House of Commons Hansard #201 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was vehicles.

Topics

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

1:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, as fascinating as this subject is, there is one thing I wanted to hear my colleague talk about that was not mentioned in his preliminary remarks. Maybe he could remedy that in questions and comments.

In my part of the world, working at a dealership, whether as a salesperson, owner, or mechanic, is most certainly associated with that middle class the Liberals are always going on about. Dealers are true SMEs who contribute to the local economy and help develop our markets.

Since the start of the debate on Bill S-2, it has been clear to me that the Liberals do not support the amendment presented in the Senate that would make it easier for dealers to receive compensation.

In that case, do the Liberals have any other ideas about how to support dealers?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of protecting Canadian consumers and ensuring road safety in Canada, which is the intent of Bill S-2. In terms of looking at commercial relations between automobile manufacturers and dealers, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is not intended for that purpose. It is intended for the safety of Canadians.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on Bill S-2, the strengthening motor vehicle safety for Canadians act, which would amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to give the minister of transport new vehicle recall powers. This is good for Canada.

According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, there are five major auto manufacturers in Canada, and they operate approximately 11 different manufacturing facilities across this country. In addition to that, there are approximately 3,200 car dealerships across Canada, and in my riding alone, there are 15 different car dealerships. My point in saying this is that we are talking about a massive industry, an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and is a very strong contributor to the Canadian economy.

I will go back 50 years or so. Back in 1965, there was a guy who was not very well known at that time, by the name of Ralph Nader. He wrote a book called Unsafe at Any Speed. That is one of the best-written books or articles of the 20th century. He took on GM. He challenged GM on a vehicle it was producing at the time, the Corvair. He mentioned not only the Corvair but other cars, such as the Falcon and a lot of new American-produced subcompacts, as being unsafe. Nader later went on to form Nader's Raiders, a group of young, brilliant lawyers from across the United States. They challenged the U.S. government and industry to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. They went after international manufacturers to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. What they did spun off to help protect Canadians.

Their work directly led to the development of the Center for Auto Safety in the United States. Today we are talking about Bill S-2, and this is because of what Ralph Nader and his group started. The proposed legislation includes amendments that would give the minister of transport the power to order companies to issue recall notices and make manufacturers and importers repair recalled vehicles at no cost to consumer. It would give the minister of transport the power to order manufacturers and importers to repair new vehicles before they are sold. This is very important, and I will get back to it later.

It would allow the department to use monetary penalties or fines to increase the safety compliance and leverage the monetary penalties to require manufacturers to take additional safety actions. It would provide the department with the flexibility to address ever-evolving vehicle safety technology. It would also require companies to provide additional safety data and conduct additional testing to address safety concerns and increase our vehicle inspection capabilities. This is good for Canada and good for the safety of Canadians.

As members may have noticed, this bill is similar to Bill C-62, which was introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2015. Bill S-2 has provisions that did not appear in Bill C-62. It differs by adding consent agreements relating to safety improvements and non-compliant companies. It would also enable the minister to make public the nature of any violations and other related details, and why should they not be public?

Currently, under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, only manufacturers can order vehicles recalled in Canada. Transport Canada does not presently have any authority to recall vehicles. This needs to change. This act would make that happen.

The department merely lists active recalls on its website and issues press releases if it believes that there is an issue with vehicle models. As I said earlier, the Nader's Raiders led us to where we are today. If we look back to the turn of the century, Henry Ford had no rules. He built cars as he saw fit. He designed them, and people took what he made. If they did not like it, that was too bad. The automotive industry had a pretty good run at manufacturing cars for the first 50 years of the 20th century, without a lot of rules. Thank God that today we have strict, global automobile manufacturing rules and laws. The bill before us is part of that strategy.

The current act does not allow Transport Canada to issue monetary penalties to manufacturers. The only way to ensure compliance with the act is through a time-consuming and costly criminal prosecution. A change would come about because of this bill.

A few members of the House might own 2014 or 2015 Volkswagen, but there was an issue. I will not dwell on it, because I am sure most people here in this room know what the issue was, but it had far-reaching effects on the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who purchased these German-made vehicles. It took from the time it all started to this spring for the claims to finally be resolved. There was a standard in which to justify the claims, and there are still some claims outstanding. This shows that, even today, major world-class manufacturers can make mistakes, and I will leave it at that with a few question marks. Government must be a watchdog. It is our duty to keep Canadians safe.

