House of Commons Hansard #279 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pipeline.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:55 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity today to discuss the budget. First, I would like to talk about some things having to do with gender equality.

The budget bemoans the unequal sharing of caregiver responsibilities. Page 45 of the budget notes that 92% of EI parental leave is paid to women, while 8% is paid to men. The gap between 92% and 8% is very large, but there is nothing to indicate that it is the result of sexism or lack of autonomy. Most women claiming EI parental leave benefits are relatively young, between 25 and 34 years old. These women grew up in a relatively different world from that in which many members of the House grew up, especially in terms of equal opportunities for women. About 34% of these young women have a university degree, compared to 26% of men the same age. The young women most likely to have children today have a huge educational advantage over men.

However, they are also much more likely to take parental leave. Why is that? Maybe it is because they want to. Maybe it is a personal choice, and that is all there is to it. Maybe in the privacy of the discussions that take place between couples, women are statistically more likely to express a preference for spending more time with an infant child. Some ideologues might see this as a problem resulting from patriarchal social programming, but I would argue that as long as women are freely making this choice, there is no problem. I would note as well that parental leave is for those caring for newborns. It may be that the division of caregiving responsibilities is somewhat different for older children. Perhaps women are more likely to take on caregiving responsibilities for infants because some women choose to breastfeed.

In practical terms, if a mother wants to breastfeed her child, we can hardly expect her not to take parental leave. I am sure that the government and private-sector employers can do more to make it easier for women who must breastfeed their children at work. This will not change the fact that is is still not feasible for the non-breastfeeding parent to care for the child and to bring the child to the breastfeeding mother's workplace every time the child is hungry. Most families face these types of practical considerations and must take them into account when they are allocating childcare responsibilities.

In an attempt to increase the GDP, the government has presented a budget that restricts women's latitude by reserving part of the parental leave for each of the parents. It creates a restrictive system instead of a system in which parents have the choice to share parental leave as they see fit. Our approach is to give people more freedoms, not less, because we believe that the quest for equality is about promoting well-being, autonomy, and equality itself. It is not about promoting an ideology or increasing the GDP.

The leader of our party introduced a private member's bill to eliminate taxes on the EI benefits paid during parental leave, regardless of who is taking the leave, when it is taken, or for what reason.

I have made these points before, and I think they are particularly important. When I have spoken about the problems with the government's proposed change to the way that parental leave works, I have had a lot of positive feedback from young parents, young women in particular.

However, one young woman said that this was clearly a budget designed for women, written by men. In other words, it speaks about gender equality, but it does so in a way that is out of touch with the practical realities that young families experience. It introduces changes to the way parental leave works that limits the flexibility that families have. By spending money and introducing what it calls a “use it or lose it” approach to parental leave, it says it has to be divided up in a particular way if they are going to get all of it, as at least some of it has to be allocated to each person.

Of course, this does not work for single parents, families where, for various reasons, one person may be unable to take the leave as it presently exists. Members of Parliament cannot do that. We just had our third child, and it had to be my wife who took all of the parental leave because of the nature of the position I am in. With the nature of her work, she was able to do that. The inflexibility of the system that the government is proposing is out of step with what many people are looking for.

Now, why did this person I spoke to say that this is a budget designed for women but written by men? Part is of is that what many young parents are looking for, in particular when it comes to parental leave and the way they approach work in general, is a greater degree of flexibility. They are not looking for the government to dictate and limit their choices to a greater degree. They are looking for greater flexibility. Many young women want to be able to work and earn income, and they also want to have a greater degree of flexibility from the stereotypical traditional job, where they have to get up early and commute, not working from home.

Many people I spoke to are looking for an ability to have earned income, but to do so in a way that is more flexible. I think that is true for all parents. It is something that we as policy-makers could do a better job of recognizing and responding to, trying to find policy changes that enhance flexibility rather than inflexibility.

I was thinking about this, and we need to get beyond this sort of old paradigm about the way that parents choose to divide up their relationship between working outside the home or being with their children. This was an old paradigm, and parents were stuck. They were either a stay-at-home parent and did not earn income, or they were a parent working outside the home, having to be away. They did not have any flexibility.

