House of Commons Hansard #283 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was 2018.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:15 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to rise in the House and discuss measures we are introducing through Bill C-74. The bill proposes important measures related to our budget 2018. With our latest budget, we are putting people first and ensuring equality and fairness for all Canadians.

We are doing this in a number of ways. These include initiatives that allow for more equal share of parental leave, an initiative to support the participation of women in the workforce, and the introduction of proactive pay equity legislation in federally regulated sectors.

We are also working hard to support Canada's most vulnerable segments of society, including seniors. The measures introduced in Bill C-74 help to do just that. It is no secret that Canada's population is aging, and Canadians are living longer and more healthy lives. This increasing longevity is good news and should be celebrated, because it brings with it more wisdom, expertise, and experience in society. However, this demographic shift also means that we need to adjust our policies and programs to ensure they remain relevant.

We have a growing seniors population, with over six million people who are 65 years of age or older. In the next 25 years, that number is estimated to almost double, to 11 million people, representing one-quarter of Canada's population. There is no doubt that private and public institutions alike must adapt, as the significant demographic shift creates new opportunities as well as challenges.

Our government places enormous value on the contribution that seniors have made and will continue to make in our communities, workplaces, families, and our country. It goes without saying that they should have access to income security that will allow them to live a safe, secure, and dignified retirement.

We have already taken concrete steps to ensure that seniors will have that dignified retirement. In the area of income security, it is well known that we have restored the eligibility age for old age security and guaranteed income supplement from age 67 back to 65, and for allowance benefits from age 62 back to 60. This is putting thousands of dollars into the pockets of Canadian seniors and keeping approximately 100,000 future seniors from falling into poverty. Since 2016, we have also increased the top-up of the guaranteed income supplement payment by $947 per year for single recipients. This has improved the financial security of close to 900,000 vulnerable seniors and is lifting approximately 13,000 seniors out of poverty. Seventy per cent of those seniors happen to be women. We are also ensuring that senior couples who receive GIS and allowance benefits and live apart for reasons beyond their control, for example, because of long-term care requirements, can receive higher benefits based on their individual incomes.

The Canada pension plan is one of the most important parts of our social support system. It is with great pride that I remind the House that in March 2017, our government enacted legislative changes to enhance the Canada pension plan to ensure greater financial security for future seniors by increasing CPP retirement benefits, and providing larger benefits for disabled contributors, widows, and widowers. The amount that Canadians pay into the plan before retirement will gradually rise over a seven-year period, starting in 2019. Increased benefits will build up gradually with each year of contributions to the CPP enhancement. When workers who participated in the enhancement for their entire careers collect retirement pensions, the CPP enhancement will increase the maximum CPP retirement pension by approximately 50%. These CPP enhancements mean more money for Canadians when they retire, so they can worry less about their savings and focus more on enjoying time with their families.

With the action taken by Quebec to enhance the Quebec pension plan in a similar fashion, all Canadians can now look forward to a safer and more secure retirement.

Building on that success, as part of the 2016-18 triennial review, federal and provincial ministers of finance agreed to more changes that will improve the CPP without increasing legislated contribution rates. These changes will provide further support from CPP enhancements for parents and people with disabilities. In our latest budget, we have confirmed that the government would move forward with these changes in 2019, in addition to those established through the CPP enhancements. With Bill C-74 we would put our promise to Canadians in action to create a better CPP for seniors today and into the future. This is why we are asking for the House's full support of Bill C-74.

The changes we are proposing in this bill include features that would protect the value of retirement benefits under the CPP enhancement for parents who take time off work to care for young children and for persons with disabilities. They also include a raise in the survivor's pension for individuals who become widowed under age 45 as well as a top-up benefit for disabled retirement pension recipients under the age of 65. We would increase the death benefit to its maximum value of $2,500 for all eligible contributors.

It is important to note that Bill C-74 would also make the required amendments to maintain portability between the CPP and the enhanced Quebec pension plan when those enhancements come into effect.

As I have stated, with budget 2018, we have committed to putting people first and ensuring quality and fairness for all Canadians. Part of that commitment means taking informed steps forward in our efforts to advance equality, especially for women, because we believe that equality between Canadian women and men will lead to greater prosperity. We are applying this lens to everything we do, and the changes we are proposing in Bill C-74 are no exception.

The changes we are making to the Canada pension plan are going to go a long way in supporting all future retirees, including, in particular, women. We know that women are more likely than men to take time away from work to raise their children, and let us not forget that women are also more likely to outlive their partners. We are making these changes because it is the right thing to do and is the smart thing to do to help seniors and advance equality for women to the benefit of all Canadians.