In Canada, over a five-year period, 2010 to 2015, the number of safety-related recalls increased by 74%, which is a large number, rising from 133 recalls in 2010 to 232 recalls in 2015. While this is a large jump, I note that between 2010 and 2016, our automobile manufacturers in Canada issued at least 318 recalls for which Transport Canada had not received any complaints. They did this on a voluntary basis. I have to thank the automotive industry, because that had a big cost to it, without any force by government. However, we know from what I just spoke of a few moments ago that we still need to be watchdogs. Transport Canada only influenced about 9% of the recalls during this time. Clearly, Canadian manufacturers are looking out for the safety of our consumers, which is an increasing challenge as the vehicles become more and more complex.

In 2015, five million passenger vehicles were recalled in Canada. This was a consequence of increased caution by automakers and increasing vehicle complexity. As I said earlier, this was done on a voluntary basis, for which we have to give thanks, but I think they also realized that internationally, whether in the United States, Canada, Europe, or France, we have regulations in place and we are the watchdogs. Therefore, most of this is probably because there are watchdogs out there, and we need to be there. This bill is needed.

Looking back, quite a few years ago, to 1958, some members may not have been here. The Speaker was here. He might have been a young whippersnapper then. I was here. I look back. I have been a car buff since about the time I learned to read. I grew up with Tom McCahill and Mechanix Illustrated. I loved every article he wrote. I think I read them for as many years as he wrote articles.

I think back to 1958, when the Ford Motor Company, one of the largest manufacturers in the world, developed a beautiful car called the Edsel. What a flop. It was ahead of its time. The company came up with the bright idea to make a push-button automatic transmission on the steering column. Only about 50% of them worked, about 50% of the time. Ford, in its wisdom, pulled that car after about a two-year run. Actually, it did slide into 1960 by customizing a Ford car to look like an Edsel, but it got rid of the vehicle. That was probably very wise.

We can look back over the years. GM trucks, from 1974 to mid-1986, were plagued by exploding fuel tanks. GM, in its wisdom, designed what I personally think is one of the greatest trucks out there, the C10 and C15 GM Chevy trucks, but it put the fuel tanks on the outside of the frame rails, because customers wanted 40 gallons; GM could not get the tank on one side, so it put 20 gallon tanks on each side of the frame rail.

What happened when they got hit was they exploded. I believe it was something like 600 Americans who were killed by explosions. There are ongoing lawsuits today.

Was the Corvair a bad car? Some people say it was; others loved them. They were built from 1960 to 1969. I will guarantee that for the first three years they handled terribly. The back wheels tucked under on a hard corner, and they could roll.

The Pinto had exploding fuel tanks.

A lot of these vehicles, including the GM truck, are still on the road today. The defects have never been corrected. This is why we need a strong act, like the one we are dealing with today, to protect Canadians.

As I said earlier, more than 600 people have been killed because of inadequacies by manufacturers to follow through on defects on their vehicles. There are still lawsuits ongoing about vehicles manufactured in the 1970s.

Today, vehicles are complex. They need to have their defects identified as quickly as possible and be corrected as quickly as possible.

I am sure everyone is aware of those self-driving cars that are just beginning to hit the road. Some members here might also have one of those cars that parallel park themselves. With the rise of smart technology, vehicles are quickly evolving and becoming much more highly integrated.

In order to facilitate industry competitiveness, Canada's regulatory regime needs to be more responsive to new, emerging technologies and fuel and safety advances. I do not even want to dwell on self-driving cars. I do not want to go there right now. This bill would allow the department to require manufacturers to provide more safety information and do testing when needed, as well as to increase their flexibility to address ever-changing safety technologies.

Last fall I bought a new Buick Enclave SUV. I drive about 40,000 kilometres a year in my riding. It has all the bells and whistles, even a backup alert. There is a nice big camera on the dash to see things when backing the vehicle up. The second day I owned the car I backed into my house, and there was $1,000 damage. It was a big hit. I could not even claim it. My wife was mad. I felt stupid. I admit I was inadequate and not inclined to understand the technology of the new vehicle. Now I know how it works.

