House of Commons Hansard #308 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:45 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I completely disagree with the parliamentary secretary's claim that the members on my side of the House do not want any government legislation to pass. That is totally false.

On the contrary, we want all legislation to pass. However, we would like the government to take our comments and recommendations into account. We would like the government to consider our amendments. We would like the government to listen to every MP who has something to say about these bills. We would like it to improve its bills until they are acceptable to all parliamentarians. The opposition's job is to make the government better. Unfortunately, the government refuses to listen to the opposition when we are trying to help make it better. That is why the Liberals are still the worst.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his speech to the House on Bill C-74.

This is a gargantuan bill. I think this is the biggest omnibus bill ever seen in the House of Commons. It is about 556 pages long, but it makes virtually no mention of agriculture and agrifood. The federal government needs to make it a priority to invest more in the agriculture sector. We on this side of the House were extremely disappointed to see virtually no mention of agricultural businesses and no support for them.

Could my colleague tell us about the importance of investing in agriculture and agrifood, especially with measures that support young farmers?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. She did a great amount of work on agriculture until her appointment as leader.

We can see she is very close to farmers, and I understand the disappointment she felt when we all gathered to listen to the Minister of Finance deliver his budget speech. We were holding our breath not because anything he said was really interesting, but because we were waiting for him to just say the word “agriculture” or make a link of some sort with the agrifood sector. We hoped to hear him say a word about the next generation of farmers. How could we make sure that farms in small rural areas would survive in the short term?

I say in the short term because the existence of many farms is threatened. This week again I was in Stornaway, in my riding. The last farm in Stornaway is for sale because there is no one to take over.

It is a major issue and, unfortunately, we stayed and listened to the Minister of Finance until the end, but the word “agriculture” was never uttered.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Liberal

Linda Lapointe Liberal Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Madam Speaker, I always listen to my colleague for Mégantic—L'Érable with much interest. He surely knows that I still have family living over there. My parents come from this very nice part of Quebec.

Regarding economic growth, I suppose that the employment rate is very good in his riding, Mégantic—L'Érable. The economy must be growing at an incredible rate, just as in the Lower Laurentians, in my riding. Since 2015, 600,000 new jobs have been created. We have the lowest debt to GDP ratio among G7 countries. One thing contributed strongly to that in my riding, and it is the Canada child benefit. On average, in my riding, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, a family with one child gets $6,400. The Canadian average is $6,600 per year tax-free.

I would like my honourable colleague from the very beautiful riding of Mégantic—L'Érable, where my family lives, to tell me about the results of the Canada child benefit in his riding.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:50 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, one thing I will never do is give any government, be it the previous Conservative government or a provincial government, credit for creating jobs in our regions. Jobs are created by small businesses.

In my riding, the people of Thetford Mines have had to grapple with a major crisis. We lost an entire mining industry, and the city lost all its jobs. The reason we were able to recover is that people believed in their region's economy. They believed they could create small businesses and put people to work so they could start families and get tax credits.

It is not the government that creates jobs in Canada and Quebec; it is small and medium businesses. We must all remember that when it is time to choose who to support if we want to see wealth creation. Businesspeople are the ones who take real risks to create real wealth.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, I would like to check the member on his last statement. We have the Canada child benefit program. That is a government program that provides millions of dollars every month to Winnipeg North, as an example. That increases disposable income. People are now spending millions of extra dollars they would not have if it were not for this government. That is creating employment opportunities, because many of the small businesses require consumer consumption. That is why we argue it supports Canada's middle class and supports our economy. The government does play a role in working with Canadians to assist in the creation of jobs. That is why we have created over 600,000 jobs by working with Canadians in the last two years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, it is always a pleasure to answer my hon. colleague's questions. He is a seasoned parliamentarian, and he always asks excellent questions.

However, he forgot one thing. Government money comes from taxpayers. The money the government redistributes all over the place comes from me and from all job creators.

My colleague asked me if they created 600,000 jobs. To him I can say what I said earlier: they did not create a thing; businesspeople created those jobs in Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, clearly, it is always important to talk about the economy and about the money that the government has at its disposal and that it can redistribute. However, there has to actually be money available to do that.

According to my colleague, who used to be the mayor of a town that was prohibited by law to run deficits, is it normal for a government to compulsively run deficits?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, no, it is not normal.

