House of Commons Hansard #402 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was young.

Topics

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Jennifer O'Connell Liberal Pickering—Uxbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, the member is absolutely right. This is an incredibly difficult issue for young people, in particular millennials, who are not able to access home ownership. Home ownership, for many Canadians, is their largest investment. We want to make sure that young people have access to the housing market as well.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Vancouver East, Human Rights; the hon. member for Drummond, Official Languages; the hon. member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, Telecommunications.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for constituents in the snowy upper Ottawa Valley riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, it is an honour to be their representative in this place.

In 2019, there is a sense among Canadians that the promise of progress, the idea that with hard work everyone could build a better life, is no longer true. The greatest threat to Canada's prosperity today is government, not climate change. Any country faced with massive government interference can be brought to starvation. Blaming poverty on climate change not only lets the government off the hook for bad policy but also encourages the enactment of harmful, inhumane policies.

Today's poverty has little to do with climate change. The most commonly held characteristics of affluent countries are greater personal liberty, private property rights, the rule of law, and an economic system closer to capitalism than to Communism. That is the recipe for prosperity.

The first thing that hits Canadians when they look at the budget document is that there is no plan for balanced budgets. This is a socialist budget.

Economists and the marketplace are telling Canadians that we will be in a recession within the next 12 to 18 months that will significantly impact the underlying projections that budgets are based on, as well as the fact that the government has been wildly spending at a time when Canada should have continued with the balanced budget policy that was left to them by our previous Conservative government.

Compounding the recession that is coming are the foreign policy failures of the government, particularly the inability of the Prime Minister to manage trade policy, first with our largest trading partner, America, and the tariffs on lumber and steel, and then with the trans-Pacific partnership that was basically handed to the government by our previous Conservative government, ready to go, and now with China and the dispute that is causing our farmers to suffer.

The government may be optimistically predicting GDP growth over the next year; however, the external shock of not ratifying the new NAFTA deal, the loss of confidence in the stock market in how Canada is managed and the broader fallout of a U.S.-China trade war mean all bets are off when it comes to predicting the size and duration of any future recession.

Canadians understand that when government runs a deficit, particularly one of the size and duration we see today in the 2019 budget document and Bill C-97, it means the Liberal Party is basically handing the bill not just to the next generation but to generations after that. It is recognized that there will be a price someone will have to pay, and it will be our children, grandchildren and their children.

This budget is being likened to someone being bought a very expensive gift, only to find out it was their own credit card that was being used to pay for it. If the gift was a shirt, it would be made of cheap cloth and two sizes too small.

People who live in Ontario have seen this all before. Canadians who follow my speeches in the House of Commons will have been warned about disgraced former prime minister top aide Gerry Butts, who was forced to resign over his role in the SNC-Lavalin corruption scandal. As a principal political operative for Dalton McGuinty and whatever backroom dealings he had with McGuinty's defeated party replacement, by trashing the Ontario economy, disgraced former PMO operative Gerald Butts can share the credit for the Toronto Liberal policy of “heat or eat” among seniors and others on fixed incomes.

In Ottawa, “heat or eat” refers to the carbon tax.

Canadians would not be as familiar with Butts' close buddy, Ben Chin, until the SNC-Lavalin scandal exposed his backroom role in that sordid affair. During the former attorney general's testimony before the House of Commons justice committee, she mentioned two names. The disgraced Gerry Butts was mentioned five times, and the now-infamous Ben Chin seven times.

In Ottawa, Ben Chin is chief of staff to the finance minister. In his role as political commissar, as was made clear during the SNC-Lavalin testimony, Ben Chin is there to promote the interests of his party over the good of Canadians.

This is a critical point to raise during the budget implementation debate, as Canadians need to be aware of Ben Chin and whether the interference role he had in Toronto is now happening in Ottawa, and at what scale.

Mr. Chin joined the finance minister's office as senior adviser and worked with the minister on the rollout of the government's third budget. The decision to hire Mr. Chin for the top position in the finance minister's office suggests a desire on Gerald Butts' part for an individual to keep close tabs on the finance minister.

