This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Nuclear DisarmamentPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions today.

The first reminds us that the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has proposed a summit on nuclear disarmament and that, in 2010, the Senate and the House unanimously passed a motion encouraging the Government of Canada to deploy a major worldwide Canadian diplomatic initiative in support of preventing nuclear proliferation

In short, the petitioners are calling on the House of Commons to invite all countries to join Canada in undertaking discussions about imposing a worldwide ban on nuclear weapons.

PensionsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with a subject of interest to millions of Canadians, old age security.

The petitioners are asking the government to maintain funding for old age security, and to make the necessary investments to enhance guaranteed income supplement benefits and end poverty for all seniors.

41st General ElectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two petitions.

The first states that it is absolutely essential to have fair, free and open elections. As a result of the scandalous events that took place during the last federal election, petitioners from Toronto and Dorval are demanding that the government and the Prime Minister set up a full, independent and adequately funded inquiry to identify those involved in the scandalous events that took place during the last federal election.

Human RightsPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is relevant this week. This week, many people around the world celebrate Falun Dafa day and, on behalf of petitioners from Guelph and Waterloo region, I place this petition before the House, as many other members have marked these occasions in relation to the persecution of practitioners of Falun Dafa, Falun Gong around the world, but particularly in China. I am mindful, as we call for their human rights, that we also call for human rights for people within Tibet, for Tibetan monks, and for Christians within China who are unable to practise their faith.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 557.

Question No. 557Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

With regard to information supplied by the government of France to the government of Canada regarding secret bank accounts and possible tax evasion in Switzerland as of March 23, 2012: (a) since the government received the names of 1800 Canadians with bank accounts in Switzerland, have any other Canadians been identified as having undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland, and, in total, how many Canadians have now been identified as having undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland; (b) what actions have been taken by Canadian officials to recover unpaid taxes associated with Canadians' undeclared bank accounts in Switzerland; (c) how many identified Canadians have availed themselves of the Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP) with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA); (d) how many identified Canadian accounts have settled with the CRA; (e) how much money has the CRA assessed as a result of investigating these secret banks accounts in Switzerland in (i) unpaid taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (f) how much of the money in (e) has been collected; (g) how many of the cases are under appeal; (h) how many cases remain open; (i) how many more cases does the CRA anticipate will be opened; (j) how many cases have been closed (i.e., the full amount of taxes, interest, fines and penalties have been collected); (k) how much money in (j) has been collected in (i) unpaid taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (l) how many account holders in the cases have made a partial payment; (m) of the partial payments made, what was the (i) largest amount, (ii) smallest amount, (iii) average amount; (n) how much does the CRA have yet to collect in (i) taxes, (ii) interest, (iii) fines, (iv) penalties; (o) of the amounts of money contained in the Switzerland accounts declared or discovered by the CRA, what was the (i) largest amount, (ii) smallest amount, (iii) average amount; (p) on what date was the CRA first made aware of the names of Canadians with accounts in Switzerland; (q) on what date did the CRA begin its investigation; (r) on what date did the first audit of an individual account holder begin; (s) how many of the identified Canadians with bank accounts in Switzerland have (i) had their account or accounts audited, (ii) had their account or accounts reassessed, (iii) been the subject of a compliance action; (t) how many of the identified Canadians with bank accounts in Switzerland (i) have not had their account or accounts audited, (ii) have not had their account or accounts reassessed, (iii) have not been the subject of a compliance action; and (u) how many tax evasion charges have been laid?

Question No. 557Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Egmont P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea ConservativeMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the Canada Revenue Agency, CRA, has an obligation to follow confidentiality and privacy legislation closely. Information is often provided to the CRA from various sources on the basis that it cannot be further disclosed by the CRA. Where the CRA is at liberty to provide information, it will endeavour to do so. In other instances, it will be limited in this ability.

In order to both respect confidentiality requirements and maintain harmonious international relations, the CRA must adhere to the requirements that international tax treaties and agreements impose on the disclosure of information received from Canada’s treaty partners.

The preamble in the above-noted question asserts that the information was provided to Canada from “the Government of France”. Since this information was received by the Government of Canada via an international tax treaty, it is protected under both the Exchange of Information article of the relevant tax treaty, in this case article 26 of the Canada-France Income Tax Convention, and paragraph 19(1)(a) of the Privacy Act.