That old paradigm, because of changes in society, but also because of changes in technology, is very much breaking down. More and more people are able to work from home, and it is much easier to do so. It is practical and realistic for someone to be at home with their family during the day and yet have their own home-based business, or to perhaps have that flexibility to be at an external workplace some of the time and work from home at other times.

This is what more and more people are doing, and it responds to the desire that people have for that flexibility, to be able to be both at home and earning income at the same time.

To some extent, this was my reality before getting elected. I was the vice-president of an opinion research company that was based in a different city. We did not have a local office. I appreciated the opportunity to be able to be at home, and to be working from home. We had hired child care at our house but, at the same time, I was present. If there was a situation where I was needed, then I could be involved in some way. It was only my older daughter at the time, and since then our family has grown.

The reality for more and more parents is that they are looking for flexibility, and wanting more parental leave is an expression of that flexibility. I would argue that rather than worrying about this pursuit of greater flexibility by parents, we should recognize and celebrate it as a choice that people are making. We should also recognize that despite the old model under which a person had to choose between either being at home or working outside of the home, the opportunity to more easily work from home provides parents with more choices. It provides more people with the ability to work, if they wish to, while also being present at home if they wish to be.

Policy-makers, through budgets, should look for ways of supporting people who want to have that greater degree of flexibility. One of these ways might be to make it easier to earn income while on parental leave. Rather than limiting flexibility in the way that the government proposes to, what about making it easier for someone to access parental leave while still taking some files home? I have talked to women in my riding, for example, who felt it was very important to take parental leave, but who also said it would have been easier if they could have taken some files home from work in the context of that leave. They were not able to do that because of the way the leave was structured; there was a very aggressive clawback for any earnings they made. That would be one thing we could do if we were thinking in the direction of improving flexibility instead of increasing inflexibility.

Another way would be to simplify the working from home tax benefit. Right now, the tax deductions associated with using one's home as a workplace are very complicated. We could develop a simplified formula to make that easier, so that the people who are considering working from home could quickly make that calculation and realize they would derive a benefit from it.

In general, I think the right approach is to listen to what families are telling us, and listen to what the reality is for many young parents. They want to be able to continue to work, have flexibility, and share responsibilities, but not be constrained in how they do it. That involves a very different approach from what the government is doing.

Why is the government proceeding in the way it is? It seems less to me about equality and more about GDP. It talks about getting more people into the workforce and that this will increase GDP. What we should be doing is increasing empowerment, giving more flexibility and choice to people. However, rather than using the “use it or lose it” approach of the government, if we gave more flexibility to the people, I think we would see an increase in GDP as well. I do not think that is what we should be aiming at, but that is a desirable ancillary benefit.

Having discussed these particular issues around gender equality in the budget, I want to speak more broadly about the problems we see in this budget. Again, let us be clear. The government promised that it would run three deficits of less than $10 billion, and that in the final year it would balance the budget. What do we have? We have no plan to balance the budget ever. Its balanced budget will be later than flights out of Toronto were this weekend. There is no plan for this to happen at any point in the future. The government thinks that is okay, because it says it is investing. A plan to spend money, which is what this is, should be a plan, in that it should have a clear-sighted set of constraints and timelines. Every single province in this country either has a balanced budget or a date by which they plan to get to a balanced budget. We might be skeptical in some of those cases about whether they will realize it, but every province either has a balanced budget or a timeline in terms of when they are going to get there. This is apparently the only finance minister in the country who does not think he needs to have that timeline, or at least he is not able to present it.

We need to have a balanced budget, and we need to have the associated stability to encourage investment over the long term. When individuals see rising taxes and an inability to balance the budget, it has a negative effect on investment, and we have seen the impacts of that.

What also has a negative impact on investment is when the government seems to no longer understand the importance of nation-building infrastructure. A central part of how this country became what it is was because of the vision of Sir John A. Macdonald, our first prime minister, our first Conservative prime minister, who realized we needed to have the national infrastructure associated with the railway for security and economic reasons so that essentially Canadians could access each other, protect each other, and do business with each other.

