is get our balance sheet, just as it was underneath Stephen Harper, under control and then we have more money to spend on all our priorities, including health care.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:40 p.m.
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NDP

Lori Idlout NDP Nunavut, NU

Uqaqtittiji, Food Banks Canada said that nearly 1.5 million visits were made to food banks this year. This is a 15% increase from the previous year. At the same time, the revenue of Loblaws was $12.12 billion. I say these two figures because I wonder where the food banks got their groceries. I am sure they bought them from Loblaws.

Does the member not agree that the Canada recovery dividend needs to be extended to these kinds of for-profit corporations?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the institution whose revenue has raised higher than Loblaws and higher than any oil and gas company is the federal Government of Canada. If anyone needs to give a refund or a dividend back, it is the Canadian government. It is called tax relief. It is called not tripling the carbon tax. It is called reducing the payroll tax and incentivizing workers entrepreneurs instead of penalizing and demonizing them.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:45 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

Mr. Speaker, I wondering if the member can explain to Canadians why the Conservative Party continues to vote against measures that would give breaks to Canadians in all regions. In this legislation, for example, we have interest relief. Students who go to post-secondary facilities will not have to pay interest if the legislation passes.

Why does the Conservative Party consistently vote against supporting Canadians?

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals just do not get it. Their seven years of tax and spend have put students in a difficult position. They are having to go to food banks. They are giving up the dream of home ownership. They want more. They want a Conservative government.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 15th, 2022 / 1:45 p.m.
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Conservative

Leslyn Lewis Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to speak to the fall economic statement implementation act, 2022.

There is an adage that is found in the Book of Proverbs, written by one of the wisest men who ever lived. King Solomon wrote, thousands of years ago, “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” It is a statement that reminds us that the decisions we make today impact on the future. They can impact, and do impact, on future generations to come.

How much more is this true of leaders who are in charge of our nation’s finances. This proverb teaches us that if we want to be truly good, if we want to be wise and if we want to leave an inheritance for our children's children, we must conserve. We cannot just spend. We must save and invest in our future.

As elected leaders, we have been entrusted with a profound responsibility to be stewards of our democracy and to preserve our Canadian way.

I am very concerned about the direction of Canada and about the short-sightedness of the government. Canadians want clarity about the social contract that they have engaged in with the government. They know what they are giving, but they do not know what they are getting back. Often their questions are dismissed, laughed at and mocked by the government.

Canadians want answers to simple questions like: How can we buy an electric car to save the environment, when we can barely afford food to eat? Why does the government raise taxes on home heating, fuel and groceries, only to refund us a pittance of what has taken in the first place?

Canadians just want to be able to fill up their gas tanks, to have a roof over their head, to not have to skip meals and to be able to take their children to school and to soccer practice.

Canada is almost $1.3 trillion dollars in debt. The government has spent more than all other governments combined in the history of this nation. Right now, Canadians owe $56,000. That is their share of the national debt, and it is increasing by the day. Next year, interest payments alone will be nearly as much as the Canada health transfer to all provinces combined. That is at a time when people are literally dying in emergency rooms because they cannot be seen within a reasonable time by doctors.

Just a few years ago, the Prime Minister promised to never go over $10 billion deficit. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 40% of all new spending measures have had nothing to do with COVID. That is over $205 billion dollars.

The Liberal government used COVID as a cover for its non-essential, wasteful spending. The Prime Minister cannot be trusted with our finances. His government cannot be trusted. Things are falling apart.

The government spent $54 million on an unnecessary app, the ArriveCan app, that discriminated against seniors without smart phones and accidentally sent thousands of vaccinated Canadians into quarantine. One developer replicated this $54 million project in one weekend and said that it should not have cost more than $250,000. Several contractors said that they never worked on the app and that they never received the millions of dollars the government said it paid them.

Millions of dollars are missing for which the Liberals just cannot account. The Liberals’ out-of-control has led to inflation, which has caused an increase in the cost of living.

The price of food has seen double-digit price increases, and 1.5 million Canadians visited the food bank last month, which is an increase of over 35% from last year. People are worried that they will have to choose between food and heating their homes this winter.

The cost of housing has become unaffordable. Even for people who do not have mortgages on their property, it is difficult to pay the utilities bills and the cost of heating. Young people cannot afford to move out of their parent’s homes. Seniors and those on disability do not have the ability to earn extra money to supplement their income. People on fixed incomes are living an unaffordable existence.

I met a lady named Hilary this weekend in my riding. She told me that to buy half a tank of oil it cost $1,100, of which $300 was government taxes, and this will only heat her home for one month. I receive calls from farmers, manufacturers and small businesses that are desperate for workers, yet we see massive backlogs at Immigration and Citizenship Canada. Despite this, the government still plans to triple the carbon tax on home heating, gas and food.

We are seeing billions of dollars of spending in this fall economic statement, yet the same problem of lack of transparency still exists. The Liberals have announced the Canada growth fund in the fall economic statement, which is found in part 4 of the act. The fund will largely give corporations money to undertake projects in the area of climate change with investments toward a net-zero economy. While I and most Canadians support protecting the environment, it must be done in a transparent way that yields accountability and reduces emissions.

Under the growth fund, we see a reference to ESG, “Environmental, Social, and Governance”, stated on page 30 of the fall economic statement. While the government has embraced this vague term, the average Canadian does not know what it means, but we have seen these types of pet projects before, like the growth fund, that have resulted in outrageous waste. The $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank has not finished one project that the Liberals announced in 2016, six years ago.

The whole approach has been a failure. It was supposed to attract private sector investments, but has repeatedly failed to do so. Instead, the Liberals are spending millions on bureaucracy, overhead, operations and executive termination packages that yield no financial benefit to the taxpayer. Now we are expected to trust the government with billions of dollars in this Canada growth fund, a taxpayer-funded investment fund that, just like the Canada Infrastructure Bank, will subsidize experimental corporate private business projects.

Despite the failure of the Infrastructure Bank in getting a single project completed, the Liberal government wants to invest $15 billion under the promise of a net-zero economy in a similar scheme, but Canadians have questions about the Canada growth fund and about ESG. Here are some of the questions that came to my office.

Since we know that businesses will have to register their products and services and that all transactions will be digitally recorded and tracked under ESG, environmental, social and governance, does that mean that the spending of Canadians will also be tracked?

How will this accounting for the entire emissions life cycle of a project affect small and medium-sized business owners? Will small and medium-sized business owners endure more red tape, and thereby have to spend thousands of dollars on lawyers, accountants and environmental, social and governance consultants in order to comply with this ESG requirement?

Since the goal is to reduce the carbon footprint and reach net zero, will there be limits on what Canadians can buy, where they can go and how much fuel and products they can consume? These are natural questions that Canadians are asking.