Every year that a city runs a deficit, the first tax dollar it receives goes toward reimbursing the previous year's debt. By following that rule, it is impossible for a government to run deficits. It is forced to properly manage the public purse and make good choices, not for itself but for residents. If residents are forced to pay too many taxes, one day they will revolt. That is what is going to happen in 2019, when Canadians vote the Liberals out of office.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

6:55 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I am really pleased to be here to speak to Bill C-74, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures.

I want to begin by making some general remarks about what we have been doing as a government since our arrival almost two and a half years ago. The key message I want to leave with Canadians and members of the House this evening is this: that we have a plan and that our plan is working, that we chose to invest in our people, that we chose to invest in our country, that we did not choose to cut, that we did not choose austerity, that we left those choices to other political persuasions in this House.

Our plan is undoubtedly, objectively, and factually working. Over the last two years, Canada’s economic growth has been fuelled by a stronger middle class. Canadians’ hard work, combined with historic investments in people and communities, chiefly in infrastructure, such as light rail here in the great region of the national capital region of Ottawa-Carleton, has helped to create more good jobs—almost 600,000 since November 2015—while more help for those who need it most has meant more money for people to save, invest, and spend in their communities.

At the same time, and it is important for Canadians to know this, with respect to unemployment at the national level, the jobless rate stayed at 5.8% in March for a second consecutive month, and for the third time since December, to match its lowest mark since Statistics Canada started measuring the indicator in 1976. The only other time the rate slipped to this level was in 2007. That is the lowest unemployment level in Canada in 42 years.

At the local level, right here in our national capital region, which I have the privilege of representing, we added 2,500 net new jobs in February, helping to push down the local unemployment rate to 5.1% in February from 5.2% in January. However, in March it dropped to 4.9%, and in April it dropped again to 4.2%, the region's unemployment rate remaining well below that of the country as a whole. That is a 30-year low in the national capital region, so the economy is on fire and unemployment is way down. It is dropping.

Canada has the best balance sheet in the G7, with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7, which we are convening and hosting here next week in Canada. Our debt as a function of our economy is steadily shrinking. It is projected to soon reach its lowest point in almost 40 years. That means that Canada has the confidence to make investments in our future that will strengthen and grow the middle class. It will lay a more solid foundation for the next generations of Canadians to come. It means we can retrofit our core infrastructure—housing, transit, post-secondary institutions, and research and development—and we can partner with our provincial and municipal partners to leverage additional billions of dollars of investment in those four critical areas of our future by co-operating. It has been a central tenet of the government's approach since it arrived two and a half years ago to leverage as much support as we can from other orders of government for priority investments.

Budget 2018, entitled “Equality + Growth: A Strong Middle Class”, supports the government's people-centred approach. It is guided by a new “gender results framework” and proposes to ensure that every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success. This is about taking the next steps to build an equal, competitive, sustainable, and fair Canada where science, curiosity, and innovation spur economic growth.

Here are some of the key budget 2018 measures that the bill aims to implement, which I want to spend a bit of time sharing with Canadians.

First, I want to remind Canadians of this. The budget introduces a new Canada workers benefit. We know that Canadians are working very hard to join the middle class and they deserve to have their hard work rewarded with greater opportunities for success. That is why we are introducing the new Canada workers benefit. It is a more generous and more accessible benefit, which will put more money in the pockets of low-income workers than the working income tax benefit, the so-called WITB that it replaces.

The CWB will replace both maximum benefits and the income level at which the benefit is phased out. As a result, low-income workers, earning $15,000 for example, could receive up to almost $500 more in 2019 to invest in things that are important to them. By allowing more low-income workers to keep more of their paycheques, this will deliver real help to more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class, raising about 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.

Why is that important? It is important because the economic consensus is clear. Only a foolish country, only a foolish jurisdiction would let its people slide behind. Only a foolish country would not want to avail itself of all the talent in its talent pool by giving effect to it, by helping to shape it, to educate it, and to give it an opportunity to move forward, and prosper. Therefore, the first big announcement in the budget is the Canada workers benefit of which we are more than proud.

The second thing I want to remind Canadians about is what we are doing with the Canada child benefit. The Canada child benefit was introduced in 2016. We are strengthening that very benefit in this budget. We know from our last year and a half of experience that nine out of 10 Canadian families have extra help each and every month to pay for things like nutritious food, sports programs, music lessons, school supplies, and the basics. Families receiving this Canada child benefit are getting about $6,800 on average in payments this year. Millions of dollars, for example, are being shared with families in my riding of Ottawa South every month to provide that very help.

