House of Commons Hansard #358 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was jobs.

Topics

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not support the member across the way giving misinformation.

When we look at the government's approach to budgets, the budget implementation bills and so forth, what we see is the Minister of Finance, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and many if not all members of the Liberal caucus working with constituents and stakeholders. I believe they have ultimately come together with a budget that is very sound and that Canadians support.

The budget implementation bill that we are talking about is a reflection on the budget itself. I am wondering if the member across the way would, at the very least, acknowledge that the consultation has been thorough throughout all regions of our country.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:20 p.m.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod Conservative Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo, BC

Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ludicrous.

I have already said that this was not in the budget bill of 2018. As I understand, it was not in the budget bill of 2017.

In terms of talking with the first nations, with respect to the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee, public servants are saying, “we have spoken with them personally and we continue to speak with them about the proposal.”

The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee executive is saying, “So out of nowhere, we have this new proposed ATR legislation before the House of Commons.” “Out of nowhere” is what they said.

Again, to suggest that people are being engaged across this country and that this 802-page bill does not have some serious issues that should have had proper process is absolutely wrong.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this discussion during the report stage of Bill C-86.

In essence, Bill C-86 would implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27 and other measures. The bill builds on the commitments made during the last election and speaks to the government's plan to invest in the Canadian people to build an economy that works for everyone.

Although not the topic for discussion today, the fall economic statement tabled last week, which among other things addressed a lot of the immediate business concerns regarding competition with the United States, should be added in. In doing so, one can really see that all of the actions put together, including in Bill C-86, really show Canada as the place to be. It is the country with which one can invest and invest with some security. It is a place to raise a family, It is a country with a bright future for its citizens, building on a progressive social and economic agenda that began with our policy thrust that followed the last election.

Bill C-86 starts with improving tax measures for businesses and individuals to ensure every Canada has a real and fair chance of success. Through this bill, our government would improve access to the Canada workers benefit, modernize the federal labour standards and improve protection of bank consumers.

The member opposite talked about the size of the bill, but to do all the things we needed to do and carry forward from the previous budget, it had to be a substantively sized bill.

Through the bill, we would correct the damage done by the previous government against charities. The bill would now allow charities to pursue their charitable purpose, but also would allow them to be involved in the development of public policy. That will give citizens back their rights to participate fully in our democracy, even though they are part of a charity.

The bill addresses pollution pricing. It further legislates gender budgeting and strengthens our capacity to advance gender equality with the creation of status of women as a department.

The bill also addresses pay equity. The idea of equal pay for work of equal value is a very progressive step in this legislation. I want to highlight the bill's proposed measures to introduce this proactive pay equity legislation.

Our government committed to tabling such legislation by the end of this year. Today we are living up that commitment as we have lived up to so many of our commitments we outlined in the last election. We are going above and beyond the current approach. We are moving from a complaints-based system to a proactive system, which will require employers to regularly review their compensation systems, identify inequalities between jobs mostly held by men and jobs mostly held by women and take action to eliminate them. In this way, we are presenting Canadians with balanced, meaningful and effective pay equity reform.

In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance equality for women, such as employing more women in technology and boosting women's participation in the workforce, Canada would add $150 billion to its economy by 2026. The reality is that better equality for women means a strong economy for all Canadians.

We are delivering a proactive pay equity regime that works for the diverse types of workplaces found in the federal jurisdiction, ranging from the public service to small businesses. As stated earlier, although it is very progressive legislation, it is also good for the economy.

I want to take a moment and turn to a couple of areas that Bill C-86 builds on and adds to that are of special interest to the people in my province. I will start with the Canada child benefit, or CCB.

Compared to the previous system of child benefits, the CCB is simpler, more generous, entirely tax free and better targeted to those families that need it the most. With the CCB, nine out of 10 families with children are now receiving more money each month than under the previous system. To ensure the CCB keeps up with the rising cost of living, we indexed it last summer, two years ahead of schedule. This means the Canada child benefit will provide even more financial assistance to the low and middle-income families that need it most, such as single parent families. The extra support it gives makes a big difference for those working hard to make ends meet, like single working parents. The additional support from the CCB helps pay for things that can make a real difference in a child's future, like nutritious food, sports activities or music lessons.

The government also cut taxes for the middle class, and those cuts are now helping more than nine million Canadians.

By this time next year, as a result of these two measures, a typical family of four will receive about $2,000 more each year in benefits than it received in 2015.

However, there is another factor with respect to the Canada child benefit that is not often talked about, and that is the stress it takes away from the enjoyment of life for low-income families, the working poor that have children, and their ability to do the job and participate in the general community. The Canada child benefit lessens that stress. It gives them the opportunity to fully participate in the social and economic affairs of the nation.

The bottom line is that this means more money in the pockets and bank accounts of hard-working Canadians, more money to help with the high cost of raising their children and more money for them to save, invest or spend in their own communities. We are seeing the benefits of that across the economy. Canada's economy is strong and growing, and our plan is working.

The budget implementation act also includes an important measure that would directly invest in those Canadians who want to work. I am talking about the Canada workers benefit, or CWB, which would allow low-income workers to take home more money while they work. The new Canada workers benefit is a more generous benefit that will replace the current working income tax benefit as of next year. The CWB is designed to encourage more people to enter and stay in the workforce and to help more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class.