We know that Canadians work hard every day to support themselves and their families and to keep our economy growing. When it comes time to retire, Canadians deserve to do so with support from the very society they helped build and maintain. It goes without saying that Canadians should have access to income security that will allow them to live a safe, secure, and dignified retirement.

I am proud to say that through Bill C-74, we would continue to make that goal a reality. I encourage my colleagues in this House to support this bill and help create a better retirement for those who work so hard, for this generation and for generations to come. We owe it to all Canadians to pass this bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Conservative

Erin O'Toole Conservative Durham, ON

Madam Speaker, what is missing from my colleague's speech is any critical analysis. What is interesting is that he made reference to the move of benefits for old age security from age 67 to age 65. What he does not understand is that our economy actually needs people to stay in the workplace longer. That political move made for the election has actually been criticized by Dominic Barton, the chief economist on the finance minister's advisory council.

An analysis of the expansion of the CPP he talked about said that it will actually lead to thousands of job losses, because it is a tax on small business, an input tax. It predicted that in the future, only five per cent of Canadians would be helped by those changes. Much like we heard in the House today, there would be extra spending, extra tax on businesses, and the loss of jobs to help only a very small number of people.

When Dominic Barton himself and the chief actuary of Morneau Shepell, Fred Vettese, criticize the move from 67 to 65, does that member not agree that the government needs to think better about Canada's long term?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Madam Speaker, what the hon. member and the hon. member's party fail to understand is that our commitment made in the 2015 election to return to the age of 65 for the GIS and old age security has lifted hundreds of thousands of seniors out of poverty. Those are the same seniors the member's party turned its back on. That was the commitment we made in the 2015 campaign.

The member opposite wants to talk about jobs. Let us talk about jobs, no problem. Since we were elected in 2015, we have created over 600,000 jobs. That is more than the Conservatives created in 10 years of government. The unemployment rate is at a decade low of 5.8%. The Conservatives had the lowest-growth job rate, for 10 years, of any prime minister.

The member opposite and his party like to get up and talk about experts. We take our advice from the Canadian people. That is why we are sitting on this side of the House. If the Conservatives keep that mentality, they will be comfortable on that side for a very long time.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

Cheryl Hardcastle NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Madam Speaker, it is always interesting to hear people in this place fill themselves up with their own rhetoric and the arrogance that comes with it. It is very disconcerting. The more I hear the heckling in this House, the more it shows me how out of touch these people are with real Canadians.

In particular, in the 500-some pages there is nothing that addresses our seniors' conditions today, here and now. When the Liberals talk about advisory committees or money that is going to be allocated at some future date, they are actually insulting people who cannot articulate in a very candid fashion the way they are struggling, because it is embarrassing. We have had two different governing parties for 150 years that have provided the narrative, “Shame on you. If you are struggling, you made bad choices.”

I want to know exactly what you are doing in this budget, right now, to address struggling seniors who cannot afford their pharmacare and who cannot afford—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I just want to remind the member to address the questions to the Chair and not to the government side.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

Liberal

Raj Grewal Liberal Brampton East, ON

Madam Speaker, I always find it absolutely amazing when members from the NDP get up and talk about helping the most vulnerable people in our society.

When the opportunity came to help middle-class families with a tax cut, and when the opportunity came, through the Canada child benefit, to lift 300,000 children out of poverty, the NDP members voted against it. They always go out and talk about helping Canadians, but when the opportunity came, they voted against it. We are not going to take any lessons from the NDP members on helping Canadians.

This side of the House is doing its job. In the 2015 election, we promised that we would invest in middle-class Canadians, and we have done that by reducing taxes and investing in the Canada child benefit. We promised to reduce the age from 67 to 65, and we have done that. We have invested billions of dollars in affordable housing.

Applicability of Standing Order 69.1 — Speaker's RulingPoints of OrderGovernment Orders

5:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

I am now prepared to rule on the point of order raised earlier today by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby concerning the applicability of Standing Order 69.1 to Bill C-74, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.

I would like to thank the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby for raising this matter, as well as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons for his comments.

The hon. member argued that Bill C-74 is an omnibus bill, as defined under Standing Order 69.1, as it amends more than 40 acts and contains several different initiatives. He is concerned, in particular, by a new act contained in the bill, namely the greenhouse gas pollution pricing act. The hon. member acknowledged that this measure has been mentioned in the budget documents. However, he found it disproportionate that these few paragraphs, providing a brief overview of the government's intentions in relation to carbon pricing, represent 215 pages in the bill. He is of the view that this goes against the spirit of the Standing Order. For this reason, he feels the exemption provided for budget implementation bills by Standing Order 69.1(2) should not apply and that the measure should be voted on separately.

