House of Commons Hansard #177 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was community.

Topics

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure bank will allow us to build more infrastructure in partnership with our municipal sector and in partnership with our provincial sector. There will be different layers of accountability, and due diligence will be done every step of the way when we engage with the infrastructure bank or with the private sector.

Municipalities struggled for a long time to be properly funded by the previous government. We are there to support them, whether we do that through our traditional funding models, which took billions and billions of dollars, or allow the infrastructure bank to build more infrastructure for Canadian—

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Dianne Lynn Watts Conservative South Surrey—White Rock, BC

Mr. Speaker, that was a non-answer.

The Liberals are giving private investors loan guarantees through the infrastructure bank, even against their own internal report, which advised closer study to ensure taxpayers are protected. A loan guarantee means that Canadian taxpayers will be left to pay the bill and assume all of the risks.

Will the minister admit that taxpayers will actually be on the hook for the infrastructure bank risks?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, the vast majority of infrastructure that our government supports building is owned by the provincial, municipal, and territorial sectors.

Our goal is to make sure that we are leveraging private capital to build more of the infrastructure that our Canadian communities need. The private sector has been playing a prominent role in building infrastructure in our country for decades, for centuries.

We want to take it to the next level, where we can leverage private investment to build more infrastructure that our Canadian communities deserve and need.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to the internal report KPMG presented to the Prime Minister's government, an in-depth study of the infrastructure bank is recommended before it is launched. Why? Quite simply because there are fears that the bank will double the work of municipalities and provinces, delay projects because of more bureaucracy, and become an embarrassing disaster for the government.

After so many warnings, why is the minister so determined to plough straight ahead with this? What does he have to hide from us now?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, we have done an extensive amount of consultation over the last year, engaging with municipalities, provinces, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, labour organizations, trade councils, the IMF, the World Bank, and with all sorts of stakeholders that are interested in infrastructure.

We will continue to engage with them as we set up the bank, as we hire the CEO and put the board of directors in place. Our goal is to make sure we are protecting the public interest and at same time building more infrastructure that our Canadian communities deserve.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only thing we know for sure is that we are headed straight for disaster.

The same internal KPMG report suggests that Canadians could wind up paying for the bank's own infrastructure. It seems as though the Liberals are hiding something.

If the minister wants to reassure Canadians that he intends to do more than just please his billionaire friends, will he make a commitment to this House that under no circumstances will Canadians be asked to pay any more taxes to fund the planned infrastructure bank?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, we are very proud that the infrastructure bank will actually report to this House, through Parliament, through the regular operational plans that will be tabled. The members can see that, as well as the extensive consultation that we have done with our stakeholders and our partners, who are in broad support of our infrastructure plan.

They understand that their communities have been struggling for a decade, that their communities need more affordable housing, more recreational centres, more public transit. Indeed, we need to make sure that we do it in a way that we free up public resources—

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Carleton.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the budget bill empowers the finance minister to lend investors tens of billions of tax dollars to build infrastructure. I asked him 10 times in committee today who will repay taxpayers if those builders go bankrupt, and 10 times he refused to answer. If the minister who is responsible for making these risky taxpayer-funded loans does not know how they will be repaid, who does?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, under the previous government, our communities suffered greatly because the infrastructure they need—

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order. We need to hear the answer.

The hon. Minister of Infrastructure and Communities has the floor.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi Liberal Edmonton Mill Woods, AB

Mr. Speaker, let me tell the House what the CEO of the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships has to say about the infrastructure bank: “The Council is optimistic that the bank will play a significant role in attracting more private capital while growing the pipeline of P3 projects across Canada.”

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, when ConCreate USL went bankrupt building a bridge in south Ottawa, taxpayers had no extra cost. That is because the builder was forced to hire a private sector guarantor to finish the job. Thank God there was no infrastructure bank at the time, because it would offer investors a government loan guarantee, putting taxpayers on the hook.

