House of Commons Hansard #282 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Department of Industry ActPrivate Members' Business

4:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, it is somewhat disappointing, but I know I will get another chance to add some more words.

I appreciate the fact that the member for Beauce has brought forward a private member's bill. I believe he is genuine in what he is attempting to accomplish with the bill. However, he has overlooked a great deal of things. The member from Markham, the government representative, did a fantastic job in trying to explain how the Government of Canada already exceeded what the Stephen Harper government did.

One of the things I really respect about the Prime Minister is that he has consistently said that we should look for ideas where we can improve and make things better, and we are open to doing that. There has been no shortage of ideas. All one needs to do is look at the many different initiatives the government has taken on and has been very successful.

It was not that long ago, and I have mentioned this before in the House, where I had someone show up at a local restaurant in my riding and tell me the Prime Minister had done more in a couple of years than the previous prime minister did in 10 years. As a government, we have a very aggressive and progressive attitude at trying to get things done, to work hard and achieve the best we can for Canadians in all regions of our country.

I want to add some thoughts as to why it is necessary at times for governments to engage with the private sector. If we look at the national government, or provincial governments, governments at different levels, governments of different political parties, even Progressive Conservative governments, even the Harper government, at times they have recognized there is a need to look at how we might have to protect certain industries and jobs that might be in some difficult times. It is nothing new. I believe a majority of Canadians want to ensure that the government is there to support industries if there is a need for it to do so and it can be justified.

Our government has recognized that, particularly in Canada's aerospace industry. It is an industry that is very important to my home province, to the provinces of Quebec, B.C., Ontario, and indirectly to other provinces. Literally tens of thousands jobs were absolutely critical and the Government of Canada needed to get involved. However, it is not the first time Bombardier has received government assistance. Even previous Conservative governments came forward, recognizing there was a need.

Providing that additional accountability and transparency is something our government continues to do in everything, such as when different departments are developing policy. We are seeing more of that.

I see my time has already run out for today. I will be happy to add more words when the debate comes up again.

Department of Industry ActPrivate Members' Business

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. parliamentary secretary will have six and a half minutes remaining in his time when the House next gets back to debate on the question.

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

April 19th, 2018 / 4:45 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House to discuss recognizing and declaring December 13 of each year Nanjing massacre commemorative day.

On November 30, 2017, I made a statement in the House regarding the 80th anniversary of the Nanjing massacre. During question period, I also asked if the government would proclaim December 13 as Nanjing massacre commemorative day. I received an encouraging answer from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, as she offered to work with me to achieve this goal.

I then followed up with the minister, and she informed me that the issue falls in the jurisdiction of the Minister of Foreign Affairs. I then promptly wrote to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. As she was out of the country at the time, she asked that I work with her chief of staff. Subsequently, I was advised that in fact the matter should be dealt with by the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

I then went back to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, at which point she advised that it would not be possible to have the declaration made by December 13, 2017. While it is unfortunate that this did not happen on its 80th anniversary, I hope the Minister of Canadian Heritage is still open to declaring December 13 of each year Nanjing massacre commemorative day.

This is an issue of recognizing a tragedy and the lasting impact it had on people, many of whom now call Canada their home. It is estimated that, 80 years ago, between 20,000 and 80,000 Chinese women and girls were raped, and approximately 300,000 people were killed. Over the course of World War II, an estimated 200,000 women and girls from China, Korea, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and other occupied territories in Asia were tricked, kidnapped, or coerced into working in brothels to serve as “comfort women”.

It is worth noting that in November 2007, members of the House unanimously passed a motion, moved by former NDP MP Olivia Chow, to recognize this act of sexual slavery; express regret at attempts by some members of the Japanese government to ignore or diminish the events that occurred; recognize the progress made by Japan and its major contributions toward international peace; affirm the Canada-Japan alliance; and for the Government of Canada to encourage the Government of Japan to abandon any statement devaluing the expression of regret from the Kono statement of 1993.

In 2001, the NDP B.C. government worked in collaboration with BC ALPHA and developed a resource guide and educational materials to ensure that the past is not forgotten. This guide has led other provinces to adapt the material for their use.

I also want to acknowledge that in October 2017, members of Ontario's legislature unanimously passed MPP Soo Wong's motion to recognize December 13 as Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day. In that process, she also received over 100,000 signatures in support of this declaration.