In his intervention, the hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader expressed his disagreement. He noted that page 151 of the budget document contains a section called “Pricing Carbon Pollution and Supporting Clean Growth”. In his view, this passage contained in the budget satisfies the requirement contained in Standing Order 69.1(2), thereby excluding Bill C-74 from the application of Standing Order 69.1(1).

The Speaker has the power to divide the questions, for the purposes of voting, on any motion for second and third reading of a bill in circumstances where the bill contains a number of unrelated provisions. The matter before us today concerns paragraph (2) of that Standing Order, which makes an exception for budget implementation bills. Standing Order 69.1(2) reads as follows:

The present Standing Order shall not apply if the bill has as its main purpose the implementation of a budget and contains only provisions that were announced in the budget presentation or in the documents tabled during the budget presentation.

The provisions identified by the hon. member for New Westminster—Burnaby were indeed announced in the budget, as he himself acknowledged. The Chair has reviewed the relevant sections of the budget document cited by both the hon. member and the hon. parliamentary secretary, as well as the relevant portion of the bill. I believe there is a direct link between what was announced and what is contained in Bill C-74. I do not, however, believe it is for the Chair to determine if the proportions of a measure correspond sufficiently to the amount of the reference to it in the budget documents. If the measures are contained in the budget documents, the exemption of Standing Order 69.1(2) applies. Therefore, I do not believe it would be appropriate to have a separate vote on the provisions relating to the greenhouse gas pollution pricing act.

Finally, I would like to point out that Bill C-74 was introduced almost four weeks ago and debated on several days since then. As I mentioned in my ruling of November 7, 2017, for everyone's benefit I would encourage hon. members to raise their arguments as early as possible after a bill is introduced.

I thank all hon. members for their attention.

The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago, I happened to catch Stephen Poloz's speech on budget 2018. Hearing the governor of the Bank of Canada's remarks on our federal budget filled me with pride. Hearing his optimism about the present macroeconomic situation, including the creation of over 280,000 jobs in the past 12 months and the lowest unemployment in 40 years, made me proud to be a part of this government that believes in evidence-based policy and uses it to make informed and sound financial decisions for this country.

The notable takeaway from Bank of Canada Governor Poloz highlighted the groups of people in Canada who represent sources of untapped potential. These include youth, women, indigenous people, and the growing number of recent migrants. Let us focus on youth for a minute.

The governor cites young people as one of the sources of untapped potential, and I wholeheartedly agree. There is a decline in youth participation in the economy, and for Canada to truly prosper, more young Canadians will have to have jobs and pathways to these jobs must be created. This where budget 2018 comes in.

In budget 2018, the new Canada workers benefit would encourage more people and more youth to join the workforce. Our plan will offer real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class. Our plans anticipate raising roughly 70,000 Canadians out of poverty. At the same time, starting in 2019, the government will also make it easier for people to access the benefit they have earned, making changes that will allow the Canada Revenue Agency to calculate the CWB for any tax filer who has not claimed it yet.

The Canada workers benefit replaces the working income tax benefit. This means that low-income workers earning $15,000 would receive up to almost $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than in 2018 to invest and spend on things that are important to them, such as groceries, utilities, and other essentials.

Our government ensures the smooth running of any new measure we introduce. As such, over the next year the government will work to determine if the delivery of the CWB can be further improved to provide better support to low-income Canadians throughout the year, rather than through an annual refund after filing their taxes.

It is no secret that budget 2018 has been referred to as a ''gender budget", and I am proud to say that every single decision on expenditures and tax measures in this budget was informed by a gender-based analysis. A gender-based analysis such as this is important to target particular groups and produce evidence-based policy, and to help end the income gap between women and men doing equal work.

The most notable example of this in budget 2018 is the promise to fund a dedicated second parent leave under employment insurance that will see $240 million in funding a year rising to $345 million. This includes giving couples who share parental leave an additional five weeks of paid benefits, starting in June 2019. These measures seek to increase the number of men who take time off after the arrival of a new child. The new parental sharing benefit will allow two-parent families, including same-sex parents and people who adopt, to share the opportunity to take an additional five to eight weeks away from work to spend with their children.

Despite these efforts, much work needs to be done to make child care accessible to parents. Lack of child care is what keeps women out of the workforce, as research has shown. In order to encourage and facilitate more women's participation in the labour force, we must lower the cost of child care. Our government is committed to making affordable early learning and child care more accessible.

In budget 2017, the government announced a long-term investment of $7.5 billion over 11 years to support more accessible and affordable early learning. Following this, the federal, provincial, and territorial governments reached an agreement on a multilateral early learning and child care framework. The government is now entering into a three-year bilateral agreement with provinces and territories in order to review and adjust these agreements as needed over the 11-year framework. So far, we have reached nine agreements.

