House of Commons Hansard #270 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-69.

Topics

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I just want to remind hon. members that heckling is bad, whichever side it comes from. I would ask everyone to respect the person who is speaking.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reality is that the previous government brought a million new jobs, despite the great global recession.

The Liberals inherited massive global and U.S. growth and have delivered nothing but debt as far as the eye can see. Now the world is taking its money out of Canada, and we are losing jobs along with it. Why?

The EconomyOral Questions

March 2nd, 2018 / 11:50 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I will use the line that the minister used yesterday, that the member is entitled to his opinion but not to his facts.

The fact is that over the last two years, 600,000 jobs have been created in Canada. It is the fastest growth in the G7. All of that occurred while making Canada a more just and responsible society, giving more to families who need it the most, and reducing taxes for nine million Canadians. That is a record we can be proud of, and those members ought to listen.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, indeed, let us talk about the facts. In 2015, the hon. member, the parliamentary secretary, and all the Liberal members ran on a platform of running small deficits and returning to a zero deficit by 2019. The reality today is that they are running astronomical deficits and have no idea when we will return to a balanced budget.

It is not just us Conservatives who are fed up with this situation. Those who know how to count think that this makes no sense. Germain Belzile, a lecturer at HEC Montréal, said, “It is quite worrisome for Canada's economy...this government is being very unwise”.

Can my colleague from Louis-Hébert tell us in what year we can expect to return to a balanced budget?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, I can talk to him about the growth we have generated and the infrastructure investments we made in the past two years. That is what we promised. By 2022, our debt-to-GDP ratio will be at its lowest since the late 1970s. We are in the best fiscal position of all G7 countries.

If my colleague wants to talk about economists, we could also cite Serge Coulombe, who recently said on Radio-Canada that it was fiscally responsible to invest as we are doing and to keep our deficit under control by ensuring that our debt-to-GDP ratio continues to decline.

I think that is exactly what Canadians expect and that is what we are doing.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only are economists worried, but so are other finance ministers.

Quebec's finance minister, a Liberal minister, thinks the current government's attitude is short on logic. He says that we must take precautions and when the economy is doing well, balancing the budget is not dogma, it is a necessity. Carlos Leitao, who balanced Quebec's budget, is the one saying this.

I will again ask my colleague from Louis-Hébert a simple question that I am really fond of: on what date will Canada return to a balanced budget?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Louis-Hébert Québec

Liberal

Joël Lightbound LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, if we keep doing what we are now doing, Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio will be at its lowest level since the late 1970s. It is already lower than it was under the previous government.

My colleague recently said that the government was spending a lot of money and did not have much to show for it. I imagine he knows something about that as he is a big fan of Stephen Harper, who added $150 billion to the country's debt and was responsible for the worst GDP growth since the Second World War, the worst job growth since Mackenzie King, and the worst growth in exports.

The facts speak for themselves: 600,000 jobs created in two years and the strongest growth in the G7.

International TradeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Daniel Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised to end the abuse of the temporary foreign worker program, but now they are on the cusp of signing the trans-Pacific partnership, a trade deal that is going to entrench the worst aspects of that program.

Under the TPP, foreign companies are going to be allowed to bring in their own workforce without advertising their jobs to Canadians, without getting a labour market opinion saying there are not enough qualified Canadian tradespeople to do the job. Provincial governments are expressly prohibited from doing any kind of skills testing on these workers.

As a Canadian tradesperson myself, I want to know how it is the Liberals thought it was okay to sell out Canadian tradespeople at the international bargaining table.

International TradeOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Saint-Maurice—Champlain Québec

Liberal

François-Philippe Champagne LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for allowing me the occasion to talk about the CPTPP, which we will be signing next week in Chile.

This agreement opens up a market of 495 million people, 14% of the world economy. People in businesses across our nation will benefit from a new market in the Asia-Pacific. I can assure the member that we have been in discussions with labour unions in this country. We are going to continue to engage with them because we want a strong agreement that works for every Canadian from coast to coast to coast.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, recently, the high Arctic has seen record high temperatures, more than 30° above normal, leading to melting ice in the middle of winter. The Liberals promised to step up and have Canada do its part in the fight against climate change, but they kept Stephen Harper's weak, inadequate targets and they are not even going to meet those. Again, in the budget there was little or nothing for real climate action.

When will the Liberals recognize the urgency and actually do what is necessary to fight climate change?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Ottawa Centre Ontario

Liberal

Catherine McKenna LiberalMinister of Environment and Climate Change

Mr. Speaker, I am extraordinarily proud of our commitment to tackle climate change. After a decade of inaction by the previous government, we have stepped up. We have put a price on pollution across the country. We have phased out coal. We have made historic investments in clean technology, innovation that is going to make a real difference, and we are leading in pushing for ambitious implementation of the Paris agreement on the world stage.

We are all in on climate action. We are serious. We owe it to our kids.

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Shannon Stubbs Conservative Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, 32 B.C. first nations have LNG pipeline agreements, like the $40-billion Kitimat project which will run through Haisla Nation traditional territory, but the Liberals' delays and added costs directed by anti-energy activists put it all at risk. Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith sees a “different future with LNG than the Sierra Club”. She says she sees significant employment for her members, access to education, and a way forward to true self-sufficiency.

Why do the Liberals ignore pro-natural resource indigenous communities and deprive them of economic prosperity, social benefits, and thousands of jobs?

Natural ResourcesOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in the House, we have done more for the natural resources sector and the energy sector particularly than the previous government did in 10 years.

