House of Commons Hansard #426 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.


Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

6:40 p.m.


David Anderson Conservative Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, when I first put forward my name for nomination, an older friend asked me if I knew the similarity between politicians and babies' diapers. I said I did not but I bet he was going to tell me, and he said they should be changed often and for the same reason. Here we are, 19 years later, after six elections, and it is a time for a change for all of us.

I am here tonight to say thanks, first to the people of southwestern Saskatchewan, the best people in the world. Cypress Hills—Grasslands is a place where common sense still exists, where people feel both freedom and responsibility and where hard work is expected and rewarded. They have been exceptional in their incredible and unwavering support and it has been my privilege to represent Cypress Hills—Grasslands.

I have gained so many friends over the years. When one takes this job on, everything changes. Friendships, casual relationships, all of them, change. Much of the challenge for me has come from the massive size of my riding and the 10- to 12-hour one-way commute from home to Ottawa. Being gone much of the time, it was a challenge to keep up the friendships I have had in the past, but I need to thank our lifelong neighbours. Many of them have helped Sheila and I time and time again with renovations, blowing snow off the roads, feeding cats and dogs, and checking our house when we were gone. There are too many to mention, but that is just one more benefit of living in a small community.

As time went on, we made so many other friendships throughout the riding: small town leaders, grocery store owners, hockey parents, professionals, business people, fellow motorcyclists and people I met on the ferry. Yes, we do have a ferry in southwestern Saskatchewan.

It takes a while when we get here for members to settle in. The pace is crazy right from the beginning and there is not much of a training program, but over time, we cross paths with those who work here, in the cafeterias, on the bus and every time we enter a building. Over time, we become friends as we share small parts of our lives, including family issues, vacation plans and always the weather. Sometimes it amounts to more than just the Hill. I remember going motorcycling with some of the folks who work here on the Hill. I had the only Harley. It was the one that gave trouble and I was the one they gave grief to, but we went out together a few more times.

I need to especially mention Lynn, who serves us so faithfully on Wednesday morning. One of my most satisfying experiences has been the weekly prayer breakfast at 7 a.m. on Wednesday that has changed and cemented so many relationships here over the years. Lynn has served us for many years on Wednesday mornings.

I want to thank the young Conservative staff who have worked behind the scenes and made us look good. I want to thank my six elections' worth of colleagues. We have gone to war together. We have had victories and we have had losses, personal and political, and it has been my privilege to serve with them.

I would like to give a special thanks to those who have helped in the constituency and have been involved with us politically, some from the very beginning and others who joined later and put so much time and effort into helping us out. My friend Wayne Elhart showed up at our doorstep in mid-summer 2000 to encourage me to run. We chased him off, but he came back about three weeks later with my sister Wendy and her husband Wendell. We sat down together, had a conversation and began to pursue this. They were stuck with farming while I came and went, and now, 19 years later, their son Jeremy is running in the nomination in my riding to replace me.

I remember going to Swift Current for the first time to look for support and meeting with a small group. I got two things out that meeting: one person told me to go get a haircut and some decent clothes, and Alice Wall, who was the first person in Swift Current to say she would help me. She and John have been with me ever since and I thank them. Many others have been part of six campaigns and 20 years of board activities and fundraisers and all that goes with political life in a riding.

I am so grateful for my staff. Three of my four current staff members have been with me for over 10 years. They have had an incredible capacity to do the work. They addressed the issues, they gave great service to my constituents and they are known for that. It feels a bit like I am deserting them. This is where I have the most mixed emotions.

Over the years, many of them have become more than just workers. They have become friends. Many of them are here with me tonight. Victoria, Erin, Carla, Sarah, Justin, Craig and Patrick, thanks for joining us. Leanne, Naomi, Tim and Aaron are sorry that they could not be here. I hope I have not missed anyone on that list. It is fun for me to see past staff members running for nominations for our party and two of them are now candidates for 2019.

I have said our work here is often like getting a free world-class master's program; the best in the world are available to us if we are interested. We have done lots of work in our office, from Canadian Wheat Board stuff that took 12 years to get completed, to agriculture and trade work, as well as working on a motion declaring Parliament's support for religious freedom, and serving as a PS to 10 ministers, including natural resources, agriculture and foreign affairs, and then spending almost the last 10 years focused on human rights and religious freedom.

I want to thank Sheila, who is my love and my conscience. She is the one who has kept us going all these years and the one who has sacrificed more than anyone will know. We will be spending more time together.

To Amy, Andrew and Charis, Josiah and Ellis, and to Angela, who has become part of our family along with Hunter and Harley, we love them and thank them for being willing to pay the price so that I would have the privilege to do this job.

I want to thank my mother, Betty, who has prayed for me for decades.

I should mention that during my first campaign in 2000 there was a couple from Herbert, Saskatchewan, who helped me out, and at every turn, they mentioned their son-in-law, who was also running in Crowfoot, Alberta. When we came down here, the member from Crowfoot and I met. In our travel schedules of 10 hours to 12 hours one way for each of us, we both decided staying in hotels was not working very well for us and became roommates in early 2001. That must be some sort of record for Ottawa. I have to thank Darlene Sorenson, who has allowed her husband to share an apartment with me for almost 20 years. We have far outlasted much more well-publicized roommate relationships such as the one of the members for Cape Breton—Canso and Sydney—Victoria, who were elected at the same time.

Last and definitely not least, I thank God, whom I know is real. That knowing has changed every aspect of my life and is what brought me here. It is also what is taking me away. Although I do not know what the future will be, I do know that being an MP has given me a great opportunity and responsibility. It is our privilege to be a very small part of his work, and I hope and pray that I have been faithful in some way.

It is my expectation that my colleagues will form the next Government of Canada. While I know I will miss being here, I give them my support and best wishes. I will miss serving the people of Cypress Hills—Grasslands in the future. May God bless Parliament and may God bless Canada.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

6:50 p.m.


Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of hard acts to follow.

I want to start by telling parliamentarians of this wonderful, blessed life that I have had. I am a very fortunate man.

I have been blessed in many ways in my life of 75 short years. Two of my blessings have been the wonderful wives that I have had. My first wife, Carol, was a superb mother who lovingly raised our two children, Jeffrey and Lonna Lea, to be the most incredible parents that anyone could ever have. I am the proud grandfather of seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. It is hard to believe that a young man like me could be a great-grandfather.

After my wife, Carol, passed away in 1988, it was a barren time but my two children and I became very close friends. The bond grew closer and closer. I stayed widowed for 17 years until a wonderful lady by the name of Frances came into my life. We met in October of 1999.