While I am on the topic of women's participation in the workforce, it is important to mention the important contributions of women entrepreneurs. Budget 2018 recognizes this in its strategy for women entrepreneurs, with $1.65 billion in new financing being made available to women business owners, which will be delivered over three years through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada.

I want to talk about the Fierce Founders in Communitech in my riding. They are the first female-focused accelerator group created to encourage gender diversity in tech and encourage women entrepreneurs to start tech companies. Communitech helps with financing with this program, and it has done tremendously in our region to help female entrepreneurs get into the start-up sector and pursue high-tech jobs.

Budget 2018 proposes an additional $511 million over five years on a cash basis, starting in 2018-19, to the regional development agencies to support the innovation and skills plan across all regions of Canada. Of the $511 million, $149 million would be allocated to the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, of which $33 million will be for nationally coordinated, regionally tailored support for women entrepreneurs.

In addition, our government recognizes the barriers that make it difficult for women to launch their own businesses. Therefore, we are committed to providing $105 million over five years to reduce such barriers. Our government also has a commitment to make grants and programs for scientific research more accessible to women.

As a member of Parliament in the tri-cities, I want to talk about innovation and infrastructure, which is welcomed our region, especially in light of the federal government's $950-million innovation superclusters. I am proud to say that the University of Waterloo in my region will take a leading research role in two of the five winning bids as part of the innovation supercluster initiative. The government announced the advanced manufacturing supercluster, an innovation hotbed that is home to strong industrial clusters linked through their shared reliance on specialized inputs, including technologies, talent, and infrastructure. This supercluster will connect Canada's technology strengths to our manufacturing industry to make us a world manufacturing leader in the economy of tomorrow.

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario currently supports economic growth in southern Ontario through the delivery of federal programs and services. The agency's funding will be renewed to continue supporting that growth with a commitment of $920 million over six years.

Specifically in my region, as I mentioned, there is $950 million, and part of that is part of the superclusters where we are encouraging more innovation and industry to develop high technology to work to advance manufacturing and high-tech jobs so that we can grow our economy.

I would like to conclude by echoing the sentiments of Bank of Canada Governor Poloz:

We are living in an incredibly optimistic economic time in Canada. Our labour market needs to work, but things are looking up as we pave the way for women, youth, and other groups to participate in our labour force. New opportunities and technologies are on the horizon, and budget 2018 is laying the groundwork for their success.

I am proud that we brought this budget forward. I am proud that I represent the riding of Kitchener South—Hespeler, where we are embracing this budget with technology, innovation, and investment so that we can grow our economy and ensure that everyone in my region and in the rest of Canada prosper.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Harold Albrecht Conservative Kitchener—Conestoga, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his comments. As geographic neighbours in our ridings, we have the privilege of representing the greatest part of Canada in the Waterloo region, so we certainly have a lot in common.

In the early part of his comments, my colleague focused on youth. He said he wanted to tap the untapped potential and he wanted more youth to join the workforce. However, there are not going to be more workplaces to go to if the government keeps on with its financial policies, which are driving investment out of the country. Companies are leaving fast and furious. That is one concern. The other concern is about the massive debt that the government is leaving these very youth who are trying to find jobs today.

Finally, my question is on the Canada summer jobs program. We have thousands of youth this summer who will not be working because of the discriminatory policies that the government requires of those who are providing those jobs. I wonder if my colleague could comment on how that actually helps the youth he is concerned about.

I applaud his concern for youth. We need to be concerned about the youth of our country, but I would like answers to those questions.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

April 23rd, 2018 / 5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member asked great questions.

I want to lay out what our government has achieved since we have taken office. Some 600,000 jobs have been created since we have taken office. Canada is doing the best of all the G7 countries. Our government has lifted over 300,000 children out of poverty.

The member mentioned youth. Our youth are facing challenges at this time. I think my colleague can relate to the fact that housing prices in our region have gone up quite significantly. A lot of young people are unable to purchase their first home. I agree with the hon. member that we have a lot of work to do for our youth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest when my colleague talked about regional economic development. My own riding is bigger than the United Kingdom. Northern Ontario is on the other side of the map, and most people in southern Ontario in political life do not even know we exist.

When the Liberals talk about superclusters, it shows the Liberals' lack of vision. They throw supercluster here, supercluster there, as though we get three or four great winners and we are going to build a national economy. I am so pleased they are making that investment in Waterloo. However, our region is a vast region of resource-based, agricultural-based small communities, and the only supercluster we see in regional economic development is the supercluster that is forming in the office of the minister from Mississauga as he shuts down the regional voices and conglomerates them all under his watch.