There is so much that is broken in our system, and we are not going to fix it with more Liberal policies and continued spending that lacks transparency and accountability. We cannot move forward when questions that Canadians are asking about policies, like environmental, social and governance and how this will affect their lives are left unanswered and mocked by the Liberal government.

This is not about politics. This is about the future of Canada. This is about making sure that we leave a good inheritance for our children's children. That is why, in good conscience, I cannot vote in favour of this reckless, inflationary bill that lacks transparency.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:55 p.m.
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Liberal

Han Dong Liberal Don Valley North, ON

Mr. Speaker, for the past couple of days, during the debate of this bill, all I have been hearing from the Conservatives' side are highly partisan campaign-style slogans.

The hon. member opened up her debate by talking about the future. Today, we know that the world population has surpassed eight billion. There is no bigger issue for the world right now other than climate change.

That is why the government came up with the carbon pricing system, where the provinces can come up with their own systems or they can adopt the federal system. With that, we offer rebates, growing from $300 plus to $700 in the province of Ontario. I think it is working to reduce emissions and combat climate change.

Does the hon. member have any substantial, real suggestions or possible amendments to this bill that would help us fight climate change?

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Leslyn Lewis Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I remind the hon. member that I have a master's in environmental studies. I do not focus on slogans. The environment is something that I do not believe is a partisan issue. It is a very important issue that we should not be using to advance our political agenda.

What I see from the Liberals is that they are making life more unaffordable by tripling the taxes on home heating, gas and fuel. The Liberals are not serious about protecting their environment. They have not even met their targets under the Paris accord. They are not serious. It is a slogan for them and they know the meaning of a slogan.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:55 p.m.
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NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Mr. Speaker, I do not necessarily agree with the environmental strategy that the Conservatives have, but it is very spectacular that the government is number 58 out of 64 and bragging about its environmental record. I think we can agree on that.

Coming back to the motion that we are talking about right now, three hospitals in my riding have had their emergency rooms shut down repeatedly. In fact, in October, in Port Hardy, for 28 days of the month there were no emergency services offered for the whole evening and night.

I am wondering if the member shares my concern about the reality that we are seeing no investment from the federal government to support provinces in being better able to deliver these services.

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November 15th, 2022 / 1:55 p.m.
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Conservative

Leslyn Lewis Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, indeed, Conservatives do share that concern about our failing health care system. One of the reasons the health care system is failing is that the government has spent more than all other previous governments in the history of this country combined.

By next year, we will be paying more on our interest payments on our loans than we are paying in the health care transfer. This is the reason we have a failing health care system. We need to get our finances in order and stop wasteful spending.

The House resumed from November 15 consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

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November 16th, 2022 / 3:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure and a privilege to rise on behalf of the residents of Vaughan—Woodbridge and the city of Vaughan, who in my view are the most entrepreneurial and generous in the country. I may be biased, but I think it is true.

I rise today to speak to the government’s fall economic statement and Bill C-32, the fall economic statement implementation act, 2022, at a critical juncture for Canada and, frankly, the world. Broadly speaking, I wish to highlight three themes in the fall economic statement.

The first theme is that the fall economic statement is a fiscally responsible and balanced document that would ensure that Canada’s strong financial position and fiscal framework anchors are maintained. In economist speak, it means our AAA credit rating is left intact, as noted by Moody’s, which recently affirmed our AAA rating, reflecting high economic strength, a very strong institutional and governance framework and, in addition, fiscal policy effectiveness. That is check mark number one.

The second theme is that we, as a country and as a government, undertake the necessary investments in our people to help make life more affordable and to assist the Canadians most impacted by inflation, with measures such as doubling the GST rebate, increasing old age security by 10% for three million seniors, which we did in the summertime, and enhancing the Canada workers benefit for low-income workers, which will provide an additional $4 billion in payments over the next six years for people who qualified for the benefit in the previous year, through advance payments.

The Canada workers benefit is something that we have adjusted, strengthened and improved three times now. It helps millions of Canadians and Canadian families from coast to coast to coast; it is lifting people out of poverty, and it is a really effective tool to help Canadians impacted by inflation. I was very glad to see it in the fall economic statement as an enhanced measure. We are providing $500 lump-sum payments to approximately 1.8 million Canadians. The GST rebate, as I mentioned, will assist over 11 million Canadian households. The first step in the Canada dental benefit is $1,300 for individuals who do not have private insurance coverage for their kids. All Canadian kids should be able to go to the dentist.

The third theme in the fall economic statement, in my view, is a focus on wealth creation by responding to the environment we, as a nation, find ourselves in. Let me explain. In today’s world, relationships between countries are being and are now reshaped; economies are being repositioned due to the realignment in the global economy; there are associated competitive challenges and even threats and security challenges, and the world’s quest for security and affordability of energy and food have never been more prominent.

The war in Ukraine, the ongoing ascendancy of China economically and militarily in many parts of the world, the climate change crisis and a renewed and reawakened United States post the Trump presidency require an unequivocal, firm policy response from our government, and the fall economic statement lays a path for that response.

Specifically, we need to respond to the competitive challenges laid out by the Biden administration. The measures quite deftly passed by the Biden administration, I believe, put the economic leadership of the United States front and centre and, frankly, change the world economic game. The Biden administration’s passing of the infrastructure bill and the Inflation Reduction Act, by some estimates, will put investment at nearly $2 trillion in clean technology and clean energy measures over the next 10 years. The CHIPS and Science Act, which is reshaping science and technology in the United States, specifically on the chip manufacturing front, and a majority of the fiscal policy in the prior administration, which was left intact, required a response by our government.

The decision we make as legislators today will put in place a direction for our economy and for our country’s future and will have a profound impact on the living standards of Canadian citizens for years to come. Today, more than ever, responsible and focused leadership is demanded. That is what our government is committed to doing, and that is what is contained in the fall economic statement.

The fall economic statement responded with measures to ensure Canadian businesses and workers have the tools to not only compete but also succeed in the global economy and, yes, to benefit from the ongoing transition to a net-zero economy, which is happening at an accelerating pace not only here in Canada but throughout the world.

One of these measures that I would like to touch upon in the remainder of my time is an investment tax credit for clean technologies: a refundable tax credit equal to 30% of the capital cost investments in electricity generation systems, stationary electricity storage systems, low-carbon heat equipment, and industrial zero-emission vehicles and related equipment.

Another is an investment tax credit for clean hydrogen production, as we know that Canada can be the premium supplier of energy in a net-zero world, and clean hydrogen is a part of the solution.

A third is accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy with the launch of the Canada growth fund. We know there are literally hundreds of billions of dollars of private capital that will be put to use in the transition to a net-zero economy, not only today but going into the future. These private investment dollars will create the good jobs and the prosperity for Canadian workers here in Canada that a net-zero economy will bring.

