House of Commons Hansard #260 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was income.

Topics

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be part of a government that makes tax fairness a top priority. We have invested nearly $1 billion in the Canada Revenue Agency precisely to fight tax evasion. I hope that the NDP will join us in taking the appropriate measures to crack down on tax evasion in Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, let me recap the situation for the minister.

Turquoise Hill Resources is a mining company based in Vancouver. It made $2.1 billion in profits and paid exactly zero in corporate income taxes in Canada. Instead, it declared those profits in Luxembourg, which employs one part-time employee. As far as I know, Vancouver is not in Luxembourg.

If a Canadian company does not feel Canadian enough to pay taxes here, why should it be Canadian enough to get loans and grants from the government?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, let me restate the facts for my hon. colleague on the other side.

This is the government that put tax fairness at the cornerstone of our actions. We invested more than $800 million in the Canada Revenue Agency to fight tax evasion and tax avoidance. We would hope the member on the other side would join us in fighting tax evasion and tax avoidance in our country. That is what Canadians expect from us. That is what we are delivering.

TaxationOral Questions

February 8th, 2018 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are giving him a chance to join us today.

Last year, Parliament adopted a NDP motion on cracking down on the stock option tax deduction loophole that costs Canadians a billion dollars a year. Seventy-five of Canada's wealthiest CEOs pocket half-a-billion dollars alone on this giveaway. That is $6 million each.

Meanwhile, Canadians lack affordable housing, pharmacare, child care, and drinkable water in hundreds of communities.

Will the Liberals join with us, keep their promise from 2015 and crack down on this loophole in the next budget?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, it is not by asking the same question that they will get a different response. What I said was really clear. This is the government that has put tax fairness at the centre of our actions. We have invested more than $800 million in the Canada Revenue Agency, because we believe in tax fairness and combatting tax evasion. This is what our government stands for, and I would hope the member on the other side would recognize that and work with us to make sure we eradicate that in Canada.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Mr. Speaker, those were two different questions. This government does not really listen.

The Liberals promised to crack down on notorious tax havens, but instead they signed more agreements with them. This government is signing agreements with the Cook Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada. It is the same agreement, word for word, for all of them. That is shameful.

Why are the Liberals signing new agreements with tax havens when they promised to address that inequality and loss of money?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

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

Liberal

Diane Lebouthillier LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to fighting tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. That is why we invested nearly $1 billion in our last two budgets. The Canada Revenue Agency is now able to assess the risk of all large multinational corporations each year. Every year, it reviews every transaction over $10,000 in four regions that are deemed high-risk. The first two are the Isle of Man and Guernsey.

As far as offshore compliance is concerned, on December 31, 2017, the CRA audited 1,090 taxpayers and launched criminal investigations in nearly 42 cases of tax evasion.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, last night, after the Prime Minister left the country yet again, his entire Liberal caucus, instead of defending ethical standards and the taxpayer dollars, defended the Prime Minister with their shameful vote. Now Liberal MPs are not only whipped by their boss but are complicit in condoning breaking the law without any consequences.

I have a simple question for the Liberals, if they could answer us and maybe their constituents. Just what was it about yesterday's motion that they disagreed with? What did they disagree with in that motion?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, as has been said on numerous occasions, immediately after the report was released, the Prime Minister accepted responsibility and accepted the findings of the report.

What has also been articulated many times, and what the ex-commissioner has recognized, is that these expenses were part of the role of the Prime Minister and were incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister, as has been the case for previous prime ministers.

When it comes to our security agencies, they make recommendations. We take their advice, we take their expertise, and we will continue to do so.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Candice Bergen Conservative Portage—Lisgar, MB

Mr. Speaker, no other prime minister has broken the ethics code and he incurred taxpayer dollars while doing it.

Other members of Parliament, Liberals, in fact, have repaid thousands of dollars when they broke the rules. The only one who does not seem to have to live up to the standard of having consequences for his actions seems to be the Prime Minister. Canadians are left wondering if this is yet another example of a very bad joke by the Prime Minister, this time played on all Canadians.

Why does the Prime Minister act like he is above the law?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, once again, as I have said on numerous occasions, as has been the case for previous prime ministers and is the case for this Prime Minister, whenever and wherever the Prime Minister travels, there are costs related to his security. Security agencies make recommendations. We take their expert advice, and will continue to do so.

It was the Conservatives who demanded an investigation.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

The Prime Minister acted unethically.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Bardish Chagger Liberal Waterloo, ON

Now that the ex-commissioner has released her report, they refuse to accept its conclusions. We, on this side, will accept its conclusions. The Prime Minister has accepted responsibility and we thank the commissioner for doing the important work she did.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Order, please. I think probably the hon. member for Abbotsford has heard me say on previous occasions that members will hear things they do not like sometimes, that they really should not interrupt, and that they should wait for their turn to speak.

