Evidence of meeting #168 for Finance in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was canada's.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Morna Ballantyne  Executive Director, Child Care Now
Brendan Marshall  Vice-President, Economic and Northern Affairs, Mining Association of Canada
Sarah Watts-Rynard  Chief Executive Officer, Polytechnics Canada
Michael Gullo  Senior Director, Policy and Public Affairs, Railway Association of Canada
David Snider  Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation
Richard Rémillard  Board Director, Startup Canada
Peter Fragiskatos  London North Centre, Lib.
Victoria Lennox  Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Startup Canada
Blake Richards  Banff—Airdrie, CPC
Kim Rudd  Northumberland—Peterborough South, Lib.
Victor Wong  Member, Tax Committee, Railway Association of Canada
Keith Newman  Board Member, Canadian Health Coalition
Chris Roberts  National Director, Social and Economic Policy Department, Canadian Labour Congress
Andrew Van Iterson  Manager, Green Budget Coalition
Charlotte Bell  President and Chief Executive Officer, Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Paul Davidson  President, Universities Canada
David Al-Aidroos  As an Individual
Carolyn Webb  As an Individual
Sana Musa  As an Individual
Alain Trépanier  As an Individual
Roy Goodall  As an Individual
Stéphane Laviolette  As an Individual
Mary Patricia Blum  As an Individual
Jean-François Tardif  As an Individual
Duncan Black  As an Individual
Edidiong Ekanem  As an Individual
Jean-Pierre DeBeaumont  As an Individual

6:55 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much.


6:55 p.m.

As an Individual

Alain Trépanier

Mr. Chair, my name is Alain Trépanier. I am from Vancouver, British Columbia. I represent the National Association of Federal Retirees.

Our second recommendation is that this government help Canadians build better retirement security, honour the promises made to retirees when pension plans are changed and continue to improve CPP and OAS. A good first step in achieving this would be the immediate withdrawal of Bill C-27.

Our third recommendation is that the federal government follow through on the budget 2018 commitment to consult on retirement security to ensure that current retirement savings regimes are effective and that Canadians' retirement security needs are met. This should include a consultation process with retiree and pensioner organizations, veterans associations, academics, subject matter experts, labour, business leaders and others to map our country's path to retirement security.

Thank you very much.

6:55 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you both.

Next on my list is Mr. Stéphane Laviolette from across the river in Gatineau.


6:55 p.m.

Stéphane Laviolette As an Individual

Good afternoon, Mr. Chair.

I want to begin by thanking Mr. Fergus for inviting me this evening. I really appreciate it.

I support what the gentleman said earlier. We all have parents or we all had parents who worked hard to shape and found this wonderful country of Canada. We have all paid taxes and we all pay our taxes to be able to have such a prosperous and organized country.

I am here this evening to ask you to consider the information I will present to you.

Some people work from the age of 16 until the age of 65. They pay taxes for our good country and for our society. I agree with that, but many people do not reach the age of 70. They die and do not have access to their pension.

Mr. Chair, I did not have much time to prepare, but I will still provide this information.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, there were 5,935,000 people aged 65, but 482,000 were aged 85. So 5,453,000 had died. If we take half the people who have paid taxes and could not get that....

I ask you to take this suggestion into consideration. People who live past the age of 80 should not pay any taxes on their old age security pension. Let's just take into account the interests of those who have not had an opportunity to benefit from their pension because they died at the age of 70, and let's prevent those people over the age of 80 from having to pay taxes.

I am not asking for this to apply to people who do not need it, but to those with a low income or those who are living below the poverty line.

I hope that my words will be taken into account.

7 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Stéphane.

Next is Mary Patricia Blum from Ottawa.

7 p.m.

Mary Patricia Blum As an Individual

Thank you so much.

I'm here, obviously, to represent the ONE campaign and women and girls globally.

Honourable members, did you know that 2.7 million infants die every year at birth? Did you know that adolescent girls account for 74% of all new HIV infections? Did you know that, today alone, 800 children will die of malaria? That's 800 children who will die today.

These stats are startling, but there's hope, and Canada can be a part of it. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 your very committee moved forward with recommendations to increase Canada's international assistance and establish a path to investing 0.7% of Canada's GNI in official development assistance by 2030.

I'm here today to call on the Government of Canada to act on these recommendations, please, by finally increasing Canada's spending on global development and humanitarian assistance over 10 years through predictable 15% annual increases to the international assistance envelope starting in the fiscal year of 2019.

We can do this. If each Canadian spent an extra $17 a year, we could generate and close gaps that add up to about $28 trillion. When we empower women and girls with education, when we increase our international aid and those women and girls can go to school, we're activating brain power. The planet's in dire straits; we know this. When we activate those young, vibrant brains alone.... These girls, 130 million, are not allowed to go to school. For a lot of them, they cannot afford a $6 uniform. Their families cannot afford this.

Through our international development and through increasing what we put into international development, just small increments, we can have incredible global impact.

I'm here to ask you to please reconsider the past three years in the recommendations. The recommendations of this very Standing Committee on Finance, three years in a row and then echoed again last year in 2018 at the G7's Gender Equality Advisory Council, have been held close by our government.

Let's see something happen with this, please.

Thank you.

7 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Mary.

Jean-François Tardif, welcome.

7 p.m.

Jean-François Tardif As an Individual

Honourable members, good evening, and thank you very much for the invitation. I'm here thanks to

a quick reminder by Mr. Fergus today. I really appreciate it.

I don't know any of the people [Technical difficulty—Editor] me, but I feel I know them at the really deepest level because I, too, come here to ask you for more of the same. Actually, I'd like more of your recommendation to increase foreign aid with clear, measurable, three-year rolling averages and targets set in advance, so we can all know what to expect and how we're going to get to the internationally agreed goal of 0.7% of GNI for foreign aid.