Under the new CWB, low-income workers earning $15,000 annually could get almost $500 more in benefits in 2019 than they are getting this year. In addition, the CWB's expanded eligible income range will ensure that more workers are entitled to receive it. This will be a big improvement for those Canadians overall. Improvements in the new Canada workers benefit will lift approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.

Bill C-86, which we are dealing with at report stage, really builds on our commitments made in the last election. It is another step along in the process to ensure that all Canadians have the best chance to participate in our social and economic affairs as a nation, as well as to ensure families are more prosperous and have more tools at their disposal to participate in our great country called Canada.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, they say that people always sing the tune that pleases their benefactor. It is a good Yiddish proverb that applies here. The member for Malpeque happens to have the highest benefactor in the land, the Prime Minister, and he sits as the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, a committee I happen to sit on too.

I want to grab onto a couple of words he said at the very beginning of his speech, a speech I do not think aged very well since it was written. With the Oshawa plant announcement and the closing of it, we cannot be saying that the economy is growing all that fast. However, he talked about the fall economic statement. He knows full well that last Tuesday at committee I moved a motion to invite the Minister of Finance to come and defend the fall economic statement and present to the committee.

Now, that member was not able to vote. However, I want to hear from him why the members on that side of the House, his side, vote against asking the Minister of Finance to appear before the committee.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, we have been very fortunate at the finance committee to have the Minister of Finance come before it many times. He was just there a short while ago for an hour, as were officials after that. I believe it was on the estimates and Bill C-86. As well, as a country, Canadians would want the minister to be out there talking about the programs the government is implementing.

I want to come back to the first part of the member's question. Yes, we are certainly saddened about what happened in Oshawa with respect to General Motors. Things happen in an economy. Sometimes there is a shock to the economy. What this government is doing is investing in the economy so we can be assured, as a country, that we are not tied to one industry or one town. There is no doubt that the government will deal with that problem. We have always tried to be there for the workers in these kinds of situations and have made the necessary investments to ensure business can continue. The fall economic statement addresses that fact as well with respect to ensuring our industries are able to compete with those tax reforms south of the border.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to my colleague's comments with respect to charities. He knows, or should know, that the aspects recently litigated with respect to charities law and the allowance for political involvement of charities were not things introduced into law by the previous government. These were long-standing measures. I know many Conservatives support greater flexibility for charities to be involved in the public policy debate, but this was a question of the previous government involved in litigation related to long-standing principles, which was litigation continued under his government. It is something he maybe conveniently wishes to forget.

On this side of the House, we are very consistent in supporting the right of civil society organizations to be involved in conversations about public policy issues. Why did his government seek to limit that right through its values test attestation as part of the Canada summer jobs program? If it is so committed to allowing charities, not-for-profit organizations, to be involved in public policy conversations even where they may disagree with the government, why did it bring in a values test associated with that program?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

November 26th, 2018 / 12:35 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, what happened with respect to charities in the last term of Stephen Harper should be a subject the Conservatives want to avoid. The Conservative government, under Stephen Harper, clearly attacked the political rights of those who happened to belong to a charity. Was there a witch hunt against those charities by the previous government? I am not sure. However, the fact is that we are trying to allow those charities to do their charity work and also allow them to be involved in the political policy process, which is the essence of democracy. That is what the previous Conservative government tried to take away from those Canadians who belonged to charities.

We are doing the right thing. I am absolutely proud of what we are doing to give charities the right to collect and do good work, but also to participate in the policy discussions of this nation.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:40 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the second budget implementation act of 2018. Of course, this one, like its predecessor, is quite large and has a lot of different things to talk about. I am going to try to spend more time on one aspect of the bill, as opposed to trying to cover the many other aspects of the bill in 10 minutes. If one takes the latter approach, there really is not enough time to say anything of substance at all, which is part of the problem with having budget implementation acts of this size.

The member who spoke previously offered what I think is a pretty timid defence of these kinds of massive budget implementation acts, namely, that there is lot in the budget and that if we want to get all of these things done, we have to put them all in one omnibus bill. Of course, that was not a justification his party subscribed to when the previous government engaged in this kind of activity. If one is trying to be charitable, it is passing strange that, suddenly, that is an acceptable justification. It is also not a very good one.

It is quite obvious, for anyone who has looked at the budget document, to see that it is hundreds of pages long and signals many different policy intentions of the government, some of them quite vague because they were not necessarily very well developed in time for the budget. For the government to later say it can do this because the item in question was mentioned in passing in the budget, I do not think is quite fair.

The budget includes vacuous phrases about helping the middle class, and then we see clauses in this 800-and-some-page budget implementation act that have nothing to do with anything discussed in the election campaign or even in the budget document. The Liberals say that in their opinion this helps the middle class, so it was foreseen in the budget and makes perfect sense to include it in the budget implementation act. Arguments like that do not pass muster, as far as we are concerned on this side of the House. That is why I felt it was important to begin by acknowledging the problem with this kind of massive bill.

Getting into the details of some of what is in the bill and using pay equity as an example—although I think the arguments I am going to make can be applied to various other types of measures in the budget implementation act—one of the problems is the fact that some acts under the government have been heavily time allocated.

At committee, when we are talking about a massive and important change that needs to happen when it comes to paying women fairly in this county, we want time to be able to make sure that we get the legislation right. Why do we want that? It is not so that opposition politicians can spend a whole bunch of time talking in the House. Just because the government drafted legislation does not mean it is perfect. It does not mean that it would do what was intended even with the best of intentions.