We are working on a new plan with indigenous peoples around resource development to have the ability for indigenous peoples to have a greater say and more impact on the process. We believe that this is the right thing to do. Had the previous government done that and engaged more indigenous people, the northern gateway pipeline would not have been struck down by the courts.

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Kevin Waugh Conservative Saskatoon—Grasswood, SK

Mr. Speaker, as we all know, the Liberal government loves to spend money and make gestures, but this is a question on priorities. Canada has a very serious rural crime issue, yet there was absolutely nothing in the current budget to address this serious problem.

Why does the Liberal government continue to fail rural Canada and those who serve and protect?

Public SafetyOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Ajax Ontario

Liberal

Mark Holland LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that the RCMP has the resources and support it needs to keep our communities safe, whether that is in an urban environment or in a rural one. We are still reeling, unfortunately, from the half a billion dollars that the Conservatives cut from the RCMP, which did real damage to rural communities in keeping them safe. However, in the current budget and in others, we have been rebuilding that infrastructure, rebuilding that resiliency and strength, so that we can provide for our rural communities the service, the support, and the security they deserve.

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Conservative

Joël Godin Conservative Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is as much a part of Canada as the other nine provinces and three territories. The Conservative members from Quebec are the best equipped to defend the interests of Quebec in a unified Canada.

How can this government justify investing $75 million in the maritime provinces, but not in Quebec, to stop the spread of the spruce budworm? This insect does not stop at provincial borders. What scientific study did the Liberal government use to justify this protection for the lumber industry? Why exclude Quebec? Where is the government's logic? How do they explain the unexplainable?

Regional Economic DevelopmentOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Northumberland—Peterborough South Ontario

Liberal

Kim Rudd LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, our government has invested millions to support the forestry sector in Quebec. We invested $87 million to support scientific research, including funding to combat the spruce budworm, and more than $23 million in funding to Quebec to support innovation and transformation in the forestry sector. Most recently, budget 2018 provides $191 million to support softwood lumber jobs. That is in addition to the softwood lumber action plan of $867 million that we are providing to support workers, communities, and companies affected by the unjust American duties.

HealthOral Questions

11:55 a.m.

Liberal

Doug Eyolfson Liberal Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley, MB

Mr. Speaker, March is Nutrition Month, and this year's theme is “Unlock the power of food”. Our food choices are among the most important decisions we make every day for our health. We are seeing significant discussions among Canadians about the role food choices play in a healthy lifestyle. Can the Minister of Health update the House on our government's important actions with respect to healthy eating?

HealthOral Questions

Noon

Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe New Brunswick

Liberal

Ginette Petitpas Taylor LiberalMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley for his work on the health committee and on Bill S-228.

Over the past year, we have launched our healthy eating strategy to make the healthy choice the easiest choice for all Canadians. As part of the strategy, we are updating Canada's food guide, restricting marketing to kids, and making nutrition labelling easier to use and also to understand. This month I encourage all Canadians to learn more about healthy eating and incorporating healthier choices in their diets.

TaxationOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Pat Kelly Conservative Calgary Rocky Ridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, last year's assault by the revenue minister on disabled Canadians has jeopardized registered disability savings plans for many Canadian families that saved their money and received matching grants from the government. Disability tax credit rejections mean that some families that received the credit for 10 years or more will lose their savings plans for the future care of their disabled children.

What is the minister doing to ensure that families of disabled children are not losing their savings plans because of this minister's attack on the disabled?

TaxationOral Questions

Noon

Brampton West Ontario

Liberal

Kamal Khera LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, our party is making sure that all Canadians receive the credits to which they are entitled. The agency is reviewing all disability tax credit applications processed. In the May 2017 clarification letter, the minister reinstated the Disability Advisory Committee, and she participated in the first meeting back on January 24. Experts from around the committee table will have the opportunity to suggest improvements in how the agency and ministers program for Canadians with disabilities, experts the Harper government silenced back in 2006.

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Liberal

Neil Ellis Liberal Bay of Quinte, ON

Mr. Speaker, the EI working while on claim pilot project has been a success for Canadians receiving parental and caregiving benefits, allowing those EI recipients to return to work without jeopardizing their benefits. Could the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development please tell the House how budget 2018 would expand on this project's success?

Employment InsuranceOral Questions

Noon

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member from Bay of Quinte for highlighting the working while on claim program. I am pleased to say that budget 2018 includes a proposal to make it permanent. In fact, not only will existing EI claimants be grandfathered in, but all EI recipients will be eligible, including those receiving maternity or sickness benefits. This way, people can return to work after an illness or the birth of a child and be able to keep more of their benefits. This budget delivers on providing Canadians with a flexible and compassionate EI system.

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Conservative

Colin Carrie Conservative Oshawa, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister blamed the Indian government for making him look bad. Here is a news flash. The PM is doing an excellent job of embarrassing us on the trade file all by himself: softwood lumber, failed; China trade, failed; U.S. trade, failed; and now the Americans have announced devastating tariffs on our steel and aluminum manufacturers. While our PM feels his job is only ceremonial, Canadians are looking for real leadership. Has the PM confirmed that Canada will be exempt from these new devastating tariffs? Jobs are at risk.

International TradeOral Questions

Noon

Orléans Ontario

Liberal

Andrew Leslie LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Canada-U.S. Relations)

Mr. Speaker, as mentioned, Canada is a key NORAD and NATO ally. As the number one purchaser of American steel, any trade restrictions on Canadian steel and aluminum are unacceptable. This industry is fully integrated, and of course, it provides enormous value-added to the North American manufacturing supply chain. Should restrictions be imposed on Canadian steel and aluminum products, we will take, and reserve the right to take, responsive measures to defend our trade interests and Canadian workers.