I had never been part of any political party, belonged to a political organization or even attended a political meeting at that time, but somehow I was inspired to put my name in as a candidate for the Canadian Alliance Party of Canada in Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry. Believe it or not, I spent about two months on the road with my brother, Ed, and my wife, Frances, or “constant companion” as the press used to refer to her. We used to have a dog and pony show where we would go to small communities around the riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, put an ad in the paper, have a meeting where eight or 10 people would come out and listen to Guy give his wonderful speech, and then we would sell two or three memberships. Eventually, we sold enough memberships to win the Canadian Alliance nomination in 2000.

I did not know a thing about campaigning, but in 2000, we came within 2,900 votes of being successful. However, I got the bug and from then on I decided I wanted to be a member of Parliament.

I was dating Frances at that time and date nights became church suppers and every social event that was going on anywhere in Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry where there were more than a dozen people. That was our date. I would take Frances there and spend the big money, and we would have a church supper, have great pie and those kinds of things, and then I would take her home. However, that was successful. I did that for four years and, believe it or not, in June 28, 2004, I had the good fortune to be elected the member of Parliament for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.

Everyone in the House knows, but cannot express to other people, how exhilarating it is to be elected a member of Parliament, but it is also so humbling. When I realized that my peers had said “Guy, we trust you”, it was the most humbling, wonderful experience that I have ever had. The past 15 years and four re-elections since have been a true blessing.

I served as deputy whip for a period and also as the parliamentary secretary to the minister of agriculture. I had the distinct honour to act as the national caucus chair for the Conservative government for eight wonderful years. I will be forever grateful to Prime Minister Stephen Harper for honouring me with the great privilege to serve my colleagues, the Conservative Party of Canada and the Conservative government, as well as to serve him.

How do I thank the great constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry for the best 15 years of my life? Personally, I feel totally inadequate to express the sincere gratitude that I have in my heart for the hundreds and thousands of supporters and volunteers who have trusted me with the great honour of being their member of Parliament. I will be truly grateful to the wonderful constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, and I will continue to serve them in any way possible.

I want to thank my staff past and present. Currently, Francine, Denise, Sue, Nicole, Adrian and my almost full-time volunteer, my wonderful sister Claire, provide the best service any constituency office across Canada can provide. I challenge anyone to top that.

I also want to especially thank my executive assistant, Eric Duncan, who was with me for nine years. He drank the Kool-Aid and now is a candidate for Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry in the October election. Eric was my caucus coordinator during the eight years I was caucus chair. I am sure he will serve the constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry very well. As a matter of fact, I am starting to refer to him as the new improved version of Guy Lauzon, and younger I should say. He is only 31-years old.

Staff is so invaluable. Ninety per cent of the clients of the constituency of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry do not deal with me; they deal with my staff. I go out on weekends to social events and everybody tells me that they went to my office and had great service. I tell my staff that I get wonderful feedback from constituents, and I want them to know it. I keep getting re-elected because of them. I have been re-elected four times. They do all the work and I get all the glory. However, I tell them that if I keep my job, they keep theirs. That seems to work for them.

I want to thank my colleagues on all sides of the House. It truly has been an honour to sit in the chamber and serve the constituents of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry as well as the citizens of Canada.

To the citizens of Canada, to all the staff in Parliament and all my colleagues, I say “Thank you”. God bless them and may God bless Canada.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

6:55 p.m.


Bev Shipley Conservative Lambton—Kent—Middlesex, ON

Mr. Speaker, I suspect that this will be one of the final times I will get to speak in this amazing place. What an honour it has been.

I come from southwestern Ontario, from a little place called Denfield, which one cannot find on a map. All my life, all I ever wanted to do was farm. For those who have ever had a dream and lived it, that was my dream.

I graduated from agriculture college and had the great opportunity to become a dairy farmer and a cash crop farmer. It was an opportunity in my life when we exported cattle nationally and internationally. I also remember at that time, which was the 1980s, that for those of us who were in the business, who were expanding our business or who were buying farms and those types of things, 23% interest was a little more than a challenge. For people who were retired, it was a blessing. I was a long way from being retired. There were major bumps in the road.

Also at this time, I had been married to this amazing woman called Barb. Over those years, she has been with me with me, and together we went through those times. We survived it. We became stronger along with our three children.

Over 35 years ago, I got a call. I was asked if I would become a fence viewer for Lobo Township. I will not go into the details because likely nobody knows what a fence viewer is. Following that, I got a call asking if I would sit on the planning board for the township.

We had just finished planting soybeans when my councillor drove into the yard. He said that he was not running in the fall and asked me if I would run in his place. After 20 years, being a councillor, then deputy, then for 16 years being reeve, mayor and then warden of the county, it was time for him to step back. At that time, when that call came for the job of fence viewer, little did I know it would be the beginning of a political career.

It was a bit of a challenge because when Barb indicated that it would be a great idea to get married, she said she would never marry a politician. At any rate, she has been there with me all this time. Never in my life did I ever think I would be in politics.

After 20 years in municipal politics, some people showed up at my door and said they would like me to consider putting my name in to run for the Conservative Party of Canada. I said that it was not on my radar screen and it never had been. I told Barb and she said, “I think we need to pray about this.” This was the same beautiful woman who many years before had talked about me not being in politics. We prayed about it. Prayer has been one of the solid things in our lives and in our marriage. She said to me, “Whatever your decision is, I'll be there with you.”

I ran in 2004 and lost, and that was good. Not many people would say that, but there were things that happened in the two years before 2006 that make me thankful I was at home with our family.

Then on January 23, 2006, the people of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex allowed me to be the member of Parliament for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex. There should never be an election in the winter, not in Canada.

At any rate, for those who have been through this, there is no staff, no office and, as I found out, had a limited understanding of what the load would be with this job. I have referenced it as being like trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant. After a while, the hose gets smaller and then to gets to where a cup can be put under it and the water can be nourished and drank. It does all come together.

I am thankful and privileged to have served under the Right. Hon. Stephen Harper, a man of wisdom and a man of integrity. During that time, we all had our things, and I was so fortunate to have two private members' motions become legislation. The first focused on agriculture, which was the harmonization of the science for the registration of agriculture inputs. The next one was a motion that would end up, because of my colleague from Grasslands, establishing the Office of Religious Freedom. It would fall under the Minister of Foreign Affairs and would be responsible for monitoring religious persecution around the world. What an honour it was to have representatives from parties in the House support in those motions.

Now we have a new leader, who I believe has a new clear vision for Canada and who I believe will become the prime minister in October.

I want to thank the member from Yorkton for the prayer breakfasts we have on Wednesday mornings. What a stabilizer it is for those of us who have a strong faith.

After nearly 14 years, I could describe this as a walk in life because of the amazing people around me. That, my friends, is what makes it a journey.