We look at the Liberals' vision for FedNor, which they have atrophied year after year, and the loss of staff at FedNor. The fact is that the Liberals do not even mention FedNor any more when they do consultations. For example, on broadband, the Liberals cancelled the FedNor broadband projects, and we lost two years.

I would invite my colleague to get outside of the Liberal supercluster and come to rural and resource-based Canada. We are wonderful people. We will not bite. We will show him around. We will invite him to understand what a national economy looks like.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marwan Tabbara Liberal Kitchener South—Hespeler, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have invested historic numbers in infrastructure. With this investment we have been able to get Internet and broadband access to many rural communities. That did not happen under the previous government.

In terms of the superclusters, $950 million has been given to superclusters. This is not only good for Waterloo region, but it is good for areas that have manufacturing sectors that now are transitioning to advanced manufacturing sectors, which are growing our economy and increasing jobs. That is our record. Six hundred thousand jobs have been created under our government.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

The Liberal omnibus budget implementation bill is quite the tome, coming in at 556 pages. One can only begin to imagine the multitude of changes it would impose on Canadians. For a party that decried omnibus bills, it really did not take long for the Liberals to break another one of their campaign promises.

To put the length of this legislation into perspective, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Handmaid's Tale were all written with fewer pages. While one can only begin to wonder what genre the Liberal budget implementation bill would fall under, I can assure Canadians that its negative implications for the pocketbooks of hard-working families all across the country and its impact on our economy would be very real.

Throughout the proposed legislation, there are numerous measures that would hike taxes and impose new taxes, and it still does not provide any meaningful plan to get spending under control. Only the Liberals could do a spending review and find no savings. I would even argue that it probably cost the taxpayers more money for the government to set up its internal spending review than what it would end up saving.

Now, after three years of the Liberals in power, Canadians have a deep understanding of the consequences of the Liberal decisions. Outside private investment has plummeted. Taxes are higher. There are deficits as far as the eye can see, and the Liberals still do not have a comprehensive plan to justify their spendthrift ways.

At a macro level, spending has grown at a furious pace. The Liberals have increased spending at a rate of roughly 6.5% to 7% per year. That means they have increased spending by 20% in the last three years.

While some of the new spending measures are welcome, we have to question where all the money is going. According to the PBO, the Liberals' infrastructure spending has contributed only 0.1% of GDP growth. We also know that a quarter of their infrastructure funding has lapsed and is not getting out the door. Worst of all, the PBO said that the Liberals do not even have a plan when it comes to infrastructure investments. How they plan on spending billions of dollars with no plan boggles the mind. Perhaps that is indicative of many other underlying problems that the government has created for itself these past few months.

The issue of everlasting deficits really does not bother my hon. Liberal colleagues across the way, and I have yet to hear a single Liberal MP openly question the finance minister as to why he failed to keep the Liberals' promise to return to balanced budgets by 2019. As noted, the deficit has gone from an election promise of $6 billion for this year to the government's broken promise of $18 billion, to be levelled at $22 billion today, according to the PBO. As interest rates rise, and they have for the last three budgetary quarters, this out-of-control spending becomes even more irresponsible.

The real question, though, is about future governments, in this case future Conservative governments, which will have to deal with the fiscal mess that is being passed down to all Canadians, and particularly to our young Canadians. Let us never forget that today's deficits are tomorrow's taxes. Money does not grow on trees. It does not magically appear out of thin air. Budgets, contrary to what the Prime Minister says, do not balance themselves.

As I have said before, the Liberals have provided zero rationale for why they need to rack up the credit—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I just want to remind the hon. members that there is nothing stopping them from crossing the floor to speak to each other, rather than shout across. It just makes it a lot easier for me to hear what the hon. member for Brandon—Souris is saying, which is very interesting.

The hon. member for Brandon—Souris, please continue.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is just another opportunity for them not to hear what they do not want to hear.

There is no economic calamity. There is no recession. We are not in one. There is no economic calamity transpiring across the border, as was the case during the great world recession of 2008-09. The only logical conclusion is that the Liberals have lost complete and utter control of the nation's finances.

Not once has the Minister of Finance provided any concrete answers as to when he plans to stop spending more than the Liberals are bringing in. Not once has the Minister of Finance actually provided a coherent answer as to why they broke their election campaign promises of a balanced budget in 2019, which just happens to be the next election year. Now, the Minister of Finance is asking parliamentarians to give him approval to continue his out-of-control spending. It sounds like the losing Wynne budget plan of Ontario, but then, it is from the same architect, after all.

