House of Commons Hansard #39 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was billion.


Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.


Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—London.

While I was pleased to see some measures, such as a short-term extension of employment insurance benefits for oil and gas workers in my riding and some investments in social housing, I found that the budget borrowed heavily from future generations, without a plan for job creation and without any sort of thought toward returning to a balanced budget.

The budget borrows a lot of money. It will borrow $30 billion this year and over $100 billion over the next four. How can Canadians trust a government that has broken its promises right out of the gate? The government demonstrates an attitude of entitlement and an absolute disregard for the hard-working taxpayer.

The Prime Minister has said he wants to place emphasis on our young people, but the only thing he is doing for our nation's youth is simply saddling them with a horrendous debt and thereby making it extremely difficult for them to move ahead in life after graduating from school.

I have listened to union economists, Liberal politicians, and various pundits talk about how insignificant this deficit is, so let us talk about that.

The budget borrows $118 billion over six years from future generations. To put that in perspective, the Bow tower, which is the tallest skyscraper in Calgary, cost $1.2 billion to build. This means that our present budget could build 100 Bow towers. That is 50 skyscrapers more than the entire downtown core of Toronto.

The most worrisome part of the deficit is that there is absolutely no plan to eliminate it.

I would like to take a closer look at the budget and what it means for the hard-working people of Lethbridge that I represent.

First, let us look at jobs. I was saddened by the fact that there is no long-term vision to get Alberta's economy back on track. The budget confirms that the government is not interested in helping Alberta recover from a terrific downturn in the oil and gas industry and the loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The government's lackadaisical approach to job creation simply will not benefit anyone.

I am both proud of and confident in the entrepreneurial spirit and strong work ethic of the people of Lethbridge. I represent thousands of small business owners who are smart, willing to take calculated risks, and eager to give back to the community by creating jobs. Small businesses are the heartbeat of the Canadian economy. They drive our innovation and entrepreneurial effort as a nation and they employ more Canadians than any other sector.

During the campaign, the Liberals promised to lower taxes on small businesses. However, they have failed to come through. Our Prime Minister lied. This broken promise will cost small businesses across Canada a billion dollars a year, money that could have been reinvested to create jobs.

Let us talk about families.

Our previous Conservative government made families a priority. This was rooted in our belief that families are the fundamental building block of Canadian society. In order to pay for their new child benefit, the Liberals have eliminated the universal child care benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, and the children's art tax credit. Furthermore, the Liberals have also followed through on their threat to eliminate income splitting for Canadian families, an initiative that helped thousands of families in the Lethbridge region.

The government claims that families will get more money under its child benefit plan, but when we look at it closely, we see the big picture: the middle class actually loses out. Parents understand better than government what is in the best interests of their children, but the budget removes choice from parents, limits options for families, and ultimately puts more power into the hands of government instead of the hands of parents.

I was disappointed to note that the infrastructure spending proposed to trigger economic growth is already earmarked for big cities, in particular Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver. This appears to be a big-city budget that would do very little for a small centre like Lethbridge.

Furthermore, there is little in the way of investing in rural areas. In my area, we have many roads and bridges in the county that have not been repaired or maintained since the 1950s. These roads and bridges are used each and every day to help get agricultural commodities to market, which is very important for Canada as a nation. Overall, the budget is in blatant disregard of our primary producers and ignores their needs, thereby ignoring the needs of Canada as a whole.

I would like to draw attention to two other areas that I am quite passionate about. Those are persons with disabilities and our nation's young people.

As in the Speech from the Throne, there is a glaring omission, and that is help for persons with disabilities. The only immediate item for people with disabilities is a small $2-million-a-year increase to the enabling accessibility fund, a $14-million fund that was created by the late Jim Flaherty.

This is in contrast to the Conservative budgets, which created new programs such as the registered disability savings plan and the Canada disability savings grant to help families save for the future of a child with a disability. As well, Jim Flaherty created the enabling accessibility fund in order to create access to public spaces by persons with a physical impediment. The Liberal government promised to introduce a national disabilities act, but this promise, like so many others, has not come to fruition in the 2016 budget.

It is my sincere hope that in the coming years, the new government will actually meet with representatives of the community of persons with disabilities in order to understand the significant challenges that they face each and every day. I have had the immense privilege of listening to many of their stories and I am encouraged and amazed by their perseverance, resilience, and hope. I believe the Liberal government can do better—in fact, must do better—to build an inclusive Canada.

The Liberal government describes itself as a champion of young people. The Prime Minister has expressed that he intends to prioritize Canada's youth, but the monetary lines in the budget simply do not match his rhetoric.