We know from the committee process for this bill that a lot of flags have been raised by people who are strong advocates of pay equity, who have been waiting a long time for this legislation and, I think to their credit, who also have been working collaboratively as best they can with the government in the hope that it would get it right, and who are taking the government at its word that it wants to see pay equity implemented in this country.

It was a long wait. For Canadian women it has been a decades-long wait. However, it has been a long wait even within the life of this parliament, because we are over three years into this parliament are only now getting legislation. There is no good excuse for that. In 2004, the pay equity task force of the day did this work and came up with good model legislation, in fact, legislation that is seen internationally as the gold standard and that has inspired and been the resource used by many other countries to implement pay equity, long ahead of Canada who commissioned the work. That is one of the ironies.

The legislation presented in this massive bill got only a limited amount of time at committee, which meant that tough decisions had to be made about prioritizing what would and would not be discussed, and where the effort to make amendments would go and where it would not.

That means that what was presented in this budget implementation act did not get the attention it needs, particularly when people like the president of the Canadian Labour Congress are saying they have worked on pay equity for a long time and that this bill does not do it. That means that Canadian women are going to have to try to straighten this legislation out in the court system, as opposed to having it done here, where it should be done in good faith, a lot more quickly and cost effectively. Who is going to pay for the legal challenges? If the government decides to defend its own inadequate legislation, then taxpayers will be asked to pay for the bad work of the government that could have been improved.

When amendment after amendment was presented in committee by the NDP, working with the same people who worked with the government in good faith over the last three years trying to get them to present decent legislation, those amendments were voted down. For instance, there is qualifying language in the purpose of the act to establish pay equity, such as “while taking into account the diverse needs of employers”. That is nice to put in the bill. We can understand why it seems like a common sense phrase and it would be fine if we were not talking about a fundamental right of Canadian women to be paid fair value for their work.

We do not need that kind of language, which allows for so-called solutions that do not actually meet the bar of paying women fairly, to be implemented under the auspices of this kind of caveat, until it is challenged in court and found not to be consistent with the right of women in Canada to receive equal pay for work of equal value. That is another years-long court battle that will not be free. We are going to pay for that battle when we could have fixed it here. In the meantime, Canadian women are not going to be paid what they deserve to be paid for the work they do. There is a lot of frustration and a lot of ways in that we could have done better.

Similarly, in this legislation, there is language similar to that in Quebec legislation to the effect that when decisions were made about compensating women in the past for their work and they were not paid properly, it would be done between the first pay equity review and the five-year review, limiting the period of compensation to five years. We can see why some people would want that to be the case. It is not fair to Canadian women. We have known for decades that there is a problem. This should have been addressed a long time go, and if it had, we would not have to make huge retroactive payments, but it was not done then. People ought to have acted sooner. In the case of Quebec, the courts found that that kind of provision was not constitutional and did not respect women's right to be paid properly for the work they do.

We already know that this kind of clause does not pass muster. We do not need to include it. We do not need to incite another long legal battle just to get to where we already should be. Above all, it is frustrating to see this from a government that is led by a feminist Prime Minister who believes in pay equity. The government made Canadian women wait three years for this legislation and we already know that this legislation is not good enough.

We see similar frustrating hypocrisies, frankly, when it comes to the Canada Post strike. One of the major issues is a pay equity issue. The government passed back-to-work legislation in the House on Friday above the objections of the union and certainly above the objections of the NDP. There is some terms of reference language around pay equity, but nothing that actually mandates pay equity that the women working at Canada Post deserve, as the court has said as recently as September.

We keep hearing time and time again from Canadian women, Canadian workers and Canadian courts that this needs to be dealt with now. It is a question of justice for Canadian women, who, for too long, have been asked to do work of equal value without getting equal pay. We have a government that says this is what it wants to do and that it wants to honour it, and yet when the time comes to actually getting it done, we are left wanting, knowing that we will have to go back to the same courts that have already said Canadian women deserve fair pay. That is just one example of what is wrong with this bill.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen Liberal Kingston and the Islands, ON

Mr. Speaker, my colleague spent a considerable amount of time talking about pay equity. One of the most important things we can do to achieve pay equity is to make sure that we do not put a burden on women who are raising children. We need to make sure that the right supports are there for child care in particular, as we have heard time and time again.

Early in its mandate, this government brought in the Canada child benefit, which was a great change from the previous government, in that this benefit went to support families that needed it more than families that did not.

How does the member see the role of child care in this discussion around equity in the workforce, and pay equity as it relates to women specifically?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, early in its mandate the government introduced a bill to repeal Bill C-377, but did not repeal it right away. Then, what we heard on Friday was that every assault by the government since then on collective bargaining, whether the tight restrictions it wanted to put on collective bargaining in Bill C-7 for RCMP members or the back-to-work legislation it rammed through on Friday, should somehow be forgiven because it repealed Bill C-377.

Early in its mandate the government brought in the child benefit, which did something for low-income families. The funny thing is that that is not in keeping with the government's theme either. Looking at the changes to parental leave under EI, how are low-income families going to be able to access that? They already have low incomes and cannot afford to live on 33% of their income. The extended parental leave time is for who? Is it for low-income families that want to spend more time at home with each other, or is it for the high-income families the government said it was taking on when it eliminated the original UCB?

