House of Commons Hansard #234 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-59.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The right hon. Prime Minister.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Papineau Québec

Liberal

Justin Trudeau LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, once again it is disappointing to see that the opposition has nothing but cheap shots and slinging mud when this government is focused on working with the Ethics Commissioner but is mostly focused on delivering the kind of growth for the middle class that Canadians voted for two years ago. We are demonstrating the highest growth rate in the G7. We are demonstrating hundreds of thousands of jobs. We are demonstrating a low unemployment rate. We are delivering on the kind of real change that Canadians voted for two years ago.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, in 2014, when the Minister of Finance was the executive chair of Morneau Shepell, he participated in a forum on pension plan reform that advocated for the measures he included in his Bill C-27.

Interestingly, in the days following the introduction of his bill, Morneau Shepell share values surged by nearly $1 million. It is therefore not surprising that the minister is now the subject of an investigation by the Ethics Commissioner. I have one simple question.

When the minister introduced his bill, did the Prime Minister know that he was in direct conflict of interest?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will keep working to ensure a dignified retirement for Canadians across the country. That is very important. I will also keep working with the Ethics Commissioner to ensure that her review is complete. I feel that I must now continue working to help Canadians enjoy a dignified retirement. That is the important goal here.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will rephrase my question, so perhaps I can actually get an answer.

For nearly two years, the Minister of Finance owned shares valued at nearly $21 million that he never put in a blind trust. He promoted a pension plan reform that served his own interests and the interests of his Liberal friends. Now the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance are being investigated by the Ethics Commissioner.

How can Canadians continue to trust the government across the aisle?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to work with the Ethics Commissioner to make sure that I am not in a conflict of interest, as I am doing now. I sold all my Morneau Shepell shares to ensure that I would no longer be in a conflict of interest, and I am certainly not at this time.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, the mess that these Liberals get themselves into just never seems to end. It is now confirmed that the finance minister is under investigation by the Ethics Commissioner for the fact that he benefited from legislation that he personally introduced. Incredibly, we have three cabinet ministers from the Liberal government currently under investigation, including the Prime Minister, who is still being investigated for his billionaire holiday, and the finance minister being investigated for the second time.

With all these investigations, investigations, investigations, how can these Liberals be trusted?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will continue to work to assure that Canadians can retire in dignity. I will continue to work with the Ethics Commissioner to make sure that her examination is complete. Now that I have sold all my Morneau Shepell shares and made a large donation to charity, I am looking forward to continuing these efforts on behalf of Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, this ethical scandal that the finance minister finds himself in may only be the tip of the iceberg. The only reason everybody knows that the Minister of Finance benefited from Bill C-27 is because the media forced him to disclose that he held shares in Morneau Shepell. However, the minister is still hiding what other shares he held in other companies over the last two years and what other government decisions he made that benefited him.

Let us just rip the band-aid off, let us get this out in the open: what shares did the Minister of Finance own in what companies over the last two years?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before, I made 100% disclosure of all my assets to the Ethics Commissioner. That allows me to work on behalf of Canadians, and the work is going well. Over the last couple of years, we have seen an enormous change in growth rates in this country, and we have seen more than 500,000 new jobs for Canadians. Canadians have a higher level of confidence because they have more money for their families. We will continue to work for Canadians because that is what we were elected to do.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister just said that now that he has sold all of his shares in Morneau Shepell he can now work on behalf of Canadians. What does that say about the last two years while he held those shares? During that time, he introduced a bill creating the very targeted benefit pension plans that his company designs and profits from. His whole defence has been that he has always asked the Ethics Commissioner for her permission.