I want to thank the special people in my life: my wife Barb, our three children, Cheryl, Greg and Chris, and our 10 grandchildren, with whom I will get to spend much more time.

I thank the incredible people who became my staff over the years and those who carried me through, people like Yvonne Hundey and Pat Davis, who have been there since day one; Stephanie Cattrysse, Todd Gurd and Sarah Brown, who is my corporal in Ottawa. To all the staff who have worked for me, they made a mark in my life and I thank them very much for that.

How do I thank neighbours and friends, the people who take care of things when I am not there? They look after my home and ensure Barb is safe when I am not there. I hope my thanks is enough.

Larry Weatherhead is an unsung hero. He would be embarrassed, but he is a friend and an employee. He carried a lot of the farm workload while I was not there over the years. I thank him.

To my colleagues in this place of all party stripes, I thank them for the friendships we have built and sustained.

From the bottom of my heart, I thank all the people who supported me as well as the ones who did not but who put up with me.

I pass the torch to Leanne Rood, the candidate for Lambton—Kent—Middlesex in October 2019. May the torch be held high.

May God bless each and everyone in this Parliament and may God bless this great country of Canada.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:05 p.m.


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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak this evening. More than anything, I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve in the House. I wanted to tell my story of how I got here and at the same time, thank all of the people who have contributed so immensely over the years.

I would like to begin by thanking my wife and my kids for allowing me to leave, and forgiving me for leaving, every single week to come to this place and do what we know is a passion for each of us. That passion is serving our country.

I would like to thank my mom and dad, my mom who is an activist and my father who knocked on doors. I cannot tell members how badly the man, who is 40-some years older than me, shamed me by being a better door knocker than me and going more quickly than me over the years, in election after election.

I thank the friends who gave so much time and effort to help me achieve my dreams; the president, John Thornton; Bruce MacGregor; Lynn Kelman, who served in the new riding of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte since its inception in 2013; and the board of directors who guided us.

Finally, I thank the staff who served in the offices in Barrie and here in Ottawa over the years: Amanda, Matt, Dion, Emrys, Stephen, Filip, Tiana, Laura, Kathryn and Naomi. I can tell members that their service was not just to me as the member of Parliament, but to the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte and the people of Canada. That can never be forgotten or erased. I want to thank them for all of the hard work they put in.

My story with politics started when I was 15 years old. I was more likely to be smoking pot in the forest beside the high school than I was to be in the high school where I was supposed to be. Mike Harris changed the education curriculum in the first year of the double cohort and created civics and careers. I took that civics class and I fell in love because I realized that something could be done to improve the lives of those people around me and my situation and my family.

The next part of the class was careers. At the end was a project, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” It was not an entry-level job like it is now, but naturally I chose Prime Minister of Canada. I also chose member of Parliament, and I have been able to work toward that since then.

When I was 18 years old, I ran for city council. I ran against my principal after dropping out of high school to run for council and I lost. Surprise, surprise. I went to speak at a Christian businessmen's association lunch and there was a guy named Arch Brown who created Canadian Tire money, that stuff they used to have and just brought back. He asked me if I was going to run again. I said, “I don't know. Who wants an 18-year-old running a council of a city of 100,000 people?” He said, “Alex, 17- and 18-year-olds signed up, went to Europe, fought for their country and died for their country so you could have the freedom to run here today.” He is no longer with us, but thank God he said those words to me that day, because they have never left. In fact, someone reminded me of them just a few days ago.

After that, at 21 years of age, I ran against my grade 4 teacher and my boss in Patrick Brown's office, but this time I beat the authority and I won as a city councillor. I was re-elected at age 25 to Barrie city council. Eventually, at the age of 30, I had my opportunity to run for member of Parliament, the goal that I set when I was 15 years of age. This time I ran against the president of the college that I attended, another authority figure in my life.

I had no idea when we started that election there would be literally $400,000 or $500,000 spent on the election and it would come down to 86 votes, that 51,000 people would vote in this riding and 86 people would be the determinant as to what would happen in terms of success, whether it be Liberal or Conservative.

When I came here, I was nothing but an idealistic Conservative, through and though. I certainly still hold those beliefs to this day.

When I walked into this chamber, I believed that Conservatives were good and others were bad. Quite frankly, it was a very divisive attitude. I was young, and still am, and I certainly did not understand the people around me, the perspectives they had and why they believed what they believed.

I can say today that I have grown as a human being. I have learned lessons. I will never forget to respect people on the other side of the aisle, to respect those beside me and to understand them.

What is incredible is that what saved me as a 15-year-old kid is the same thing I am seeing fall apart. I see the destructive behaviours of divisiveness and of calling each other either fascists or communists. The politics are the same now as they were then, and we must stop the destructive behaviours.

I am seeing it in our young people, as I travel from university to university serving in the shadow cabinet, serving an incredible leader. Our young people are becoming as polarized as the debates we are having both inside and outside the House.

I would like to take this opportunity to mention a couple of members from other parties whom I have grown to respect. My colleagues know how much I respect them, because we get to talk about it all the time.

When I first came here, I was on the industry committee. The member for Pierrefonds—Dollard and I were on opposite sides, and we had arguments for the first three or four weeks. It was not long before we realized that we wanted to achieve the exact same things, so we worked together. Since then, I have seen him work with members on all sides, certainly those in his caucus and mine, to fight for what he believes in terms of democracy, opportunity and hope for Canadians. I have seen that in every member in this place in one way or another.

While I am not running in this election, I hope the one lasting impression I leave on members of the House who are running is this. When they are out campaigning and speaking to the Canadian people, with the Canadian people, for the Canadian people, members should bridge the gap. They should not make it any larger than it is, because by doing so, in the end, nobody wins. The only people all of us want to see win are the Canadian people.

I am thankful for this opportunity. God bless Canada.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Allow me to thank the member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte. Let me also offer my very best wishes.

It was great getting to know you. I was thinking of someone you did leave a permanent impression on, but we will not get into that. It has been fun having you here, having you sit close. We have had some great conversations and interactions over the past. It has been a lot of fun. All the best.

The hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:15 p.m.


Rodger Cuzner Liberal Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, that is pretty cool. I am just wondering, looking in the gallery, if there is an open bar in the gallery for the first time. This is a great treat. I want to commend the House leaders for allowing this to happen, for members to come out and have a final speech. There have been some really cool things said in the chamber.

As many members who have been here for a while and through a few Parliaments would know, not every parliamentarian necessarily gets a final speech. Sometimes it is a concession speech back at headquarters. This is far more civilized. I am really happy that I am able to join in with so many colleagues I have served with over the last number of years.