This is the thing. Early on, the Liberals implemented a couple of their election commitments to workers and low-income families, and that is now supposed to forgive everything else they do for their Bay Street buddies and big multinational companies. The evidence does not bear out that they are serious about helping real Canadians who are struggling every day.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy hearing from the member. He has very good things to say.

With the Liberal government, we are facing a scenario of rising debt and annual deficits way beyond what were promised. We have rising inflation and rising interest rates. Billions of dollars of investment are being lost in Canada. There is a crisis in our Canadian energy sector, and today we learned what is happening in Oshawa.

Does the member have anything he would like to say in regard to the fact that the Liberal government insists on continuing to borrow against the future of our children and grandchildren?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:50 p.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is a concern. Where the member and I would probably disagree is that the NDP believe there are ways we can mobilize the wealth of Canada to help Canadians without incurring massive debt. That could be done by ensuring that corporations pay their fair share.

That is why in the last campaign we talked about raising the corporate tax rate. We talked about closing the CEO stock option loophole, something the Liberals promised to do and then changed direction on after being elected to government.

That is why we talk often in this place about closing the option that wealthy Canadians have to use tax havens. That is why we speak against the kind of sweetheart tax treaties that Liberal and Conservative governments have signed with countries like Barbados, the Cayman Islands and others. That is definitely a concern.

No great interest is served by ordering Canadian workers to pay a lot of interest to banks of all people, rather than our being honest about raising revenue to pay for things that would help them.

It also means having rules and expectations in place and enforced by contract when the government provides bailouts to companies like GM, rather than letting corporate Canada walk all over us. That was not done. There was no guarantee that in exchange for taxpayer money, GM would keep jobs in the country, and we see the consequences of that today when we hear that thousands of jobs will be leaving.

The government is certainly not a piggy bank for corporate Canada, but unless we have governments that have the courage to stand up to big corporations and impose some limits on them, we are going to continue to see these kinds of problems arise.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

12:55 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here this morning to speak at the report stage of Bill C-86.

We heard the news this morning with respect to General Motors, and the workers and their families are in our thoughts. Our government will do everything we can to support them during this period.

Canadians are an ambitious lot and they expect the same from their government. They expect us to be ambitious. They expect us to be bold. They expect us to be trailblazers. In this globally competitive world in which we work, operate and compete, we know that Canadians can compete and succeed globally, which is what they are doing. We also know that our strong economic performance is not only about a strong economic record of performance; it is also about ensuring that all Canadians benefit from strong economic growth. Yes, our government has been bold on pursuing policies that will ensure a robust and strong future for our economy and our workers and help those middle-class Canadians working hard and those who wish to join the middle class and are working hard, but also to ensure that all Canadians benefit. That is what our government has been about since we were elected in October 2015.

In Bill C-86, our poverty reduction targets are one of the things that defines this government. First, we are aiming to reduce poverty levels to 20% below the 2015 level by 2020 and to 50% below the 2015 level by 2030. That is ambitious. We put out a policy paper on that, “Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy: Opportunity For All”, which I looked at over the weekend. That paper is telling of what our government's values are and the values for Canadians and how we are going to lift up Canadians, but we are also going to ensure that those people who take risks are rewarded.

Corporations are enjoying after-tax profit levels that can be measured by margins at a very high level. They are doing well. Wage growth has rebounded from the previous government's era of policies that basically led to stagnation. Employees are doing well. Workers are doing well. That is what our government is about.

Since 2016, the Canada child benefit has provided an extra $25 billion to families in Canada over five years. The guaranteed income supplement provides $647 million or roughly $3 billion or $4 billion over a couple of years, helping 900,000 single seniors across Canada, our most vulnerable, and lifting hundreds of thousands of them out of poverty. The Canada workers benefit provides $3 billion over five years, lifting 70,000 Canadians out of poverty and helping two million Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are working hard. For someone earning approximately $15,000, that is an extra $500 a year. Those are our policies. That is our values statement on where our government is taking this country.

In 2017, we had 3% economic growth and this year it is around 2% and change. We are going the right way. Recently, the Governor of the Bank of Canada was at the finance committee, a committee which I have the pleasure of sitting on. He stated that our economy is chugging along nicely, benefiting from strong export growth and good business investment levels. We have seen that, and we should be proud of that.

Bill C-86 also introduces a number of measures that will benefit my kids in the future. There is pay equity legislation to ensure equal value for equal work. That would benefit women. My two daughters at home will know that the work they do will be rewarded the same as other work. That is very important and should be applauded. We have said that the ministry for women is a full ministry getting full resources. Again, we must reduce and remove structural barriers that women face in this country. We must also help other countries pursue those endeavours, because we know that for Canada and Canada's economy to truly succeed, all Canadians must be full participants. That includes under-represented groups and all Canadians.

I am proud of Bill C-86. There is a lot in it. There is a lot we went through during committee. There is a lot that will strengthen our foundational economy and move us forward. We will do it in a very measured, prudent way.

As many members know, and many of my colleagues have repeated a few times, I spent approximately 22 years in the global financial markets in New York City and Toronto. I was a credit rating analyst which basically means I looked up the ratings of corporations and sovereigns. Canada's AAA rating is thanks to former finance minister Paul Martin. It has been that since our government many years ago. We will maintain our fiscal anchor, our fiscal target and the targeted debt-to-GDP ratio is going to decline. It is going to hit about 28.5% in the 2023-24 period. Again, we are undertaking measures that will strengthen our economy, help the middle class, help those Canadians wishing to join the middle class. We will do it in a measured, prudent manner. That is what we see in many of the measures in Bill C-86.