Canada is an open economy. We succeed when we trade, when we attract investment, when we compete and yes, when we win. That is most certainly what we are doing these days. The aim is simple. We need to ensure an environment that harnesses private sector capital, works well with the public sector, creates good middle class jobs and assists those wanting to join the middle class. We want to ensure that economic growth, which we have seen a lot of, is inclusive economic growth, so that all Canadians benefit from strong economic growth in our country. We are uniquely positioned in the world.

The Canada growth fund would utilize public funding to attract private capital and create jobs with a mandate to reduce emissions and achieve Canada's climate targets; accelerate the deployment of key technologies, such as low-carbon hydrogen and carbon capture and utilization; scale up companies that would create jobs and drive productivity in the clean economy; and, most importantly, capitalize on Canada's abundance of natural resources and strengthen its supply chains.

The growth fund will be launched by the end of 2022 and begin immediately to make the critical investments needed to meet Canada’s climate and economic goals.

Another pillar of growing Canada’s economy is investing in Canada’s advanced manufacturing competitiveness, with consultations currently taking place and measures to be laid out in budget 2023.

I also wish to speak to Canada as a place in the world for electric vehicles. I am the chair of the Liberal auto caucus. I meet regularly with the Global Automakers of Canada, or the GAC, and the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association. I meet with the parts suppliers and all stakeholders, including the Mining Association of Canada, and infrastructure participants that include charging stations and the key technologies that will transition what I would call the auto caucus and what in the future will be the electric vehicle caucus.

That is where the world is going. That is where Canada is going. We are uniquely positioned, with our human capital, our people, our know-how, our entrepreneurial spirit and the natural resources the country is blessed to have.

With that, it was great to see yesterday, in the business meetings that were a prelude to the G20, that in Bloomberg's annual ranking of the battery supply chain, the crucial components going into electric vehicles, Canada had moved up the rankings to number two, in front of the United States, in front of Finland and slightly behind China.

Our government is making progress. We have collaborated with industry. We have collaborated with stakeholders. We are uniquely positioned. We are using our comparative advantage, and I love the words “comparative advantage” as an economist, to make sure Canadian workers and Canadian industry are positioned for electric vehicles and the production thereof. Quoting Bloomberg:

“Canada’s recent investment in its upstream clean energy supply and increasing demand in the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) region increase the country’s competitiveness,” wrote BNEF in a release accompanying the new report.

Published at the BNEF Summit Bali, the ranking sees Canada rise to the second spot this year, which reflects its large raw material resources and mining activity, as well as its good positioning in environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) and infrastructure, innovation, and industry.

Those are all words I love to repeat.

We have work to do. Another thing I wish to touch upon is our government's work with organized labour through UTIP, the union training and innovation program. Not to be slightly partisan, but we know the members on the opposite side love to attack Canadian workers and love to attack Canadian unions.

We repealed the anti-union legislation in 2015, and we will continue to stand up for union workers across this country, including those receiving their training in my riding at the Carpenters and Allied Workers Local 27 or LiUNA Local 183 Headquarters in my riding, which is moving its training facility. We will be there. We are investing in the union training and innovation program, and we will continue to do so. We are targeting 20,000 more apprenticeships. The UTIP program is transformational. I have been at the training facilities, where youth are receiving their training to build the communities we all live in.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 16th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Conservative

Alex Ruff Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member talked about the importance of the environment and the economy and how they interrelate, so I just want to give an example of a very environmentally friendly farmer in my riding. He uses no-till seeding methods, intensive rotational grazing of ruminant animals and rest land for his bird habitats. He protects the waterways, uses fossil fuels minimally and uses zero-chemical fertilizers and herbicides.

He normally has 30 to 50 customers in a given year, but this past year alone, he is down to three customers. He asked these folks why they are not buying from him, a local, environmentally friendly farmer. The answer was they cannot afford it. They are not purchasing local beef or lamb because they cannot afford gas, are struggling to pay their bills and have to select between food, utilities and fuel bills.

What is in the economic statement that is going to help rural Canadians afford to buy local and support this great environmental farmer?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound for mentioning that local farmer. We want to support all our farmers across Canada, whether in northern Ontario or any part of the country.

In terms of the affordability crisis and inflation crisis that has impacted the entire world, we are assisting Canadians. We have put in place a number of measures, including doubling the GST rebate for over 11 million Canadian families, the $500 payment through the rental supplement and putting in place a dental care program. About 92% of day care centres in Ontario have, from my understanding, signed on to the child care agreement, which is saving families literally thousands and thousands of dollars.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:05 p.m.
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Bloc

Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by thanking my colleague for his speech. It is always nice to hear speeches with a focus on the economy.

As an economist myself, I would like to ask him the following question. Is it not true that a healthy competition regime is the cornerstone of a healthy economy? If that is the case, why is it that the 2022 budget talked about reforming the Competition Bureau, yet there was absolutely nothing about it in the economic statement that just came out? The commissioner of competition has been saying for months, as did the previous commissioner, that there are serious problems in the competition regime. These problems are not only affecting current prices, because of inflation, but also the productivity of our businesses.

Is it not time we reformed the Competition Bureau to improve the quality of life of Canadians and Quebeckers?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Terrebonne for her question.

I will say this. I completely agree with requiring more competition in our economy. Corporate concentration and crony capitalism are two things I detest. I dislike them very much.

In the summertime, changes to the Competition Act were made via the Competition Bureau. I will go back and check my notes to see if I am incorrect on that. I look forward to having a further discussion with the hon. member from la belle province on this exact issue.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, one thing I have heard a lot about, not from this economic statement, unfortunately, but certainly from a lot of my constituents and folks working in the industry, is the escalator tax and the excise tax on alcohol.

I have a lot of small craft breweries in my riding. I know that many of my colleagues are very interested in this, yet the government has not addressed, in any way, shape or form, how there is going to be quite a huge escalation in taxes because of the rate of inflation.

Could the hon. member comment on why it was not in the fall economic statement? What is his government doing to ensure that small craft breweries and medium-sized breweries will be able to survive?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:05 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am very familiar with the issue the hon. member has raised. I continue to advocate that we look at the escalator tax and the inflation index rates that could potentially occur within these sectors.

I represent a very vibrant wine industry. Magnotta Winery is located in my riding, as is Two Sisters winery. The founders are very good friends of mine. Our wineries, craft brewers and beer companies all draw tourism to the region of Niagara. I will continue to advocate for the wine industry, the beer industry and craft brewers from coast to coast to coast.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:05 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour and a true privilege to rise in the House and speak on behalf of the great people of Vancouver Kingsway to reflect their realities in the House and urge policies that I think will be of great impact and assistance to them. I think what they would first want me to point out to the House is that at this point in history, we are facing difficult economic times. People are really struggling, and that is very much the case in Vancouver Kingsway.