I rewrote this thing about 12 times. I am a bit nervous, although not as nervous as the first time I almost spoke in this House. I would like to share that story here. Our chief of staff in the whip's office, Charles-Eric, was on the whip's desk at the time. I was a newly minted parliamentarian. My good friend and colleague from Sydney—Victoria and I had come here, and we did not know a lot about parliamentary procedures or anything. We were elected in November. We sat for about a week, just to get some housekeeping done. Then we had the Christmas break and came back in February.

It was about the third week back, and I had not had an opportunity to do my maiden speech yet. I did not know a whole lot about the mechanics of the House. I walked into the government lobby, and Charles-Eric said, “Mr. Cuzner, we have to have you speak. We can't let the debate die. You have to do a speech.” I said, “Chuck, I have never spoken in the House before, I don't know what to do.” He said, “No, no. Here's the speech from Marlene Jennings.”

Some of you would have served with Marlene, a great member of Parliament, strong on women's issues. She always pushed the issue of women of colour and opportunities for women of colour. He said, “She hasn't shown up and the debate is going to collapse. You have to do the speech.” My reading skills are not bad, so I said, “Yeah, I'll do it, give me the speech.”

He gave me the speech. I was sitting where my good friend from Niagara Falls is. We were on the rump over there. I had the speech in hand, and I ran around. Reg Bélair was the Deputy Speaker at the time. I said, “Reg, what do I do?” He said, “I'll give the one-minute warning to the Speaker, and then I'll call your riding, you'll get up and begin to speak.” I thought, okay, I can do that.

I started reading the speech, and I got halfway through the second paragraph when I saw the one finger go up. Next thing I saw was the beads of sweat dropping on the paper. I said to myself that I did not have time to read it, so I had better scan it. I scanned it, and it was five pages of French. Now, going through my mind was, okay, what is the tempo. I was thinking, “Mr. Speaker,” trying to get the tempo down.

He was ready to go. As you do, Mr. Speaker, he did not have the technology of the lowering arm at the time. He was edging out of his seat, and my heart was just pumping and I was sweating. I had a five-page speech for 10 minutes of air time. Marlene Jennings came racing through the doors. She was in the top row over there. She took her place, huffing and puffing. Reg Bélair got up and said, “The hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.” He looked over me and said, “You're off the hook.”

I had the speech and I was in a state. I was trying to get settled down. I was looking at the last paragraph in the speech, “Growing up in Montreal as a young black woman”. I know that I was in such a state that I would have read that into the record that day. I am glad I did not. It is in the record now.

I am going to try not to be partisan or too emotional because my good friend, the Minister of Veterans Affairs said his bladder is too close to his eyes. He said that is something that no speaker should want. I am also not going to be too long.

I just want to thank some people, and obviously the good people of Cape Breton—Canso. Six times, they have put their trust in me and asked me to represent them here in the chamber. They should know that every day I go to work it is with respect to the trust that they have put in me. That is how I go about my business. I would do anything for them except re-offer. However, it was an absolute pleasure to work with them and to see so many good things happen within our riding.

I want to thank the volunteers. I have a big rural riding. I have 54 volunteer fire departments, so it is a big, expansive rural riding. We had a lot of fun with the elections and the volunteers came out. It is just their level of commitment. We have, with all parties, those party stalwarts who come out and believe in the democratic process. They want their team to win and they come out and do everything they can. I continue to be amazed by them and inspired by them. I want to thank them for their work over so many years. We should all thank our volunteers.

I want to thank my staff: Rosemary MacIntyre; Jill Horwath; Geoff MacLellan; Derek Jerrott; Laurel Munroe; Kris Kolanko; Cathy Coffin who has been with me so long; Joel Bowen, with whom we solved a lot of the world's problems late at night; Pete Cullen, who is here tonight, and I hired him twice so it is Pete and re-Pete; and Dalton Wakely and we still do not know what Dalton did but I am sure he did a great job.

I served as the chief opposition whip for two years. I want to thank the whip staff: Nathalie, Mélanie and Patrick. Again, we can all sort of relate to that. I brought Vince MacNeil over from the Senate, and Vince was a great addition to our team here on the Commons side after a career on the Senate side.

As we live here and work on the Hill, everybody appreciates the work that the House officers do. The security guys, the maintenance staff and the whole crew were wonderful at their jobs. I thank so much my caucus colleagues, past and present, and also my old roommate from Sydney—Victoria, 13 years. Our thoughts are with our good friend from Beauséjour, the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs. I thank our past leaders.

A.J. MacDougall, former warden of Inverness County, said this right after we got elected and Rodney MacDonald was a minister in the Progressive Conservative government in Nova Scotia. He said that the people in Inverness County will expect us to work together and get along to provide for the people. I have always tried to do that.

I will just share my favourite story and I will wrap up.

There have been a lot of great moments in this House and a lot of concerning moments in this House. In the wake of 9/11 and the United States going into Iraq, I was serving as Prime Minister Chrétien's parliamentary secretary at the time. I came to his office in preparation for QP. There was a phone call earlier in the day and he was speaking with Tony Blair. He was sort of the elder statesman on the scene, so Mr. Chrétien took the call and leaned back in his chair in Mr. Chrétien's style and said, “Hello Tony”. They had a conversation and Mr. Chrétien said that if we did not have the multilateral support of the UN on this, Canada would not be going in.

Anyway, Tony Blair made the decision to go in and we know how that turned out. At the time, Mr. Chrétien said that there was going to be a mess left behind, and how do we clean that up? We were getting pounded hard every day by the Leader of the Opposition. Mr. Harper was hitting him every day. However, he knew that he would stand alone and defend that position, and I think the history books show that decision was a great moment for this country.

I also want to thank the journalists. I think they are a key pillar to this democracy.

I am not sad to go. I am just happy to have had the opportunity to be here. Everybody talks about the poems and asks if I am going to do a poem, but no, there is an entertainment tax with the poems. I took my responsibilities seriously but I never took myself seriously.

I will close by taking the chance to say to you, Mr. Speaker, who has been a good friend for a long time: Rodger, over and out.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:25 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan


Before the member for Cape Breton—Canso shakes any more hands, I want to say a word or two, having, as he said, known him for a long time.

In fact, I first met the hon. member for Cape Breton—Canso in 1975. I was 15 and I was at Al MacNeil's hockey school in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. Rodger was one of the coaches. Rodger, I think you were 50, were you not? No, but he was maybe 17 or 18, a junior star. Based on the coaching he gave me then, I attribute my skills and success entirely to him. I am awfully glad that he does not have a chance to rebut that.

It has been great working with you over the years. We have had a lot of fun working together. I want to wish you, Lynn and your family all the best, and I hope to see you often. You know that you are always welcome at my house, and I think I may have to come and see you on the Mira sometime. All the best.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.