For example, tucked away in the legislation is a giant $7-billion slush fund. What is it for? We do not get an answer. The Liberals say they have no idea. I believe it is safe to say that this would be the largest blank cheque in Canadian history. It would be highly irresponsible to approve their plan and give them the authorization to spend $7 billion of taxpayers' money without any explanation.

Due to the length of their omnibus legislation, I want to use the remaining time to focus squarely on their carbon tax, which takes up about 200 pages of the bill. Never before has a government introduced such sweeping tax changes without providing any meaningful information. Actually, I take that back. We only have to look at how they tabled their plan to tax local businesses the day before the House rose for Christmas. There should be no taxation without information.

Multiple requests for information filed with the government have resulted in the release of documents that have key information blacked out. The “potential impact of a carbon price on households' consumption expenditures across the income distribution” was withheld. If the Liberals want to take hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of the pockets of my constituents, they had better be upfront about what their carbon tax would do. Particularly for a constituency as rural and diverse as mine, families have to drive long distances to go to work, drop off their kids at school, run errands, and pick up groceries. There is no public transit picking up passengers in Elgin, Manitoba.

I would suggest that many of my rural colleagues are in the same boat. We have thousands of constituents who are going to be negatively impacted by the Liberal carbon tax, and yet the Minister of Environment is refusing to answer the most obvious question: How many tonnes of C02 are projected to be eliminated by this carbon tax?

It is not for a lack of trying from our side to get the information. The Minister of Environment has been asked dozens of times how much Canada's emissions would be reduced by implementing a $50 carbon tax. Each and every time she has been asked, she has refused to answer. She has evaded the question. She has failed to present even the most basic information on what the impact of the carbon tax would be, and then has the audacity to say that she has “no time” for elected representatives who do not support the carbon tax. This sort of tone is what some call the Liberals' kryptonite. It is demeaning, condescending, and patronizing. I would call that the Liberal hat trick.

It is unacceptable that the Liberals refuse to outline the true cost of their carbon tax and the impact it would have on Canadian families. It is unclear what impact the Liberals' national climate change plan would have on the economy, and that uncertainty is causing businesses to stand on the sidelines and wait, discouraging investment and hurting the economy.

The only information we are getting is from the PBO, who released a report this morning projecting that the carbon tax would take $10 billion out of our economy by 2022. The report warns that the carbon tax would “generate a headwind” for the Canadian economy as it is escalated from $10 per tonne in 2018 to $50 per tonne in 2022.

Another story came out this morning by Blacklock's, which stated that according to information provided to the Senate energy committee, the Liberal carbon tax “would have to more than double [the $50-per-tonne tax] if Canada is to meet greenhouse gas emission targets”.

That would mean a target of at least $130 a tonne, the equivalent of an extra 22 cents per litre on gasoline. If we thought gas was getting expensive again with the rise of the price of oil, we just have to wait until the Liberals spring that extra 22 cents on gasoline. The trickle-down effect will be disastrous for household incomes. It will cost more to heat our homes, purchase our groceries, and purchase almost everything at the store.

While the Liberals want to sneak their carbon tax through the House inside their omnibus budget bill, I want to remind them that threatening provinces will get them nowhere. Imposing this massive tax grab on Canadians without even providing the most meagre information is the complete opposite approach they should be taking.

I will never support this Liberal carbon tax. I cannot in good conscience support their out-of-control spending, and I will oppose the tax hikes contained in their budget implementation bill every step of the way.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Ludwig Liberal New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, I heard my hon. colleague across the aisle say that we do not want to hear what we do not want to hear, and he talked about actions being demeaning and condescending.

In 2014, I know what it was like living in New Brunswick Southwest. I know what it was like in the field of education, as a post-secondary educator, with the cuts to science. When I decided to run, it was on the premise that we were going to restore science and the confidence the public would have in our policies and our decisions.

I am wondering if my hon. colleague could respond to why the Harper government made significant cuts to science, not to buildings but to the science itself, that inevitably discouraged young people from jumping into scientific fields.

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6 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, I would assure my hon. colleague that the Harper government created 1.2 million full-time jobs. Canadians had a balanced budget when we left government. The Liberal government has created a huge deficit and has still only created a few jobs.

It is certainly a misstatement to say that we were not in favour of science. As my hon. colleague indicated a number of times, when we look at greenhouse gas emissions, Conservatives were not proposing a carbon tax. We are the only government in Canadian history, as was pointed out earlier today in comments, that reduced greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal government still has to pick up and do something to come anywhere close to what we accomplished under the Harper government.

The premise of hon. member's question is completely wrong.

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6 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, since my colleague represents the Brandon area, with its high population of military personnel and veterans, given its proximity to the military base, I would like to know whether he finds that the changes made to veterans' pensions in the Liberal budget are consistent with the promises the Liberals made in the election campaign or whether he thinks that the Liberals are incapable of keeping any of their promises in the budget they presented.