In commemorating this atrocity, communities across Canada hosted events to mark this day. I had the opportunity to attend the ceremonial tribute and exhibition of historical materials and cultural relics, along with photos of some of the Nanjing massacre survivors, at the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto. The event was hosted by 80 organizations under the umbrella of the Nanjing Fellow Association of Canada. I also attended a film screening at the Richmond Public Library hosted by BC ALPHA.

There is no question that this is a non-partisan issue. It is an important day to mark, and I ask all members of the House to work with me to achieve this goal.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Parkdale—High Park Ontario

Liberal

Arif Virani LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage (Multiculturalism)

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Vancouver East for her efforts in raising awareness of the tragic atrocities that took place in Nanjing during World War II.

Canada recognizes compassionate efforts and encourages all countries to move forward in a positive and constructive manner. China and Japan are two important partners to Canada in the Asia Pacific region. We are committed to increasing our ties with the region, especially on a cultural level, to ensure the prosperity of Canadians as well as security in the region.

Terrible atrocities took place during the occupation of Nanjing, which were outlined by the member for Vancouver East. The majority of the victims were Chinese civilians. We fully recognize this. Women and girls suffered in particular, as they are often the most victimized group in these types of violent conflicts.

It is well known that one of our government's core priorities is its commitment to gender equality and women's rights. At the international level, we are a leader in this regard, through our championing of the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as women's and children's rights, at a wide range of multilateral fora, including as a focus of Canada's presidency of the G7 this year, which will be taking place in Charlevoix.

As with other atrocities in history, the Nanjing massacre was predicated upon the systematic dehumanization of Chinese people as non-human, as “other”. It is important that discourse at every level not marginalize populations or portray them in demeaning or dehumanizing terms: Muslims as terrorists or LGBTQ2 community members as sexually deviant or morally reprehensible.

The Prime Minister has spoken publicly on a number of occasions on the importance of combatting intolerance and hate in all forms. It is important that political leaders and all communities support one another in facing this challenge, and that Canadians work together to promote mutual understanding and conquer hate.

In addition, protecting human rights is also a fundamental part of our vision of Canada and the world. It is in fact an important aspect of the mandate of the Minister of Canadian Heritage in conjunction with that of Global Affairs Canada. Through our efforts in this area, we are supporting diversity, inclusion, and peaceful pluralism, as well as reconciliation efforts between countries on matters such as the one raised here this evening.

In addition to government efforts, all Canadians have a role to play in countering hatred and fostering welcoming communities. Actions such as speaking out when we encounter racism in our communities, volunteering with one of the many organizations that support inclusion, and reporting any hate crimes that are encountered, can go a long way toward ensuring that all Canadians can grow together in peace and prosperity.

The Government of Canada recognizes the events and the steps that have been taken to commemorate this tragedy, including those taken by the Ontario legislature. However, it does not comment on commemorative days designated by provincial legislatures or other orders of government. That being said, the Government of Canada expresses its sympathies for those who have suffered and those who have lost their lives in armed conflict.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Jenny Kwan NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this is about the formal recognition of atrocities, learning from history, and paying tribute to those impacted. This is not only to commemorate the victims and survivors but to prevent such atrocities from happening again.

The Nanjing massacre is often referred to as a forgotten holocaust. It is incumbent on us to ensure that atrocities of this magnitude are not forgotten. It is my hope that the government will work with me to ensure that history is not ignored, that the Nanjing massacre is not a forgotten holocaust, and that the Canadian government recognizes December 13, and each subsequent December 13 moving forward, as Nanjing massacre commemorative day.

I am open to working with whichever minister the government deems appropriate and to engaging in whatever process the government feels would be the most effective and efficient to have every December 13 declared Nanjing massacre commemorative day.

Status of WomenAdjournment Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Liberal

Arif Virani Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to promoting peace, constructive dialogue, and international security. We are working and will keep working with our national and international partners to that end.

This government recognizes the suffering that all armed conflicts inflict on the people of the affected countries, especially civilians, girls, and women. The occupation of Nanjing is no exception.

We will continue our work as ardent defenders of human rights and gender rights and will encourage positive dialogue between nations to ensure a more peaceful and prosperous world.