To ensure that the almost six million children who currently benefit from the CCB continue to benefit from it in the long term, here is a big change. We are indexing the Canada child benefit, starting this July, so it continues to increase in value every year going forward. For a single parent of two children making $35,000 a year, a strengthened CCB will mean $560 more next year, tax free, for books, skating lessons or warm clothes for winter.

To help more families access the Canada child benefit and other benefits, budget 2018 will also provide funding to reach out to more indigenous Canadian communities that face distinct barriers when it comes to accessing federal benefits.

As Canada's economy continues to grow and creates good, well-paying jobs, the government will ensure that all Canadians share in and benefit from the success.

Just recently I received a phone call from a single mom in my riding. She makes $14 an hour, soon $15 an hour with the Ontario minimum wage increase. She was in tears of gratefulness. As a single mom of three children, she receives almost $9,000 a year, tax free, of additional support. She told me she could not make ends meet without that support and would have to look for new housing. She would have to move her three kids into a one bedroom apartment, as opposed to a two bedroom apartment. I think that makes a difference in that mother's life. I think it makes a difference in those three children's lives.

Turning more specifically to the economy itself, I want to talk about lower taxes for small businesses in Canada and some of the opportunities for all Canadians that flow from those lower taxes.

Despite what people may say otherwise, the fact is that our government is lowering taxes on small businesses, from 11% in 2015 to 9% by 2019. This will leave more money for small business owners to reinvest in their business and create jobs, up to $7,500 more per year. We know that 99.8% of all Canadian businesses are 100 employees or less. That is the lion's share of the economy. We are targeting those very businesses with those small business tax drops.

As we move ahead with the small business tax rate reduction, we are taking action to ensure the small business rate is not used to gain unfair tax advantages. We are proposing to take further steps to limit the ability of very high-income earners to use private corporations to hold millions of dollars in passive investment portfolios and receive significant tax benefits. We consulted widely about his, and we listened. The design of these proposals is based directly on the feedback we received during those consultations.

With these proposals, less than 3% of private corporations would be affected. Ninety per cent of the tax impact would be borne by households in the top 1%; that is the very wealthiest of hard-working Canadians.

Why is it important to focus on small businesses? Because eight out of 10 jobs are being created today by small businesses. Therefore, we will continue to support our entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs as we move forward.

Another theme, which I believe is indispensable for the future of our economy, and for that matter our well-being and survival, is the question of addressing carbon pollution, climate change, and supporting clean growth. As has been said in the House many times, a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand.

We have decided to make further investments toward a healthy and sustainable low carbon economy going forward, one that creates growth and middle-class jobs, while preserving our natural heritage for future generations. In fact, globally, this is the trend. We are embroiled in a race. It is a competitive race that involves the United States, China, Indonesia, and the Congo. Pretty much every country is involved now in the global race to retool their economies. They are in a global race targeting efficiency. It is about becoming more efficient with energy, with water, with material inputs, more efficient when it comes to transportation of goods, and more efficient in minimizing waste. All of these efficiency races that we are running are global races, so we have no choice. From an economic perspective alone, we have no choice but to get on that track and run that race.

Some would have us not even lace up our running shoes. We believe that would be a mistake. Jurisdictions all over the world understand that is the competitive edge, which is why we have decided, like every European Union country, like so many other jurisdictions in the world, to put a price on carbon pollution. It is central to Canada's plan to fight climate change and grow the economy. Economists everywhere have told us this. They recognize that this is one of the most effective, transparent, and efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It is the use of a market mechanism to achieve an environmental outcome. That is why Ronald Reagan and the Republicans in the United States negotiated a deal with then prime minister Brian Mulroney to use the cap and trade system to eliminate NOx and SOx, nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxides, from American power plants burning coal to generate electricity. That is how we eliminated acid rain in North America. That is how we were able to protect so much of our freshwater systems in the American and North American northeast. It is in fact an idea that comes from the right. It comes from the Conservative or Republican-leaning thinkers in most economic schools of thought.

That is why Preston Manning supports the use of pricing carbon. That was why Stephen Harper went to London, England, and gave a major energy superpower speech to the world's energy top executives, saying he was moving to price carbon. He even gave them a planned price by 2018 for a tonne of carbon dioxide.