The prices for everyday staples such as food, gas, rent, energy and utilities, and for cars, are up. People cannot find affordable housing. This has been a crisis for many years in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver, but it is particularly acute now. I think the word “crisis” is not a hyperbole to describe a situation where people cannot find a secure, dignified and affordable place for themselves and their families.

I would point out on housing that, of the many financial issues facing people, some are foundational, and I think housing is one of them. Housing anchors us in our community and it is what connects us to our neighbours. It is that from which we launch our connections to school and work, where we build relationships with neighbours and where we express ourselves as people. When we cannot find affordable housing and when we are constantly having to move because of renovictions and rising prices, that is destabilizing in a manner that is truly profound.

Wages are not keeping up with price inflation, and I am going to touch on this a bit, because I think understanding the true causes of the current economic situation is vital to getting the policies that will address them correctly. This is particularly difficult for those on fixed incomes. Many of us who are working have access to regular salary increases, but seniors or those who are at the lower income levels, especially if they are not unionized, often have to contend with these dramatically rising prices with fixed incomes. It is important for the House to recognize how difficult that situation is for them.

Food bank use is up. We are hearing reports that families are even reducing their meals. Can members imagine that in a country as wealthy as Canada, a G7 country, in the year 2022, citizens actually have to reduce their calorie intake because of the economic situation?

I just want to mention small businesses. In my riding of Vancouver Kingsway, we are really powered by small businesses, and small businesses are having a particularly difficult time as well. Their input costs have gone up, and although they are raising their prices, there are limits to how far they can go. I think it is particularly important for us as a federal Parliament to craft policies that recognize the difficulty that small businesses are facing and that acknowledge the vital importance that small businesses and medium-sized businesses have in our economy. Let us craft policies that are responsive to their needs so that we can empower them and provide the context and opportunities they need to grow.

The causes of the current situation are varied, and we have heard a sample of them in the House. Some in the House blame government spending. Others say this is the result of government deficits. For us in the New Democratic Party, we believe that if we look at the data and look at the actual evidence before us, it is clear that the current situation is the result of several factors. For one, there are clearly supply chain interruptions that really took off when the COVID pandemic hit in early 2020. They clearly have played an important role in driving up the price of goods. We also have the war in Ukraine. Whenever we have a major global destabilizing event like this, there are inevitably negative economic ripples, and I think it must be acknowledged that this is playing a role.

However, I think uniquely in the House, the contribution the New Democrats are bringing to this economic discussion is one that, frankly, the Conservatives deny and the Liberals ignore. It is the impact of corporate price increases. In other words, it is the gouging that is going on by the corporate sector in many cases. The greedflation that is being caused has to be acknowledged, I would think, as not only a major cause of the current economic travails that are affecting our country, but the major cause of them.

In my view, and in the view of many economists like Jim Stanford, corporations are using the cover of macro-events, such as the global issues around supply chains and the war in Ukraine, as an opportunity to drastically increase their prices and blame that on other factors. I think that is quite clear. If we asked any worker in this country if their wages have gone up by 7% this year, we would find out very quickly that the current economic situation is not caused by a rapid increase in wages. If we go to a store and see the prices on the shelves, we will find out very quickly what is causing the increase in prices.

Let us look at this with a bit of a sectoral analysis. The oil and gas industry last year racked up $140 billion in profits in one year alone. It was the highest profits in a year on record for the oil and gas sector. We have the FIRE industry, the finance, insurance and real estate industry, where profit margins, which I will talk about in a brief second, have gone up by a factor of threefold. We also have the food monopolies. There are three major food chains in the country, and their profits have increased dramatically, in some cases by an additional $1 million per day. One of those companies, Loblaws, outperformed its best years ever in both Q1 and Q2 of this year.

While Canadians are suffering and struggling, those corporate sectors are prospering like they have never done before. That is an economic imbalance the New Democrats believe has to be acknowledged and addressed.

I want to speak just for a moment about profit margins, because some apologists for the corporate sector deny this reality. They say that profits are up because input costs are up and that profits are in line with what is normally expected. That is empirically wrong. If we look at profit margins, which are not about gross profits but the percentage of profits these sectors have made, invariably they are up dramatically in almost every major sector in this country. That speaks to companies that are taking advantage of the current situation for their private interests.

If we do not get the diagnosis correct, it is very difficult to get a proper treatment. The Bank of Canada is attempting to treat the current situation by offering the solution of increasing interest rates. Unless I have missed it, I have not yet heard a word from the Bank of Canada about how we address or curb excessive corporate profits. Their approach is an outdated one. Basically, they want to use the club of interest rates as a cudgel to pound down inflation.

When we raise interest rates, as they are doing, there are obvious economic impacts and we see what they are. It increases the cost of housing. It increases mortgage rates for all those hundreds of thousands or millions of Canadians who currently hold a mortgage that is going to come due. They will pay more. Of course, if we increase mortgage rates, there is a derivative effect: We end up impacting and increasing rents, because landlords who own properties and have to pay more on a mortgage need more in rent. Raising rates also increases the cost of loans and credit cards. In other words, what they are trying to do is suppress employment and wages, and I think that is improper.

Bill C-32 is worthy of support because it has some salutary benefits. It would remove the interest on the federal portion of student loans and apprentice loans, something the New Democrats have long called for. It has the Canada recovery dividend too, which would make banks and life insurance groups pay a temporary, one-time 15% tax on taxable income over $1 billion over five years.

We want this legislation to pass but we want much more. We want to see the Canada recovery dividend extended to big box stores and oil and gas companies and want a permanent surtax on the profits of the oil and gas industry. We want to see the government finally go after the offshore tax evasion that costs to the tune of $30 billion, and we want to see employment insurance reform. Furthermore, we want policies that help working Canadians, not the big corporate sectors that the Conservatives and the Liberals have been favouring in the House for decades.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:15 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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to pick up on the progressive side of what we have been able to accomplish. We hear about issues such as health care, and I think my friend and I have some commonality on the importance of national health care. There might be some concerns related to financing.

We have the dental plan for children under the age 12. The member referenced the important issue of student interest rates being taken away, which is again a very strong progressive measure. That is going to be done on a permanent basis.

I am wondering if my friend could provide his thoughts on how, in a relatively short period of time, we are making significant gains in providing these supports. This is a national government demonstrating strong leadership by supporting Canadians directly.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, yes, I would agree with my hon. colleague that improving public programs such as dental care has an important economic effect on Canadians, as well as, of course, a profoundly important beneficial impact on their health. That is why the New Democrats put dental care on the national agenda. That is why we campaigned on it, drove it forward and demanded it be part of the confidence of supply agreement. Make no mistake, there would be no dental care progress in the House whatsoever if there were not 25 New Democrat MPs who demanded it to be the case.