That said, there are a few good things in this budget that I can support—

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota


Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

If I could have your attention, please, we do have a member who is speaking. If we could have a little respect in the room, we would certainly appreciate it.

Thank you.

I am afraid it will only be about 30 seconds more, but please go ahead.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


Rachael Thomas Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, the increased access to the student loans program is positive and builds upon the legacy of the Conservative government to increase accessibility to post-secondary education. Though it is true that grants will increase slightly this year, it is equally true that most students will see a decrease in their grant amounts as the Liberals implement a progressive income bracket for grants in subsequent years. This means that despite the focus on youth in this budget, the total sum of these measures will not significantly reduce the cost of achieving a post-secondary education.

Financial Statement of Minister of FinanceThe BudgetGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The hon. member for Lethbridge will have three minutes remaining to finish her debate after question period.

Clarence KennedyStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.


Mike Bossio Liberal Hastings—Lennox and Addington, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the warden of Lennox and Addington County, Clarence Kennedy, who passed away in office in March.

Integrity was his hallmark, and Clarence was a model of service to his community. He wore many hats, as many talented people like him so often do. He was a farmer in a strong farming community. He was a teacher with the Lennox and Addington Board of Education and the Limestone District School Board for 33 years. He was also a long-serving councillor and then reeve of Stone Mills Township. We were also fortunate to see him made warden of Lennox and Addington County for 2016, although his time in that office was far too short.

Canada's rural communities need more farmers, teachers, and public servants like Clarence. As a new MP, I greatly benefited from having experienced people like him to work with in service to our constituents.

I ask this House to please join me in thanking Clarence Kennedy for his service. May he rest in peace.

2016 Esso CupStatements By Members

April 14th, 2016 / 2 p.m.


Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, this Sunday, April 17, I will have the privilege of dropping the puck at the 2016 Esso Cup, AAA hockey's national female midget-age championship in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, which runs from April 17 to 23 at Crescent Point Place.

There will be 150 players from all across Canada in Weyburn, competing to win the title of national champions. I would like to specifically recognize the home team and my constituents, the Weyburn Gold Wings, and I wish them the best of luck.

I would also like to encourage all members in this House and all Canadians to come to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, also known as the opportunity city, and take in a game while cheering on those outstanding athletes. The chance to see some of our best female hockey players and maybe a future Olympian or two is nation-building.

I thank all the employees and volunteers who are working tirelessly to organize this event. To all the teams competing, I extend my best wishes and good luck on winning the 2016 Esso Cup.

Go, Gold Wings, go.

Corporation Rose-Art GalleryStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Yves Robillard Liberal Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, QC

Mr. Speaker, every year, in my riding, Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, the Corporation Rose-Art gallery, which was founded in 1991, brings together on Sainte-Rose Boulevard more than 90 artists, painters, and sculptors from Quebec and elsewhere. During this symposium, more than 20,000 visitors come to this historic street in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.

Last week, I had the privilege of being the guest of honour at an event for Laval's next generation of painters. I rise today in this chamber of our democracy to highlight the contribution that our young artists from Laval and across the country make to our society.

I look at the young generation of new artists and their predecessors and take pride in the fact that artists from all walks of life are encouraged to follow their passion.

Thank you and bravo to our next generation of artists, and especially those who can be found on Sainte-Rose Boulevard in the summer.

Canada PostStatements By Members

2 p.m.


David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Hamiltonians were front and centre in the fight to save home mail delivery. They know just how important this service is for seniors and those with mobility issues, as well as the other important services Canada Post provides across our country.

In the middle of the last election, while visiting the mayor of Montreal, the Prime Minister said that his party would restore home mail delivery. Those comments were very clear and can be seen on video. However, now, in a classic bait and switch, the Prime Minister says that he is not going to be restoring home mail delivery because his platform only commits him to a moratorium on the previous government's plan to end door-to-door mail delivery.

This is just another example of Liberals campaigning on one thing and doing exactly the opposite when they are in power. After a winter of frozen community mailboxes, stolen letters, and mail littering the streets, Canadians expect the Prime Minister to honour his word and commit to fully reinstating home mail delivery, because as anyone—

Canada PostStatements By Members

2 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please.

The hon. member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert.

National Volunteer WeekStatements By Members

2 p.m.


Alexandra Mendes Liberal Brossard—Saint-Lambert, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this is National Volunteer Week, I would like to highlight the exceptional and truly essential work done by the millions of volunteers who keep our communities going.

We have seen wonderful examples of that over the past few months as more than 25,000 Syrian refugees were welcomed across Canada. Without devoted and tireless volunteers, this amazing humanitarian operation could never have happened.