Pipelines, what we have been talking about so much today and in recent days, are the nation-building infrastructure of the 21st century. They are what allow us to prosper together. On this side of the House, we embrace the idea of pipelines as vital nation-building infrastructure that allow the whole country to prosper together. We have members from all across this country who understand this and are proud supporters of our position on it.

What has the approach been of the government? It directly killed the northern gateway pipeline, a pipeline that had already been approved by the previous Conservative government. It indirectly has been killing other pipelines. It killed the energy east pipeline by piling on conditions. Now the Trans Mountain pipeline is at risk through the Liberals' neglect and lack of action. What the government has now said is that it is considering nationalizing it.

It has become clear that the government has no interest in actually building pipelines. When it sends a signal that the only way it can build a pipeline is by nationalizing it, that is not exactly a positive signal to send in terms of investment. How about the government focus on enforcing the law, on having a plan to making those investments secure. How about the Liberals take a consistent position where they actually support the nation-building infrastructure we need in terms of energy east and the northern gateway pipeline.

I was recently in New Brunswick. At least one member of the government was annoyed and complained to the newspaper that I was in New Brunswick talking to his constituents. I will not apologize because I think it is part of my job to hear what constituents in Liberal ridings are saying, especially when what they are saying is not reflected by their MPs. I was in New Brunswick, and there is a great deal of demand on the east coast and across this country for the energy east pipeline for the kind of benefits that come with nation-building infrastructure.

I said that the government is not making much progress in building pipelines. I should make one exception to that, of course. It put hundreds of millions of dollars into the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which is a Chinese-controlled development bank that is building a pipeline in Azerbaijan. Canadians are investing in an infrastructure bank that is building infrastructure in Asia, that is building a pipeline in Azerbaijan.

I do not think that is what people thought Liberal MPs from Alberta meant when they said that they would support pipelines. When members, like the member for Edmonton Centre, said that they would support pipelines, I think people in Edmonton Centre thought that meant here in Canada, not in Azerbaijan. Instead of getting infrastructure built here in Canada, instead of getting pipelines built here in Canada, in its desperate bid to curry favour with all kinds of unsavoury regimes, including in this case the PRC regime, the government is spending money to get Canada into this infrastructure bank to build infrastructure such as pipelines in Asia, infrastructure that it is not building here in Canada.

This is an important issue. This is a lot of money we are spending overseas. What is the government's rationale for joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? It says it is because Canadian companies can then get opportunities associated with these infrastructure projects. Well, I say that Canadian companies can get those opportunities here in Canada. I will also say that I was in the headquarters of the Asian infrastructure bank in Beijing, and it told us that it already has open staffing and open procurement policies, which means Canadian businesses can already bid on those same opportunities regardless of whether Canada gives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to those programs.

This is a misguided budget. It does not help Canadians. It invests in totally the wrong areas. That is why I am proud to oppose it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 16th, 2018 / 6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Madam Speaker, I must say that I am very impressed with the hon. member's French, and I am going to try to get to the level that he is able to speak it. I know it is something that he has really committed a lot of time to, and I think it is very important and I commend him for that.

With respect to today's topic, the Liberal government was very clear in our platform that we were going to invest in Canadians. It was a different approach than that of the opposition members, but we were very clear that was the approach we were going to take. The reason we did that is we believed it was the best investment we could make. We believe in Canadians and knew they were good investments to invest in Canadians. The result was 600,000 jobs created since 2015, over 300,000 children raised out of poverty with the Canada child benefit, which will be indexed with this BIA. Over 70,000 workers approximately will be raised out of poverty with the Canada workers benefit. We have the best balance sheet in the G7, with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio.

Does the member not believe in making these investments in Canadians and the middle class or does he deny the results?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, sometimes in political debate we get caught up in the jargon and use phrases that have been focus grouped in detail but are not at all clear as to what they actually mean.

The member spoke about investing in Canadians. A suggestion for investing in Canadians is to cut their taxes. That would be an investment in Canadians that I think a lot of people are looking for. We see all kinds of ways in which the government is increasing taxes on Canadians so that it can fund a narrower group of people. For example, the government is spending $1 billion on superclusters. It is giving money to big corporations, when what we have seen is that the most effective way to grow the economy is not by giving subsidies to superclusters and picking winners and losers in the economy, but by giving Canadians back more of their own money so that they can then invest and spend on things that are important to them.