In a context where the United States, for instance, wants to make its aid a reward for countries that grovel before it, aid counts. Let's just take as an example what is happening in India. Oxford University just published new figures that help us see that poverty in India has been cut in half in recent years. In other words, investments in foreign aid produce tangible results, which are quite dramatic. Hundreds of thousands of people are raising themselves out of abject poverty and starting to find a way for them and their families to live with dignity.

I'm requesting that we have the same recommendation.

However, since the government increased aid but didn't quite increase it enough to catch up with economic growth, could you suggest what the first installment of that new goal would be? What would be the first of those targets that we should reach—the three-year averages? We could perhaps reach 0.27 next year. How about, I don't know, 0.30 a few years later? Could you please make concrete suggestions?

In the meantime, because this government has invested very cheaply in international aid, we need to make sure that our dollars are really leveraged. I think it would be great if this committee could recommend investments in very leveraged mechanisms.

I want to bring to your attention the Global Financing Facility. It's a consortium of aid institutions from around the world housed at the World Bank. It draws in funding from all other institutions. That means that $1 spent by the Global Financing Facility draws in funding from other institutions around the world, the UN, etc.

Interestingly enough, the recipient countries themselves learn how to tax themselves for what really matters, like nutrition, girls' health, maternal reproductive health.

Thank you very much.

7:05 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Jean-François.

Mr. Duncan Black, welcome.

7:05 p.m.

Duncan Black As an Individual

Good evening. Merci beaucoup.

You'll probably see some of us wearing these T-shirts.

I thought I would very briefly read something from the website, which is one.org. If you visit that website, it is very comprehensive and will give you an extremely good insight into this organization.

It says:

Where does ONE get its name from?

Contrary to popular belief, ONE is not named after the song of the same name by the band U2, of which ONE's co-founder Bono is a member.

The name was inspired by the belief that one voice, coming together with many others - the political left [centre] and right, business leaders, activists, faith leaders and students - can change the world for the better. The name is also influenced by ONE's first campaign in 2004, which called on the US government to allocate an additional 1% of its budget towards the fight against extreme poverty.

I'm sure that here in Canada we can do far better than that and in our next budget increase the amount we can give.

I want to thank everybody who has come here from ONE as well, and hopefully we can do something in 2019.

I have some leaflets, and I'm sure that other people do too, which you are very welcome to take at the end of the evening if you have any questions.

Thank you very much.

7:05 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Duncan.

Turning then to Ms. Edidiong Ekanem, welcome.

7:10 p.m.

Edidiong Ekanem As an Individual

Good evening, honourable members.

I am Edidiong. I'm also here with the ONE organization. I have a short statement.

I'm here today on behalf of over two-thirds of Canadians who believe that it's our responsibility to help others around the world. Sadly, Canada's contribution to international assistance has been in steep decline. At its current rate of 0.26% of ODA to GNI, Canada is lagging far behind our closest friends and allies in the G7 and OECD. All of this is despite Canada's support for The Global Fund, additional investments to girls' education and the increases in budget 2018, which were very effective and wonderful.

These were important first steps, but we are still not doing our fair share. I am here today to call on the Government of Canada to finally increase Canada's spending on global development over 10 years, through predictable 15% annual increases to the international assistance envelope, starting in fiscal year 2019.

Thank you.

7:10 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Edidiong.

Last on our list is Jean-Pierre DeBeaumont. Welcome.

September 26th, 2018 / 7:10 p.m.

Jean-Pierre DeBeaumont As an Individual

Good evening. Thank you for hearing me.

My name is indeed Jean-Pierre DeBeaumont, and I want to thank Mr. Fergus and the National Association of Federal Retirees.

I support the request made by the National Association of Federal Retirees, and I'll add one more point. The association is asking for better retirement income security and a national strategy for seniors.

I also want to talk about the resolution of the Phoenix pay system issues.

I've just returned from a trip to Europe. Since I'm now retired, I was fortunate to have the opportunity walk from Paris to Compostela, a distance of 2,500 km. One thing that I found less pleasant when I arrived home was the fact that the Canada Revenue Agency was asking me for thousands of dollars following—I'll use the word in front of me—the Phoenix “fiasco.” I'm asking the Standing Committee on Finance to ensure that this situation is resolved as quickly as possible to put a stop to the seemingly endless negotiations, the successive errors, and so on.

I would be remiss if I didn't finish by thanking you for all your work, which constitutes the foundation of everything accomplished in Canada. Obviously, the actions of Canadians are based on finances.

I would like to make a request. I want you to reduce access to tax havens. In my family, I don't dare say it, but I'm happy to pay my taxes because income taxation is a basic system that ensures that we knowingly and logically contribute to cover the cost of roads, bridges, health care, and so on. In my opinion, it goes without saying.

However, there's a lack of fairness when it comes to people who don't pay taxes. I find it a little incomprehensible that our Canadian system allows this. I know that this also happens abroad. However, this evening I have the chance to express my gratitude and to ask you to reduce access to tax havens for wealthy people, who have a great deal of money and who could better contribute to the Canadian system.

7:10 p.m.


The Chair Liberal Wayne Easter

Thank you very much, Jean-Pierre. Thank you for those compliments to members as well.

We've come to the end of our list. On behalf of all members of the committee, which is representative of all parties, we want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time. Your statements are on the record with the finance committee, and your points of view will be considered by members as we go further down the road on our pre-budget consultations for the 2019 budget.

With that, thank you very much again.

The meeting is adjourned.