That change marked the second significant staffing move in the finance minister's office. Previously, the Prime Minister's policy adviser, Justin To, another of Butts' confidants named in the SNC-Lavalin scandal, was shifted from the Prime Minister's Office to take over as policy and budget director for the finance minister. Ben Chin played the same role with former principal secretary Gerald Butts in Toronto in the disgraced Dalton McGuinty regime: run interference.

Well-informed observer Parker Gallant said this in the blog “Energy Perspectives”:

For the benefit of those who didn’t follow Ontario politics during the McGuinty/Wynne era, it’s worth pointing out both Gerry Butts and Ben Chin played significant roles in Ontario, especially the ill-fated electricity file.

Butts is credited as the mastermind behind Dalton McGuinty’s election as Ontario’s Premier: Butts was, according to the Toronto Star, “the man they call ‘the brains behind the operation’ and policy architect of the Liberal government since 2003.”

Butts left the McGuinty government in mid-2008, after he and the Ontario Liberal team set the stage for the Green Energy Act, by pushing for renewable wind and solar projects and to close coal plants. Butts went off to lead the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) for four years before joining [the Prime Minister] as his political advisor.

The article continues:

Ben Chin, engaged as a “political advisor” to Dalton McGuinty, was the McGuinty candidate chosen to run against the NDP’s Peter Tabuns in a byelection in 2006. Chin lost, but returned as a “senior advisor” to Premier McGuinty’s office where he again worked with Gerry Butts. Chin left for the private sector and a short while later was hired back as Vice President Communications for the OPA (Ontario Power Authority). The OPA was the creation of Dwight Duncan when he was McGuinty’s Minister of Energy and became the Crown corporation to enact the myriad of things mired in the Green Energy & Green Economy Act (GEA).

Chin later became embroiled in the “gas plant” scandal as the Premier’s principal contact with the negotiating team dealing with TransCanada et al on compensation issues related to the cancellation. Ontario’s ratepayers know how that turned out! While Chin occupied his position with the OPA, [former executive director of the environmental group Energy Probe] Tom Adams and I were investigating the gas plant scandal by reviewing thousands of documents.

Mr. Gallant goes on:

The following reveals some of our findings in an article I wrote about the “smart grid” and a Brad Duguid directive.

Co-incidentally (noted by Tom Adams), the Duguid directive is dated the same day as the e-mail exchange between Alicia Johnston (formerly a senior political staffer for Energy Minister Brad Duguid, later promoted to the Premier’s Office) and Ben Chin (a senior Ontario Power Authority executive).

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I am really finding this research fascinating and I have been watching Ben Chin's association with the Christy Clark government in B.C., but I am not yet seeing a connection to the bill we are currently debating. I really find it interesting, and I am not being facetious, but I just realized it had nothing to do with Bill C-97.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

That is a good point of order.

I want to remind the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke that we do have to stay with the topic, and the topic is the budget bill.

I will leave it to the hon. member. I am sure she will bring it back and I am sure she will get there very quickly.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:35 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Yes, Mr. Speaker, I will. The speech is in order because it will be setting the stage and the background for subdivision B of division 9 and subdivision G of division 9. The background is necessary in order to tie it all together.

Mr. Gallant's quote continues:

That e-mail exchange contained Ms Johnston’s suggestion to engage Tyler Hamilton, a contributor to Toronto Star, as an “expert” to counter the Adams and Gallant duo who “are killing me”; Chin agreed. Shortly after, Hamilton received a contract from the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) for a report on the smart grid.

According to former Pollution Probe executive director Tom Adams:

In July 2011, Tyler Hamilton, a Toronto Star journalist then taking government cash under the table to promote its smart grid agenda, published a “news” report in the Toronto Star extolling the relationship between Air Miles and the [Ontario Power Authority]. As usual, Hamilton failed to disclose to his readers his then ongoing financial relation with the Ontario government energy programs.

