Mr. Chair, many emergency economic measures have been adopted to date, but more needs to be done. Think about our seniors, lobster fishers, researchers and workers in the tourism, cultural, media, agricultural and forestry industries.
The Bloc Québécois expects the government to present an economic update before the summer. We are not talking about the budget, which we expect in the fall with a vision for the economic recovery. We want an update now because we want to get an overall idea of the situation, of the current circumstances and of all the emergency measures that have been adopted piecemeal.
We also expect the government to tell us its intentions for the summer. Will it extend the emergency measures? Will it extend them for specific sectors, such as tourism? Since the Minister of Finance has certain powers, we are asking him to share his intentions with the House.
In that regard, we are in the early stages of an economic recovery, but it may be slow going. Some restaurants will continue to make take-out meals and may soon open their dining rooms but only on Saturdays and Sundays. They will begin to hire their employees back, but only part time. It will be the same thing for hotel operators, who will also be hiring staff back part time. The same goes for SMEs and the manufacturing sector.
We can therefore expect a timid recovery with part-time workers. On one hand, that is encouraging because it marks the beginning of a return to a new normal. On the other hand, it creates new concerns because part-time workers may not earn enough to pay their bills but may earn too much to continue to receive the Canada emergency response benefit. I am therefore asking the government to adapt its emergency programs to take into account the part-time nature of the recovery. The health of our economy depends on it.
That is why we are asking the government to provide an economic update before the summer.
The time for the economic recovery will be in the fall. Hopefully the worst of the crisis will be over by then. It will be the beginning of a new normal. That is why the Bloc Québécois expects the government to table a budget when we return to the House in the fall to present its vision for that recovery. An economic recovery is an opportunity to lay the foundation for the economy of tomorrow. It is time to imagine the future we want. It is time to look forward.
Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter spoke of creative destruction. Economists use this expression to explain how economic crises are an opportunity to lay a new foundation for the economy of tomorrow.
Without in any way diminishing all of the problems this crisis has created, this pandemic also represents an opportunity to develop a vision for the economy of tomorrow, which should not cling to industries of the last century that are destined to disappear, with or without a pipeline. Tomorrow's economy involves embracing the clean energy transition and encouraging our businesses in that sector, which can shine on the international stage. Earth must make that change to respond to the environmental crisis. Quebec has everything it takes to succeed in that regard.
Tomorrow's economy involves supporting emerging technology companies and the innovation and research sector. It also means stepping up to help Canada's aerospace industry, which produces the cleanest aircraft in the world. Once again, Quebec has everything it takes to embrace this change. We will see whether the neighbouring government is up to the task.
The economic recovery also involves ensuring sustainable local agriculture and strong regional economies. That can be achieved through universal access to high-speed Internet. It is time high-speed Internet was considered an essential service, just as electricity was in the past.
The economic recovery involves supporting our culture and our artists. It also involves recognizing the role of our local and regional media outlets. In a time of fake news and conspiracy theories, reliable information must also be considered an essential service.
We also need to rethink our tax system. The report of the expert panel on sustainable finance provides food for thought in that regard. We need to think about that.
The current crisis brought to light the underfunding of the health care system. Ottawa originally committed to covering half the costs of the health care system. Today, it contributes only about 20% of the total cost and that contribution continues to drop every year. It is time for that to change. We need to be ready to deal with the next health crisis and, to do that, we need to strengthen our health care system.
The current crisis also reminds us just how unfair the tax system is. Everyone is paying his or her share except Toronto's big banks and the multinationals, which use tax havens. Now, in a time of crisis, they are asking the government for help, but the rest of the time, they are nowhere to be found. That needs to change.
We will have a $250-billion deficit. That means everyone needs to contribute and it will not longer be acceptable to use tax havens to avoid paying one's fair share of taxes.
In an interview with Gérald Fillion, tax expert André Lareau, who specializes in tax havens, indicated that $350 billion Canadian is sheltered in only 12 tax havens. Businesses use tax havens for activities related to financing operations and intellectual property.
Mr. Lareau also indicated that the government is aware of all the Canadian money that is being sheltered in tax havens but that it is not taking any action. He added that, given the current deficit, it is high time the government made a major change. He believes that, if we do not take this opportunity to change things, we will never change them. It is high time the government made things that are immoral illegal.
After the 2008 crisis, OECD countries created a working group to crack down on tax havens, or BEPS. We hope that the current crisis will be the time when the government makes the use of tax havens illegal. France, Denmark and Poland will not provide aid to companies that use tax havens. Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom and the European Union are currently considering the issue. Here, nothing is being done.
As I said earlier, the Journal de Montréal reported that businesses using tax havens will finally be able to benefit from federal assistance. After suggesting that the government would be placing restrictions on that, the Prime Minister changed his mind. That is unacceptable.
Canada is lagging behind other OECD countries in the fight against tax havens, and even when it comes to the illegal use of tax havens.
The Minister of National Revenue can boast all she likes about how her agency is doing more, but the numbers do not add up. For example, the $1 billion announced to crack down on tax cheats includes the salary of the person who was hired to replace someone who was retiring. That is ridiculous. This is not new money. It is nothing like what is being done in the United States or Europe.
The government also has a lax approach when it comes to credit card companies. They are doing what they want and getting off scot-free. In Canada, interchange fees are 10 times higher than they are in Europe and Australia. The government needs to act as quickly as possible. Visa and MasterCard are taking too much of our businesses' profits. Use of these credit cards is widespread in this time of crisis. Action is urgently needed.
Even today, my nation must rely on Ottawa's goodwill. The room to manoeuvre is here. In times of crisis, a central government is in the best position to implement emergency and recovery measures. The Bloc Québécois is satisfied with the various measures taken to date. The Bloc is also proud that it was able to contribute, in its own way, in order to better meet the needs of Quebeckers. However, that does not change the fact that the administration of my nation depends on the goodwill of its neighbour.
We have to accept decisions that we find unsatisfactory. Take for example the underfunding of our health care system. Ottawa is pulling out at the expense of our seniors and our sick. High-speed Internet is another example. Since Ottawa is giving Bell and Rogers carte blanche, our regions are paying the price and are not developing their full potential. Finally, let us also think of our farmers, our artists, our seniors and our media outlets.
I spoke about the government's lax approach to credit cards and the legal use of tax havens. In 2020, we are still not masters in our own house.
That being said, I would like to recap. We are asking the government to present an economic update by this summer so that we will know what direction it is going in and we can get an overall idea of the situation. With regard to the vision for the recovery, we expect the government to present a budget when the House comes back in the fall.