It will have an economic impact because, by the time our plan is put in place, some nine million Canadians who do not have it now will have access to dental insurance. If they had had to pay out of pocket for dental services, that means there would have been expenses that they would not have had to spend later. There is an example where we can not only improve Canadians' health but also relieve pressure on their pocketbooks at the same time. The NDP is going to keep driving that forward until every Canadian gets the dental care they deserve.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

Jeremy Patzer Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, I was just going through some numbers I received from the Library of Parliament on tax revenue to the Government of Canada from the oil and gas sector. Back in 2019, it was as high as $807 million. When we talk about oil and gas companies bringing in record profits, we know the government is also bringing in record taxes from the oil and gas sector.

The member talked about his dental care bill. If they succeed in killing off the oil and gas sector, where are they going to get the money to pay for their programs? These are programs such as the dental care bill, which has passed through the House of Commons, and which has a much larger bill than the tax revenue from the oil and gas companies.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, a really important question the House needs to start taking into account is the cost of not dealing with the climate crisis. What are the costs of dealing with the massive damage that was done in the Atlantic provinces through the climate crisis, the hurricane that just hit there? What are the economic costs of having a drought in British Columbia, or having wildfires and towns being incinerated, such as what happened in Lytton? The costs are in the hundreds of billions of dollars.

We better start accounting for that. If we do not deal with the climate crisis, if we continue to allow the untrammelled burning of carbon on this planet, as the Conservatives want, then economic activity is going to be ground to a halt in many cases. What we need in this country is to transition our economy to a sustainable one.

I, for one, believe that is a way our country could benefit the 21st century. I do not think dealing with the climate crisis is a cost. It is an essential transition that will position our economy to be even more profitable in the 21st century. Ignoring the climate crisis, allowing disasters to occur and having our natural environment degraded to the point where the planet is sending a strong message that we cannot keep burning carbon the way we do, as the Conservatives want us to, is no economic plan that I can get behind.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech, in which he talked about the economic consequences of the climate crisis. I wonder if he could comment on the fact that even today, in 2022, the government continues to give billions of dollars in subsidies to oil and gas companies.

Does he not think that we will pay for this later in terms of climate change adaptation?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I agree completely with my hon. colleague. There is not a single case to be made for any government in the world to be subsidizing the oil and gas industry or the production of fossil fuels. Not only is it unnecessary, but it is also counterproductive to what the world needs to be doing, which is reducing our carbon output.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

While I appreciate the long questions and the long answers because the debate is interesting, let us try to keep them a little shorter so we have the opportunity to get as many people in as we possibly can on the debate. Unfortunately, we are out of time for this member and will have to move on to the next one.

The hon. member for Winnipeg South Centre.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:20 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is always a great pleasure to rise in the House to speak on behalf of my constituents in Winnipeg South Centre, especially at this moment.

We are coming through a pandemic, and its impact on the country's balance sheet was a once-in-a-lifetime stress on the nation's fiscal framework, with unprecedented demand and need, and there was urgency to protect individuals and businesses whose very financial survival depended on a government that was positioned and prepared to help immediately. We responded effectively and urgently, but perfection is elusive. We were not perfect, but I think there is a consensus that, under the circumstances and with the urgency that was felt by government, we did a good job. However, we cycled back to individuals and businesses, took their feedback and rolled that into an iteration that was responsive to what we heard from the people who mattered the most, and those are Canadians.

The role of government was at the centre stage of determining the appropriate response to this pandemic, and I think that the entire country learned to understand the collective responsibility that lay in front of us during this unprecedented time. To effectively deal with this once-in-a-lifetime set of circumstances, we had to respond not only in a way that was sensitive to the needs of today but also with an eye to what comes later. The fall economic statement understands that, because there is inevitably a balance between wealth creation and wealth distribution.

We are very good in this country at debating whether or not we think we should spend the nation's resources on health care or education, or maybe we should give more money to symphony orchestras. We can have honest debates about that, but those debates would be sterile if nobody was producing the wealth. That is the job of the private sector, and the spirit of entrepreneurship has so well characterized our capacity to grow as a nation in ways that offer opportunity to our citizens.

There is a difference in the way the three political parties respond to this balance, which we need. The NDP, I think, has historically been pretty good at determining ways in which we can justly distribute the nation's wealth, but I do not hear an awful lot of talk about how we create it, who should create it and the necessary framework within which it can be done effectively. I would like to hear more from my New Democratic friends and colleagues about the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit. I do not hear those words very often. From the Conservatives, I do not very often hear talk about a just and equitable distribution of wealth.

If the Liberal Party, my party, has been successful, really since the very earliest days of Confederation, we have been successful because we have found the sweet spot in the centre between those two imperative values of creating and distributing wealth. The reason we have been successful, I think, is because that is where Canadians are, and we have been able to tune in to what we believe to be the centre of the Canadian electorate and Canadian thinking, as we have to be.

The fall economic statement recognizes the importance of that balance, and the finance minister has said so repeatedly. I believe that we, as a party in government, are very well positioned to understand the sensitivity of that balance, and that is evident in the fall economic statement. It is very important to recognize programs in that way and in that context, and I think that the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance has done an excellent job.

She knows from her own experience. Having been raised in Alberta, she understands the importance of the energy sector to the Canadian economy, past, present and future. The prairie economy is very exciting, and having been a prairie dweller my entire life, I see it.

My father used to say to me when I was a very small boy, “Jimmy, what is good for the farmer is good for our family.” I have said that many times in this chamber and in the Manitoba legislature, where I also served, because, without understanding the production of food and value-added crops, trade with the world, and the value of the contribution of producers to the Canadian economy, we will not understand the driver of not only economic growth and the creation of wealth, but also of what is essential for the sustenance of a healthy life.

The prairie economy is so much more than that. It is trading with the world. It is providing value-added services to nations around the world that rely on Canada to be the supplier not only of food, but also of what powers our economy. Let us take canola as an example. Who would have thought, even 10 or 20 years ago, that the power contained in canola would help power the world, in addition to it being such an integral part of the food supply that keeps us healthy and keeps us strong? With respect to the future of the energy sector, we have very important debates about that. There is no question in my mind that the prairie region will also lead that growth, just as we have in the past.

Therefore, I am very optimistic about the understanding that is apparent in the fall economic statement. The minister and our government understand this question of balance and of timing. So much of what we do is about how we pace reform, and it has to be commensurate with the population's embrace of that pace. That requires sensitivity. We have to have our ears open all the time. We have to take the message to these regions that produce the wealth and be prepared to change course as circumstances change.

I want to make one more point. It is not only about the substance of these important debates, but it is also the style and the tone with which we deliver our messaging. I was in the House yesterday, and I could not believe what I saw hiding behind a curtain. There were members of this chamber who called for the quorum, while others were conspiring behind the curtain, to see if they could embarrass the government. I could not help but think to myself that it looked like a grade six stunt.