EmploymentAdjournment Proceedings

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, we are learning today that the fisheries committee will no longer be able to benefit from the able service and chairmanship of the Liberal member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame. Indeed, that member was the only Liberal MP who had the courage to listen to his constituents, stand up, and vote for the opposition motion that would have protected the fundamental freedoms of charitable organizations to do the good work that they do and collaborate with the government through the Canada summer jobs program without facing the kind of arbitrary discrimination proposed by the government.

Earlier I asked the government a question as to why it will not support our motion, a motion that would have said that those groups involved in non-political, non-activist work should be able to access the Canada summer jobs program regardless of their private convictions. This motion called the government's bluff, because the government told us that all it was trying to do was deal with the activities. It was not at all interested in persecuting organizations on the basis of their private convictions. It was only interested in activities.

Thus, we wrote a motion that said that groups that do not engage in activities that the government finds objectionable should not be prohibited from accessing this funding on the basis of their private convictions. However, clearly showing their hand, members of the government—all of them, except one—decided to oppose our motion, and because of that opposition, charitable organizations, as well as other organizations that would otherwise have benefited from this funding, whose work has nothing to do with controversial social or political issues, will still be denied funding this summer. Students will be denied summer jobs on the basis of their private convictions.

The member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame had the courage to listen to his constituents, to listen to what I know many other Liberal MPs were hearing, and actually had the courage to act on it. This is interesting, because there was one member of the NDP who had similar courage. He was initially disciplined, but thankfully the NDP thought better of it and restored him to his position on the procedure and House affairs committee.

I am calling on the government to, first of all, respect fundamental freedoms in this country in terms of their approach to the Canada summer jobs program, and second, to allow the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame to do his job, to represent his constituents, and not be deprived of the opportunity to continue to serve as chair to lead on the fisheries committee.

When the government punishes one of its members for simply doing his job, doing the job that he was sent here to do, which is to listen to charitable organizations and other groups in his constituency, and when the government disciplines him for doing his job by listening to his constituents, I submit that it goes against everything the Prime Minister talked about in the last election in terms of actually listening to Canadians and in terms of free votes. That really jeopardizes the position of many MPs, who I know were quietly saying to stakeholders in their ridings in many cases that they did not like what was going on here but did not have a choice. Well, they did have a choice.

Unfortunately, the way the Prime Minister runs the government is that when a member like the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame stands up, listens to his constituents, and does the right thing to support allowing groups engaged in non-political, non-activist work to access funding, he is kicked off the fisheries committee. He is no longer able to do the work that he has the experience and the knowledge to do very well.

Will the parliamentary secretary stand up and explain to us why a Liberal member should be deprived of the ability to do his job simply because he had the courage to stand up for stakeholder groups in his riding that the Prime Minister refuses to listen to?

EmploymentAdjournment Proceedings

4:55 p.m.

Cape Breton—Canso Nova Scotia

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment

Mr. Speaker, again, one of the benefits of having been in this House for over 17 years is that I have seen a lot of things come and go, like the Conservatives preaching about disciplining or taking any kind of action on a party member, a caucus member, because the member has been a little out of line.

One of my best friends in caucus now is the member for Cumberland—Colchester, who used to sit with the Conservative caucus. What he did is he stood up to Stephen Harper. We are now looking at “Stephen Harper lite” in the opposition.

When Nova Scotia was getting shortchanged by $400 million under the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord, our member, our friend from Cumberland—Colchester stood, and he got heaved out of the Conservative caucus. He went back to his riding and ran as an independent. That is what he did. Then he saw the light, a red light. He came to that red light. He has been an incredible contributor not just to the people of Cumberland—Colchester but to the province of Nova Scotia, the province he stood up for, and to the greater good of Canada.

We know that the Canada summer jobs program is intended to help young Canadians. There is always that chicken and egg dilemma. Young people are faced with the fact that they cannot get a job until they have experience, and they cannot get experience until they get a job. That is the purpose of the summer jobs program, to give them that foot in the door to get that first piece on their resumé.

That party under Stephen Harper cut funding for youth jobs and cut funding for summer programs. We have gone back and invested and reinvested. In the past budget there was over $450 million for more opportunities for young people in this country to get that summer job, to get that first job opportunity, to put on their resumé. That is what we are committed to.