I would like to draw attention to the vigorous and enthusiastic efforts of volunteers in Brossard—Saint-Lambert who helped out at Maison Internationale de la Rive-Sud and worked with St. Lambert's Christian communities, organizations responsible for welcoming the dozens of Syrian refugees who settled in our riding and helping them integrate.

With deep gratitude for the inspiring work they did and do, I offer them all my lasting admiration.

Garry LefebvreStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Kevin Sorenson Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Mr. Speaker, I rise in remembrance of a constituent of mine, Garry Lefebvre, who passed away on March 16, 2016.

Garry was well known and well respected all across our country and especially in Alberta.

He was a man of strong Christian faith.

Garry was an athlete and played eight seasons in the Canadian Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos and the Montreal Alouettes. He earned two Grey Cup rings and achieved top rookie in the western conference and top Canadian player in one of his Grey Cup games.

He went on to become one of the founders of Athletes in Action Canada.

Garry helped build Canada's first Circle Square Ranch, a summer camp in Halkirk, Alberta, where still hundreds of youth attend each and every summer.

I have had the pleasure of hearing Garry Lefebvre speak on a number of occasions, and whether speaking on football in the CFL or on his relationship with Jesus Christ, he spoke passionately.

Our prayers are with his loving wife Sandy, his children Cheri and Brad, and their children.

Garry will be sadly missed.

Toronto Beaches Lions Club Easter ParadeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Liberal Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I grew up in my riding of Beaches—East York. As a kid, I attended the annual Easter parade along Queen Street East, hosted by the Toronto Beaches Lions Club. It involves marching bands and floats sponsored by local associations and businesses, and it is attended by thousands of residents every year, including an estimated 40,000 people this year alone.

As a tradition for many families in my community, it is particularly special for me to now march in the parade as the member of Parliament.

This being National Volunteer Week, I want to thank the Toronto Beaches Lions Club and all of the dedicated volunteers for making this parade a success year after year.

I ask my colleagues to join me in marking this year, the Toronto Beaches Lions Club Easter parade's 5Oth anniversary.

Lawrence Park PanthersStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Marco Mendicino Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, during a season when, sadly, all Canadian hockey teams have been shut out, I rise today to provide a bit of good news on the hockey file. I know it is a shame.

I rise today to acknowledge the Lawrence Park Panthers girls hockey team in my riding, who recently won the gold medal for all of Ontario.

This is the first time that a team from Lawrence Park Collegiate Institute has won a medal during an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championship.

That makes this a remarkable achievement for this exceptional high school, for girls' hockey, and for the riding of Eglinton—Lawrence.

I want to join with the parents and all constituents in our riding in giving a heartfelt hooray to coach Karen Daigle and the grade 11 and grade 12 players for this huge win. As a father of two girls, I thank them for their perseverance and for being such amazing role models.

As the Prime Minister said on his recent state visit to the United States, there is no doubt who plays the best hockey, and that is Canada.

Burrowing OwlsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Mr. Speaker, when I mention the burrowing owl, many think of one of British Columbia's premier wineries. We should not forget that it took the name burrowing owl to raise awareness that this rare species of owl was actually declared extinct in British Columbia back in 1980. However, the winery, working with the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society and other community volunteers, is working hard to change that.

Last week the Upper Nicola first nation hosted an event where six burrowing owls were released onto the reserve that also features artificially created burrows in the nearby habitat. This event was the first time in history that burrowing owls have been reintroduced onto first nations land in British Columbia. This event did not happen overnight and in fact required roughly two years of preparation.

I hope the house will join me in congratulating the Upper Nicola first nation, the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, the many volunteers, and our federal species at risk interdepartmental fund for making this great day possible.

LabourStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.


Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2014, U.S. Steel Canada entered creditor protection under the CCAA, pitching thousands of retired steelworkers into a spiral of uncertainty about their pensions and benefits.

For example, Marilyn, the wife of a proud retired steelworker, worries each time she has a prescription filled. She and her husband are out thousands of dollars each month. She lives in constant pain, and the stress she feels each day is making things worse

On December 11, 2015, CHCH News terminated 167 workers. On that fateful day, Hamiltonians lost 62.5 hours per week of vital local news. The silenced CHCH voices are sorely missed by the viewing public and by Hamiltonians whose causes found a voice through their work.

We must work to protect the pensions and benefits of U.S. Steel Canada retirees, and we must probe the insensitive and possibly union-busting dismissal of CHCH workers.