Erin Weir Independent Regina—Lewvan, SK

Mr. Speaker, those of us who have had the privilege of serving in this 42nd Parliament have experienced some truly historic moments. We celebrated the 150th anniversary of this Parliament. We welcomed President Barack Obama into this House to speak to us. We witnessed the return of the CCF after half a century, contributing to the largest number of independent MPs in Canadian history. We served in the Centre Block and in this new House.

I was honoured to be part of that history, but my interest in politics has always been motivated by an interest in public policy, so I want to talk about some of the issues that I have raised in this Parliament, both as a member of the NDP caucus and as an independent MP.

During my time in the NDP caucus, I was the first MP in the House to call for federal funding to help restore bus service in Saskatchewan. I was also the first MP to call for a federal role in keeping SaskTel public. As part of the NDP caucus, I even managed to sneak in one member's statement advocating for the use of Regina-made steel in the Trans Mountain expansion. It has been even easier to advocate for Regina-made steel as an independent MP.

In the NDP caucus I tried to raise the idea of border adjustments to carbon pricing to ensure a level playing field for our Canadian workers. As members know, I got into some trouble with my party leadership for debating that issue, which brings me to my time as an independent. Of course, I have been more more free to speak up for the use of Regina steel in Trans Mountain and for extending federal carbon pricing to the carbon content of imports while rebating it on Canadian-made exports.

I have been the only member of this Parliament to advocate for restoring VIA Rail service to Regina and for a federal investigation of the Regina bypass. I was the first member of the House to advocate for federal assistance to our canola farmers when China closed its market.

In addition to the issues that I have been proud to raise on the floor of this House, I also want to speak to some of the issues that I have been able to work on through committees.

In this 42nd Parliament, I was the only western Canadian MP to serve on the all-party steel caucus. We travelled to Washington to advocate for a Canadian exemption from American steel tariffs and I am extremely pleased to see that goal has been achieved.

I served as the NDP vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:30 p.m.


Erin Weir Independent Regina—Lewvan, SK

I hear some of my colleagues from that committee. I think it was a very co-operative committee and I actually went to the same high school as the chair of that committee. I think it is probably a rare thing in this Parliament to have a committee chair and a vice-chair from the same high school, Campbell Collegiate in Regina, in this case.

At that committee I was able to ask about the Phoenix pay system, even before it became a national scandal. I pushed to keep the government's feet to the fire on paying our federal public servants correctly and on time.

Our committee also conducted a major study on the future of Canada Post. Talking about Canada Post, one of my proud moments in this House was occupying the Prime Minister's chair during committee of the whole to speak up for collective bargaining rights in response to back-to-work legislation for postal workers.

The government operations committee also undertook a major study of whistle-blower protection in the federal public service. The report that we prepared was a truly unanimous report without any dissenting or supplementary reports from any political party. I believe it is a fairly rare accomplishment in this Parliament to achieve that level of agreement at a committee, so I am certainly very proud of that report.

When I became an independent MP, I had no guaranteed spots at committee. On the other hand, I had the freedom to try to intervene on any committee. Most recently, I have participated in meetings of the agriculture and trade committees to advocate for federal assistance to canola farmers, and I am pleased that the government has expanded the advanced payments program to provide some assistance to those producers.

I also participated in hearings of the justice and ethics committees on SNC-Lavalin. I was able to ask questions of the now independent member for Vancouver Granville, Gerry Butts and Michael Wernick.

I do not believe that I would have been able to play that role on those committees as a member of the NDP caucus, so on reflection, I am pleased to have been able to spend part of this term as an independent MP. It is something I would recommend to other members of the House, especially those who might be on the fence and considering joining our growing corner of Parliament.

I am going to stop short of thanking the federal NDP leader for removing me from caucus and making me an independent, but I do want to thank all the local volunteers and donors who helped elect me in a very closely fought campaign.

I also want to say that the support of family, friends, staff and other people across Canada through difficult times has meant so much to me. I particularly want to thank all the former elected officials, national commentators and grassroots activists who spoke up for due process, common sense and local democracy.

Most of all I want to thank the people of Regina for entrusting me with the great privilege of representing them in Parliament, which has been the greatest honour of my life.

Members Not Seeking Re-election to the 43rd ParliamentGovernment Orders

7:35 p.m.


The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

Allow me to thank the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan for his farewell remarks. It has been great getting to know him.

If I recall correctly, the member for Regina—Lewvan and the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan knew each other from university debating. I think it is fair to say that both seemed right at home here in the chamber.

I am sure we would all agree that we want to offer all our best wishes, but on my own behalf, I wish you all the best in the future.

There being no more members rising to speak, pursuant to order made on Tuesday, May 28, the House will resume its proceedings under government orders.

The House resumed consideration of C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, as reported (with amendment) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


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

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to rise and address the House on the important issues we have to address. What is more important than the national budget? It is one of those measures that we can read a lot into, because it is the way the government establishes its priorities. From day one, this government has been very clear to the House, and through the House to all Canadians, and I would even reverse that by saying that through Canadians, we have been very clear to this House, what the intentions of this government are.

As I have referenced in the past, we have a Prime Minister who constantly challenges members of the Liberal caucus to stay connected with their constituents, the people we represent, and to bring their thoughts and ideas to the floor of the House, the standing committees and the caucus. I really believe that a lot of positive things have happened as a direct result.

Before I get to the core issues, I would like to use the example of pharmacare. On numerous occasions, I have had the opportunity to stand in my place and table petitions dealing with pharmacare. We know how passionate Canadians are about our health care system. It does not matter what region of the country we live in, health care is an important issue. As such, I have always taken it seriously, not only here in the House of Commons but also in the days when I was an MLA.

Under this Prime Minister, for the very first time in decades, we have seen an open mind toward a national pharmacare plan. I would argue that for the first time in decades, we have seen not only members of the government but also some opposition members talking more about a pharmacare plan. Virtually months after the last election, we saw the standing committee put meetings on its agenda to deal with pharmacare, which ultimately led to a report.

We have seen commitments within our budget measures to further the debate and dialogue on pharmacare. We have seen members of Parliament go into their constituencies and work with others.

I am very proud of the fact that my daughter Cindy has been very strong on this file and has been advocating for a national pharmacare plan on the floor of the Manitoba legislature. She recognizes, as I do, that this is an important issue for the residents of Winnipeg's north end and beyond.

If we listen to my caucus colleagues, they will talk about the importance of a national pharmacare plan. I think that embodies some of the things the Prime Minister has talked about, which is that as members of Parliament, it is important that we stay in touch with what our constituencies want and expect.