As revealed through the gas scandal disclosures, in November 2010 Chin had proposed that Hamilton be “engaged for central” to aid with rebutting criticism of the government’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

...Chin also described Hamilton’s journalism as part of the intellectual foundation for Ontario’s Green Energy and Green Economy Act.

Ben Chin’s electricity career helps to illuminate the real purposes driving those with their hands on the levers of power in Ontario’s electricity system. Practical solutions to Ontario’s energy problems were never the focus for the team Chin played for. Weaving his way around the in-house and outsourced government sector, Chin was engineering a conservation PR culture. At the same time as the “Count Me In” program was being formulated, Ontario was establishing itself as a massive electricity exporter, selling enough discounted and often free power to neighbouring jurisdictions to power substantial cities. To the extent that the conservation promotions and subsidies Chin worked on actually reduced usage in Ontario, the benefits were mostly captured by neighbour utilities. The conservation PR that Chin was engineering was focused on a different kind of power.

I have more from the Energy Perspectives blog, and then I will be back on this one. It states:

The spin emanating from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Prime Minister himself is not all that different than what we were hearing several years ago during the gas plant scandals days. ...

Those two unelected individuals (Butts and Chin) originally involved in the Ontario electricity muddle now find themselves named as two (out of eleven) of the bullies pressuring [the former justice minister] to grant SNC-Lavalin a DPA (deferred prosecution agreement). In the case of the [Green Energy Act] and the gas plant scandal it took much longer to surface in the public eye than the current [SNC-Lavalin] scandal so it would appear the Chin/Butts team has lost some of the spin abilities they displayed in the past.

From the former attorney general, I quote:

On Sept. 20, my chief of staff had phone calls with Mr. Chin and Justin To, both members of the Minister of Finance’s office, about DPAs and SNC. ...

...Gerry talked to me about how the statute was a statute was passed by [former Conservative prime minister] Harper and that he does not like the law. I said something like that is the law that we have. ...

The foregoing led to the former attorney general saying this:

I will now read to you a transcript of the most relevant sections of a text conversation between my chief of staff and me almost immediately after that meeting.

Jessica: “Basically, they want a solution. Nothing new. They want external counsel retained to give you an opinion on whether you can review the DPP’s decision here and whether you should in this case.... I told them that would be interference. Gerry said, 'Jess, there is no solution here that does not involve some interference.' At least they are finally being honest about what they are asking you to do! Don’t care about the PPSC’s independence. Katie was like 'we don’t want to debate legalities anymore....' They keep being like 'we aren’t lawyers, but there has to be some solution here.' ”

I—MOJAG—texted: “So where were things left?”

Jessica: “So unclear. I said I would of course let you know about the conversation and they said they were going to 'kick the tires' with a few people on this tonight. The Clerk was waiting outside when I left. But they said that they want to set up a call between you and the Prime Minister and the Clerk tomorrow. I said that of course you would be happy to speak to your boss! They seem quite keen on the idea of you retaining an ex Supreme Court of Canada judge to get advice on this. Katie Telford thinks it gives us cover in the business community and the legal community, and that it would allow the Prime Minister to say we were doing something. She was like 'If Jody is nervous, we would of course line up all kinds of people to write OpEds saying that what she is doing is proper.' ”

The foregoing highlights the unmitigated gall of two unelected individuals who, for whatever reasons, see themselves as kingmakers, much as they did for the McGuinty government—

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. We went through many hours of budget debate. It was then explained that some latitude was given to members in addressing the budget debate. We now have budget implementation legislation. The member, even though she might suggest she will get to that debate, has really not done so.

She has emphasized the issue of character assassination of individuals who cannot defend themselves in the chamber. All we would ask is that the member be relevant to the debate we are supposed to be having today, the budget implementation bill. If she does not have a copy of the bill, we would be more than happy to provide her with more information about the bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I would remind the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke that it is about Bill C-97. I understand she is laying down the story, but it is a 20-minute period and 15 minutes have already been taken up. Therefore, for the next five minutes, I am sure she will talk about Bill C-97 and what the budget bill has to offer or not offer.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I paused for a moment to focus on the Prime Minister's chief of staff reference to lining up some amateur journalists to write up some fake news, such as the Ben Chin-Gerald Butts duo that had lined up Tyler Hamilton during the Ontario Green Energy Act. I am saying that what happened then is happening now.