In December 2016, the Government of Canada, along with most provinces and territories, worked with our indigenous partners and adopted a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. The framework includes an approach to pricing carbon pollution, with the aim of having carbon pricing in place across Canada by 2018. However, the kicker is that provinces and territories will have the flexibility to choose between two systems: an explicit price-based system, or a carbon tax; and a cap and trade system, which is in place, for example, in Ontario, whereas B.C. has chosen a carbon tax. We know that 80% of Canadians already live in jurisdictions where a price on carbon exists. Therefore, Canada will move forward and build on those provincial successes to make the progress we need to make.

This is not only about doing good; this is about doing well economically. There are vast markets to conquer. There are huge energy efficiency opportunities and technological opportunities all over the planet, for which Canadian entrepreneurs can conquer and compete. That is why it is so important for us to marry both carbon pricing and support for our clean tech sector, which is why one of our primary investments, when it comes to supercluster innovation hubs, is in the area of supporting clean growth technologies going forward.

I will now speak on an issue which is fundamental to many of my constituents and tens of thousands of seniors in Canada, and that is the Canada pension plan. As an MP for 14 years, I have been fighting for this both in and out of government. For over a decade, I have been trying to see progress made on the CPP. I am extremely proud of the fact that our government made a commitment to Canadians to help them realize their goal of a strong, secure, and stable retirement. It was, after all, Paul Martin, as minister of finance, and I think we can objectively agree in the House on all sides, who ensured that our CPP was actuarially sound for at least 85 years going forward.

We can compare and contrast that with the American social security system. The last time I looked at it, I was informed its shelf life was about 18 months. The distinction is that the Americans have not retrofitted, they have not reformed, they have not worked to ensure a safe and stable retirement fund for their people the way we have here in Canada.

Every three years, finance ministers review the Canada pension plan together to ensure we continue to respond to the needs of Canadian retirees, workers, and employees.

In this budget, we want to build on the strong partnership on the historic agreement signed in 2016, a major breakthrough to enhance the Canada pension plan for everyday working Canadians. The 2016 agreement will increase the maximum CPP retirement pension by about 50% over time. That is an incredible step forward. At their recent meeting, finance ministers agreed to strengthen the Canada pension plan to provide greater benefits, for example, to parents whose incomes dropped after the birth or adoption of their children, or to persons with disabilities, or to spouses who were widowed at a young age, and to the estates of lower-income contributors.

It is important not to allow our retirees to slip into poverty. Poverty costs. It costs much more at the back end than it does at the front end, which is why we are addressing this issue of poverty as best we can going forward. Is it perfect? Not nearly. Are we making progress? Absolutely, we are. Canadians are counting on us to continue to work in this regard.

All of these changes to the CPP will be done in this budget without any increase to the Canada pension plan contribution rates paid by workers and employers. Ministers agreed to move forward with regulations to ensure the CPP enhancement would remain appropriately funded over time.

Finally, I want to talk about support for Canada's veterans. Our government is committed to the well-being of veterans and their families. We have delivered in this bill on a pension-for-life option. We are looking forward to making progress in that regard. It is a monthly payment for life, tax-free—

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

Unfortunately, time is up. I am sure the member will be able to provide anything he may not have been able to finish through questions and comments.

The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Madam Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in this debate. I welcome the fact that the hon. member made an interesting speech. He presented and tabled some of his ideas and the policies defended by his government, but he also failed to recognize the difficulties Canadians will have to address thanks to this budget.

First of all, when the member was elected less than three years ago, he was elected on a platform of small deficits and zero deficit in 2019. The reality of the day is a huge deficit, three times more than expected, and zero idea when we will get back to a zero deficit.

I would like to know from the member what he thinks of the results of the government, which was elected on a precise promise on deficits and has put it in the garbage.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:15 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to remind my colleague that I was in fact elected 14 years ago, but he is right, I was elected to the government for the second time two and a half years ago. It is an honour to have been elected to serve in that regard.

I want to remind the member, who was himself more recently elected, that under the previous government, in fairness, and objectively, the national debt was increased by $160 billion. It is true that the previous government faced the 2008 economic crisis, as did the Canadian provinces. It is true that for some sectors, the government begrudgingly worked, for example, with the Province of Ontario to provide assistance to the auto sector. Of course, since then, every loan has been paid back with interest.