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6 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, that question is a very appropriate one. The Liberals did a lot of talking during the election campaign, and they promised that they would not take our veterans to court again. They have. In fact, they have gone to the Supreme Court of Canada.

In relation to my hon. colleague's question, the Liberals certainly have not met the pension obligations they promised in the platform they had when they came forward in the 2015 election. From speaking to many veterans, I know that they are very discouraged about what they have been dealing with so far with the government. They are looking forward to the day when that changes with a new Conservative government.

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6 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Brandon—Souris, my neighbour to the east. We both have farmers and ranchers in our ridings, and they will be hugely impacted by this carbon tax the member mentioned.

The minister has stood many times in this House to say that all the money that would be collected from the carbon tax would be given back to the provinces. Now we know for a fact that the money would not be given back. The GST would not go back to the provinces. It would stay in the Liberal coffers.

My question for the member is on that aspect of it. The budget talks about $120 million to have carbon police. I wonder if the member could comment on this $120 million expense to police this aspect.

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6 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Maguire Conservative Brandon—Souris, MB

Mr. Speaker, it is another good make-work project that we will not need when we get a Conservative government, because we will do away with the carbon tax. Therefore, we do not need that $120 million.

It is very clear that the government has no plan. It is parallel to what they were doing on the marijuana bills, Bill C-45 and Bill C-46. The government was really quite anxious to put out how many dollars it thought it could make with it. However, when I wrote to the Parliamentary Budget Officer about the costs of it, he said that he would tell me what they were if he knew them, but the Liberals would not tell him. This is the same. The Liberals are quite ready to talk about all the money they can make out of a carbon tax, but they will not tell anybody what it will cost.

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6:05 p.m.

Halifax Nova Scotia

Liberal

Andy Fillmore LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise to help the House advance its understanding of budget 2018.

As the third budget our government has introduced, budget 2018 outlines our government's next steps to advance the mandate given to us by Canadians so thunderously in 2015.

We were sent to Ottawa on a promise to grow the economy, support Canada's middle class and the vulnerable, and to build a more inclusive, prosperous nation for all. Over the last two and a half years, our government has made stunning progress toward this promise. In fact, our very first act as a government was to cut taxes on nine million members of Canada's middle class. Shortly after that, we began inputting more money in the pockets of middle-class and low-income families that needed it through our brand new Canada child benefit, the now famous CCB.

The CCB today is celebrated by families and economists alike as an extraordinary success, making a positive impact on our economy but, more important, a real difference in the day-to-day lives of struggling families. In my riding of Halifax, the CCB supports 11,000 kids and the average payment to Halifax families is $6,300 a year. What is more, across Canada, the CCB has lifted 300,000 children out of poverty, and that is a 40% cut from the rates in 2013.

We also promised to invest in early learning and child care, and in recent months we have seen the scope of that investment and the impact it will have on our communities. I was pleased to join the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Premier of Nova Scotia, as we signed a bilateral funding agreement totalling $35 million.

That investment will create 500 new spaces in Nova Scotia, 15 new child care centres, and 90 new home-based care sites. It will mean significant improvements to child care subsidies in our province. Now families with annual incomes of $35,000 or lower will receive the maximum subsidy, up from the previous threshold of just $25,000. Remarkably, this means 80% of children will now receive the maximum subsidy compared to 66% before.

Access to affordable housing is also a serious challenge facing families across Halifax and Canada. Far too many middle and low-income families require a decent, safe, secure place to call home, which is simply unattainable for them. Across Canada, over 1.7 million families are in housing need and another 25,000 are chronically homeless.

That is why our government released the first-ever comprehensive national housing strategy, focused on giving middle and low-income Canadians better access to affordable housing, with an investment of $40 billion over the next 10 years, including in the new Canada housing benefit, the CHB. Under this plan, we have set some ambitious goals, including a 50% reduction in chronic homelessness and removing over 530,000 households from housing need.

Supporting seniors is yet another promise we made to Canadians, and we have done exactly that through enhancements to the Canada pension plan and by increasing the guaranteed income supplement, or GIS, for nearly 900,000 seniors.

At the other end of the age spectrum, we have kept our promises to students, with increases to Canada student grants; improvements to student loan programs; by doubling the number of Canada summer jobs, which means that instead of 200 summer jobs in Halifax we now have 400; by investing heavily in skills development, training, and apprenticeships; and by ending unpaid internships.

Actions like these have paid off. The Canadian economy is booming. Since our election, Canadians have created 600,000 new jobs, unemployment is at its lowest level in over four decades, and we have the best rate of GDP growth in the G7. Stats like that hardly leave anything else to be said, but I will persevere.