A prominent CBC reporter not only recently confirmed being used to distribute the fake news stories, he followed up with a story about another global warming report, which is being used by the Liberal Party to justify its new carbon tax, while it desperately gropes to change the political channel to the weather channel.

The purpose of this is to put on the record the inner workings of the Prime Minister's Office, as it cynically manipulates some hidden agenda that has nothing to do with climate change and everything to do with another Liberal insider, rich at the expense of ordinary hard-working Canadians.

When it comes to the government's budget implementation bill or the budget itself, nothing is to be believed. In 2019, there is a sense among Canadians that the promise of progress, the idea that with hard work that everyone can build a better life is no longer true.

When we look through the budget implementation bill, we see something very peculiar. We see that subdivision B of division 9 of part 4 would amend the Electricity and Gas Inspection Act to allow for the addition, by regulation, nothing to do with MPs representing their people, of units of measurement for electricity and gas sales and distribution. The Liberals are also amending the Weights and Measures Act to authorize by regulation the use of new units of—

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:40 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This is Bill C-97. It is the government's much vaunted budget implementation bill. The Liberals have been wondering when we are going to get around to addressing it, but they are not addressing it.

If we take a look around, we see how many people are in the House, how few are on that side—

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The member is getting into a point of argument, not a point of order. If the hon. member wants to refer to a point of order, then the rules—

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like you to call a quorum.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I am afraid we are short. Ring the bells.

And the bells having rung:

I believe we have quorum.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has one minute and 58 seconds remaining.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is quite curious that in a budget bill, the Liberals are changing the weights, measures and standards, and I will get back to that a little later.

Already there has been feedback from my riding on these budgets. I will read a couple of letters that I received, which directly relate to the budget itself and what is being cast upon Canadians.

The first letter begins with “Dear Minister”, meaning the climate change minister. It states:

“Please send me the forms to apply for a climate change action grant for our recent purchase of a new refrigerator for our home. Be assured we purchased it for the sole purpose of saving our planet from the ravages of global warming. Our new fridge will allow us to stock up on food since the carbon tax has impacted our ability to travel to Renfrew to shop for the necessities of life.”

“I would like to apply for the same grant as Galen Weston of Loblaws, so please send me those forms. We're tired rural Canadian seniors who, although we worked hard, raised a family and paid taxes all our lives, were not able to amass the billions that Galen Weston has. I hope this does not disqualify us from the government corporate welfare handout.”

“If our application is successful, you can tell your corporate friend Mr. Weston—

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

There is another point of order by the hon. member for Haldimand—Norfolk.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Diane Finley Conservative Haldimand—Norfolk, ON

Mr. Speaker, despite my last intervention, I again call quorum because I still do not see it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

We do not have quorum. Please ring the bells.

And the bells having rung:

We now have quorum.

The hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke has 41 seconds coming her way.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

The letter continues:

“If our application is successful, you can tell your corporate friend Mr. Weston that we will promise to use this government welfare to buy and store only Loblaws bread in our new climate action fridge at whatever price he fixes it at. You can also assure Mr. Weston that if Loblaws is fined for tax evasion, no Trudeau DPA, his dollars will go to a good cause through the trickle-down effect of our new climate change action fridge.”

“I trust that pandering to your friend Mr. Weston will help our application. I look forward to seeing you at the ballot box in October. Thank you. Cheers from Griffith, Ontario.”

I will continue on during questions and comments.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Liberal

The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

I want to remind hon. members that they are to refer to other members by their position or the ridings they represent in the House and not mention their names.

Questions and comments, the hon. member for London North Centre.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

April 10th, 2019 / 4:45 p.m.

