House of Commons Hansard #249 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was code.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure my colleague. The details about our reform regarding income sprinkling will be announced very soon. I would remind my hon. colleague that our goal is not to have an impact on family businesses so much as to inject a bit of tax fairness into our system. We think that it is unfair that some wealthier Canadians can use a private corporation to save the equivalent of the average annual salary in Canada, or $48,000. We want to enhance tax fairness. I know that that is a difficult concept for the opposition to understand.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, allow me to read an excerpt from one of the hundreds of letters I get at my office.

I am outraged to see that our Minister of Finance wants to trample on the fundamental right of all Canadians to plan their financial affairs for tax purposes. Every small business owner is being penalized. The injustice is twofold: a bad tax reform coupled with no chance for planning.

The minister should step down for such hypocrisy and lack of accountability.

Signed, an angry citizen,

Pierre

Can the Prime Minister do the right thing—

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary, our goal has always been to ensure that family members who work in the family business can continue to do so and be be paid for it. We simply want to enhance tax fairness because at the moment some Canadians have access to tax benefits that are not available to the majority of Canada's middle class. I would like to remind the House that by 2019, all SME owners will benefit from a lower SME tax rate, which will be reduced from 10.5% to 9%. We are doing this because we recognize just how important SMEs are to Canada's prosperity and economic vitality.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeHouse Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, with only three weeks left until the tax changes come into effect, the Minister of Finance refuses to tell small businesses what effect the changes will have on them. He says that it is no big deal. We know it is not a big deal for the minister, because he has his millions sheltered from taxes in offshore accounts and numbered companies, but it is a big deal to local small business owners who are trying to deal with hypocritical and unfair Liberal tax changes. Why is the Minister of Finance so disrespectful to our small business owners?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I want to reassure my colleague from the opposition that the details will be coming in very shortly. Our objective is to bring more tax fairness to a system where there are inequities built into the system. Our objective is also to always support the family business model. We have no intention of impacting the family members who work in a business.

I might also remind the member that what is good for small businesses is the fact that we have reduced taxes for small businesses from 11% to 10.5%, to eventually 9% by 2019. The growth in Canada is the fastest in the G7, and 600,000 jobs were created. That is good for all businesses.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeHouse Leader of the Official Opposition

Mr. Speaker, do they remember the last time that the Liberals said these small business tax increases were no big deal and the small business owners should not worry? That did not go so well for the Liberals. Have the Liberals learned absolutely nothing? They are punishing small businesses again, not just with this hypocritical tax increase, but by the minister's ignoring small business owners' very substantial questions for some information.

The Minister of Finance always seems to be hiding something, does he not? What is he hiding now from small business owners?

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our objective is that we will always stand behind the family business model. We have reduced taxes for small businesses from 11% to 10.5%, and to 9% by 2019. That is because we realize the importance of small businesses contributing to the prosperity and growth of Canada. We have great results. Our plan is working. We have the fastest growth in the G7, and 600,000 jobs were created in the last two years, most of them full-time. That is the work of this finance minister and this government supporting small business owners from coast to coast to coast.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the finance minister plans a reasonableness test to determine what small businesses can pay their family members. Here is what the former chief justice of the tax court says about it: “I think it’s going to substantially increase the number of cases that go to the court, because it’s going to be a battle between the CRA and the taxpayers as to what ‘reasonable’ means in various situations.”

How much will this cobweb of rules cost the CRA to enforce, small businesses to comply with, and both of them to litigate?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we listened to Canadians and business owners from coast to coast to coast. We reviewed the proposals that were submitted over the past few months. Details about income sprinkling as it relates to our tax reform will soon be available to all Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the question was for the finance minister. He is the one who says he is going to impose a reasonableness test on what family businesses can pay their family members. It is not just the past chief justice of the tax court, but the current chief justice who, in an extraordinary comment, said these rules are so vague that no one will know how to enforce them or interpret them.

Why does the government not listen to the judges and small businesses and do away with this complex web of tax increases?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned, it would be my pleasure to work with the member opposite to explain the details when they are known. The details regarding income sprinkling should be known imminently. We will always stand behind small business owners. That is why we will reduce the small business tax rate from 11% down to 9% by 2019, because we recognize the importance of small business. We will always be behind the family business model, and we want to continue to work to make sure that prosperity is trickling down to everyone in this country.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, regarding the unfair treatment that benefits Netflix over its competitors, the Minister of Finance, and now the Prime Minister as well, are slamming the door on Quebeckers yet again. The Minister of Canadian Heritage was first in line, although clearly, her voice does not carry much weight around the cabinet table, nor do the voices of Liberal members from Quebec. They refuse to listen to the consensus in Quebec. The Minister of Canadian Heritage says one thing and then the Minister of Finance says the opposite. They need to get their stories straight.