One of the things that is emphasized by economists is this thing called the labour force participation rate. We see now in Canada looking at working age Canadians, 15-year-olds to 64-year-olds, we are at the highest rate of labour force participation in our history. Why is that? Yes, we have created 550,000 jobs in Canada, a majority of them full time and a majority of them in the private sector. I say “we” very humbly because it is risk-takers across the country, entrepreneurs, small business owners like the ones in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, very successful people who invest their time and resources, who take risks and yes, hire and employ folks.

What has happened is the labour force participation rates have risen for all groups, including women and under-represented groups. That is what we need to succeed. That is what we are seeing. Bill C-86 contains those types of measures: pay equity legislation which is groundbreaking; a ministry for women; child-rearing drop-in positions; a new parental sharing benefit. It is said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and those provisions are similar to the ones that are used in the province of Quebec. When two parents can share benefits, they get an extra couple of weeks. In Quebec, the labour force participation rate for women is much higher than in other parts of the country. With this, we will improve that. We have learned a measure from la belle province.

On the poverty reduction targets, I cannot emphasize this more than to say that we will be going from one in eight in poverty, about 12% of the population today, to about one in 10 in 2020, which is 10% and we have targeted one in 17, which is roughly 6%. Currently, we have lifted 650,000 Canadians out of poverty by the measures we have introduced in the last three years. That is something worth recognizing, but we need to recognize there is more work to be done.

I often like to say that we have done a lot for our economy. There are a lot of good things. We have created 550,000 jobs. We have attracted a lot of investment. LNG was approved in my home province of British Columbia. I say it is my home province because that is where I was born and raised. However, our work is not done until all Canadians can succeed, have a good job with benefits, good pay and provide for a brighter future for themselves, and most importantly, their families as many of us do here. That is what is important. That is the material in Bill C-86. It was those measures that I had the pleasure of debating at committee.

We have also done some other things that Canadians will benefit from. We have improved their protection when they visit a bank or financial institution. We have introduced measures to make sure that all organizations, all high net worth individuals, pay their fair share of taxes. We continue to do that. We have invested $1 billion into the CRA in the last two or three years to ensure that it has the resources and tools to go after those who are not paying their fair share.

In my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, I am blessed to have a number of entrepreneurs. They are going to benefit in January 2019. We have moved our small business tax rate from 11% down to 10% and now we are moving it down to 9%, a savings of $7,500 annually for small business owners that work tirelessly day in and day out.

Those are my humble thoughts today on Bill C-86 and I look forward to questions and comments.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague knows that both of us share the concern about the issue of poverty. I have asked him about it in the past.

This budget legislates some targets. Of course the government totally bypassed those making less than $45,000 a year. The previous government cut taxes for the lowest marginal rate and we raised the base exemption. These were things that were not done by the Liberal government, and were much more targeted at those who are struggling and who need the tax relief the most.

We hear a lot of talk from the government about legislating goals in terms of poverty. I found this article in the Globe and Mail which I think he might find interesting. It states:

The Liberal government spent $500,000 on outside advisers to come up with a logo, name and branding for a new agency that promises to alleviate poverty...internal documents revealed.

The government spent $500,000 for a logo. I honestly do not even think it is that good a logo. My five-year-old daughter is available to do some drawings next time the government wants to save a little money.

How many people were lifted out of poverty by legislating aspirations and by a $500,000 logo?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his thoughts. He and I actually co-chair the Canada-Holy See Parliamentary Friendship Group. The big message from Pope Francis in a number of his speeches and homilies is for social justice. With that, social justice is helping the poor and helping refugees, helping those less fortunate. That is what is contained in our poverty reduction targets. That is what I would answer to my colleague.

The things we are doing with the national housing strategy, cutting taxes for nine million Canadians and setting targets are things that we need to do as a government. Again, Canadians expect an ambitious government. They are ambitious. We need to act in the same way. Our targets for poverty reduction are bold.

I am glad the member's daughter is a great drawer. I have two daughters and they draw a lot as well.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:05 p.m.

NDP

Sheri Benson NDP Saskatoon West, SK

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for referring in his speech to the important piece of legislation around pay equity. I served on the Special Committee on Pay Equity, which tabled its report in June 2016. It is getting close to two and a half years later and we are finally seeing the legislation.

I want to call to the attention of my hon. colleague how long women have been waiting for their basic human right, and that is to receive equal pay for work of equal value. It is their constitutional right. It has been over 42 years.

Now, with this legislation, much of which did not take into account amendments proposed by our expert witnesses, it has actually watered things down. I do want to call to everyone's attention that Canada did have the gold standard of a pay equity report done in 2004, the Bilson report. Most people who came forward and spoke to the Special Committee on Pay Equity said that the government should implement that report, not redo everything, and actually move forward and start to look at the intersectional issues of pay equity between gender and race.

I just wanted to bring that forward. Could the hon. member comment on the fact that it will be four more years before any pay equity impact lands in the lives of working women?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for that very important question, because ensuring equal pay for equal work is a human rights issue, and our government is addressing it. We are not only addressing it with pay equity legislation contained in the BIA, but we are also addressing it using gender-based analysis when we do our budget. We are also addressing it when we improve EI benefits on parental sharing.