Let me suggest to members that it is one of the important issues on which I hope to see some tangible results in the coming days, weeks, months and, with the approval of my constituents, years. It is an issue I want the residents of Winnipeg North to understand. I will continue to advocate for it until we have some form of national pharmacare plan we can all be proud of, a plan that will complement the national Canada health care system we have.

Having said that, I want to talk about day one. I sat in the opposition benches a number of years ago when our current Prime Minister was elected leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

I thought it was significant that the day he made the announcement that he was interested in putting his name into the leadership race, he highlighted the importance of Canada's middle class. Nothing has changed. The then leadership candidate, who then became the leader of the Liberal Party and is now Canada's Prime Minister, has consistently indicated that Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be part of it are the first priority of this government and the Liberal Party.

He made that pledge in the last federal election. I believe that if we look at the budgetary measures we have taken since day one of getting into government, we will find example after example of what we have done as the government to further the interests of Canada's middle class.

If we look back at the beginning, and Bill C-2, we will see the tax cut for Canada's middle class. At the same time, we recognized the sense of tax fairness, and we saw a government that put an extra tax on Canada's one per cent, the wealthiest Canadians. The revenue generated from that, in good part, went to pay for the tax break for Canada's middle class.

I am very proud of the fact that we have seen a government that also wants to do what it can to deal with issues such as poverty. That is why we saw the enhancement of the tax-free Canada child benefit program, literally lifting tens of thousands of children, going into hundreds of thousands, out of poverty. Then we saw the guaranteed income supplement, which also lifted tens of thousands of Canadians out of poverty.

I want to combine the three of them and use it as a tangible example of this point. We took money and put it into the pockets of Canadians in every region of our country. We supported the middle class and those aspiring to be part of it, those who needed that helping hand, and we put money to work. I say that because if we invest in our middle class, we are really investing in Canada. The hundreds of millions, going into billions of dollars annually that we invested in Canadians ultimately assisted us in providing tangible results. It increased disposable income and, I would argue, helped create the one million jobs this government, working in co-operation with other stakeholders, has been able to generate in every region of this country.

In so many ways, we are the envy of the world because of the economic policies we have put in place. We have put money in the pockets of Canadians by investing in infrastructure. Even with this most recent budget, we are giving tens of millions of dollars. In the city of Winnipeg, just over $35 million is going into municipal infrastructure, creating jobs, building our country and investing in Canadians. That is what this government has been all about over the last three and a half years.

We have seen tangible results. This is why I am very happy and quite content. The summer is quickly approaching. We only have another 12 or 13 days left in this sitting. I look forward to a summer where we can reach out and tell Canadians what has been taking place in the last three and a half years.

Come October, when people do the comparisons, they will recognize and appreciate all the work we have been able to accomplish, working with Canadians day in and day out, working hard and delivering.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:50 p.m.


Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am glad the member brought up the government's Bill C-2, which was in fact the cut to the middle income bracket, not to the middle class.

I have had this exchange with the member several times now, probably more than several times over the past few months and year. The government offered a tax cut of over $800 to every member of Parliament in this Chamber. However, people who were earning $45,000 or less got nothing. They got carbon taxes and higher payroll taxes. They actually got less at the end of the month. People who were earning $60,000 a year, which is more than the median income, more than the average income a person would earn in Canada, got about a $260 tax cut.

The member keeps repeating that this was for the middle class, but in fact every member of Parliament received a much higher tax break. That is wrong. That is not the way this is supposed to work. We are not supposed to fill our pockets; we are supposed to help Canadians.

Will the member finally admit that the middle income tax cut was not for the middle class, that it did not achieve any of those goals? In fact, the numbers provided by the CRA show that the extra tax put on the so-called 1% did not generate the revenue the government thought it would, that we lost over $4 billion.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:50 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite focuses on one area with respect to the middle-class tax cut.

He talks about particular individuals who made x number of dollars. What about the hundreds of thousands of teachers, firefighters, factory workers and others who received that middle class tax cut? The bulk of that hundreds of millions of dollars went to those individuals. By investing in our middle class, we were able to increase disposable income. That meant they were able to visit the local restaurant, go to retail outlets and invest in our economy. By investing in the economy, by spending, it generated additional jobs.

The member and the Conservatives are off base. I think what it might be is a little remorse. At the end of the day, the Conservatives voted against the tax break for Canada's middle class.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:50 p.m.


Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I know the member spent a long time preparing his speech and could not finish it. Therefore, I will not ask a question so can finish it. However, I will make a comment.

Some members heard me the other day in question period. I had a long list of things that the Minister of Finance had done for us in previous years. I want to add some of the things he has done in this budget, particularly for the north, on top of all of those things.

There were an additional $75 million for CanNor; an additional $50 million for the Yukon territorial government, which has to provide health care and education; $400 million out of the trade corridor fund just for the north, which is a higher percentage than the rest of Canada, sorry to the other members for that; and $26 million for the science building at Yukon College to help make it the first university in Canada north of 60. We are the only country in the world that did not have a university north of 60, but we now will. Finally, something no one in the House would have mentioned, but there was increased money for polar continental shelf project to do research in the arctic.

Finally, in the north, we benefited from a whole bunch of things as did everyone in Canada: the mineral exploration tax credit, extended for five years; increases for student loans; $150 million for cancer; $60 million for tourism; and increases in indigenous languages and new horizons for seniors.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:55 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

We are running out of time.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:55 p.m.


Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, the first thing that comes to mind is how effective members within our caucus can be.

I know the member for Yukon. A member cannot be in the national Liberal caucus and not hear about Yukon. Yukon is an absolutely critical aspect in every way when it comes to caucus discussions. My friend and colleague from Yukon is very quick to remind all us of the importance of not neglecting Yukon. I suspect that is one of the reasons why the Prime Minister and many of us actively think about it.

One of the nice things about being part of a great team is that we get a sense of co-operation and better understanding of all the different areas of our country. All our members are strong advocates for their communities. No doubt that is one of the reasons the Minister of Finance finds things very challenging. We are constantly lobbying him in the best interests of all of Canada.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

7:55 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this place to speak to Bill C-97, the budget implementation act.

I am profoundly concerned.

The federal budget is a government's opportunity to present its plan for the country and its economy. It is its opportunity to demonstrate to Canadians that true political leadership is the art of the possible.

It is concerning that rather than accomplish the possible things that could help Canadians prosper, the Liberal party refuses to recognize that more and more Canadians are just getting by and not getting ahead.

Canadians need budget measures that at least acknowledge their struggles and help provide them some relief from the escalating costs of day-to-day life, not ones that simply continue the Liberals' long history of tax-and-spend policies that instead hurt families, businesses and the sustainability of government programs on which people rely.