Did he have her permission to introduce this bill?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I have said, I will continue to work on behalf of Canadians. That is the important work that we are doing. By working with the Ethics Commissioner, as I have done from day one, that allows us to ensure we do not have conflicts of interest. We know that what we can do now is continue on the work as I have talked about, the work that has, for example, lowered the rate of unemployment to the lowest it has been since the great recession so that Canadians and Canadian families can actually do well and see the fruits of the advantages for them and their families.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, targeted benefit pensions are highly specialized as a financial product. Not only is Morneau Shepell one of the only companies that provides it, it designed the very unique model in New Brunswick that inspired the bill that the minister introduced in the House of Commons. That means it is uniquely positioned to profit from it. The minister keeps hiding behind the Ethics Commissioner. Yes or no, did the minister have permission from the Ethics Commissioner to introduce a bill that would profit his company?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I really do care deeply about retirement dignity in this country. I want to make sure that Canadians have the ability to retire with the opportunity to continue their life in dignity after they retire. That means assuring that they have good pension plans and that they have more options than just defined contribution pension plans. We will continue to work on behalf of Canadians because we know that is what they want us to do.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Scott Duvall NDP Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' Bill C-27 would open the door for crown corporations and federally regulated employers to convert secure defined benefit pension plans into less secure plans. In fact, before the finance minister was in cabinet, he spent his career advocating for shifting pension risk from employer to employee, and then presented the Liberals' plan to do exactly that with Bill C-27. How can the Liberals continue to say they are standing up for the middle class? It is simple: will the Liberals do what is right for working Canadians and withdraw their shameful bill?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party government will continue to defend Canadians in defined benefit plans. We think that is critically important. We also know that the 85% of private sector workers who do not have defined benefit plans need options too. We will continue to provide options that would enable people to have retirement in dignity, and that would include multiple options, including defined benefit plans and other arrangements that make sense for their situation.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Karine Trudel NDP Jonquière, QC

Mr. Speaker, transferring the employer's risk to the employee is not what I would call working for the middle class. It is working for the rich friends of the governing party.

We have known from the start that Bill C-27 was bad for workers. Unions and workers across Canada agree that this bill should be scrapped.

In addition to introducing a bad bill, the Minister of Finance also put himself in a clear conflict of interest to the point where he is under investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner.

The Liberals never should have introduced this bill. Will they now right that wrong by withdrawing it?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we will keep working to ensure a dignified retirement for Canadians. That is very important. We know that the 85% of private sector workers who do not have a defined benefit plan need options too. We will continue to work for them and for all members of the middle class.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Kent Conservative Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister claimed he had a better way of doing accountability and transparency and ministerial independence, but the PM did not miss a beat pre-empting a transparent investigation by the revenue minister regarding questions raised by the paradise papers about offshore tax avoidance, tax evasion, and links to chief Liberal bagman Stephen Bronfman. The PM said he is satisfied with his bagman's explanation, so can the Prime Minister or the minister confirm that Mr. Bronfman is not under investigation?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is fully committed to combatting tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance. In our first two budgets, we invested historic sums to make sure that we had the right tools to crack down on tax evaders. Our plan is already producing results. We have had 627 cases transferred to criminal investigation, 268 search warrants executed, and 78 convictions. In regard to the Panama papers, the CRA is reviewing links to Canadian entities and will take any appropriate action. We will continue to work to ensure that we have a tax system that works for every Canadian.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jacques Gourde Conservative Lévis—Lotbinière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party's chief bagman was referenced in the paradise papers, and there is some question as to the legality and ethics of failing to shoulder his part of the tax burden alongside the middle class. The Prime Minister's Office conducted the usual checks and seems satisfied with the explanations given by his advisors.

Does the Prime Minister plan to use his influence to ensure that the Canada Revenue Agency puts to rest the matter involving his friend, the Liberal Party's chief bagman?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of the fight against international tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. This was highlighted in our election platform and in the minister's mandate letter.

We are working toward a tax system that is fair for all Canadians. The agency is working extremely closely with international partners to obtain the list of Canadian taxpayers who may be involved. The CRA is reviewing links to the Canadian entities and will take any appropriate action.

TaxationOral Questions

November 20th, 2017 / 2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Marilyn Gladu Conservative Sarnia—Lambton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the disability tax credit and the pension plans for persons with disabilities are a critical help to those struggling with type 1 diabetes. I have received letters from thousands across our country, like 18-year-old Michael, who talked about the $100-per-day expenses he has to pay out of pocket to manage this disease.

Why does the minister not do her job and go after Liberals hiding money offshore rather than targeting type 1 diabetics?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, let me be absolutely clear. The eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit have not changed. Our government recognizes the impact that diabetes has on the health of Canadians, and that is why we are making investments in research, prevention, and early detection of diabetes so that fewer Canadians develop the condition and better treatments are available when it occurs. In budget 2015-16, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research invested over $41 million in diabetes research.

We will continue to support Canadians with diabetes, because that is what Canadians expect.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Steven Blaney Conservative Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis, QC

Mr. Speaker, why are more than 1,000 people with diabetes losing their income, their disability tax credit, and their registered disability savings plan, when the Prime Minister is bending over backwards for major fundraisers and those with deep pockets in tax havens?

The Prime Minister told me that he would look after my constituent in Sainte Justine, people with diabetes, and people with autism.

When is he going to put them ahead of Liberals with deep pockets?