With respect to what the member was talking about in terms of results, I will say that the status of the economy is always affected by a wide variety of different factors. I know, for example, that the members opposite wanted to entirely blame the Conservative government when there was a global financial recession. However, we are seeing worrying indicators in terms of business investments that are a direct result of the policies of the current government that will have a negative impact over time, and I think many analysts know that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Madam Speaker, I am going to resist the temptation to pick up on the pipeline debate and will go to the bulk of the presentation by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, which I thought was a really interesting discussion around child care in a budget that is supposed to be about gender. I think we really do need to look at what kind of child care arrangements the Government of Canada can help facilitate, recognizing, as he said, that one size does not fit all. I was disappointed that in a budget that was about gender there were not the funds that we need to create the opportunity, for those families that want it, to have high-quality early childhood education enriched child care.

To push the point a little further, I wonder what he thinks of the Green Party's policy, which is to promote opportunities for workplace child care, with tax benefits to employers where the situation is appropriate, such as not in a high-risk environment. A lot of workplaces can provide workplace child care so that the mom or the dad has the advantage of much more time in close proximity to his or her children when at work.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I will also resist the temptation to comment on pipelines. I am sure my friend and I will have plenty of opportunity to discuss them in the future.

In terms of child care and looking at what options the government can facilitate, I think that parents are the best child care decision-makers. I think there are a lot of different types of child care arrangements that can work. The member spoke about one that I think is reflective of the kind of flexibility people are looking for.

For some people, their ideal would be to work from home, over the Internet or phone, while having their children there. For some people, the ability to bring their children with them to work is important. It may be more realistic in the context of the kind of work they do. I see a cultural shift happening where it is more and more acceptable to bring one's children to things, even things that in the past people may have raised their eyebrows and wonder why a child was there. From time to time, I will bring my children to meetings that I have. When we have round tables in my office, from time to time, we try to set it up so that there are toys and parents can bring their kids to play while the parents are participating in political discussions. I think those kinds of things are important.

From a government perspective, in terms of the spending power of the government, let us not decide where the ball is going. I do not think we should be picking winners and losers in terms of the economy. I also do not think we should be picking winners and losers in terms of the kind of child care arrangement. We should be looking for a way to support families in the context of the flexibility that they expect. The way we initially proposed to do that was by providing direct support to families, but there may be other ways, such as tax credits around initiatives that are undertaken by employers. Again, seeking the greatest possible flexibility in the context of how we do that is the way we should go.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague, whom I recently had the chance to get to know better during an international trip we took together.

I know that politically we are not necessarily on the same page. To me, for example, socialism is not a bad word. It is something we can consider in the fight to achieve a balanced budget and increase the government's tax revenues.

I would like to know whether he believes that the Liberals broke their promise by not closing the tax loopholes that allow the CEOs of the largest companies, who earn millions of dollars annually, to not pay their fair share of taxes, when workers and the middle class do not have access to these measures and options. The Liberals promised to close the loopholes, but that did not happen in the last budget. I would like my colleague's comments on this.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, I certainly enjoyed getting to know the member, the NDP House leader, and others better on our recent trip. I could go further into that, but as we established, what happens in Ramallah stays in Ramallah.

Do I agree that the Liberals have broken their promises? Absolutely they have and in so many different areas. While we have a philosophical disagreement on many points with the NDP, I think we can agree on this point. We have a government that thinks it can take more and more from Canadians in taxes and that somehow that will benefit Canadians, and that by giving money to well-connected insiders and to those connected with superclusters, somehow that is going to benefit those who need it the most.

I think it was our finance critic, the member for Carleton, who said it best in that the Liberals have a theory of trickle-down government, that if the government has it, somehow it is going to benefit the majority of Canadians. Our belief is that investing in Canadians actually involves letting them keep more of their money in the first place. That is what we think a budget should do, and we are disappointed that it does not do that.