Maria ChaputStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Dan Vandal Liberal Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, MB

Mr. Speaker, today I call upon all my colleagues in the House to join me in recognizing and thanking Senator Maria Chaput, who retired from the Senate of Canada on March 1, after 13 years of service.

Maria was the first Franco-Manitoban woman to sit in the other place, where she defended the rights of francophone minority communities with passion and conviction.

Her invaluable contribution to the Canadian francophonie, and especially the Franco-Manitoban community, earned her a number of prestigious awards, including the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique.

Over her 13 years in the Senate, Maria was a strong advocate for the respect of Canada's two official languages and an avid promoter of the many benefits of our country's linguistic duality.

Maria, we are very grateful for the important role you played and will continue to play. Thank you, dear friend.

Vancouver International AirportStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Alice Wong Conservative Richmond Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, located in my riding of Richmond Centre is the Vancouver International Airport, most commonly known as YVR. The year 2015 was a milestone year for the airport, having served more than 20 million passengers in a single year, with plans to increase service to 25 million travellers per year over the next five years.

Indeed, there was another milestone at YVR last year, and that was the opening of the McArthurGlen designer outlet, the first of its kind in North America. This will attract even more tourists and local consumers to Richmond.

It is my privilege to serve a riding that hosts a global leader in excellent transportation service and continues to be a vital link for travellers within Canada and beyond.

VolunteersStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today and recognize the many volunteers across our country who give so generously of their time to make our families, our communities, and our country strong.

Just last week, three young Syrian families were warmly welcomed to the town of St. Stephen in my riding of New Brunswick Southwest. I was there when they arrived, and it is overwhelming to see how the volunteers have worked so tirelessly, preparing every detail to make their transition into the community a smooth one.

I want to give special mention to the individuals and community groups who have welcomed more than 25,000 Syrians. I want to thank these volunteers who constantly remind us of what it means to be Canadian.

The leadership of our Prime Minister is inspiring volunteers in our country and around the world to be open, generous, and welcoming.

Forestry IndustryStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the forestry industry is at a crossroads.

In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, many workers depend on the forestry industry. Protecting the future of our forestry jobs must be a priority.

The softwood lumber agreement has expired. The government will have to defend our forestry industry, despite heavy pressure from the U.S.

The 18% surtax on calendered paper is jeopardizing our jobs in Kénogami and Dolbeau, but the government is dragging its feet on this issue.

I urge the government to consider how important the forestry industry is in our region and to do something to protect forestry workers and their role in our economies.

Patrick SobeskiStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.


Dave MacKenzie Conservative Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Patrick Sobeski, who recently died on March 17, ironically, St. Patrick's Day.

Pat was a member of Parliament from 1988 to 1993. After the 1993 election, Pat returned to private business until 2001 when he returned to his birthplace of Woodstock, Ontario, to be with his elderly mother.

Pat was then elected to the Woodstock City Council in 2003, serving two terms as councillor and then one term as mayor of the city in 2010. He was dedicated to his community and always did his very best when serving the citizens of Woodstock.

Pat died at the age of 64, which is far too young.

I offer my condolences to his family and friends.

Ottawa's Ahmadiyya Muslim CommunityStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.


Andrew Leslie Liberal Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank the people of Orléans for placing their trust in me and electing me on October 19. I promise to work tirelessly on their behalf in the House of Commons and in the riding.

A short while ago, I had the honour of speaking at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at 50-year anniversary celebrations here in Ottawa. This community, whose motto is “Love for all, hatred for none”, values peace, social justice, and harmony, above all else.

Present to convey this message were the national president, Mr. Lal Khan Malik, and the local Imam, Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, good friends. I was also pleased to see so many distinguished community members standing with the Canadian Ahmadiyya community, including my colleagues, the hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the member for Hull—Aylmer, the right hon. Prime Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

For me, what stands out the most about the Ottawa Ahmadiyya community is the people's inspirational community activism, outreach, and anti-radicalization efforts.

For 50 years they have made Canada their home.

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.


Denis Lebel Conservative Lac-Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past few days, the Prime Minister has wrapped himself in the immaculate cloak of transparency, stating that his government is transparent and comparing our former government to his.

Let us hear from a third party, an independent party. With respect to transparency, the parliamentary budget officer said that he was unable to provide all the data because the government did not give him all the data. He is an independent person.

How can the Prime Minister claim to be transparent?

The BudgetOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Kings—Hants Nova Scotia


Scott Brison LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, it is clear that our government is completely open and transparent. That is why we gave all the numbers to the parliamentary budget officer. We will continue to co-operate with his office because we have a great deal of respect for the work he does.