Therefore, for these reasons, the CRA cannot provide the information requested in the question above.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 552, 553 and 554 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 552Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to tax evasion and its effects on the Canadian economy: (a) does the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) publish estimates of the tax gap caused by offshore tax avoidance, and, (i) if so, which method does the government utilize to calculate this gap, (ii) if not, why not; (b) what is the 10-year trend for (i) the number of transfer pricing audits, (ii) the budgeting for and Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staffing of auditors dealing with transfer pricing audit; (c) what is the amount of annual capital flow from Canada to the United States resulting from bilateral trade mispricing (i) per capital flow, (ii) by proportion of total trade, (iii) per tax loss; (d) what is the amount of annual capital flow from Canada to the European Union resulting from bilateral trade mispricing (i) per capital flow, (ii) by proportion of total trade, (iii) per tax loss; (e) what is the amount of annual capital flow resulting from multilateral trade mispricing (i) per capital flow, (ii) by proportion of total trade, (iii) per tax loss; (f) what are the internal deadlines set by the Exchange of Information (EOI) Services (CRA) as concerns responses to EOI requests received, (i) how many EOI requests received does the CRA deal with per year, (ii) what is the 10-year trend for EOI requests received by the CRA, (iii) what is the median response time for an EOI request received by the CRA, (iv) from which jurisdiction does the CRA receive the most EOI requests, (v) from which jurisdiction does the CRA request the most EOIs; (g) does Canada collaborate with its EOI partners to ensure the EOI provisions are not restricted, and, if so, (i) with which jurisdictions, (ii) to what specific ends, (iii) have there been any changes to the CRA approach as a result of these collaborations; (h) how prevalent are bearer shares in Canada, (i) what measures exist to ensure that ownership information is available with no exceptions, (ii) are all nominees obliged to maintain relevant ownership information when they act as legal owners on behalf of any other person, (iii) has the government studied the possibility of subjecting nominees to anti-money-laundering laws, and, if not, why not; (i) are credit card, ATM, and stored-value cards defined as monetary instruments in the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act; (j) do law enforcement and customs services have, or has the government studied extending to them, card reading capacities aimed at catching suspected brief-case bankers; (k) how many Canadian financial institutions operate in lower tax jurisdictions and what are their names; (l) how many Canadian financial institutions engage in capital arbitrage by allocating capital to lower tax jurisdictions and thereby lowering their effective tax rate; (m) does the government calculate the effects of Canadian financial institutions operating in lower tax jurisdictions on (i) Canadian financial institutions tax rate, (ii) increases in after-tax earnings, (iii) net income; (n) what is the percentage of auditors and numbers of FTE auditors (i) working on individual tax evasion, (ii) working on corporate tax evasion, (iii) working on corporate transfer mispricing, (iv) what is the 10-year trend for the budgeting for and staffing of these auditors; and (o) what is the percentage of auditors and numbers of FTE auditors (i) auditing individuals using tax havens, (ii) auditing corporations using tax havens, (iii) what is the 10-year trend for the budgeting for and staffing of these auditors?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 553Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

With regard to the government’s strategy for combating tax havens: (a) does the government plan to reform the arm’s-length principles under section 247 of the Income Tax Act; (b) has the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or any department studied the impact of replacing Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in terms of (i) taxable impact, (ii) reporting, (iii) tax fraud; (c) has the government studied the possibility of requiring multinational corporations to report on a country-by-country basis on all their transactions, including, (i) labour costs and number of employees, (ii) finance costs, third-party and intra-group transactions, (iii) profits before taxes, (iv) provisions for taxes, (v) taxes actually paid; (d) has the government studied the possibility of providing disclosed information available within federal institutions to provincial Attorneys General for the purpose of civil forfeitures; (e) has the government studied the possibility of lengthening the detention-accountability regime found in section 490 of the Criminal Code; (f) has the government studied the possibility of modernizing the Canada Evidence Act; and (g) what will be the effect of cuts on the CRA auditor capacity to investigate offshore bank accounts and tax havens?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 554Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

May 11th, 2012 / 12:15 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

With regard to mortgage loan insurance provided by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC): (a) has the CMHC put in place an allocation plan for insuring mortgages, and, if so, what is the plan and does the plan prioritize mortgages according to whether or not they are required to be insured or according to the value of the mortgage; (b) does the CMHC intend to ask the government to increase the $600 billion limit on insured mortgages; and (c) what kind of risk mitigation or contingency plan does the CMHC have in case of a multi-year recession or other scenario in which the CMHC might have difficulty meeting its obligations for mortgage insurance payments?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Conservative Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that the remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

12:15 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to request an emergency debate on the possibility of splitting the budget implementation bill, also known as Bill C-38.