Yes, absolutely across the board, especially when it comes to the Liberals' commitment with regard to running a balanced budget by year four, the government is far out of step with many of the things it promised.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Madam Speaker, I have a short question. My daughter is turning one on Saturday. I was wondering, if the Liberals are allowed to continue down the same path, will there be balanced budgets and pay equity by the time my daughter turns 18?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, my hope is that we will have a Conservative government after 2019, which will balance the budget in due course. However, if, against the odds, we are stuck with Liberal governments for longer than that, I think we will have to wait for our grandchildren at least before we have a balanced budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:25 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member of Parliament for Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook.

I appreciate the opportunity to discuss Bill C-74 and the measures of budget 2018.

With the budget and with this budget implementation act, we are taking the next steps in the government's plan to grow and strengthen the middle class by promoting equality, investing in the economy, and the future.

Before I speak about the contents of the bill, I would like to walk hon. members through some important numbers that show our plan to grow the middle class is working. My riding of Surrey Centre has one of the youngest populations. It is a middle-class riding and it is an emerging centre of innovation. The proof is in the numbers.

Over the last two years, hard-working Canadians have created nearly 600,000 new jobs, most of them full-time. Unemployment rates are near the lowest levels we have ever seen in over 40 years. I am proud to say that since 2016, Canada has led all the G7 countries in economic growth. Our plan is working because Canadians are working. As a result, we are able to continue to invest in the things that matter to Canadians, while making steady improvements to the government's bottom line.

Let me also reassure hon. members that the government is being diligent in ensuring Canada remains the best place to invest, create jobs, and do business. We know that Canada's future success rests on ensuring every Canadian has the opportunity to work and to earn a good living from that work.

Building on these goals, I would like to spend the rest of my time on what steps the government is taking to promote our shared values, bolster services to Canadians, and strengthen their protection at home, abroad, and online.

Canadians know that it is an interconnected world. New technologies offer great benefits to Canadian families and tremendous opportunities to businesses, small and large.

It is no exaggeration to say that the digital age has revolutionized how Canadians live and work, as well as how our institutions function. Digital technologies have changed the way we work, how we shop, how we access services, including government and financial services. These changes have brought with them vast benefits and challenges. They include efforts to preserve cybersecurity and protect the privacy of Canadians. Unfortunately, cyber-attacks are becoming more pervasive, increasingly sophisticated, and even more effective. Successful cyber-attacks have the potential to expose the private information of Canadians, cost Canadian businesses millions of dollars, and potentially put Canada's critical infrastructure networks at risk.

With this budget and the budget implementation act, the government is implementing a plan for security and prosperity in the digital age to protect Canadians against cyber-attacks. This includes significant investments to fund a new national cybersecurity strategy. The strategy focuses on three principal goals: to ensure secure and resilient Canadian systems; to build an innovative and adaptive cyber-ecosystem, and to support effective leadership and collaboration between different levels of Canadian government, and partners around the world.

Canada's plan for security in the digital age starts with a strong federal cyber governance system to protect Canadians and their sensitive personal information. To that end, budget 2018 commits over $155 million over five years, and $44.5 million per year ongoing to the Communications Security Establishment to create a new Canadian centre for cybersecurity.

By consolidating operational cyber expertise from across the federal government under one roof, the new Canadian centre for cybersecurity will establish a single, unified Government of Canada source of unique expert advice, guidance, services, and support on cybersecurity operational matters. This will result in faster, better coordinated, and more coherent government responses to cyber-threats. The new centre will provide Canadians and Canadian businesses with a clear and trusted place to turn to for cybersecurity advice, to advance partnerships, and dialogue with other jurisdictions, the business community, academia, and international partners.

Given the importance of protecting Canadians from growing cyber-threats, I strongly encourage all members of the House to support consolidating various government cybersecurity functions into the new centre.

Budget 2018 will also help bolster Canada's ability to fight cybercrime by providing $116 million over five years and $23.2 million per year ongoing to the RCMP to support the creation of a national cybercrime coordination unit.

The national cybercrime coordination unit will create a coordination hub for cybercrime investigations in Canada and will work with international partners on cybercrime. The unit will also establish a national public reporting mechanism for Canadians and Canadian businesses to report cybercrime incidents to law enforcement.