Why is it that we think that we can get away with that kind of behaviour? We shout at each other, some more than others. I am not a very good shouter. I think one can be very effective whispering, and actually maybe even more effective because, if we are whispering, they have to pay attention. The style in which we engage in these debates in this chamber also characterizes the capacity to move on.

I am very happy that this fall economic statement understands the importance of balance between taking the nation's wealth and distributing it equitably, and putting a lot of emphasis on the capacity of the private sector to create that wealth.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is wonderful to see my hon. colleague from Manitoba in the chamber doing very well. I appreciated very much his speech. I especially appreciate the very respectful tone he had toward farmers. To be honest, I do not often feel that we are getting the respect that farmers deserve from the government, so I did greatly appreciate the member's remarks.

My family have been farmers for over four generations. What I am hearing from the farmers I know and who I grew up with is that the carbon tax is deeply impacting them. Our food prices are high. One of the reasons is that the gas we need to produce that food is going up in price, and part of the reason it is going up is because of the carbon tax. I just wonder how the member squares his respect for farmers with his government imposing a very punitive carbon tax, which is increasing the cost of food production.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, we can call it a carbon tax, or we can call it a price on pollution. The emphasis is important. There have to be market mechanisms to impact behaviour. Even small-c conservative economists and Conservative politicians of today, yesterday and, presumably, tomorrow, understand that is a very important component in the basket of initiatives governments ought to be taking to make sure we are maximizing our potential to move to a more sustainable production of energy, as the world is being directed by the decisions made in the marketplace every day.

I agree with my hon. colleague and friend on how important protecting the producer community is. She and I are from Manitoba. It is part of our lifeblood. It is part of the way we live, and it will be an integral part of our future.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is good to see my colleague from Winnipeg South Centre in the House and so hale and hearty. I know he has had some challenges in the last few months.

His speech was eloquent, as it always is in the House of Commons. He brings a very effective message, I think.

I wish the bill, the fall economic statement, was actually as good as his speech. Tragically, it is not. There are major elements missing, including the fact that the government is really not taking any action at all on the massive overseas tax havens we have. Yes, they were started by the Harper Conservatives, but the practice has been continued by the Liberal government, and it is tragic. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates that it is over $30 billion in taxpayer money that could go to housing, that could go to supporting seniors, to supporting access to education, to supporting our health care system, or to expanding our health care system. It could provide so many supports for Canadians of all ages and end some of the crises we are seeing in indigenous communities and in housing.

I want to ask the member how he feels when he sees the government missing that key component of cracking down on massive corporate tax evasion so that Canadians can have their needs met and be supported at this critical time.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start by complimenting my hon. friend. I have said this to him privately and I am going to say it publicly. He is a role model for me in his capacity to speak French. I do not know when he began the study of it, but he sure is good at it. I am envious, I must say. For those of us born anglophone, looking for every way in which we can improve our facility in the second official language is something to be admired, and I admire him for it.

We all want fairness in tax policy and in public policy that extends even beyond our shores to the extent that we are able. We have been saying, and we continue to say, that if we cannot establish a fair tax system, we will not carry the confidence of Canadians. There are many ways in which that can be done, including the ways that my hon. friend suggests.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Bloc

Nathalie Sinclair-Desgagné Bloc Terrebonne, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to congratulate my hon. colleague on his speech. I agree with him. He is very eloquent.

I would like to hear his thoughts on the fact that the economic statement is yet another example of centralization. I think he mentioned the importance of small and medium-sized businesses for the economy and the entrepreneurial base. The Bloc Québécois also talks about this a lot. Quebec is home to many of these businesses. I think that centralizing all resources in Ottawa is detrimental to both the public and private sectors, and especially to our SMEs across Canada and in Quebec.

The federal government's tendency to centralize is problematic, and I would like my colleague to comment on that.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Liberal

Jim Carr Liberal Winnipeg South Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, that is a fulcrum that changes over time. To centralize or decentralize is a function of circumstance and I do not think that we should be rigid or ideological about which way we choose, because circumstances change all the time and we have to be nimble enough to know where we want to be and how to get there with some fundamental values at the centre of what drives policy. I mentioned those in my short remarks about wealth creation and wealth distribution. We have to respect jurisdiction; otherwise, nothing is going to get done.

I understand where the question is coming from, but I also believe that, rather than giving an answer that could be framed as ideological or framed always within the context of decentralizing or centralizing, it is better that we be nimble and responsive to the particular circumstances of the moment.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:35 p.m.
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Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

Order.

Before resuming debate, it is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver East, Housing; the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York, The Economy; the hon. member for Calgary Centre, Natural Resources.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am very honoured to put words on the record regarding the Liberal government's fall economic statement. It is arriving at a time that is very critical in Canadian history. We are faced with inflation which is at a 40-year high. Food costs and inflation have not been this high since before I was born. My generation has never seen this type of economy, where people cannot afford food, cannot afford homes and inflation is putting people into poverty.

When I listened to the speech of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, I was hoping that I would hear some solutions, but I did not hear any real, concrete solutions to address the very difficult circumstances that many of my constituents are facing. For example, last year was a terribly cold, long, brutal and punishing winter and it is predicted that this winter will be much the same. That is very bad news for Canadians because we have heard that energy prices, particularly for gas-heated homes, will increase by 100%, at a minimum, on gas bills. Six out of 10 Canadian families heat their homes with gas. Millions of families and seniors will be paying hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more on their gas bills just to stay warm this winter, just to heat their homes.

I am from Winnipeg and home heating is not an option. It is not an option to just throw on an extra sweater. People die if they cannot afford heat. It is very serious. Before the pandemic, there were significant numbers of seniors already living in poverty, particularly widowed women living alone, barely able to afford their rent and food. Now their gas bill is going to increase 100%. It is going to double. Some areas of the country are going to see a 300% increase.

What makes it worse is the government is raising the carbon tax. It is planning to increase the carbon tax this spring. It has increased it every spring for a number of years and it is planning to triple the carbon tax in the next number of years. We are going to see 100% increases, doubling home heating, and an increase in the carbon tax as well.

What does that mean? We are seeing the impacts of what the carbon tax, inflation and the cost of living crisis is doing. There were 1.5 million people in Canada who went to food banks last month. This is a record-breaking number. I visit the food banks in Winnipeg. I know the food banks in Toronto have been very vocal. There is news across the country in every city that food banks cannot keep up with the demand. Children are going hungry. Seniors are going hungry. They worked all their lives, contributed to our tax system and now they cannot afford food in Canada. Over half of Canadians are skimping on their grocery bill. They are having to buy less food because the situation is so dire. Twenty per cent of Canadians, one survey showed, are skipping meals. We are hearing this often with single mothers who are going hungry so their children can eat.

