House of Commons Hansard #247 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was equal.

Topics

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel, and a friend of the Palestinian people.

Canada's long-standing position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the dispute between the two parties. This has been the policy of consecutive governments, be they Conservative or Liberal.

We are committed to the goal of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state, living side by side, in peace and security, with Israel.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the reaction to Trump's decision yesterday was swift around the world, from the UN to the EU, to France and Sweden, to name just a few. The condemnations continue to mount.

However, Canada issued a spineless response that did not even refer to Trump's decision, a decision that will further undermine peace efforts. Is this really the kind of leadership that Canada wants to show on the world stage?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

December 7th, 2017 / 2:25 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, Canada is very proud of its leadership on the world stage. Canada is a steadfast ally and friend of Israel, and a friend of the Palestinian people.

Canada's long-standing position is that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. This has been the policy of consecutive governments, be they Conservative or Liberal. We are strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state, living side by side, in peace and security, with Israel.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Dauphin—Swan River—Neepawa will come to order. I am sure there are opportunities to express opinions from all sides on issues like this. Members should wait until they have the floor to do so.

The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the Auditor General's scathing report on the Canada Revenue Agency.

According to that report, half of all calls Canadians make to the Canada Revenue Agency are not being answered, and when callers do get through, they get the wrong answer 30% of the time.

The Canada Revenue Agency is proving just how incompetent it is, and the minister needs to face up to her responsibilities.

When will the minister take this situation seriously and insist that the Canada Revenue Agency serve taxpayers properly?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I read the Auditor General's report, and I support all his recommendations.

In our very first budget, we invested $50 million in the CRA's call centres. We have already started hiring more agents to respond to more Canadians. We already have an action plan that focuses on modernizing our telephone platform, improving training, and updating our service standards.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, an internal report from the CRA dating from 2014 shows that before the election, 25% of Canadians received bad advice when they contacted the CRA. Now the Auditor General tells us it is 30% under the minister's watch, despite spending $50 million to respond to this problem. The CRA has shown time and time again that it is more interested in protecting itself than the taxpayer. This needs to change.

As it stands now I have to ask this question, because I really cannot tell. Is the minister controlling the CRA or is the CRA controlling the minister?

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Gaspésie—Les-Îles-de-la-Madeleine Québec

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, as I just reiterated, I have read the Auditor General's report and completely agree with all his recommendations.

In our first budget, we invested over $50 million in our call centres, which had been neglected for over 20 years. We hired more agents. We have an action plan in place. We want a more modern telephone platform that can meet our clients' needs. We are going to give training to the people who work in our call centres. We are going to create service standards that will meet Canadians'—

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. The hon. member for Beauce.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has become quite skilled at avoiding Canadians' questions.

Yesterday, the House Leader of the Official Opposition asked the minister a simple question. She asked whether he was the one who signed the memorandum to cabinet for Bill C-27. Can my colleagues guess what happened? We are still waiting for an answer.

If the Minister of Finance is unable to answer our simple, softball questions, then I would ask him to issue a press release announcing his immediate resignation.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, first of all, the Minister of Finance has successfully grown our economy at a remarkable rate over the past two years, so no, he will certainly not be resigning.

As Minister of Finance, he has done what needed to be done for Canadians, not only by lowering the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019, but also by stimulating the economy to create 600,000 jobs in two years. That is much more than they ever did, so the answer to the hon. member for Beauce is no.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Maxime Bernier Conservative Beauce, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance's record is atrocious.

The minister initially told Canadians that there would be a small deficit of $10 billion, and now it is $20 billion. Even worse, he is racking up untold debt for future generations. There was supposed to be a balanced budget by the end of the government's term, but that will not happen. He is putting future generations in debt, to the tune of more than $100 million. They are going to have to pay off this debt. That is irresponsible for our children and grandchildren.

When will the Minister of Finance resign?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Beauce for his question.

It gives me an opportunity to remind members that when we were elected in 2015, our debt-to-GDP ratio was 32.5%. Today, it stands at 30.5%. By the end of our term, it will be lower than it was in the 1970s. That is the best fiscal position of all G7 countries. It is not surprising that Christine Lagarde of the IMF says that the Canadian approach should be emulated and should go viral, because investing when interest rates are low and infrastructure is needed is the right thing to do for Canadians, for the economy, and for our entrepreneurs.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has become an expert at avoiding giving answers to Canadians. He hid his shares in a numbered company. He hid the date of the sale of some of those shares. Today, new documents show that the minister is continuing his practice of hiding information from Canadians. When asked simply if he as minister signed the memorandum approving Bill C-27, he refused to answer.

If the minister refuses to be transparent about something as simple as this, will he not just resign?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

No, Mr. Speaker, the finance minister will not resign, because the finance minister has delivered more for the Canadian economy and Canadians than those members ever did in 10 years.

We are talking about close to 600,000 jobs created in the last two years, most of them full time. We are talking about the fastest growth in the G7. We are talking about a reduction in child poverty in Canada by 40%. We are talking about one million seniors who have seen their revenue go up with the guaranteed income supplement. That is the finance minister's work. That is this government's work.

So no, the finance minister will not resign.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Finance has not answered any of the reasonable and fair questions we have asked regarding his conduct.

What we have discovered is that the minister was actively managing shares in Morneau Shepell while he was promoting Bill C-27, which would directly benefit his family business.

Why will the minister not answer this simple question? Was he the one who signed the memo to approve Bill C-27?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, to answer the member's question, I believe that constitutes cabinet confidence. On another note, though, I will say that the finance minister over the last two years has done amazingly well at growing this economy. We are very proud of the work he has done to make sure that Canada is prosperous, and that this prosperity is good for everyone and benefits us all.

TaxationOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the finance minister will not resign, hopefully he will stand and answer the question I am about to ask him personally.

Last summer, he launched a direct attack on small businesses. He ruined the ability of farmers to be in their fields, for tourism operators to serve their customers, and for others to enjoy a small break during that time. Now he is doing the same thing right before Christmas. He said he would have legislative proposals on his small business tax increase in the fall. If that is true, when will we see the bill?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, with regard to income sprinkling, the Minister of Fisheries has been clear that the details will come forward shortly before the January 1 implementation date. Our goal has always been to bring more fairness to our tax system. We do not think it is fair that a wealthy Canadian can institute a private corporation to save the equivalent of the average Canadian's income per year. We think that we have to have a fiscal system that is fair for all Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I understand that to mean there will not actually be a bill before the measures take effect. Our small family businesses will be forced to follow laws that do not even exist. How does the government expect anyone to run a business with rules that are written nowhere than in a press release, released the night before Christmas?

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can reassure the member that the details will be known very shortly. I want to also remind the member that we will have lowered the small business tax rate from 11% to 9% by 2019, because we will always support small businesses. We will always stand behind small businesses. I can reassure the member that our intention has always been that the family business model can continue to prosper, and we will make sure that family members who work in a business can continue to do so and be remunerated for it. That is not the issue here.

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

TaxationOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am going to have to remind the member for Cypress Hills—Grasslands and the member for Brandon—Souris that the nature of the debate is that one side gets to talk, then the other side gets to talk, and only when we have the floor should we be speaking in the House.

The hon. member for London—Fanshawe.

Canada Revenue AgencyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, for weeks now, the revenue minister has repeated over and over again that the CRA under the Liberal government has recovered $25 billion in tax evasion, except no one knows where it comes from and the minister is not able to explain that to anyone. Her own department does not know where this information comes from. There is a difference between money identified and money recovered. How can Canadians believe the minister when her own administration does not know what she is talking about?