It is not just one measure; it is a number of measures. Currently the ratio is about 88.5¢ for every dollar. We need to close that gap and make sure that women in this country are paid the same, equal value for equal work. We are moving that way.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:10 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be joining the debate. I have been listening to different members provide their views on the contents of the BIA. Some members have elected to go with a more generalist approach and have talked about the economy. Others have focused on specific clauses, and I will do the same. I am going to focus in the latter half of my comments on clause 470, which was debated at the Standing Committee on Finance, and the very specific amendments proposed.

For a lot of BIAs I have seen before the House of Commons proposed by the Government of Canada, one could say lose an hour in the morning and then chase it all day, which is a Yiddish proverb. It means that if one wastes a lot of time at the beginning of the day, one is going to wind up always trying to catch up, which is what the government has done over the past three years. It is always playing catch-up and using its BIAs to play catch-up.

We seem to waste an inordinate amount of time in the House speaking to different pieces of proposed legislation, and the government never seems to have all its ducks in a row. We saw it with Canada Post over the weekend. It just does not seem to be able to schedule important pieces of legislation and actually consult with this side of the House on matters that interest us.

I would call the BIA an epic failure of leadership. It was time allocated speedily into committee. Once it reached committee, there was what I would call a guillotine motion imposed on members of the opposition, which quite a few New Democrats complained about. It was very stringent in how we could look at it. If we took any time to translate briefs, translate recommendations and amend proposals for amendments, it left very little time for opposition members to propose thoughtful amendments. We tried. We proposed many, but all of them were voted down by the government. I will focus on clause 470 and a specific amendment proposed by the member for Foothills, which received broad support from opposition parties who were members of the committee.

This particular BIA, again, is coddling and compounding the problem of the deficit we have. There was a promise made by the Prime Minister that the government would run itsy-bitsy, tiny little deficits, and in 2019, in just 30 or so days, it would be running a balanced budget, which it has failed to do. Not only did the Liberals fail to do anything about it, but as far as the eye can see, we will have further and further deficits. The contents of the BIA will compound that problem.

In 2017, the net debt hit an all-time high of $670 billion. If we include Crown corporation debt, we are actually over $1 trillion in debt already. Per Canadian family, that is $47,612. If we look at what an average single family is earning with a single earner, they are very comparable.

I heard members mention that the CRA was getting extra tools and extra funding. However, the CRA was lambasted and heavily criticized last Tuesday in the Auditor General's report, which said that with the billion dollars spent on salaries for extra auditors, there were two systems: one for regular Canadians, and one for the monied elite and lobbyists. If people have a problem with the CRA, like some of my constituents, it will chase them down for every single penny owed and make sure that they pay. It will garnish their wages if it has to and take it straight out of their bank accounts. However, if one happens to have an offshore bank account, perhaps in the Caribbean, and has difficulty completing filing or is not on time, the CRA will give one months or years or maybe just close the file and not bother to follow up. Every single year, for the past three years, the CRA has been ticking upwards in its inability to collect taxes, so it is simply writing off billions of dollars it finds it is incapable of collecting.

Back in my home province of Alberta, “build that pipe” is fast becoming the motto or slogan of our province. The Prime Minister experienced it last week when, for the first time I think in a very long time, we saw thousands of Calgarians take to the streets to protest his speech at the Chamber of Commerce. I can say that he did not do well at all. It was quite a frosty reception he received from the business community. Among the protesters, we saw a lot of people in business suits who had come out at lunch time just so they could protest the Prime Minister. Again, in this BIA, there is nothing for them.

To the clause I want to talk about, I think a lot of Canadians will be quite surprised to learn that there are two different sets of systems for bereaved parents. The first system, we are told by officials, is 17 weeks of maternity benefits if one happens to lose a child through a death. That does not apply to fathers, who get five days. They get three paid days and two unpaid days. That seems patently unfair when the member for Foothills offered up an amendment to provide 12 weeks of bereavement leave, regardless of whether it was a mother or father.

We actually suspended the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance for it to be dealt with, clause by clause, at the end of the day, which we did. Eventually, the members of the government caucus voted against providing equality for bereaved fathers in a situation where they have lost a child, for whatever reason that is. It was a very reasonable amendment proposed by the member for Foothills.

Certain members of the government caucus questioned how they could make a decision to provide 12 weeks of bereavement leave if they did not have all the information, when there was so much in the BIA they were already doing. There is leave provided, 104 weeks, for instance, that would be adjusted, in cases where a child has been killed as the result of a crime. In those cases, 104 weeks is be provided to either parent.

In a case where a mother loses a perinatal child, a baby, she is eligible for up to 17 weeks, under the maternity benefits. However, after 17 weeks and a day, she is not eligible for more. The Conservative amendment that was proposed would have fixed that. It would have provided either parent with an opportunity to grieve for the child they lost, bury him or her, and take care of the other children, if they had any.

Members will know that my youngest daughter passed away in August. Therefore, this was of particular interest to me, because a lot of dads and moms have contacted me over the past few months, both to share their sadness and to explain their experience with the Government of Canada system and the different workplaces they have been in.