Again, in this budget, there is no plan. Instead, Canadians are getting tax increases that only make their situation worse.

There is no question that over the past four years Canadians have suffered under a Liberal government that misses opportunities, mortgages our children's futures, lacks a plan and neglects the needs of workers and families.

Let us talk about the concerns of the constituents I represent in Flamborough—Glanbrook and what they have been feeling as far as Liberal neglect is concerned.

In the greater city of Hamilton, thousands of Stelco workers and pensioners have been forced to deal with great uncertainty and have really struggled after the company moved into creditor protection on two different occasions, 2004 and 2014. These are Canadians who have or are at risk of losing their dream of a dignified retirement after decades of hard work.

What I have heard from every pensioner who has reached out to me on this issue is that he or she has serious concerns that the bankruptcy process puts investors ahead of pensioners.

Bankruptcies at Sears and Nortel over the years have resulted in similar dire circumstances for their pensioners. Thousands of Sears employees were out of work when the store closed in December 2017, yet there was no real pension protection for employees who had been there for 10, 20, 30 years or more.

A pension is deferred wages. That it is even possible to lose deferred wages is totally unacceptable.

The Liberals promised action years ago. More empty promises in this budget do not a plan make.

Our previous Conservative government took an important first step when we brought in changes that required companies to fulfill their pension obligations when they sought creditor protection. I am happy that change was made because it was a crucial first step toward protecting pensioners. However, there are many more steps to take. That was just the first and more needs to be done.

It is possible to make changes to our laws and regulations to improve protections for pensioners. The question becomes, what changes should be made and how do we make those changes? This is not a question to which one party has all the answers.

It is not my intention to over simplify the challenge before us. I remind my colleagues that political leadership is the art of the possible. Millions of Canadians rely on their pensions. This issue is too important to avoid action because the problem is too complex. Nor should members be divided down partisan lines. We have to make this change possible.

That is why, in 2017, I called upon the government to charge one of our parliamentary committees to review the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditor Arrangement Act and the Investment Canada Act. That was 18 months ago.

I strongly believe a parliamentary committee is the ideal place to begin. A parliamentary study allows members of all parties to examine important statutes and regulations and provide their input on the matter. In hearing from stakeholders, public servants, legal and industry experts, a committee study allows members to determine where exactly the issues are and what exactly is possible. All of the testimony would be a matter of public record, meaning that those arguing for and against changes would be subject to scrutiny, and rightfully so.

Committee members then have the opportunity to make recommendations to the government as to what problems need to be addressed and how they could be addressed.

Having previously chaired the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology and understanding the issues that come before it, that would make a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, when my Conservative colleagues brought forward a motion to begin such a study at committee, the Liberals voted it down. Instead of taking advantage of the power of a parliamentary committee, the Liberals blocked that study and made it clear that looking at new ways to protect pensioners was not a priority for the government. In the 18 months since, we have essentially heard nothing from the Liberals regarding pension protections. A lot could have been done by now if the Liberals had the will.

Ironically, in the latest budget, the Liberals committed to giving pensioners greater peace of mind by “enhancing retirement security”. Is this vague commitment what pensioners have been waiting for all these years? The Liberals are not prepared to take the very possible and meaningful steps to follow through on those words. While moves toward greater transparency in the process are all well and good, the budget falls far short of actually providing concrete protections for pensioners when their company files for creditor protection.

It is not just the official opposition that sees this legislation as woefully lacking. The Canadian Association of Retired Persons and the Canadian Federation of Pensioners agree that Bill C-97 falls well short.

When I met with the United Steelworkers a few weeks ago, they made it abundantly clear to me that this was their number one priority, because there are still workers and pensioners who are struggling, stressed out and concerned for their futures.

This issue should transcend partisan boundaries. My Conservative colleague, the hon. member for Durham, when he introduced Bill C-405 to begin making changes to better protect pensioners, said that “securing the retirement and pension security of Canadians is another time that we should work together on all sides of this House to bring certainty to hundreds of thousands of Canadians in their retirement.”

The hon. NDP member for Hamilton Mountain, who has offered his own private member's bill on pensions as well, referred to the issue as a “legislative crisis”.

Even the Liberal Minister of Seniors, who is also the member for a neighbour riding of mine, Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, told the CBC that more study was needed on pensions. That begs the question: If the position of the Liberal government is that more study is needed, why did the Liberals vote down a Conservative motion to study pension protections at committee? I think Canadians deserve an answer to that question, and the government better have a reason that is better that petty partisanship. The financial security and safety of our retirees is far too important for that.

I reiterate my belief that a complete review of the legislation governing pensions and insolvency is needed, one that considers the perspectives of all stakeholders: workers, business leaders, industry experts, civil servants, bondholders, banks, and suppliers who, by the way, get victimized very regularly as well when a company goes out of business. Small suppliers who have a handful of employees are forced into bankruptcy and their employees lose their jobs because they are so far down the list as well. They should be part of the stakeholders who come before our committee, and so many others, who can give their testimony in regard to how bankruptcy should be handled and the priority in which the claims should be made. This is not and never will be an issue that only one party can solve on its own.

The Liberals did not want dialogue, and it is reflected in this bill because their proposals are not only inadequate but fail to even broach the crux of the issue. This is not an issue that can be meaningfully addressed in a massive omnibus budget bill. I implore the Liberal executive to allow committees to do what they do best. The issue requires an approach that allows members of all parties to take the time to have an in-depth debate on this specific issue without the looming threat of time allocation to get the budget through.

Pensioners work hard for decades to earn a dignified retirement. I am certain that my colleagues right here in the House, who are vested with a pension, would scream quite loudly if all of a sudden it was limited or taken away. The least we can do as elected representatives of Canadian workers and pensioners is to take the issue seriously and provide meaningful changes to protect them.

While we may not be able to make all stakeholders completely happy, it is possible to do much more and better for workers. Let us get this on the front burner now before another 18 months go by.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:05 p.m.


Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for taking up this topic, which is very important. It has always been a pet project of mine, and I totally agree with him that it needs to be studied and worked on.

The minister for science and industry has outlined in question period a number of steps that the government is working on and taking related to this. However, the member has obviously given more thought to this than most people. Obviously, a study would be great and we would get all those opinions.

Could he give one or two ideas of his own, which he has already thought of because he has thought so much about this, that might help us in a program to help protect the pensions of existing pensioners?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:05 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for the question. It was given in the spirit of collegiality, and I appreciate that because this issue is so complex.