It is important to remember that we had a choice to make, and it was a stark choice. The Conservative Party ran on a platform of austerity and cuts, and we ran on a platform of investing in Canadians and in core infrastructure. This is our moment not just to keep the pump primed but to lay the groundwork for a century of success for Canadians by making sure that we have the hard infrastructure we need and that more and more Canadians are joining the middle class and have great, equal opportunities to succeed, contribute, and thrive.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

June 5th, 2018 / 7:20 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I wonder how often the member actually gets out of the Ottawa bubble, because the jobs he says are being created in this area, government jobs, are not translating into rural Canada. In Saskatchewan, the unemployment rate has gone up two per cent since the government has been in power. In fact, in the last month, it has gone up 0.2% again. We are seeing people without jobs.

He talked a bit about the infrastructure building. There are no infrastructure builds going to rural Saskatchewan. I am wondering if he can comment on that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I would just remind my good friend that in the national capital region, the top employer is, in fact, the tourism sector, followed by the government sector, followed by 2,800 IT firms. Now, it was 5,000 high tech firms at one point. We were called Silicon Valley North. We are working hard, as a community, to reclaim some of that space. We are very proud of the investments our government is making across the country, including in Saskatchewan right now in one of the superclusters, to help give rise to new start-ups and new companies to compete and to win.

When it comes to the question of unemployment and investments, the numbers are undeniable. These are the lowest unemployment rates in 42 years across the country. It is the lowest unemployment in the greater national capital region, in 18 ridings, in 30 years. Clearly, something is working. We believe that we have the right combination of investing, stimulating the economy, providing the right tax incentives, investing in our people, supporting research and development, and helping our competitive companies conquer global markets through EDC and other institutions. We believe that we have put together the right kind of amalgamated approach, which increasingly is the envy of the world.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

NDP

Ruth Ellen Brosseau NDP Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Madam Speaker, my colleague had the chance to remind everyone that he was elected 14 years ago and served his constituents for that period of time.

We have to remember that there is a lot of inequality here in Canada, and it seems to be increasing. A promise the Liberals made during the election campaign was to table legislation to deal with pay equity. We know that the latest census data show us that indigenous women in Ontario face a 43% gender pay gap. Racialized women face a 38% pay gap. Immigrant women face a 34% pay gap. Why did the Liberals not include anything to deal with this in the budget?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:20 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, I first want to agree with my colleague that pay equity is a big challenge for Canada. It is an area and a theme we have to work harder on addressing. It is one that manifests unfairness in the workplace. It hearkens back to something I said earlier in my remarks. When it comes to gender, when it comes to country of origin, and when it comes to linguistic background, it does not really matter, does it now? Only a foolish country would not want to avail itself of all the talent within its borders. That is exactly what we are trying to do with this budget and the budgets that preceded it and the ones that we hope will follow it, which is to give the support Canadians need to get the best out of themselves so that we, as a people, can continue to build a society that is not only fair, where there is equality of opportunity, but that is effectively the envy of the world.

I like to remind people all the time that an economy is not a society and a society is not just an economy. It is actually more. We are trying to bring in a series of balanced measures that will address exactly the kind of important issue the member has raised here this evening to make progress.

Once again, I had the privilege of living and working in over 70 countries for a decade, before being elected to this House, while serving as a public servant in another setting. Let me assure this House of one thing I have retained since that time and still see now: Canada is increasingly being seen as the envy of the world and is leading as an example that is worthy of following.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I wonder if my colleague could talk about the importance of infrastructure. It is so critically important that we invest in Canada's infrastructure, and that infrastructure takes many forms. I know that my colleague has given a great deal of thought to the importance of supporting Canada's middle class, and one of the ways we can do that is by investing in infrastructure. Could he provide his thoughts on that?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Liberal Ottawa South, ON

Madam Speaker, it is 2018. So much of the infrastructure we benefit from in this country was built perhaps 50 or maybe even 100 years ago. It is time to invest for the future.

Let us take, for example, light rail investments or transit investments in our major urban areas. The city of Montreal is now 53% of the population of Quebec. Gatineau, right across the river, is the fastest-growing city in Quebec. Metropolitan Toronto is pushing eight million people. We are increasingly becoming an urban country. There are merits to that. There are challenges to that. We are investing very heavily in light rail and transit systems with our provincial and municipal partners.

A second area we are investing very heavily in is water and waste-water systems. We are blessed with so much fresh water, one of the most precious resources we possess in this country, and we have an obligation to protect it. We have to reinvest in our water and waste-water systems to stop waste, because so many water systems are leaking so much water. We have to improve secondary and tertiary water-treatment systems. By the way, as we do that, we develop and implement technologies that can be sold all over the world.