Why is the government taking billions of dollars of risk off the shoulders of wealthy billionaires and putting it onto the backs of Canadian taxpayers?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Mill Woods Alberta

Liberal

Amarjeet Sohi LiberalMinister of Infrastructure and Communities

Mr. Speaker, we will always make sure that we protect the public interest, that we protect Canadian taxpayers' interest. Our goal is to mobilize private capital so that we can build more infrastructure that our Canadian communities deserve, the infrastructure that the Harper government denied for a decade. If we ask any big city mayor or any small city mayor, they will say that for the last decade they have seen very little investment. Our goal is to build the infrastructure that our Canadian communities deserve and need.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals' promise to overhaul how asylum claims are processed is on hold indefinitely. The Prime Minister's “welcome to Canada” rhetoric is just a slogan. There has been no action on designated countries of origin, no action on giving the IRB the resources it desperately needs, and 1,000 cases are added to the huge backlog every month. The integrity of the entire system is under threat.

Is the government blind to this, or is it just happy to break yet another promise?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I am happy to inform the member opposite that we have been lauded globally as having a really good model of a refugee system that is generous, compassionate, and efficient.

We have been working closely with stakeholders to make sure that we hear their concerns with respect to having even more efficiencies in the IRB. We have been working closely with the IRB to make sure that its new efficiency measures are taking place and we support them. We consult continuously with stakeholders, including on the designated countries of origin, to make sure that refugee protection remains at the heart of our asylum policy.

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Brigitte Sansoucy NDP Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government still does not seem to have grasped the urgency of the situation.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada is simply not efficient enough to handle the backlog of nearly 24,000 cases.

I have a simple question. Will the government do something for these 24,000 people and announce additional funding to deal with this unacceptable backlog?

Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York South—Weston Ontario

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen LiberalMinister of Immigration

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns of the member opposite with respect to refugee backlogs. What I will say is that we have had fluctuations in the system with respect to asylum seekers. Some years, we have had higher numbers than even this year. In previous years, they have been followed by lower numbers. Our system is geared to deal with those fluctuations.

We work very closely with the IRB, which is an independent, quasi-judicial body, to make sure we support the efficiencies that it is putting in place to address some of the issues around the delays, and we look for more ways to make sure that it works even harder.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

May 15th, 2017 / 2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Sylvie Boucher Conservative Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d’Orléans—Charlevoix, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's partisan choice for Commissioner of Official Languages is par for the course.

When someone gives no less than $5,000 to the Liberal Party and works at Queen's Park in the same place as the architect of the Liberal agenda, getting a senior civil service position is payback, plain and simple.

Does this mean that anyone who is not a Liberal Party crony and does not contribute to the Liberals' coffers has no chance of being appointed to a senior position by this government?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, official languages are central to our priorities as a government and to our Canadian identity.

With respect to appointments, our government is firmly committed to a rigorous, open, merit-based appointment process to find the best possible candidate. Commissioner of Official Languages is an important role that we value, and an announcement will be made soon.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Blaine Calkins Conservative Red Deer—Lacombe, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is set to appoint a former Ontario Liberal cabinet minister as the new Commissioner of Official Languages. What is next? Is it maybe Dalton McGuinty as the ethics commissioner or Kathleen Wynne as the lobbying commissioner? What could possibly go wrong?

The Prime Minister promised a new, merit-based appointment process. Sadly, what we are getting is yet another broken promise with this Liberal patronage appointment. Will the Prime Minister restore some integrity to this place and cancel this appointment?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ahuntsic-Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Mélanie Joly LiberalMinister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the two official languages are at the heart of who we are as Canadians. Our government is firmly committed to a rigorous, open, and merit-based process for public appointments. The Commissioner of Official Languages is a very important role, one that we of course value, and we want to ensure that the recommended person is highly qualified. We will make sure that we make an announcement soon in this regard.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

John Brassard Conservative Barrie—Innisfil, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party human resources office has moved from Queen's Park to Parliament Hill, and just as it is under Kathleen Wynne, every federal appointment should come with the disclaimer “Only Liberals need apply, and moving expenses will be paid, unless they are caught.”

Clearly, the Liberals are ignoring their election pledge of merit-based appointments, openness, and transparency, with the Liberal Party cronyism continuing to be business as usual. Whose name will be called next from the Liberal donor Rolodex? What is the going rate these days for a plum Liberal appointment?