This is Canada. This is not the Canada that I grew up in. This is not something my generation has ever experienced before. I remember hearing about times like this from my grandparents. They recounted their experience in rural Canada during the Great Depression of being incredibly poor, having no options or government services, but we have so many government services. We are paying higher taxes than ever before, and yet here we are.

There was a headline recently in The Canadian Press which said something to the effect that children are going hungry in Canada. That was a headline in Canadian news, that children are going hungry in Canada. This is not the Canada that I know. I do not think it is the Canada the Speaker recognizes either.

The government has gone on and on saying that the carbon tax is going to help stop hurricanes, forest fires, heat domes and all these things. I am concerned about climate change, too. I am the generation that learned about climate change in school.

We are in a situation where the government is raising the tax on our major source of energy. Again, six out of 10 homes heat with gas. Canada could be an energy superpower. We have some of the largest gas reserves in the world. We have gas and we produce much of the world's food, and yet prices for food and gas to heat our homes are so high that people are going into poverty. It does not make sense.

What kind of federal government do we have that cannot take leadership and see our natural resources for what they are? We are very blessed in this country. People should not be going hungry or cold when we are blessed with these resources.

The Liberals are arguing in favour of raising the carbon tax again. We know that the government has spent over $100 billion on climate change. It is planning on tripling the carbon tax, which increases the price of gas to fill one's car, gas to heat one's home and to create, deliver and store food. For all of the things that we need to survive in this country, the carbon tax raises the price.

The government spent $100 billion on climate change. It is increasing the carbon tax on Canadians. How much of an emissions reduction have we seen in seven years? The Liberals have had seven years for their plan to show emissions reductions and to give people like me who care about emissions reductions hope, yet there have been no emissions reductions. There has been no positive impact on reducing emissions in Canada despite spending $100 billion and tripling the carbon tax. There has been no impact on reducing emissions. Something is very wrong here. Clearly, it is not working. The Liberals do not have a climate plan. They have a tax plan and it is taxing people into poverty.

I was in the grocery store the other day and I encountered some very friendly constituents who I represent. They are from a farming family. They asked me about the carbon tax and the impacts. They did not really understand. I am from a farming family. I do not think people realize that to grow our crops, we use huge machinery, massive combines, swathers, tillers, and all types of things. We need fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides. This is all to feed now eight billion people on earth. These massive machines need a lot of fuel, fossil fuels, just to grow the crops. Then we have to ship them and process them. We turn them into food that we can eat. We ship them to the grocery store and then store them in grocery stores that are powered by gas heating, more often than not.

Then people pick up their groceries. People wonder why food prices are high. Yes, there are supply chain issues. I think everybody acknowledges that. If the price of fuel to create that food is increased, what do people think is going to happen to the price of food? It is going to go up.

We keep asking the government. We had two demands specifically for this fall economic statement. They were very simple things. One was no new taxes. We asked that there be no tax increases. We know there is a payroll tax increase coming up on January 1. Of course, the carbon tax is going to be increased yet again in April. We said no new taxes.

There are no commitments in the fall economic statement not to raise taxes on Canadians. Those are coming during the worst inflation in 40 years. Food prices have skyrocketed and 1.5 million people are using food banks. The government is going to raise taxes on Canadians, the tax on energy and the tax on our paycheques. When people cannot afford food, the government is going to raise taxes. We cannot support it because the government will not do a simple thing and cut taxes or at least commit to not increasing them.

We asked the Liberal government not to increase spending. The Liberal government has spent over half a trillion dollars of deficits since it has been in office. That is more than any prime minister before this government combined. All the debt from all the prime ministers and leaders of this country combined is how much it has spent in seven years. Almost 150 years of deficits in seven years is how much new money has been pumped into the economy. Of course that has an impact on driving up inflation. More money in the economy chasing fewer goods means higher prices. This is the same as it has been for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

The Globe and Mail had a great opinion piece about this. The Globe and Mail is far from a Conservative publication. We are now seeing publications talking about how the Liberal government's spending has led to an increase in inflation. All of its spending is causing Canadians to go into poverty.

We have asked the government to stop new spending. For every dollar it is going to spend, it needs to find a dollar of savings. It is pretty simple stuff in a crisis situation, and yet that also was not met in the fall economic statement. Again, 1.5 million people are using food banks and the government cannot commit to stopping the increase of taxes, let alone cut them. That is what we would do if we were in power. We would also be looking to balance the books so that we are not pushing inflation up and up and up, yet those simple things cannot be done.

There is $20 billion of new spending in this fall economic statement, so we cannot in good conscience support it. We will ask again that the government commit to axing the carbon tax altogether. That would be really great. Then we could give an immediate break on gas at the pumps. We could give an immediate break on gas for home heating and an immediate break for food production and storage. That would bring immediate relief to moms, dads and seniors who are struggling today. It is what we are going on every single day. It is what we are hearing from our constituents. The cost of living is the number one concern.

Unfortunately it is going to be a while, but there is hope on the horizon. A Conservative government under our new leader would certainly bring an end to these tax increases, balance the books and reduce inflation.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from the Conservative Party for her intervention today. She mentioned that never in her generation have we witnessed inflation like this, and in my generation, we have never witnessed inflation like this either. It goes without saying that I am from an older generation than she is.

However, we have also never witnessed a pandemic like this, and we have also never witnessed a war with these degrees of sanctions being put in place, which have affected the supply of particular goods. She talked specifically about the carbon tax, and I want to compliment her because she did something that very few Conservatives do, which is recognize the fact that the tax does not actually increase until April.

If we are talking about the heating season, it is coming to a close by the time the tax will increase. More importantly, when it does increase, it will not actually triple for a decade, in 2030. When it does, the rebate will also triple.

Will the member acknowledge that?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's comments and his reaffirming that the tax increases are going to get worse. Home heating bills are going to get more expensive. We know that the carbon tax has been in place for a number of years now, and it is increasing the cost of home heating.

I appreciate that he has confirmed for Canadians that it will, in fact, be going up and they can expect higher home heating costs under the Liberal government. Perhaps the Liberals will not be in power by the time they are planning to triple it, so hopefully we can be the ones in power to cancel the carbon tax and bring Canadians relief.

It is important to underline that we needed much of the 40% of new government spending during the COVID pandemic. Many Canadians, including me, agree. However, $4 out of $10 the Liberals spent had nothing to do with the pandemic, and now Canadians are the ones to pay the price because it caused inflation in this country. They have to account for that.

Frankly, they should probably apologize to Canadians who are going to the food banks because of the Liberals' inflationary deficit spending.

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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NDP

Lindsay Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, often we come at things very differently. Interestingly, I appreciate my hon. colleague's speech as she focused entirely on the carbon tax. As was discussed before in this debate, the price on carbon is very key.