Taken together, these investments will allow Canadians to continue to benefit from digital connections in a way that protects them, their personal information, and our infrastructure from cybercrime.

Let me very quickly tell the House about the new national cybersecurity strategy.

The new strategy will ensure secure and resilient Canadian cyber systems to improve the government's ability to investigate cybercrime, develop threat assessments, keep critical infrastructure safe, and work in collaboration with the financial and energy sectors on bolstering their cybersecurity.

Second, by investing in an innovative and adaptive cyber-ecosystem the government will support integrated cyber-learning placements for students and help businesses improve their cybersecurity posture through the creation of a voluntary cyber certification program.

Finally, by strengthening leadership, governance, and collaboration, the government will be taking the lead, both at home and abroad, to advance cybersecurity in Canada by working closely with provincial, territorial, private sector, and trusted international partners.

For Canadians, the national cybersecurity strategy will provide Canadians with a clear and trusted federal source for cybersecurity information, practical tips to apply to everyday online activities, and heightened awareness of malicious cyber-activity.

For Canadian businesses, the strategy will increase cybersecurity guidance for small and medium-sized enterprises and provide them with the tools and resources they need to improve cyber resilience.

In a digital and globally connected world, I can reassure hon. members that the government is taking action to promote our shared values, bolster services to Canadians, and strengthen their protection, at home, abroad, and online, including establishing this country's first comprehensive cybersecurity plan.

A strong, safe, and secure Canada means our institutions are working effectively with the resources they need. Budget 2018 commits to a number of measures that will bolster the efficiency of Canada's safety and security institutions, without compromising our shared values as an open, inclusive, and welcoming society.

Whether through the guarantee of a fair and equitable justice system or the knowledge that their private information is secure, Canadians deserve to feel safe and protected in a rapidly changing world.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I have been hearing new buzzwords today from the government, everything about research and innovation. I am not hearing anything anymore with respect to infrastructure funding, the terminology that was big and bold in the Liberals platform on how the Liberals would bring our economy back to where they thought it should be all at the cost of just small deficits. Obviously things have not worked out well there.

Would the member like to explain why things are not working well for the Liberals with respect to their infrastructure plans and why they had to remove $2 billion of funding that Canadians were expecting to help grow the economy directly in Canada with infrastructure spending.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:35 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased that I was asked that question. Over 4,000 infrastructure projects have been approved. In my own riding, I am pleased to say that $2.2 billion have been approved for a new light rail system in Surrey Centre, which will go to Surrey Newton and connect Fleetwood—Port Kells as well. I am proud to say that the Broadway corridor will also be getting its SkyTrain line. British Columbia is extremely excited at the new infrastructure projects.

With respect to waste water, the Lions Gate waste water treatment plant has already received $750 million, is being built, and is going to make it one of the most eco-friendly waste water plants. It was much needed and the previous government ignored it for many years. Now we will have safe water going to our oceans and our waterways.

When it comes to British Columbia, we are extremely happy.

My riding also received over $950 million in the last budget for our public transportation system, including new buses, new SkyTrain stations being renovated, new escalators being put in, and pre-work being done on the LRT line.

I cannot thank the finance minister enough for his budget and for what it has done. The citizens of my riding and all ridings around my neighbourhood are pleased with the infrastructure announcements.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. Unfortunately, I think he is seeing the Liberal government's performance through rose-coloured glasses.

For example, there is a housing crisis in Quebec and Canada. Housing is expensive. With great fanfare, the Liberals announced major investments in social infrastructure, including affordable social housing. In the last budget, they announced $11 billion for affordable social housing, a not inconsiderable sum. This seems like good news. However, on closer inspection, it turns out that only $10 million of the new funding will be spent this year. That is less than 0.001% of the amount they announced. The investments they announced will not happen until after the 2019 election or even after the 2023 election.

Does my colleague think it is a good idea to announce spending that will not happen for two more election cycles, when he does not even know if he will still be in the House by then?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Randeep Sarai Liberal Surrey Centre, BC

Madam Speaker, I have met municipal members, mayors and councillors, from all across British Columbia, some during their lobbying week out here. They could not have been happier. They were ecstatic with the news of the new national housing strategy and the money being given to them.