In housing, we are talking about green housing. We are talking about housing that is affordable for our needy, for our veterans, and for our seniors. We are talking about energy efficiency when it comes to housing. We are making progress in infrastructure, not just because it has to be replaced but because it has to be replaced to higher energy efficiency standards and water standards.

It goes back to what I was saying earlier. That is the race. As we do more of that here in Canada, we can sell more technology, more know-how, and more products, and that is exactly how we have tied together these investments in infrastructure with our foreign global market opportunities.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:25 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Madam Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte.

I am grateful to have this opportunity to rise in the House to speak to Bill C-74, the budget implementation act. This piece of legislation is concerning for a number of reasons, including the fact that it is an omnibus bill that is not being given proper consideration, as the Liberals continually shut down debate.

The Liberals promised not to use time allocation or omnibus bills in this way, but we have unfortunately learned that keeping promises to Canadians is not the government's forte. To name a few, do electoral reform and an end to first past the post, an end to omnibus bills, or balanced budgets sound familiar?

During his campaign, the Prime Minister committed to running a deficit of up to $10 billion during his time in government, with a promise to balance the budget by 2019. We now know that this was patently false. This year's budget is $18 billion and climbing, and the Liberals have added $60 billion-plus to the national debt in just three years. Figures show that the budget will not return to balance until 2045, and now we have nationalized a pipeline with public money, when private money would have done it. We cannot forget the fact that in this budget, there are no plans if NAFTA fails.

The Liberals keep adding to their reckless spending. In football, they would call a penalty for piling on.

In Saskatchewan, we have a tradition at the Kinsmen Kinettes Telemiracle fundraiser, when throughout the event, the show host puts up the totals board and chants, “Where are we going to go?”, and the audience replies, “Higher”. I would point out, however, that this is with private money, not public money, unlike for the Liberals, who throw taxpayer dollars around like it is nothing.

This means that our children and grandchildren will have to foot the bill for the government's reckless spending. The Liberals fail to see that their spending is actually being done at the expense of the very people they claim they are trying to help: the middle class and those who wish to join it.

This omnibus bill contains many provisions, but the most important one for my constituents, and indeed for all people in Saskatchewan, is the carbon tax, yet while the government has the numbers, it will not tell Canadians what it will cost them.

As many members in the House know, the oil and gas industry has suffered greatly in recent years. In my hometown of Estevan, I witnessed the exodus first-hand. Many companies were forced to shut down, and not just those directly in the energy industry. The trickle-down effect killed services too, and restaurants and hotels were forced to close, because the business just was not there anymore. It was and still is a hard time, and we have not bounced back anywhere close to where we were in the past, though the Liberals seem to think that the hard times are over.

Canadians who bought houses now have no jobs or have jobs that pay significantly less, and they cannot afford to pay for the houses they have. Innovation jobs and infrastructure jobs do not exist, and there is nothing for them to grasp onto, not to mention that everyone in the community is in the same boat, and there is no confidence to buy a house or in the housing market generally.

Now, here comes the carbon tax.

I am proud to be from Saskatchewan, the province that thus far has refused to bend to the federal government on its forced carbon tax. The provincial government understands what the federal Liberals do not, that the people of Saskatchewan simply cannot afford another tax, especially since Canadians across our country are already paying more tax under this Liberal government.

This budget gives $1.4 billion to provinces that have signed on to the government's climate agenda. Of the four maritime provinces that have signed on, not one has a carbon scheme or plan. One has a tax that it will rename.

Saskatchewan has a plan and is denied access to these funds. We have learned time and time again that if one does not conform to Liberal values and ideals, there will be a penalty to pay.

When the Government of Saskatchewan put forward its plan to reduce emissions, it was immediately rejected by the federal Minister of Environment. It is her way or the highway.

Saskatchewan's climate change strategy was well thought out, taking into account all aspects of the province. However, it was not deemed good enough by the Liberals here in Ottawa. There was seemingly no consideration given for the work that is already being done in my province to reduce emissions.

I would argue that farmers in my riding have a far better grasp of climate change than the majority of Canadians. These men and women have been stewards of their land for generations. They have spent time, money, and energy in trying to figure out the best, lowest-impact methods to farm, such as zero tillage, air seeding, and crop rotation, which put in and take out nitrogen and carbon from the soil. However, the budget had no mention of farmers at all. Not one word.