The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals voted against the following motion yesterday:

That, in the opinion of the House, when any Member violates the Conflict of Interest Act, including accepting gifts or hospitality (section 11), furthering private interests (section 21), being in a conflict of interest (section 5), and accepting travel (section 12), or violates the Conflict of Interest Code for Members of the House of Commons, and, in so doing, incurs a cost upon the taxpayer, that Member must repay those costs to the taxpayer.

Can the Prime Minister tell us exactly which part of the motion he does not agree with?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, I just said this in English, but I will repeat it in French.

We always accept the advice of our security agencies as to how to best ensure the safety of the Prime Minister. The former commissioner of conflict of interest and ethics acknowledged that these costs were incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister, as has been the case for former prime ministers.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Alain Rayes Conservative Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I do not believe that my colleague listened to the question, because she played the same tape, using the same speaking notes that she has been using for two weeks.

By voting down the motion last night, all Liberal members aided and abetted the Prime Minister and were complicit in his trip to a billionaire's private island with Liberal Party friends and an MP, which cost taxpayers more than $200,000.

Therefore, I will calmly ask the Leader of the Government my question again given that the Prime Minister has not wanted to answer for two weeks: what part of the motion did the Prime Minister disagree with so much that he made his entire caucus vote it down?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, as I have said many times, it was the opposition that asked the former commissioner to investigate, and now that her investigation is concluded and her report tabled, the opposition refuses to accept the recommendations. On this side of the House, we have accepted the recommendations and the Prime Minister has taken responsibility.

As acknowledged by the former commissioner, these costs were incurred as part of the role of the Prime Minister and we accept the security agencies' recommendations.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, Liberal MPs were given the opportunity to stand up for the law and stand up for Canadian taxpayers, and they failed miserably. One by one, they stood to vote against our motion, which demanded integrity and responsibility from politicians. The motion said that when politicians broke the law and cost taxpayers money, they had to pay taxpayers back.

Which part of that did the Liberals disagree with, the part about obeying the law or the part about paying back taxpayers when they break it?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, there was quite the debate that took place in the House yesterday. The opposition, which has a limited number of opposition days to raise issues of importance to Canadians, chose to raise an issue that is important to Conservatives.

We on this side will continue to focus on Canadians. As we know, this Prime Minister and this government will focus on making sure that there is an economy that works for Canadians. We will make sure that veterans have the resources they need and deserve. We will make sure that the immigration system is working to reunite families and bring them together. As the Conservatives continue to focus on this Prime Minister and this government, this government and this Prime Minister will focus on Canadians.

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we believe in respecting the law and respecting taxpayers. The Prime Minister is guilty of breaking the law by accepting illegal gifts, guilty of accepting a ride on a private aircraft, guilty of arranging his affairs improperly, and guilty of conducting illegal discussions about government business. His illegal trip cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars. He has refused to pay back the money.

Why do the Liberals believe that it is the taxpayers who should pay, when they are the ones who break the law?

EthicsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

That is peculiar, Mr. Speaker, because immediately after the report was released, it was this Prime Minister who accepted responsibility, and it was this government that accepted the findings. The Conservatives were the party that chose and demanded that the ex-commissioner investigate. Now that she has finished her investigation and submitted the report, they refuse to accept its conclusions.

We on this side of the House will always respect the work of our officers of Parliament. We on this side of the House will always accept the advice of our security agencies. That is what Canadians expect.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan NDP Edmonton Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have been waiting two long years for the Liberals to deliver on their promise of a strengthened environmental assessment process. There are two adjectives we can apply to the proposed new regime: discretionary and uncertainty. Will a project require an assessment? We cannot know, for a myriad of reasons. The list of projects is eventually developed by regulation. Will the minister hold one if the public is concerned? We do not know. Will there be a joint federal-provincial review, or will the minister merely pass the whole thing to the provinces and let them deal with indigenous concerns? What is the answer?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I have two words to describe what we announced today: better rules. We understand that we need to have a process to review major projects that is based on good science and indigenous traditional knowledge, that we need to be consulting with Canadians, that we need to be working in partnership with indigenous peoples, and that we need good projects to be able to go ahead in a timely fashion. That is exactly what we announced today.

In terms of the project list, we are not just going to develop it ourselves. We are actually going to listen to Canadians, because we need to make sure that the projects being reviewed are those that have a significant impact on the environment and that Canadians have a clear chance to weigh in.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, 28 months ago, the Liberals promised to fix the environmental assessment process, by “[ending] the practice of having federal Ministers interfere in the environmental assessment process”.

Today we learned that, under clause 17 of her bill, the Minister of the Environment has the power not to move forward with an assessment. The minister claims to want to regain the public's trust with this new process, but she is breaking her promise.

How are Canadians supposed to trust her if she is giving herself the power to end any environmental assessment?