It is really strange when the Conservatives stand up on this. Even the Leader of the Opposition himself, back in the Tory days, in 2013, had a total of 37 jobs in his riding. This past year, it was 93 jobs. I know we cannot make that reference to my colleague's riding because he has a new riding. My friend from Elgin—Middlesex—London talked about the way we are handling the Canada summer jobs program. I know that her riding went from 92 jobs to 201 jobs last year. That is a significant number of young Canadians who got the opportunity to have their first job, and to start building their resumé and their work career.

EmploymentAdjournment Proceedings

5 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, clearly my friend across the way wants to be the parliamentary historian as well as the poet laureate here.

Let us review some actual history. There is a big difference between voting against one's own government on a budget and voting in favour of an opposition motion. The member who has been here for 17 years should understand the difference in terms of the implications for the confidence convention.

There is nothing that would have stopped the government from operating or denying confidence, if more members had been given the freedom and the respect to listen to their constituents, as the member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame had the courage to do. The member said that that member was out of line. It is too bad that the Liberals will be deprived of his contribution. They have shown a great deal of disrespect to someone who knows a great deal.

The Liberals think they can solve every problem with more money. The Canada summer jobs issue is about fundamental freedoms. It is about the right of organizations to provide services, regardless of their private convictions, without being asked to check a box. Frankly, if an employer asked those questions, it would violate human rights codes in most provinces.

It is not about money. It is about fundamental freedoms. When will the government start showing respect for the fundamental freedoms of Canadian organizations, start listening to their own members, and stop running roughshod over organizations that do important charitable work in this country?

EmploymentAdjournment Proceedings

5 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, on the issue of the freedom of conscience and religion as raised by my colleague, the changes that we made do not in any way impinge on the opportunity for faith-based organizations to make application. We do not in any way exclude them. This is about ensuring funding does not go to those who actively work against and undermine the rights of Canadians, including women and other under-represented groups.

As in previous years, churches, religious groups, and faith-based organizations were encouraged and welcomed to apply. The application rates this year pretty much mirror last year. I know in my own riding, having gone over the list, the number of faith-based groups that received funding last year is in line with what we are seeing this year.

I am looking forward to working with those groups, and helping them provide the services and those opportunities for the young Canadians who need that opportunity.

Canada Revenue AgencyAdjournment Proceedings

5 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my original question, I asked the Minister of National Revenue about a Canadian company, Turquoise Hill Resources, that operated a very large, very profitable mine in Mongolia. The company is based in Vancouver and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

A report from the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations explained how Turquoise Hill Resources used a so-called mailbox company set up in Luxembourg to avoid paying about $690 million in Canadian taxes over a period of six years. The same report also suggested that Turquoise Hill Resources avoided paying hundreds of millions of dollars of taxes in Mongolia, but I want to concentrate on the Canadian side of the story here.

Coincidentally, there was a long opinion piece in The Globe and Mail today about this very report, written by a tax lawyer who wanted to ensure people did not frame this as tax dodging or tax cheating, but simply a story of a Canadian company doing what was legal, or, as the Supreme Court ruled, “taxpayers have the right to order their affairs to minimize tax payable.”

This is not a one-off case, and I am certainly not suggesting it is illegal. Turquoise Hill Resources acted within Canadian laws to lower its tax exposure. It even got a tax ruling from the Canada Revenue Agency that assured the company its scheme was fully approved.

This is the crux of the problem, and this is what concerns me. It is an example of how Canadian tax laws allow companies and individuals to legally avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes and why we should act to limit that practice.

We can certainly debate about what a fair amount of taxes would be, but when a Canadian company pays nothing or next to nothing in Canadian taxes on profits it makes in this country but ships offshore to a mailbox, something is clearly wrong with our tax laws.

This is a big problem for Canada. Some analysts have calculated that offshore tax havens funnel $10 billion to $15 billion every year in tax revenue to countries with very low tax rates. It is a major part of Canada's lost tax revenue, which has been estimated by the Conference Board of Canada to be as much as $47 billion every year.

The Government of Canada should be looking seriously at ways to remedy this huge problem.

I was recently talking to a major Canadian money manager and tax expert, and he brought up the subject of tax havens as a serious problem. He suggested a straightforward solution. Write tax treaties so companies must pay a minimum amount of tax at a reasonable rate if they are reporting foreign income. Therefore, the government could set a reasonable rate, say at 20%, still well below Canadian rates, so if a Canadian company reported $2 billion of income in Luxembourg and Luxembourg levied taxes at 4%, that company would pay 16% in Canada. There are likely other ways to tackle this, but we really have to do something.

