Evidence of meeting #70 for Fisheries and Oceans in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was process.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Nancy Vohl
Paul Barnes  Director, Atlantic Canada and Arctic, Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers
Todd Russell  Board Member, BC Shellfish Growers' Association
Dan Edwards  Executive Director, Area A Crab Association
Dwan Street  Projects Coordinator, Fish, Food and Allied Workers

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Hello, everyone, and welcome. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2) we are engaged in a study of the Oceans Act's marine protected areas.

I want to say to everyone here that it's good to have you with us this morning. We have two guests present. From the Area A Crab Association we have Mr. Dan Edwards, executive director. We also have here with us in the room, from the Fish, Food and Allied Workers or FFAW, Dwan Street, projects coordinator.

Joining us by video conference we have, for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Paul Barnes, director for Atlantic Canada and Arctic. We also have Mr. Todd Russell, board member of the BC Shellfish Growers' Association.

We thank you all for being here.

The way we normally do this is to allow you each up to 10 minutes to talk. We have a full hour and a half.

Mr. Doherty.

September 28th, 2017 / 9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, prior to our going into our witness testimony, I would like at this point, if possible, to move a motion that I believe we have on notice.

It is:

That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee immediately undertake a study of no less than two...meetings on the proposed changes to the tax system outlined in the government's consultations titled “Tax Planning Using Private Corporations” as publicly released on July 18, 2017, in order to assess the impact of the changes on Canada's fisheries, small business fishing companies, and the small businesses that support fishing companies and their surrounding communities.

Mr. Chair, we know that the consultations are scheduled to end on these proposed tax changes, and I feel that it would be imperative that this committee immediately, at the earliest time afforded to us, study the proposed tax changes and their impact on those for whom this committee works so diligently to try to make a better life.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Notice has been given. The ample amount of time has gone by, and it is therefore admissible, of course, since we are in public.

Is there any discussion on this particular motion from Mr. Doherty?

Ms. Jordan.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

Bernadette Jordan Liberal South Shore—St. Margarets, NS

Mr. Chair, I would like to thank Mr. Doherty for his motion, but I think at this point it's premature, because we still don't know what the final legislation looks like. We still don't know what is actually going to be rolled out. Trying to study something before we know what it looks like is premature, so I will not be supporting this motion, Mr. Chair.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Arnold.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair. Contrary to Ms. Jordan's intervention, some of these tax changes have been imposed retroactively, so they're already having an impact. The impact of these changes, affecting private corporation planning, farmers' succession planning, and, I imagine, fishers' succession planning as well is already here, so I think it's relevant that we study this subject as soon as possible.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

We'll hear Mr. Doherty and after that Mr. Donnelly.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, I completely disagree with Ms. Jordan. There is enough information out there. The government has said they are interested in consulting and hearing from Canadians. I think it is completely relevant and timely for this committee to do this.

I think we should move forward with this motion at the first opportunity we have.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Donnelly.

9:15 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I concur with Ms. Jordan's comments. I have heard from a number of small businesses in my riding. I met with a group of doctors who were very concerned about the changes. The proposed changes, though, are in a 64-page white paper that was presented in July, I believe. There has been nothing introduced in Parliament. We haven't received any proposed legislation.

I agree with the sentiment of the motion that we should look at or study the impacts, but we also need to know what the proposed legislation is. The outcry from across the country is real. It certainly is in my riding. I'd like to know what those impacts will be, but I'd also like to know what the proposed legislation will be, so I think it is a little premature. Perhaps come back with this motion when we know what the legislation and its impacts will be. We don't know what the government will do.

I'm looking for an answer just as much as the doctors, the small businesses, and the veterinarians are. I had a blinds manufacturer. I've met with a number of small-business owners and others who are very concerned about what could be in these proposed tax changes. Once that consultation period closes on October 2, and the government chooses—or doesn't choose—to introduce something, then we will be in a better position, I think, to deal with this motion.

9:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Thank you, Mr. Donnelly.

Mr. Miller.

9:15 a.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Conservative Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I take issue a little bit with the comments from Ms. Jordan and Mr. Donnelly. The proposed changes are out there, and you can bet your bottom dollar that, should nobody say anything, the government is going to implement them. I agree with Mr. Arnold and Mr. Doherty that there is already enough information out there.