While it is important for Bill S-2 to protect the safety of consumers, it is also important to understand the implications of the bill on small businesses and local dealerships and ensure that they are not negatively impacted by these changes.

I have to thank the Senate for changing the bill to protect dealerships across Canada, small- and medium-sized business dealers who were being stuck with cars that had recalls and could not sell them. Dealers in my riding were stuck with vehicles for over two years, waiting for repair parts so that they could put that vehicle back on the lot and sell it. They were paying the interest on those loans. That is unfair and it is wrong. The bill protects those dealers and puts the authority back on the manufacturer and importer of that vehicle to take care of that and to compensate dealers throughout Canada from coast to coast to coast. That is a big factor, and I thank the Senate for bringing that amendment in.

This amendment would make the manufacturer entirely responsible for all costs for recalling or repairing vehicles. It would be a counterbalance to ensure the auto dealers are treated fairly as small business consumers of the manufacturer.

As usual, there are more improvements that could be made. For example, manufacturers are concerned with some powers that could be seen as being too sweeping, such as the minister's ability to order tests. I make one recommendation: that we add the word “reasonable” in the bill, so that the minister can ask for tests to be done if there are reasonable grounds for testing. That is only fair.

I have a couple of minutes left and I want to stress one point. I have had a number of calls in my riding, as I imagine a lot of other people have. I am a motorcycle fan. I have a motorcycle and I ride every day when I get the opportunity, although this summer was not very good. Motorcycles, like automobiles, are manufactured to Canadian motor vehicle safety standards, United States motor vehicle safety standards, and European motor vehicle safety standards, yet constantly, in Canada and the U.S. dealers take the bikes before they leave the showroom, modify them with loud exhausts and so on, and then sell them to the unsuspecting public. Who suffers? The people living in residential areas, recreational areas, when guys go by with extremely loud exhausts. That is one area that we can address.

In closing, I believe that this proposed legislation will strengthen oversight on the recall process. It will be a big win for consumers and for the overall safety of Canadians.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

If he wishes, the hon. member for Yellowhead will have an additional two and a half minutes for his remarks when the House next resumes debate on the question, and of course the usual 10 minutes for questions and comments.

Leadership at York UniversityStatements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal Humber River—Black Creek, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to acknowledge the leadership and service of Dr. Mamdouh Shoukri, past president of York University, who completed his term on June 30, 2017. For the last decade Dr. Shoukri has guided York University through a period of extraordinary growth and change, cementing its position as one of our pre-eminent institutions of higher education in Canada.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Rhonda Lenton, who has been appointed as York University's eighth president and vice-chancellor and began her post on July 1, 2017.

I thank Dr. Shoukri for his dedication to our community, and congratulate Dr. Lenton. I wish her all the best for her success and the success of York University.

Edmonton West VolunteerStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to recognize an amazing constituent in my riding of Edmonton West. Kim Street, volunteer extraordinaire, has assisted over 50 community organizations and has helped raise over $4 million for in-need Edmonton schools, whether stepping in to provide hot lunches for schools that do not have a program or gathering hundreds of auction items every year for St. Martha Catholic School.

With the help of her tireless husband Jason, Kim is an advocate for those in need in West Edmonton and throughout our city. Veterans associations, athletic clubs, community centres, and public schools across Edmonton have all benefited from her dedication to community service.

Kim's tremendous support for the communities in Edmonton should serve as an inspiration for people across Canada to get involved locally and help out. I urge all Canadians to take a page from Kim's book and volunteer their time for places in need.

I thank Kim for her outstanding service to Edmonton and for proving that one person can make a difference.

Nick Di TomasoStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Francis Scarpaleggia Liberal Lac-Saint-Louis, QC

Mr. Speaker, Montreal's West Island has lost a true friend and stalwart. From the humblest of beginnings, Nick Di Tomaso rose through the ranks of Montreal's retail petroleum industry to become president of Ultramar Canada. Nick's energy and work ethic were legendary.

After retiring from a stellar business career, Nick dedicated himself to strengthening Montreal's West Island community, in particular its health and social services sector. He served as chairman of the Lakeshore General Hospital and then of its foundation. He used both positions to bring major and needed improvements to the hospital's facilities.