I met with those who provide child care and food for the homeless. They were ecstatic. In my riding, 160 new units will be built for those who are now on the streets. They will be in beds, in homes, in those safe facilities by the end of June. There will be 250 new beds in our riding, which is a collaboration between the federal funding and B.C. housing. These are just in Surrey Centre. I could go on and on.

People need to know that when we have infrastructure announcements, there is a process, just like with everything else. Plans have to be made and permits issued. Those are not in the hands of the federal government necessarily. They involve the municipalities, the provincial governments, environmental engineers, and consultants who have to do their due diligence and their work before shovels hit the ground.

Perhaps my colleague might want to look into that, to see why some of those projects may be taking more time. The agencies on the ground that help with those who need housing the most, the most vulnerable, are very happy with this budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:40 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak to budget 2018. This is a very important budget that continues the work we began so long ago.

I will be focusing, first of all, on my region of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, a community I describe as a half-circle around the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth. We have some urban but also rural communities. It is a growing community. As well, we have the highest number of seniors. Those are big issues. We need to continue to grow the economy, create jobs, and make sure we support our seniors.

Today I will focus mostly on veterans, women, youth, and indigenous people. Before I do so, I want to share with the House the important work our government has done thus far for the economy. When I look at the unemployment rate of 5.7%, the lowest in the last 40 years, something great is happening on the ground. I am sure that all members in this House can confirm that jobs are being created in their communities, which is important.

I also want to talk about the Canada child benefit. All members in this House have many families in their ridings that are receiving extra money, about $3,000 more than the previous government was offering. This is tax-free money. As an example, in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, $5.6 million is being given monthly to support families with young kids. Think about that. In my riding alone, it is $5.6 million monthly. That is $60 million a year, and everyone sitting in this House today is receiving similar amounts of money. That is essential, and that is an investment in our young people and families.

I should add that we have created over 600,000 new jobs, most of which are permanent jobs.

This budget also has an additional investment in our health care system. In Nova Scotia, health care is very important to us. We need to continue supporting our communities, making sure that we have enough doctors and the supports required. We are seeing investments in mental health, a new sum invested in the last health accord, which is crucial. We are making sure that the investment will support individuals and families with mental health challenges.

I spoke earlier about keeping seniors at home. There is an investment there. In this budget we are also seeing $20 million over the next five years invested in autism and another $20 million for dementia support and research. As we know, that is a big issue in Canada, more so in Atlantic Canada, as we have the highest number of seniors in the country. Those are big investments, because those are big issues that need to be supported by government, and that is where we are investing major amounts of money.

Now I would like to talk about veterans. We have invested about $10 billion over the last two and a half years to support veterans. This is an extremely important investment. We need to make sure that we support those who have supported our country, as well as their families. These are men and women who have been out there risking their lives every day. We are investing $3.6 billion in the pension for life. That is a large amount of money. I held many town halls across my riding last year, and the pension for life was a major item these individuals wanted and needed. The lump sum may work for some but does not work for most.

We were able to add an option. They have an option that, by default, is a pension, but they also have the option to get a lump sum.

How much support is there? An individual determined to be 100% disabled can receive up to $1,150 a month. If the individual's injury happened in Afghanistan, for example, and the person is 25 years old, with a life expectancy of about 82 for a man and 84 for a women, we would multiply that by 57 years. That alone would give about $700,000 or $800,000. However, someone severely injured may also have an opportunity to receive another $1,500 a month, in addition to the $1,150, which brings it to $3,150 a month, which would bring it to about $38,000 or $40,000 a year. Again, if we use the same formula, that would be about $1.75 million from ages 25 to 82. There is a third criterion, which is a 90% pre-release salary that could also be included. That investment in our veterans is extremely important as a disability pension.

That is not to say what we are already done. In April, we increased the $310,000 lump sum to $360,000, which is a $50,000 addition, depending on the percentage of the disability.