Farmers are the epitome of innovation. They have done it through centuries, through droughts, floods, and grasshopper infestations, all of which come regularly and are dealt with using the skill sets these people have developed over generations. They respect the land, because it is their livelihood, and it is only reasonable to assume that these individuals would do whatever possible to ensure they are farming in the most sustainable and responsible way.

Instead of helping out these farmers and ranchers, the Liberals are making their lives significantly more expensive and difficult with a carbon tax. They will now need to pay more for fuel, a huge expense in any farming operation; more for supplies, because transportation of these pieces will go up, and it is not like there is a manufacturer around the corner in rural Saskatchewan; and more for labour. I would be lax if I did not mention that the Liberal government implied that farmers and small business owners were tax cheats.

I have not spoken to a single agriculture producer in my riding who is in favour of a carbon tax, despite what the Liberals claim. Again, the federal government is absolutely failing when it comes to helping the middle class. Perhaps those in the middle class only matter when they are willing to donate to the Liberal Party of Canada, because my constituents do not feel valued by their Prime Minister and his members of Parliament.

One thing that frustrates me in this discussion on the carbon tax in relation to Bill C-74 is that there is almost no consideration given to the work already being done in Saskatchewan to reduce emissions. The coal-fired power plant in Estevan at Boundary Dam utilizes a world-first technology in one of its generators, which has been proven not only to reduce emissions but also to utilize the by-products of this technology, like sulphur, sulphuric acid, and fly ash for cement to the benefit of other industries.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that the carbon is sequestered in the ground. It is called carbon capture and sequestration, CCS, although members may not have heard of it since the minister does not champion it beyond saying, “I've been there”. The public safety minister has stood up and said that he started a study on CCS 25 years ago, yet where is he today, and where is the promotion of CCS at Boundary Dam? It was the Conservative government of Stephen Harper that gave $250 million dollars towards it and actually championed this new technology.

CCS is a technology that allows emissions from coal-fired power plants to be captured and sequestered kilometres underground. Since it has been in operation, the CCS facility at Boundary Dam has already captured and removed over two million tonnes of the CO2 emissions from the environment. This is the equivalent to roughly 500,000 cars being taken off our roads.

As I said, this is a world-first technology. Governments across the world regularly send envoys to Boundary Dam so they can take a look at using this technology to reduce their emissions as well. It is green, it is innovative, yet it gets barely any recognition from the government.

The western states in the U.S. have signed a memorandum of understanding for further investigation of CCS. The country of Taiwan is interested in the technology, as they are shutting down their five nuclear power plants. With all that said, the budget will give $500 million to a foreign infrastructure bank to build pipelines and coal energy plants in China without this technology. Here is where the Public Safety Minister could say, “Let's keep the money at home in Canada.”

It is absolutely frustrating that the Minister of Environment fails time and again to give Saskatchewan and the CCS technology in Estevan its due. The Minister of Public Safety, the lone minister for Saskatchewan, does not champion his own province's initiatives to reduce emissions. It is shameful, and even more so since it is the good people of Saskatchewan who must ultimately pay the price.

Bill C-74 would mean that costs will go up across the board because of this carbon tax. I will repeat that while the Liberals know the cost, they will not tell Canadians. Canadians are sick and tired of being told they need to pay more money when their federal government keeps spending recklessly and adding more and more to our national debt.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:35 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very interested in what my colleague has to say. A few moments ago he talked about the investments that our government made in the environment and research when we were in office.

In my riding, there is a company called CO2 Solutions, which seeks to find environmentally friendly solutions to reduce the environmental impact of our oil production, particularly with regard to the oil sands. CO2 Solutions has been working with the Department of Natural Resources for over 10 years.

When we were in office, we also established the ecotrust program to the tune of over $1.5 billion. With the support of the provinces, we made investments in the environment and in research in order to improve the environment.

Obviously, there are also these types of businesses in my colleague's riding. Can my colleague tell us more about the businesses in his riding and his province that worked with the Conservative government to improve environmental costs?

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to hear the hon. member's comments. He works tirelessly for his constituents, and I commend him for that.

The CCS plant that I have mentioned takes the carbon and sequesters it under the ground, which enhances the industry and the oil industry, as well as cement companies, who capture and use the fly ash, shipping it off and selling it. They take 98% of the sulfur out of the air, which they then utilize and sell.