Nick was also a founding member of the West Island Palliative Care Residence, was a valued adviser to the West Island Association for the Intellectually Handicapped, and was a fundraiser for the local women's shelter. These vital contributions were in addition to his myriad of other volunteer causes and activities. The West Island is a better place today because of Nick Di Tomaso. He has left us a lasting legacy, and for that our community is truly grateful.

TaxationStatements By Members

2 p.m.

NDP

Wayne Stetski NDP Kootenay—Columbia, BC

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month I attended meetings with the Cranbrook and Kimberley chambers of commerce to discuss the Minister of Finance's proposed tax changes. Across my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, small business owners, farmers, and professionals are all coming together to express their shock and outrage at being told that they are verging on being tax cheats and that even struggling businesses will have to pay more.

David Hull, executive director of the Cranbrook chamber, said in a news release, “Nobody supports tax evasion or loopholes. But these changes will punish legitimate businesses”.

One of my small business owners has offered to pay his own way to come to Ottawa to meet with the Minister of Finance or the Prime Minister. That is how concerned he is.

The people in my riding are asking the Liberal government to extend the period for consultation, to focus tax reform on closing stock option loopholes, to stop the use of offshore tax havens, and to ensure they do not target hard-working small business owners who already feel betrayed by the Liberals for not cutting small business taxes.

Raid international GaspésieStatements By Members

September 19th, 2017 / 2 p.m.

Liberal

Rémi Massé Liberal Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Mr. Speaker, from September 7 to 10, Baie-des-Chaleurs and parc national de la Gaspésie welcomed participants in the fourth annual Raid international Gaspésie.

For three days, 170 athletes from countries including France, Uruguay, and South Africa, tackled the competition's multi-sport challenges around Carleton-sur-Mer, an amazing playground for athletes seeking an adrenaline rush.

As the only event of its kind in eastern Canada, the Raid puts Gaspésie and its natural beauty in the international spotlight. With journalists from around the world covering the Raid, the media attention gives the region an opportunity to position itself as a world-class adventure tourism destination.

I am pleased to have this chance to tell the House about the remarkable work that Raid international Gaspésie organizers are doing. I am grateful to the Société de développement et de mise en valeur de Carleton-sur-Mer and Endurance Aventure for putting our magnificent region on the map.

Achievements in Brantford—BrantStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Phil McColeman Conservative Brantford—Brant, ON

Mr. Speaker, this summer Brant MPP and speaker of the Ontario legislature Dave Levac and I commemorated Canada’s 150th by recognizing 150 outstanding individuals from the communities of Brantford, Brant, the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

The recipients were nominated by their fellow citizens in recognition and appreciation for their significant contributions to their communities, province, and country in the following categories: agriculture; arts, culture and heritage; caregiving; community building; educators; entrepreneurs; faith in action; first responders; good neighbours; Legions; ladies and youth auxiliaries; seniors; youth and students; service clubs; and sports and recreation.

It is my sincere hope that the recipients who received the awards know how truly grateful we are for their hard work, dedication, energy, and passion. I congratulate them all.

Canada Army RunStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sherry Romanado Liberal Longueuil—Charles-LeMoyne, QC

Mr. Speaker, last Sunday, over 22,000 people participated in the 10th annual army run, an event that recognizes the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform and their families. I had the honour of running with my family and many members of the Liberal caucus, including the member for Ottawa—Vanier, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Minister of National Defence.

Our government feels strongly about our commitment to support and celebrate members of the Canadian Armed Forces. That is why, for the first time since the Canada Army Run began, a prime minister joined us and ran with our troops.

Ill and injured veterans lead the way in the Army Run every year, and I think I speak for all participants who also sit in this House when I say that for those few hot hours last Sunday, it was an honour to run in the footsteps of these true Canadian heroes.

Terry FoxStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ron McKinnon Liberal Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, 37 years ago, Terry Fox ended his Marathon of Hope. On September 17, along with runs in communities all across Canada, Port Coquitlam hosted the Terry Fox Hometown Run, where 3,000 participants walked or even danced across the finish line.

I am reminded of Terry's words. He said, “I’m not a dreamer, and I’m not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to.”

The Terry Fox Foundation has raised $800 million, and we still need a cure for cancer. I encourage all members in the House, and all Canadians, to stay involved. I am thankful to all who ran and donated. We are still searching for Terry's miracle.