When will the government stop ignoring the consensus in Quebec?

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Charlottetown P.E.I.

Liberal

Sean Casey LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, our government has always been very clear on this, and our position has not changed. We understand the concerns of the francophone cultural sector. We want to reassure the cultural sector of our support and point out that we have made historic investments in support of our culture. We have made massive investments in arts and culture, over $2.3 billion to be precise. We have reinvested in the Canada media fund to support television production. These investments have a tangible impact on our artists' lives.

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

December 11th, 2017 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Erin Weir NDP Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, the federal government has aggravated the crisis in local media by slashing its own advertising in Canadian publications, while pouring millions of dollars into American digital giants. In a report tabled last week, the government operations committee unanimously recommended increasing the share of federal advertising in Canadian publications.

Will the government follow this all-party recommendation to support our local media and reach more Canadians?

Government CommunicationsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Quadra B.C.

Liberal

Joyce Murray LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, our government took another step to making government more open and transparent and accountable by delivering on our commitment to eliminate partisan advertising and to modernize its communications. We now have a process in place for conducting independent reviews of paid government advertising to ensure that it is non-partisan. In addition to that, we have reduced our advertising budget by 50% compared to the previous Conservative government with its partisan advertising.

We are proud of what we are doing, and we appreciate the work of the committee in looking at the advertising budget for the future years.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, on May 2, an internal Canada Revenue Agency email instructed officers to deny 80% of tax credit claims from diabetics.

Last Friday, the agency announced that it would review all rejected claims. This is clearly an admission of guilt by the government. There is one thing that this government lacks, and that is honour.

Could someone in this government rise and apologize to diabetics on behalf of their government?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our objective has always been clear, to ensure that Canadians have access to the credits they are eligible to.

With the reinstatement of the disability advisory committee, the agency will have a formal advisory process to work on improving the accessibility of its services to Canadians with disabilities. We are giving these groups back their seat at the table, which the Conservatives took away in 2006. This formal process will ensure that any future actions taken by the agency will be made in consultation with stakeholders.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, there was no need for a committee to resolve a situation that was completely unacceptable.

When we were in power, 80% of claims were approved. When the Liberals are in power, 80% of claims are denied. The Minister of National Revenue rose 23 times in the House and stated that there had been no changes in the rules. Last Friday, her department said the exact opposite.

I will ask my question again. Is there anyone in this government who will do the honourable thing and rise to tell diabetics that the government made a mistake and is apologizing?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as a registered nurse, I know how important it is to vulnerable groups to have their voices heard.

With the announcement of the disability advisory committee last week, we will make sure of how the agency administers its credits and benefits for people with disabilities. Following concerns raised by Canadians, the agency is evaluating applications to determine whether or not there has been an impact on the delivery of the DTC.

We will continue to take steps to improve the agency's services to all Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable in our country.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, after two months of questions by the opposition and pressure from Diabetes Canada, the Liberals have finally said they will revert to their pre-May 2 policy. The strange thing is that even while the minister reverses her policy, she continues to deny she ever made a change in the first place.

Will the minister finally admit that she made a choice to deny the credit she is now trying to cover her tracks in regard to, and will she apologize to 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, our government is committing to ensuring that all Canadians who are eligible for credits and benefits have access to them. Following concerns raised by Canadians, the agency is evaluating applications to determine whether or not there has been an impact on the delivery of the DTC. Through the disability advisory committee, disability advocates, medical professionals, indigenous advocates, and other important stakeholders will now be consulted on how the agency can improve its services to Canadians with disabilities. Unlike the previous government, we want these groups at the table.

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, during the meeting with stakeholders on November 30, the minister insisted there was no evidence that there had been any change to the disability tax credit. During that same meeting, type 1 diabetics produced the evidence. They showed her documents that proved that the eligibility criteria had changed.

This minister's treatment of diabetics has been terrible. Will she finally quit fighting type 1 diabetics and apologize for her appalling conduct?

TaxationOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, again, let me be absolutely clear that the law and the eligibility criteria for the disability tax credit have not changed.

We will continue to improve the accessibility of this credit to Canadians and have already taken extremely important actions. We have simplified the application form. We have allowed more nurse practitioners to certify those patients' applications, and with the reinstatement of the disability advisory committee, we are bringing stakeholders back to the table to better determine how we can improve access even more.

Canadian HeritageOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, Le Courrier de Saint-Hyacinthe, which has been in print since 1853, is the oldest French newspaper in America and is a member of the Coalition pour la pérennité de la presse d'information au Québec.

Local media are a pillar of democracy, and in all of our ridings, they are losing a significant portion of their ad revenue to web giants. This government keeps saying that it cares about information and about the future of our local media.

When will this government support our local media, as it has done for so many other industries?