Liberal

Peter Fragiskatos Liberal London North Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a simple question for the member opposite. She focused just now on issues relating to climate change. Specifically, though, does she believe in climate change? Does she believe in the fact that the planet is getting warmer? Does she believe that human activity is primarily responsible for it? It is a simple yes or no question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:45 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, a number of my constituents have commented on that same issue. One said, “Dear [Member]: I am trying awful hard to be nice towards a certain individual who thinks he's the king and ruler of Canada. Can you tell me, since when is it legal to charge a tax on top of a tax? The carbon tax is a tax is it not and if so why do we have to pay the HST on this new tax? Thanks in advance for your reply...”

Throughout the budget and the budget implementation, I have not found the page yet that explains why the government can charge the HST on top of a carbon tax. My constituents want to know.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

NDP

Pierre-Luc Dusseault NDP Sherbrooke, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to ask my colleague a question, and I will not judge the quality of her speech.

I wonder if she would care to comment on the fact that this is the government's last chance to implement its budget plan. This being the spring of 2019, this is probably the last budget implementation bill.

Is she, like me, disappointed that the government did not deliver on its promise to eliminate stock option deductions or at least cap the amount people can claim? As we saw in the budget statement, the benefits disproportionately accrue to the wealthiest Canadians.

Why not address that in the budget implementation bill? What is her opinion on the matter?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am not the government yet, so I cannot say why something is or is not in the budget. However, I would like to draw to the attention of landowners in my riding, who are always very interested in what the government is doing, that there is a special subdivision D that would amend the Seized Property Management Act. It goes on to talk about the consultative services and how they will teach more bureaucrats and managers how to seize property. I am wondering if that is in anticipation of more people losing their homes and lands as a consequence of the carbon tax.

I also want to talk about this aspect of amending the Weights and Measures Act and using a different unit of measure for electricity. I am wondering if it has anything to do with the United Nations' move toward having a carbon currency.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, although it was not the subject of the omnibus budget bill, Bill C-97, I really was fascinated by the member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke's search through the individuals who were part of the tentacles of SNC-Lavalin. I have been following this too, and I am very concerned that regardless of what party is in power, it seems to have a full grip.

For instance, I wonder if she could comment on the role of Gwyn Morgan, who was a very strong confidant and supporter of former prime minister Stephen Harper. He was put forward by Stephen Harper to be the chair of the Public Appointments Commission. He of course was the chair of the board of SNC-Lavalin during all of the alleged Libyan affairs, including also being the chair of its board of governance.

Could she also comment on the appointment of Arthur Porter to the highest position of trust in the land, by former prime minister Stephen Harper, to be chair of the review committee for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, CSIS? I mention that appointment in relation to SNC-Lavalin because, as we all know now, Arthur Porter was a co-conspirator with SNC-Lavalin in the bribery case involving the Montreal hospital.

My concern, and I wonder if the hon. member shares it, is regardless of who is in the PMO, SNC-Lavalin seems to know who to go to in order to get what it wants.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

4:50 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Conservative Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, I know the member is really passionate about the UN, carbon and the atmosphere. She was at the UN back in the 1990s, as she so often tells us. An individual called Judith Hanna wrote for New Scientist. She said that for those keen to slow global warming, the most effective actions were in the creation of strong national carbon currencies.

What I am trying to glean from this budget implementation act is whether that relates to the needed amendment to measure electricity differently, along with other weights and measures. There was a further description of what this carbon currency would look like. With this budget implementation bill, it looks like we are changing the way the whole economy is going to work. It is going to be on an energy based system, as opposed to a market based system.

Further to the issue of creating a strategy for carbon currencies, the U.K. environment secretary, David Miliband, said:

Imagine a country where carbon becomes a new currency. We carry bank cards that store both pounds and carbon points.

When we buy electricity, gas and fuel, we use our carbon points, as well as pounds. To help reduce carbon emissions, the Government would set limits on the amount of carbon that could be used.

Is the government, and this is again something I hope I can glean from this document, working and going toward allocating or rationing energy per individual in the future, at least for the common everyday person? We know that would never apply to the jet-set that can blow carbon into the air with its jet fuel.