As a committee that's out there to protect our fisheries and make them better, why would we not want to do anything and everything to protect our fisheries and small businesses? This thing about sticking our heads in the sand or the water and pretending it's not happening is not acceptable, so I certainly support Mr. Doherty's motion.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Keep in mind, folks, that we do have guests today. I'm not saying we should cut off debate, but we could be a little more pointed in our interventions.

Mr. Doherty and then Mr. Donnelly.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

I'll keep my comments really brief.

We are all elected to be the voices of our constituents. I think this committee has done great work in studying the Atlantic salmon, the northern cod, and the MPA process. We're seeing legislation, as we study this, that is going to be pushed through already with Bill C-55 that will impact your riding, my riding, and Canadians right across the way. Waiting to see what will happen does nobody any good and does not allow us to stand up for Canadians.

As we said, the proposed tax changes are out there in the document. That is what's causing the anger and frustration with Canadians from coast to coast. Whether you're a rancher in Cariboo—Prince George, a fisher in Atlantic Canada, a small-business owner, or a food truck operator in Edmonton, the proposed changes are going to negatively impact you.

I think it would show true leadership by this committee to stand up and agree to this motion and study it.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Donnelly.

9:20 a.m.

NDP

Fin Donnelly NDP Port Moody—Coquitlam, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Mr. Miller commented on the impacts on fishers. I think that's a good point, so I'm wondering if Mr. Doherty could perhaps explain what his understanding is of the impacts to fishers. I'm assuming the motion is going to specifically relate to the impacts on fishers, hence on coastal communities, and I assume that's why it's directed at this committee.

Perhaps you can explain. This certainly has had a huge reaction in my riding, but I have not yet heard from fishermen, and I want to understand what you think the changes are for fishing communities.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Mr. Doherty.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

I appreciate the question from our honourable colleague.

I'll go back. Whether you are a rancher, a food truck operator, a fisher, or a small-business owner, you depend on your business to employ others in your community, to provide livelihoods for those who are in your community. These proposed tax changes are going to impact small businesses from coast to coast to coast.

The government hasn't been specific, but it is a small-business tax. It is a tax on the small-business owners, and this is something I believe we should be studying.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Okay. Next is Mr. McDonald, and then Mr. Arnold.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ken McDonald Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Chair, Mr. Doherty's last statement is exactly why we shouldn't pass this motion. It's the misinformation, the wrong information that has been put out there, put before Canadians. I'd move that we deal with the motion and have it done. I think we've talked about it enough. Let's deal with the motion before us and move on.

We have guests waiting. We have guests on video conference. All these people are busy. They were told to be here at a certain time, and we are debating something now that should be left to committee business.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Next is Mr. Arnold, and then Mr. Doherty.

Again, to everybody on this committee, the points were made about our guests, so let's try to keep our interventions pointed.

Mr. Arnold, go ahead.

9:20 a.m.

Conservative

Mel Arnold Conservative North Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I see members across the way shaking their head when it is suggested that these tax changes are going to impact small businesses. Fishermen are small-businessmen. Some of them have incorporated. We've heard from across the country that these tax change proposals would impact small-business sales and end up in small businesses being bought up by large corporations, which is going to negatively impact Atlantic Canada especially. It's hard for me to believe that the members across the way would be shaking their head that this is even a possibility.

9:20 a.m.

A voice

You did know that—

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Scott Simms

Colleagues, we have a speaking order. Let's not turn this into a Friday night barroom brawl.

Mr. Doherty, go ahead.

9:25 a.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Chair, I am going to be very respectful here. We all need to remember that we have been elected to represent Canadians.

We know that, recently, since this proposal, there have been members who have spoken out even within the government's own caucus. We know that there have been tax experts from across Canada. For our colleague Mr. McDonald to come out and say that this is fear-mongering and spreading of misinformation is disingenuous, because experts are coming out. He is saying, then, that the experts who are coming out, who are not solicited by the Conservative Party.... They have reviewed the proposed tax changes themselves. They are far more learned than I am, or any of us around the room is, and they are coming out against these tax changes.

To say, “I'm not going to talk about this and therefore maybe it will go away,” or, “I'm not going to justify those comments; I don't think we should be speaking to it because it's just causing fear-mongering,” is ludicrous.

I'll go back, Mr. Chair. This committee has done incredible work over the months I've been on it, and I think it would show true leadership by us to do a non-partisan study with no less than two meetings on the proposed tax changes.