While I was making my tour, some asked what would happen if they took the lump sum. Could they still access the pension? This is something remarkable our government has done. The answer is yes. We break down the sum they have already received, and if they received a little extra, that sum is deducted. Some individuals could receive, depending again on the percentage of injuries, another $800 a month. There would be a deduction of $200 to $300 a month to catch up the amounts that were overpaid. This has been built to support all veterans who have experienced some disability in the workforce.

In this budget there is a $42-million investment for maintenance and repairs in cemeteries and graves, as we have over 45,000 grave sites to improve over time. This will be a way of reaching out very quickly on that.

I want to touch on a couple of investments, such as the new women entrepreneurs strategy, which is a $1.6-billion investment over the next three years to support entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. We also have put in $150 million over five years that is tailored to more regional challenges. We have received a lot of support from women's associations for that.

We have continued the summer jobs for youth amount we put in place two years ago, and we also invested $448 million in an enhanced youth employment strategy to give young people opportunities and internships in various areas so they can have experience and build on it as they enter the workforce.

Finally, there is a major investment in indigenous areas for children and families. We invested billions of dollars in health care and millions on a clean water strategy.

I have focused on just a few key areas. There are many other areas I could have shared with the House, but I am thankful for this opportunity.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cathay Wagantall Conservative Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I appreciated listening to the member across the way talk about veterans and this new pension the Liberals have put forward that is supposedly so good for our veterans. However, the example the member gave and the one in the budget document refer to maximums that would be available based on injuries. The example in the budget book talks about an individual who serves a full 25 years before stepping on a land mine or being involved in an IED incident and ending up 100% disabled. From what I understand of our veterans and those who have served in the infantry, that is a pretty unrealistic situation for the majority of those who end up that severely injured.

I wonder if the member could give me an idea of how many of our severely injured veterans actually serve a full 25 years before finding themselves in that kind of predicament and being able to receive that level of funding.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, again, it varies. The example I gave is of someone who is injured at 25 in Afghanistan. We look at the formulas. For someone who has been in the military for 25 years, the formula can work differently. There are a lot of supports there. We could apply the third category, which is 90% of the pre-release salary, which would be very strong support. We could also apply the other categories. It all depends on the level of disability. That is the real question. There is this support system and the pension for life. Again, the option is still available. There are lots of opportunities tailored to the needs of individuals.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Madam Speaker, my colleague listed many of the items on which his government has spent money, and he is proud of the millions and billions of dollars in spending, but he did not mention the incredible debt the Liberals are amassing. Currently we are paying $26 billion of interest per year on this debt, and it will be $33 billion a couple of years from now, in 2021. That works out to over $3,000 per year per family of four. We add to that the carbon tax, which could add an estimated $1,100 to $2,500 per year per family of four.

How can my colleague stand here and champion the fact that this is good for the middle class, when in fact, his children and grandchildren and my children and grandchildren are going to be forced to pay this debt on the credit card these guys are building up?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Darrell Samson Liberal Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, NS

Madam Speaker, my first reaction would be to ask what the Conservative Party would be willing to cut. What cuts would the Conservatives have made in the last two years to try to balance the budget, and create a major recession, if not allow this country to go into a depression, which would be much more challenging? The old saying is that it takes money to make money. That is what investment is. Our government is investing in our country. Our government is investing in all kinds of national programs that will not only benefit Canadians today but in 10 years, 20 years, and 30 years. The Canada pension plan is one. There is the Canada child benefit. The national housing strategy is another important one. There is a seniors' housing strategy. We are talking about a pharmacare strategy. I could go on and on. That is what a vision for this great country is about.

The House resumed from March 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-68, An Act to amend the Fisheries Act and other Acts in consequence, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

It being 6:58 p.m., pursuant to order made on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion. Call in the members.

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

Mary Ng Liberal Markham—Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I want to make sure that my vote is counted in favour.

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #647

Fisheries ActGovernment Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans.

(Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

Trans Mountain Expansion ProjectEmergency Debate

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The House will now proceed to the consideration of a motion to adjourn the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter requiring urgent consideration, namely the Trans Mountain expansion project.

I would like to remind hon. members that they are not required to be at their assigned seats and that pursuant to the order adopted earlier today, the Chair will receive no dilatory motions, no quorum calls, and no requests for unanimous consent.