As well, our farmers take the benefit of their knowledge and sequester that carbon into the ground. The simple fact of photosynthesis that everybody learned about in grade 9 is basic science, and our farmers in this country do that all the time, and yet no credit is given to them for that.

I would like to mention one other, and that is the fact that in my riding, just about a half hour away from where I live, they are starting an investigation plant for geothermal energy, taking the geothermal and pumping pipes many miles underground. I cannot remember exactly how many miles it is. However, they are utilizing that to generate thermal energy, to see how beneficial it would be for a possible five megawatt energy plant.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, when I look at the bigger picture and at what has taken place over the last two to two and a half years, I see a very healthy economic plan that, between the Government of Canada and Canadians, generates the types of jobs that are necessary, 600,000-plus.

We have seen the enhancement of some fantastic social programs that have lifted individuals, whether seniors or children, out of poverty. We are talking about tens of thousands of Canadians in all regions of the country.

We can talk about the infrastructure. The Government of Canada has done so much to invest in Canada's middle class.

Would my colleague across the way not agree that by investing in Canada's middle class, we are actually investing in our economy because it is our middle class that ultimately drives our economy? A healthy middle class means a healthy Canadian economy. That is what the government has been focused on for the last two and a half years.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Robert Gordon Kitchen Conservative Souris—Moose Mountain, SK

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member had a number of points in his question, and I would like to address one or two of them.

Perhaps the member did not hear my speech, where I talked about the loss of jobs in Saskatchewan, where the unemployment rate has gone up since the Liberal government came to power. That is not creating jobs. It may be creating jobs in his community; that is where the government is building infrastructure. However, there is no infrastructure being built in my province.

It is not like the government is building a green transit line from Maryfield, Saskatchewan to Regina so that one person can take that train. It is not happening. It is not going to change the patterns that rural Canadians have to live with.

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Conservative

Alex Nuttall Conservative Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to start my speech by recognizing that tomorrow is the 74th anniversary of the storming of Juno on D-Day. On behalf of the Conservative caucus and the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, to those who sacrificed their lives, who fought for freedom, who went through pain and danger that we cannot even imagine today, I say thanks so very much. Without them, we would not be working in the best Parliament in the best country in the world. We thank our veterans so very much.

This is my second opportunity to speak on the budget. When I had an opportunity to speak last week, we were talking about a number of items. We talked about Kinder Morgan, the many issues in this budget relating to youth, including the amount of debt we are leaving them with. After I spoke, the Auditor General's report was released. He had an incredibly scathing report in his spring audits, and there were two that really stuck out. In fact, the first line of the Auditor General's report refers to “incomprehensible failures”, not just one but many, with the Phoenix pay system. I acknowledge that the system was developed over two governments and implemented by the current one, but certainly the failure of government, the culture of government, and the failing culture of government was at the centre of the Auditor General's report.

One of the audits was on indigenous affairs. When I was knocking on doors, every single day I would hear people say they just do not get it. They would say they live in the best country in the world, in a country that has one of the best qualities of life, but there are Canadians who do not have clean drinking water and do not have the same opportunities. They said they just do not get it. They said they would hear all the announcements from government after government of all stripes, indicating that so much money is going to indigenous affairs, for a certain program or for the education of aboriginal young people, and yet it feels like it never changes, that this is a perennial issue that constantly has to be dealt with.

The Auditor General, in his opening remarks to his 12 audits, said:

The ministerial focus on the short term explains why the Indigenous file has been so intractable. A long-term view has to dominate that file, but because it usually only brings political problems in the short term, government tries to stay in the safe space of administering payments instead of being an active partner with Indigenous people to improve outcomes.

This next line is the crux of the issue. It states, “The measure of success has become the amount of money spent, rather than improved outcomes for Indigenous people.” I feel like we can apply that across government as a whole. How many programs do we fund and tell people how much money we are going to spend on said program, but we never tell them what the effects will be of the money being spent?

It is deplorable. People in the private sector are measured by their results. Yes, the effort put in counts. Yes, research and data count. However, the real data that counts is the data that comes out the back end that says x number of dollars have been spent and x has been achieved. The Auditor General recognizes this, but, unfortunately, the government culture does not.

From what I have seen, it certainly extends into the current Liberal government. I was at the industry committee about a year and a half ago when Minister Bains came and the government had funded—