As I said, we were elected on a promise to do better for the Canadians who the previous government left behind, and that is exactly what we have done. This is the impact that can be made when we are in an ambitious government, a government that is not satisfied to accept the status quo, a government that believes there is a better way for our middle class and most vulnerable, and a government that is focused on improving the lives of Canadians and not on the politics of fear and division.

Budget 2018 is a reflection of the positive change we have seen so far and the bold continuation of our important work. I would like to talk a bit more about it, beginning with its focus on gender equality.

Every decision that was made in budget 2018 was informed by gender, through a process called gender-based analysis plus, or GBA+, a tool used to analyze how certain policies, programs, and initiatives impact different groups, women, and gender-diverse people.

In budget 2018, we commit to introducing new GBA+ legislation to make gender-budgeting a permanent part of budget-making in the future in Canada. That is important. We can no longer continue to make decisions without considering the impact those decisions have on women.

Historically, we have seen how doing the opposite has led to inequality between genders, where women today earn just 69¢ for every dollar earned by men. To further address this inequality, we are moving forward with pay equity legislation in federally regulated workplaces. This will ensure that, on average, women and men in these workplaces receive the same pay for work of equal value.

At the same time, in budget 2018, our government recognizes that child care disproportionately falls to women and therefore has a disproportionate impact on the careers and salaries of women in Canada, many of whom face challenges re-entering the workforce. In response, we are introducing progressive changes to parental leave, creating a benefit to encourage both parents to take leave to share in the work of raising their children, and to even the playing field when it comes to men and women leaving and re-entering the workforce as new parents. Through this new benefit, if both parents take parental leave, they will receive an additional five weeks of parental benefits, for a total of 40 weeks of leave split between the parents as they choose, so long as each parent takes at least five weeks of leave.

The next topic I want to address in budget 2018 is the redevelopment of the working income tax benefit, now improved and called the Canada workers benefit, the CWB.

In Halifax, I often hear constituents say that they see our government doing a lot for families, for children, for seniors, but what about single working Canadians who need more support? We heard the message loud and clear, and budget 2018 introduces a new and improved Canada workers benefit to answer that call. This improved benefit will offer more money to low-income workers and let them keep more of their paycheque. Specifically, the CWB will increase both the maximum benefits and the income level at which the benefit is phased out. As a result, a low-income worker earning $15,000 would receive up to $500 more from the CWB in 2019 than they did in 2018.

In Nova Scotia, this benefit will help about 45,000 low-income Nova Scotians. Single workers without kids will receive up to $1,300 per year and a single parent will receive up to $2,300 per year. All told, this means the government is investing almost $1 billion in new funding per year in helping low-income workers get ahead, and raising 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.

The next measure I want to talk about from budget 2018 is our amazing investment in science and research.

Nova Scotia is home to some of the brightest scientists and researchers in the world, at leading research institutions like Dalhousie University, Saint Mary's University, the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, the IWK Health Centre, and more. For the last year, they have rallied around the recommendations of the fundamental science review, also known as the Naylor report, which was commissioned by this government under the leadership of our Minister of Science. The report called for significant investment in investigator-led research.

Our government agreed with those calls for action. Research expands our understanding of how the world works, allowing us to address existing and emerging challenges in our region in new and more effective ways.

Equally important, basic research also serves as the foundation for the knowledge-based economy. That is why budget 2018 includes the single-largest investment in investigator-led fundamental research ever, $4 billion for fundamental research infrastructure and science. It includes a 25% increase in funding to the tri-council of NSERC, CIHR, and SSHRC. We have said it before. Science is back, but more than that, with budget 2018 it is unstoppable.

These kinds of investments will keep Canada on a path to prosperity, along with the others I mentioned in my speech today, and countless additional initiatives from budget 2018 that I did not have time to address.

I hope my colleagues from all corners of this place will agree that our plan is working for Canadians and will vote to keep this spectacular momentum going forward by supporting it.

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6:10 p.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is clear from the member's speech that he thinks he is doing a very good job, and I congratulate him for telling us that.

If I understand the government's message, it is to be afraid because the other guys are spreading fear and the bad guys across the way need to be stopped because they are sowing division.

The funny thing is that in speeches and in the budget we cannot hear responses to basic fundamental questions. Therefore, I will ask the member three very basic questions about the government's economic plan, and I will ask him to answer one of them. This is really easy.

The first question is, when will the budget be balanced? The second question is, how much will the carbon tax cost ordinary Canadians? The third question is, how much of an emissions reduction will result from the government's carbon tax plan?

Could the member answer one of those three questions?