Canada Revenue AgencyAdjournment Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when members of the opposition raise issues of this nature, they often get into the specifics and name particular companies. It is important to note that there are confidentiality provisions in the Income Tax Act that actually prevent us from discussing the circumstances of individual taxpayers or corporations.

Having said that, I have been a parliamentarian for 25-plus years, and one of the things I have always experienced is the justifiable expectation Canadians have that there be a sense of fairness in taxation. There is frustration when we get the perception of tax inequities that are there today. I would encourage my friend to recognize that we have some problems today that have been in place for many years. However, we have a Prime Minister who has been taking the issue of taxation head on, virtually from day one, in terms of our middle class, those aspiring to be part of it, and those who need a helping hand, and ways we can ensure tax fairness.

For example, one of the first initiatives we saw was the special tax on Canada's 1%. I am sure that even my New Democratic friends will acknowledge that we need to put more taxes on Canada's wealthiest 1%. We have already done that. It was one of the first initiatives. We then looked at lowering taxes for Canada's middle class. We also looked at those who are aspiring to be part of the middle class and the working poor. We brought in programs that would put more disposable income in their pockets, such as with the enhancement of the Canada child benefit program.

The NDP talks about tax evaders. Like members on the NDP benches, Liberal members are also offended by those tax evaders. We also want to see a higher sense of accountability from corporations or individuals. I will not be specific and list those names, but I can say that in general, it offends us when individuals go out of their way to avoid paying their fair share. They are tax evaders. As a government, we have seen the Prime Minister working with the Minister of Finance and the Minister of National Revenue, who is responsible for CRA, to actually invest significant dollars. I believe this year alone it is over $150 million. In the last three years, it has been close to $1 billion to go after people who are trying to not pay their fair share of taxes. We have had a government that virtually from day one has been trying to improve the system.

For many of the initiatives my friend across the way might want to see the government act on, we are going as quickly as I believe we can. In certain areas, we need to look at what other countries are doing, because we need a collaborative approach. It is a worldwide problem, which means that we need to work with other governments around the world in certain situations.

Canada Revenue AgencyAdjournment Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

NDP

Richard Cannings NDP South Okanagan—West Kootenay, BC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary talks about tax fairness, but what the government has been doing is spending $1 billion going after the little fish, going after small corporations and small businesses and individuals across Canada and getting very little in return, when they could be going after the big fish. They could be going after CEO stock option loopholes that would net maybe $800 million every year in tax revenues.

In terms of tax havens, what have they done? They are signing new tax treaties with the Cook Islands and Grenada. Tax treaties are ostensibly drafted and signed for legitimate reasons. They are set up so that Canadian companies that actually do work in another country are not taxed twice. If a Canadian company actually made $2 billion in profits for work it did in Luxembourg, it should pay those taxes in Luxembourg. However, that is not what is happening.

I am using this example just because it is an egregious example that is in the news. Turquoise Hill is a mailbox in Luxembourg. Luxembourg made millions of dollars in tax revenues simply by recognizing that mailbox. This is not what tax treaties were meant to accomplish. In fact, the use of mailbox companies to gain illegitimate access to tax-treaty benefits is considered by the OECD as treaty abuse, and it has to stop.

Canada Revenue AgencyAdjournment Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would argue that in many ways these tax treaties that the member refers to enable the CRA to be able to withdraw more information, indirectly if not directly. We need that information to ensure that there is less tax avoidance.

The member is wrong on the assertion that this government is going after the little guy. This government is going after individuals and corporations that are going out of their way to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. That is what the close to one billion dollars is, and it might be over one billion with this recent addition of $180 million. This government is aggressively pursuing individuals and corporations, not just little guys. We are talking about huge sums of money.

There is a commitment from the Prime Minister to continue working with the Minister of National Revenue and the Minister of Finance to ensure that we have a fairer taxation system, and that is something that we will continue to strive for.

Canada Revenue AgencyAdjournment Proceedings

5:10 p.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Pursuant to an order made January 31, 2018, this House stands adjourned until Monday, April 23, 2018, at 11 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 5:15 p.m.)