Of course, New Democrats believe that one of the increases that she was talking about in the cost of food also comes because of climate change, because of droughts, floods and forest fires. What the Conservatives have not talked about is the NDP's attempt to work with them to help people by cutting the GST on home heating. That is what the NDP has proposed. That was an amendment that the NDP made, and that was the amendment that the Conservatives rejected.

If they are truly interested in helping people, why did she and her party not allow that amendment?

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November 16th, 2022 / 4:50 p.m.
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Conservative

Raquel Dancho Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague very sincerely for her question, but if my memory serves, it was Conservatives who brought forward a motion to cut the GST on home heating. The NDP voted against it. Unfortunately, her question does not stand.

We called for a GST break so that Canadians could more adequately afford to heat their homes. We think that the carbon tax should be axed, especially given we are at 40-year-high inflation.

She is making the argument for the carbon tax, but what about the people who are being priced out of affording food? What do we say to them? Should we not be pausing all these tax increases? Does the NDP not support giving people tax breaks so they can afford to feed their kids and so seniors do not have to eat bananas and bologna because they cannot afford other food? I am hearing that from store clerks.

I will leave members with this: A store clerk approached me recently, and she said she is seeing more seniors than ever who are buying cat food, as cat food is pretty cheap, but they do not have cats. They are buying cat food because they cannot afford real food for themselves. That is how bad inflation is. That is how bad the taxes are that the government is putting on the energy to create our food. That is the real impact; people are eating cat food. We are asking them to axe the tax to give Canadians relief.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-32, an act to implement certain provisions of the fall economic statement tabled in Parliament on November 3, 2022 and certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 7, 2022, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act, 2022Government Orders

November 16th, 2022 / 5 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Patrick Weiler Liberal West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today to join the debate on the fall economic statement, otherwise known as the FES. This year, the FES comes at a very difficult time, as the world is suffering from inflation caused in large part by Putin's illegal invasion of Ukraine, which has reduced the supply of oil and gas in the market and boosted the prices of energy and all the other goods and services that we buy. Similarly, the reduction in grain from Ukraine in the market and the many droughts and climate disasters have inflated the price of food.

To cope with inflation, we have seen the Bank of Canada and central banks right around the world raise inflation rates to cool an overheated economy. The result is that even Canadians I know who have secure, well-paying jobs are worried about balancing the rise in the cost of everything they buy with paying the mortgage, especially those who have a variable rate mortgage.

It is even more crushing for those who do not have this security. That is why we passed legislation to double the GST credit for six months, which will provide $467 for families; to provide an extra $500 in rent support for low-income renters; and to launch a dental care program for low-income families, starting with children under 12.

This, of course, builds on programs that we have brought in since 2015, like the boost to OAS and GIS for seniors, the Canada child benefit, and $10-a-day child care, all of which have lifted over three million Canadians out of poverty and brought Canada to its lowest-ever poverty rate. We believe our approach shows compassion for those who really need the support while being cautious not to make inflation worse with further spending.

With this in mind, enter the FES. The FES is meant to provide an update on the state of the finances of the government and to introduce limited new measures while signalling where the government intends to go with the next year's budget.

That is exactly what the FES does this year, providing important supports for young Canadians, low-income workers and small businesses, while showing how Canada is going to compete in the global race for investment and jobs in the low-carbon economy.

The next year will be really challenging worldwide, but there is no country in the world that is better positioned to thrive going forward than Canada. The measures in the FES will move us closer to that reality.

We know our country and our economy cannot thrive if we leave students stuck with crippling and ever-increasing debt. Over the last seven years, we have doubled the Canada student grants to help students pay for post-secondary education and made it so that students do not have to start repaying their student loans until they are making at least $40,000 a year.

During the pandemic we also suspended interest on student loans, and now, through the fall economic statement, we are permanently eliminating the federal interest on student loans.

In budget 2021, we increased the Canada workers benefit to provide up to $2,500 more in the pockets of families who need it most. Given that the high cost of living today puts a real strain on people's day-to-day lives, we are moving payments to be quarterly, based on last year's income, so they have the support now, when they really need it.

Throughout the pandemic, the government of Canada was there to support small businesses with wage and rent support and access to liquidity. This meant that businesses survived the pandemic and provided the foundation for a recovery whereby Canada has recovered 117% of the jobs that were there prepandemic.

Canadians are increasingly moving away from using cash to pay for goods and services in favour of credit cards. This is something that very much happened over the course of the pandemic, but in doing so they are subject to credit card swipe fees, which are impacting businesses, particularly small businesses.

Small businesses do not want to pass this cost along to customers, especially at this time. To help these businesses and lower the cost of goods for all Canadians, we are proposing legislation to ensure that credit card companies reduce swipe fees.

We know that the elevated cost of housing is impacting all Canadians. As I mentioned, we are providing a $500 top-up to the Canada housing benefit. To tackle speculation in the market, beginning next year, we are also going to be bringing in a two-year ban on foreign buying of real estate, including a 1% tax on non-resident-owned, unused housing. As of May, we are also taxing property assignments.

In the FES, we are going to be helping first-time homebuyers get into the market with a tax-free home savings account of up to $40,000, the details of which will be forthcoming, as well as the first-time homebuyers tax credit.

At the same time, we are providing a new tax credit for owners who build a secondary suite for senior family members or those living with a disability, as well as bringing in a new tax on property-flipping.

The aforementioned measures will help all Canadians right now, but we know the world is not static. While the war in Ukraine has caused inflation and a short-term hike in the demand for fossil fuels, it has also accelerated the transition to cleaner energy as nations seek to end their dependence on fossil fuels and achieve energy security, as well as tackling climate change.

Nowhere is this inevitability of the transition away from fossil fuels more obvious than in what is happening south of the border with the Inflation Reduction Act. This act is aptly named because, contrary to what the leader of the official opposition believes, we do not opt out of inflation by investing in crypto, which of course has crashed by 61% this year. We opt out of inflation by reducing reliance on the roller coaster of fossil fuel prices.

The IRA offers enormous financial supports for firms that locate their production in the United States and creates generous tax credits to industries like renewable energy development and hydrogen production, and incentives for North American-made electric vehicles to power the transition. While, on a per capita basis, the U.S. investment of almost $370 billion pales in comparison to the $100 billion investment that we have made in Canada, Canada needs to respond to secure its competitive advantage and to secure investment and jobs, or risk being left behind.

On the fight against climate change alone and to build a net-zero economy by 2050, Canada will need to invest between $125 billion and $140 billion every year over that period. Total annual investment in the climate transition to date is about $15 billion to $25 billion, so no government can close this gap alone.

We need to mobilize private capital to invest in Canada's green transition and the clean economy, and while companies and investors are aware of opportunities to commercialize and deploy emissions reduction technologies, they are often restrained due to investment risks that a