The travelling exhibit called Terry Fox — Running to the Heart of Canada is open in my riding and Terry's hometown of Port Coquitlam until the end of November.

Credit UnionsStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, over the summer, the federal government quietly issued new regulations which decreed that credit unions are no longer allowed to use the words “bank”, “banker”, or “banking”. These terms have been part of the common vernacular for over a century. I have spoken to long-time credit union members who are irritated that the federal government can unilaterally make this change and waste millions of dollars. The administrative costs to the 300-plus credit unions across Canada to change and popularize other unknown terms and order new signs are estimated to be over $80 million.

In constituencies such as mine, the credit union is the only financial institution left in many rural communities. They are pillars in our communities and are one of the most philanthropic industries in the country. Instead of making business harder for these important institutions, we should be looking for ways to help ensure that credit unions can thrive and prosper.

I am calling upon all members of this House to work together to fix this calamity and restore some common sense.

Public TransitStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to welcome the Canadian Urban Transit Association, CUTA, to Ottawa for its annual Transit Awareness Days.

Our government knows that reliable and efficient public transit gets Canadians to work, school, and home again after a long day. We know this is helping to grow our economy and is delivering on the promise of strengthening the middle class. I know this personally from my many years with Translink, Metro Vancouver's excellent transportation authority. We are proud to have worked with CUTA to design versatile infrastructure programs that are meeting the needs of Canadian communities and Canadians day to day. It is through these programs that we have now approved more than 1,000 public transit projects across Canada.

Working with partners like CUTA, we are investing in the strong sustainable communities Canadians deserve and delivering on our historic infrastructure investments for Canadian families and their growing communities. I thank CUTA for all the work it does and welcome it to Ottawa.

MexicoStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Julie Dzerowicz Liberal Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, on September 8, shortly before midnight, the largest earthquake in 100 years struck the Pacific coast of Mexico. The magnitude of the earthquake registered at 8.2 on the Richter scale and was felt by approximately 50 million people across the country, as far away as Mexico City. The states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, home to nine million Mexicans, were most affected. Ninety-eight people are confirmed dead, hundreds are injured, and an estimated 2.5 million are in need of assistance.

Our Prime Minister shared his condolences with the president of Mexico in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. I know that I speak on behalf of all the members of the House and all Canadians when I say that our thoughts are with those injured and with those who lost loved ones in this deadly earthquake.

[Member spoke Spanish]

Lara SweetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, tragically, this past summer we lost our beautiful daughter Lara at age 23. To members on both sides of the House who sent emails, cards, and flowers and attended the visitation and celebration of her life, please know that the thoughtfulness and support were a great comfort to Almut and I at a time of deep grief. On behalf the entire Sweet family, a very sincere “thank you” to the entire House.

Lara's struggle with mental health began at birth and continued until she left this Earth for a new life in heaven. In spite of her own battle, Lara reached out to an extraordinary number of young people with love, hope, and even resources, though her means were minimal. In doing so, Lara reframed my thinking on whether someone has to have it all together to assist others. Lara was the essence of the wounded healer.

I ask all in the chamber to be mindful of those who struggle with mental health. I encourage the government to continue to adequately fund the Canadian Mental Health Commission, and all Canadians to use its tools in time of need. I encourage everyone to be generous to the Canadian Mental Health Association and others who are deeply committed to the fight for mental wholeness.

To Lara, who will be greatly missed by all of us. God bless you.

Lara SweetStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I know I speak for all members in offering our deepest sympathies to my friend, the hon. member for Flamborough—Glanbrook.

Commissioner of the Northwest TerritoriesStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Michael McLeod Liberal Northwest Territories, NT

Mr. Speaker, yesterday in Yellowknife I had the honour of attending the swearing in ceremony for Margaret Thom, the new Commissioner of the Northwest Territories. Ms. Thom, a proud northerner, has been a counsellor at the Deh Gah school in Fort Providence for the past 20 years. I know this small community well, because I also call Fort Providence my home.

Ms. Thom has worked in counselling and education for most of her career and has volunteered her time for far too many events to mention. She has demonstrated leadership with many organizations, including serving as governor of the Aurora College Board, as a member of the Territorial Board of Secondary Education, Akaitcho Hall Advisory Board, and as vice-chair of the Nats'ejee Keh Treatment Centre.