I wonder why members on the opposite side would continue to insist that we vote against this particular amendment on clause 470. It was very reasonable. Again, they said that they simply did not have enough information. I would point out to them that the BIA is almost 900 pages long, and because of the guillotine motion, a programming motion that only provided a few weeks to consider the vast contents of this piece of legislation, it is impossible for any member to honestly say that he or she has read every single line and understood every single component. I will admit to not understanding all the components, and I am focusing on those of the greatest interest to me. When I suggested that we delay clause-by-clause consideration just an extra day to get a Department of Justice opinion on whether the 17 weeks and the 12 weeks conflicted, which was one of the arguments for voting against the motion, I was told that it was unnecessary, and we proceeded to a vote, and it was voted down.

The reason I bring it up here is that I will quite gladly vote against this BIA because of procedural tricks like this, procedural tricks the Government of Canada and the Liberal Party expressly said they would not use. I would remind the Liberal members that I have probably read their platform much more closely than they have. On page 30, it states, “We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.” It goes on to say, “We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.” It speaks specifically about omnibus legislation, which they have here again.

The Speaker elected, for the second time now, to split out portions of the omnibus bill because they did not match the budget. In my office, whenever a BIA is presented to us, we go through it to compare it to the budget document to see what is actually in the budget and what is in the BIA to make sure that the Liberals live up to the promise of not engaging in procedural tricks.

I will gladly vote against this piece of legislation, because it is unfair to dads and unfair to those who are grieving for a child they have lost and because the Liberals are again engaging in procedural tricks, which they expressly said they would not do.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I believe the government has been very faithful in the commitments it made to Canadians last year, especially relating to all budget matters, such as the commitment to Canada's middle class with respect to tax breaks. Today we heard other Conservative members ask about those who are making less than $45,000. All I need to do is remind my Conservatives friends of the Canada child benefit program or the guaranteed income supplement, which have been profoundly positive for them.

The member talked specifically about the size of the budget implementation bill. We passed Standing Orders that in essence allowed the Speaker to take into consideration, in a very real way, the need to break it up where it was deemed necessary, for the first time in years. Stephen Harper, as prime minister, never ever supported amendments coming from the opposition benches. That is quite the opposite of what has happened under this administration.

Would the member not agree that the reason he is voting against this budget implementation bill is because of Stephen Harper and his leadership? The Conservatives were going to vote against it no matter what the contents were.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member brings up the changes to the Standing Orders. He knows it is basically an indictment of the Liberals' own process, because it means that they do not trust the Minister of Finance and his department to get the job done properly in the first place and go through the budget bill and make sure that the BIA is consistent with it. It is an admission of failure once again.

The member mentioned those earning $45,000 and less and then brought up the child benefit, which only applies if one has children, and the GIS, which only applies if one is retired, 65 and over. Anyone else who is a working stiff, who is just trying to get by, does not get anything. Actually, that person gets slammed with a higher cost of living. Study after study has proven that the Liberal government is layering extra costs onto low-income Canadians.

To his point about amendments, maybe he should talk to the members of the Standing Committee on Finance about clause 470 and the amendment proposed by the member for Foothills that was refused on spurious grounds that did not provide equality for fathers who are grieving the loss of a child. That is the type of amendment that should be passed by the House, because it is not a partisan issue.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member makes a great point about poverty. The way the Liberals approached the child benefit, and it is a good thing they finally came on board in supporting something we did, which was bring in the universal child care benefit, was to change it in certain ways and repackage it. However, at the very least, it was one area where they saw the light, to some extent, which was that giving support directly to parents was better than giving it to bureaucracies.

I am very struck by what the member had to say about equality for fathers. I am a father. I have young children. He is a father as well and has been through a situation that relates very particularly to the provisions he talked about. It is so frustrating when we hear in certain quarters, perhaps socially or in government policy, the presumption that somehow the role of fathers is not important or that fathers would feel less bereaved in a situation of losing a child or that, in general, the engagement of fathers with their children is somehow less important than it is for mothers. I think the member feels the same way I do about that. We hear it come up in certain social conversations and situations. It is something that is wrong. It undermines the role of fathers, and it needs to be pushed back on.

Given the discussion of gender equality and so many other things we discuss in the House, could the member speak to how Liberal members could vote down an amendment that recognizes the role of fathers in their children's live and recognizes that equality?

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member asks an important question. I even asked officials at committee whether there was a gender-based analysis done. They could not answer the question, because they simply did not know.

The member for Vaughan—Woodbridge talked about his daughter being quite the artist and how she could have provided a much cheaper option for the government on the FinDev logo than was provided. It is just another case in point. I think we could go to kindergarten and grade 1 classes in our ridings and offer up a MP competition to save the government a little money. It is an example. He knows his daughter quite well. He knows her likes and dislikes. We are heavily involved in the raising of our kids, and we take great pride in it. I think all members in the House take great pride in it.

When we are given an opportunity at a committee to come together in a bipartisan way to vote for providing grieving parents with greater benefits, we should do so.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:25 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to speak to the fall economic statement, and to bring some facts to the discussion.

The 2018 fall economic statement is proof our government is creating real change for Canadians. Our government's plan to strengthen the middle class and grow the economy is working, and the results speak for themselves. Across Canada, more Canadians are working than ever before, wages are growing and middle-class Canadians have more money to save, invest and grow the economy.

In 2017, Canada had the strongest growth of all G7 countries. At 3% annually, we are projected to remain among the fastest-growing economies in the coming years.

In the past three years, our government has created more than half a million new full-time jobs. As a result, the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest in 40 years. Not only that, employment gains by women have been especially strong and the level of employed Canadian women is at its highest in history.