As you probably know, a week ago now, the hon. member for Parkdale—High Park, the House Leader of the Official Opposition and I tried to work with the government to split the bill into separate pieces that could be studied more thoroughly.

This bill is very large, has a very broad scope and affects over 60 laws. That is why we should examine it more thoroughly. This has been our party's position from the beginning.

As you undoubtedly know, House of Commons Procedure and Practice states that an emergency debate is legitimate when the matter “could not be brought before the House within a reasonable time by other means, such as during a supply day”, which is the case here. It also says that an emergency debate must be on a topic that is immediately relevant throughout the nation. This request for an emergency debate indeed meets the requirements set out in this book.

It is impossible for us to properly debate this bill, which is over 425 pages long. In fact, the House has passed a time allocation motion, and the government refuses to split the bill into pieces that could be studied by the appropriate committees.

In my opinion, it would be completely appropriate for the members of the House to rise, speak about and discuss the possibility of splitting this bill so that Canadians and we, as parliamentarians, can be better informed about the scope of this budget implementation bill.

I therefore request authorization to hold this emergency debate in the House.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity ActRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, as you know, I wrote to you earlier today requesting an emergency debate on the refusal of the government to split the omnibus budget bill into separate pieces for proper study at the proper committee.

According to page 693 of House of Commons Procedure and Practice, an emergency debate is legitimate when the matter “could not be brought before the House within a reasonable time by other means, such as during a supply day”, which is the case here.

As time allocation was moved by the government to limit time for debate and as this is the last day of debate on the omni-budget, I believe this warrants an emergency debate. It is the case that we have a budget before us that is over 400 pages long when, historically, budgets have been about 30 pages long. It touches everything from the environment to old age security, assisted human reproduction, employment equity, CSIS, the Seeds Act, and telecommunications. It really does touch the lives of every Canadian as far as I am concerned.

The NDP has tried to negotiate with the government, asking it to voluntarily split this bill into the appropriate subject matters but it has denied us this. You, Mr. Speaker, may also have heard that yesterday it was my intention to move a motion during the public session of committee to try to have the environment committee review the environment parts of this budget bill. We were not even able to be in public for me to do that. I was denied the opportunity to even move a motion to consider some of the environmental aspects at the environment committee where it properly belongs.

I urge you, Mr. Speaker, to take this application for an emergency debate seriously, to see the urgency of this issue and to grant an emergency debate on the government's refusal to be transparent and accountable on this bill.

Speaker's RulingRequest for Emergency DebateRoutine Proceedings

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

I thank both hon. members for their interventions. I do not think that requesting an emergency debate on legislation that is currently being debated would satisfy the parameters of the Standing Orders, therefore, I am not prepared to grant it on this particular occasion.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-38, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 29, 2012 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

When statements by members started we were on questions and comments. The hon. member for Okanagan—Shuswap.

Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague from British Columbia earlier and I commend her on the good work she does in protecting the environment. We, on this side, are also concerned about protecting the environment.

Related to our bill, this is a comprehensive bill that has a plan in place for jobs and growth. The member knows that the Province of British Columbia, for a number of years, has been requesting that the federal government streamline the environmental review process to stop the duplication and to make the process happen in a more timely fashion.

Could the member tell me if there is any compromise to the actual regulations? No, there is not. It is simply the fact that we are trying to do it in a more timely fashion and to cut the duplication of the reviews.

We on this side are concerned about the environment and we are simply trying to expedite this. We are not saying that we are doing it to ensure there is a yes answer to the applications, that is not case. We are simply saying that those applications, for resource development or whatever, for environmental review get a timely yes or no answer. That is the important thing—