She is the recipient of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal and a member of the NWT Education Hall of Fame and has been awarded the NWT Wise Woman Award.

I send her my most heartfelt congratulations. I know she will do a wonderful job in her new role as commissioner.

Bruce HillStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, it seems that this is a week of reflection and loss. I too rise with a heavy heart today to pay tribute to my very dear friend Bruce Hill, who passed away yesterday morning surrounded by his loving family in Terrace, British Columbia.

Bruce was a great bear of a man, fierce in his defence of the beautiful northwest, who was at his most fearsome when defending the underdog. He was a great personal support for me, and that was most evident when he was giving me hell for not living up to his expectations in defending our home and its good people.

Bruce was a lover of life, great food, and even better wine. He gathered around him a vast and eclectic assortment of friends and troublemakers. Whether leading the fight against devastating projects or working with his Haisla brother, Gerald Amos, to establish true reconciliation, this peaceful warrior was all love. I already feel his absence in my heart today.

Today we mourn with his wonderful wife, Anne, and his two outstanding children, Aaron and Julia.

B.C. WildfiresStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

Todd Doherty Conservative Cariboo—Prince George, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to tell everyone here about the wildfires in British Columbia. They included the longest state of emergency in B.C.'s history. They included the largest mass evacuation in B.C.'s history. Thousands are still out of their homes. Over 1.2 million hectares have been burned by 1,262 wildfires. Over 53 million cubic metres of timber have been burned. An area twice the size of Prince Edward Island has been scorched. Over 30,000 head of cattle are missing or lost altogether. To say the wildfires have taken their toll on our province would not be an understatement.

They have been devastating in my riding of Cariboo--Prince George. Families have lost everything, and some are simply not returning. Businesses are struggling to recover, and some are simply closing their doors.

Now is not the time for partisan politics, but the Prime Minister's ministerial committee has not met with the mayors of regional districts, MLAs, MPs, or those left behind to somehow pick up the pieces.

We may not be on the front page of newspapers or the top headlines in news stories anymore, but now is the time for action.

Allan J. MacEachenStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is my profound honour today to rise and pay tribute to a true giant in Canadian politics. The hon. Allan J. MacEachen dedicated his life to the equality of citizenship, both under the law and with opportunity. He used his peerless parliamentary skills to turn the dreams of a progressive few into a reality to benefit all. A national health care program, old age security, the guaranteed income supplement, and a national labour code are aspects of life in Canada that Allan J. helped to build.

As our Prime Minister said on Sunday, this Canada existed only in the hopes of Canadians when Allan entered politics in 1953. “By the time he left in 1996, it was a fact of life”.

Although he shaped this country at the cabinet table, make no mistake that his view of this world was very much shaped back home at the kitchen table.

I am confident that he is looking down on us here today in this place encouraging us all to be better and to do better for all Canadians.

TaxationOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is fond of saying that his tax changes will not harm the middle class, but hundreds of local business owners are saying that that simply is not true.

These changes will also harm employees since there will be layoffs and work hours will be cut. This will make things even more difficult for young people who are looking for their first job.

Why does the Prime Minister insist on harming those he claims to want to help?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, we currently have a tax system that encourages the wealthy to incorporate so they have a lower tax rate than the middle class. That is a major challenge.

We want a system where business people and SMEs have the opportunity to make active investments to improve our economy and where workers and Canada as a whole are better off.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Regina—Qu'Appelle Saskatchewan

Conservative

Andrew Scheer ConservativeLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this morning I visited Vimy Brewing Company, a start-up business operated by Kevin and Michael, two brothers and former navy reservists. They took a risk and left their jobs to start this new venture, and now they are worried that the Liberals are putting their operation in jeopardy by taxing away their future.

Kevin and Michael are not rich. They are middle-class Canadians, exactly the kind of people the Prime Minister claims he wants to help. Why is the Prime Minister putting the future of Canadian job creators at risk with this increased tax hike?

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Morneau LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, our system currently creates an incentive for wealthy Canadians to incorporate so they can pay a lower rate of tax than middle-class Canadians. That is just not fair. I suspect that the member opposite is okay with wealthy Canadians paying a lower rate of tax than middle-class Canadians. We are not. What we are trying to make sure we have is a system that encourages people to invest in their business so that our economy can be successful so that all Canadians have a fairer system.