Our government is also ensuring current wage growth is outpacing inflation, which improves the quality of life for all Canadians. These results speak for themselves. Since 2015, we have seen a strong and steady growth in both the economy and in job creation. Our government is committed to continuing this progress.

The fall economic statement is also proof our government provides tangible and valuable support for Canadian businesses and international investments. Since 2015, we have committed to funding Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to help them explore new export opportunities.

In July 2017, we implemented the Canadian free trade agreement, which reduces barriers to internal trade in goods and services, investments and worker mobility from all provinces. This is important because if we cannot trade internally and we do not have internal mobility, how will we survive externally?

Through the federal development business innovation initiative, our government has provided mentorship, entrepreneurship, support and financing to help new businesses grow and succeed. In November last year, I had the pleasure of announcing a $400,000-investment in Clear Blue Technologies in my riding of Don Valley East. This small and medium-sized enterprise is leading the way on climate adaptability, by making effective use of sustainable and renewable sources of energy. This is the new economic way, and it will play an important part in shaping Canada's future economy.

Through our government's contribution, this company has been able to expand its marketing activities and sell its technologies to a broader range of international clients, including Côte d’Ivoire. The project alone is expected to create up to 33 full-time jobs. It reinforces our government's commitment to supporting innovative businesses, while advancing our support for the clean technology sector.

As a government, we work hard to ensure the economic well-being of Canadians, as well as that of the businesses, remains our priority.

Also, one of the government's top priorities is to ensure Canada is the top destination for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs and prosperity. We have created the strategic innovation fund, which has since proven successful in attracting and supporting business investment in Canada. Over the past years, several international corporations have invested in Canada, including Amazon, Thomson Reuters, Google, Toyota, UPS and Microsoft, increasing the number of full-time jobs.

On international trade, we have successfully negotiated the CETA, the CPTPP and the USMCA. Statistics indicate that one in every eight Canadian jobs is tied directly to international trade. This amounts to approximately two million jobs in the economy. In Don Valley East, I had the pleasure to announce the grants given to six SMEs that were export ready. They have taken advantage of the trade agreements and have been utilizing markets within the CETA, the CPTPP and the USMCA.

As well, we have reduced small and medium-sized enterprise taxes from 11% to 9%. This has given the impetus for small and medium-sized enterprises to hire more employees. Our government is committed to improving the lives of Canadians on a day-to-day basis.

In 2016, we introduced the Canada child benefit, which is a monthly tax-free benefit designed to help families with the high cost of raising children. To date, the CCB, as it is called, has helped lift more than 500,000 people, including 300,000 children, out of poverty. We have also indexed it to inflation. In my riding of Don Valley East alone, the results have alleviated 17,000 children out of poverty and 9,000 families.

Our government has launched Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, a commitment to $40 billion over 10 years to provide affordable housing to needy Canadians. As well, in May of this year, we launched the new 10-year, $13.2-billion national housing co-investment fund, which will provide low-cost loans and financial contributions to support and develop mixed income, mixed tenure and mixed use affordable housing. This initiative alone is expected to create up to 60,000 new housing units and repair up to 240,000 units of existing affordable housing.

In my riding of Don Valley East, the impact has been the repair of 68 townhouses and buildings managed by the Toronto Community Housing, as well as repairs to seniors' buildings. I was at 16 Concorde and the residents were proud to let me know how our investment in infrastructure had helped them make improvements to the buildings. I heard similar stories of gratitude from residents of 2020 and 2040 Don Mills Road.

Seniors are an integral part of our economy and it is therefore important for us to treat them with dignity. That is why our government increased the guaranteed income supplement top-up payment by up to $947, which has benefited nearly 900,000 low-income seniors. We have also appointed a Minister of Seniors to ensure they get the attention they deserve.

The fall economic statement marks the next steps in our plans. With our 2018 fall economic statement, our government is committed to enhancing confidence in Canada by supporting Canadian businesses as they grow and expand into new markets.

We have come a long way from 2015 when the Harper government, which had inherited a $13-billion surplus from its predecessor, whittled it down and left us in deficit, increasing the debt by $156.5 billion. We are ensuring that our investments give us a return on investment.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I want to challenge the last claim the member made with respect to comparing the fiscal record of the previous government to the current government. It is as if the Liberal government forgot about the global financial crisis. It is as if it forgot that happened and that what happened in late 2008, early 2009 was a government suddenly deciding to spend more money for some reason.

I wonder if the member thinks the deficits run in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis had anything to do with global financial events. Does she remember how the Liberals and the New Democrats at the time were pushing the government to spend not less but far more? Does she remember how, in the context of a minority government, the previous government included a timely, temporary and targeted stimulus package that brought us back to a balanced budget? Maybe she will recall how it was her party that thought we should spend far more during those years.

Motions in amendmentBudget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2Government Orders

1:35 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is a revisionist's history to which my hon. colleague is referring. The bottom line is that one cannot whittle away $13 billion in surplus. In fact, the Harper government did not even recognize there was a financial crisis in 2008. The Conservatives were the worst economic managers, and any economist will say that, and Harper had the second worst record after former Prime Minister Mulroney.

We were a basket case in the Mulroney era and then the Chrétien-Martin government rebuilt the economy, leaving a surplus. However, the type of revisionist and la la land economics the member is indulging in is not even plausible.