There are a number of things we could do, which is why we need to get everybody at the table. Bondholders will have a real problem with the security of the funds they have invested in the company and will want to make sure they can get their investment out. Banks are going to come to the table and will be concerned about the fact that their liability is going to be increased if they are not right at the top of the list. They will make claims, as they have to probably many members here, that they will have to charge more for credit and that maybe even credit will not be as accessible because their liability will increase for any new measures that might take place.

The reason I said the first step should be that we have very clear and concise testimony is that the general public needs to know where everybody stands. It is why in my speech I said that for those who would argue for and against, the public would clearly see what the issues were. They would see whether people were strong-arming brinkmanship to try to keep things status quo or if there was a reasonable effort to come to some kind of compromise to make sure those deferred wages that people sometimes wait a decade or two or three for are actually honoured.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:05 p.m.


Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have great respect for my colleague. I received a message from Linda Nickerson of Parksville. Her husband has been sick with diabetes and medicine prices have been going up. Linda planned well for her retirement. She invested appropriately and so did her husband. Medicine costs have gone through the roof.

They have sold their house and downsized to a trailer, and they are still having a tough time making ends meet living on just CPP and OAS. They are calling for the government to invest in a national pharmacare plan so that they can survive. They are not sure what they will be able to do next, because the costs are going through the roof when it comes to the medicine.

The Liberal government keeps making promises that it will deliver a national pharmacare plan. In fact, it was in its red book in 1993, and now it is talking about making progress. The deputy House leader today talked about the government making progress, but we still have not seen a national pharmacare plan delivered.

Does my colleague and the Conservatives support a national pharmacare plan so that people like Linda Nickerson, her husband and her family are able to buy the medicine they need?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:10 p.m.


David Sweet Conservative Flamborough—Glanbrook, ON

Mr. Speaker, my own sister had C. difficile and was at death's door at one time. She needed an experimental drug that cost $5,500 per dose. She was fortunate that the drug company gave her special access to it, but it could have gone the other way, so I absolutely agree with my colleague.

I want to take the opportunity just to say one more thing. Since I have been elected, this House has not taken advantage of the power of committees. One of the things we could do on a pharmacare program would be to call all the provincial health ministers before a parliamentary committee and get the input from the provinces that actually deliver health care. Some of the provinces have a drug plan. It would help us make sure we come up with a way that no one would fall through the cracks, one which was fiscally responsible and made sure every dollar was spent well and went to those people who needed the help. It would be an excellent way for a committee to work and bring about a plan that would be beneficial, would not encroach on provincial jurisdictions and at the same time, would make sure all Canadians have access to the drugs they need to stay healthy.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:10 p.m.


Randy Boissonnault Liberal Edmonton Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a moment, as a first-term parliamentarian, to thank each of the hon. members who shared their remarks with us this evening, at the end of their distinguished parliamentary careers. There were many life lessons in those comments. There were many words of wisdom, a few funny stories and indeed things that I hope to be able to reflect on and learn from with multiple mandates in this chamber. However, as members know, that is up to our residents so I look forward to a vigorous campaign this summer and into the fall.

It is the great honour of my life to serve in this chamber and to represent the residents of Edmonton Centre. Therefore, tonight I would like to share my reflections on Bill C-97 and, more particularly, how this 2019 budget says very clearly that our government, budget 2019 and I are here for Edmonton.

I want to start with those people who paved the way for us. I want to start with the seniors and to acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice that seniors have made to build up our communities, to build up our country and, in my case, to build up the city of Edmonton. I honour and respect the wealth of knowledge that they carry with them and the experience and the skills that they continue to contribute and that we want to see them contributing today.

In budget 2019, we recognize the contribution that seniors have made to Canada and we are returning the favour by investing in them. Budget 2019 would help to support their active participation in society, including through work, and would smooth the transition to retirement for seniors when they choose to leave the workforce. I have seen the very good work that the horizons program for seniors has done to reduce social isolation.

I can see the work that we have done to make sure that seniors are able to retain more of the income they now spend. Seniors asked me at the doors why we were clawing back some of the money that they make when they go to work at the Walmart or their kids' school. They asked why we were taking some of that money and we listened. The Minister of Employment, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and the Minister of Seniors were very clear. Now seniors will not pay tax on the first $5,000, it is not going to be clawed back from their GIS and 50% of the next $10,000 will also be exempt. That is $7,500 on the $15,000 that seniors make that will now be in their pockets.

Unfortunately, some seniors are penalized. When they try to keep working, they see significant cuts to their benefits. That is why we listened to seniors and changed the program.

As I mentioned, that is why we are making changes to the GIS allowance benefit. It would begin in the July 2020 to July 2021 benefit year.

Our government respects seniors. Seniors are respected in the budget. We listened to them and we took action.

On innovation and jobs, our government and I are building, together with western Canadians, a strong and competitive west by focusing on business development, innovation and community development. We have pledged to do that by increasing support to Western Economic Diversification Canada with a $100-million increase over three years to increase its programming across western Canada. That means more jobs and more investment in companies. It means more companies will be able to scale up in Edmonton, in Red Deer, in Calgary and across the west.

We have also provided $100 million to the Clean Resource Innovation Network that will help make Alberta's oil and gas even greener and even cleaner.

As members know, when tragedy strikes every second counts, and that makes helicopters an indispensable tool for getting people the care they need quickly and efficiently, which is especially true across such a vast region as western Canada. Since 1985, STARS air ambulance, known as Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service, has provided rapid and specialized emergency helicopter ambulance service to patients who are critically ill or injured in communities across Manitoba, British Columbia and Alberta.

STARS has contributed to saving hundreds of lives and it has helped all of us in some of the worst tragedies: helping after the Pine Lake tornado in July 1999; saving people during the floods of Calgary in 2013; providing transportation away from the fires that swept through Fort McMurray in 2016; and, when the nation's heart sank at the Humboldt crash, helping get those survivors to safety.

Our government recognizes the vital role that STARS plays in delivering access to emergency care for the communities it serves. Our budget will put five new emergency medical helicopters in the air, with a $65-million allocation in budget 2019, making sure that STARS can renew half of its aging fleet and continue its life-saving work.

One of the key aspects of this budget, and even this government, is the hard work we do on behalf of all Canadians, including LGBTQ2 Canadians.

All Canadians deserve our respect, and that includes LGBTQ2 Canadians. That is why I am so delighted to state that in budget 2019 we have included, for the first time in the history of this country, an allocation of $20 million over two years for capacity-building and community-level work for LGBTQ2 service organizations in Canada. This means that community-based organizations that have been shut out and not able to apply to the federal government for anything, ever, will now have that opportunity, starting later this summer and into the new year.

I want to pause and thank the Minister of Finance and member of Parliament for Toronto Centre and his team for this historic investment in budget 2019. It did not have to be there, but it is there. I want to thank the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and MP for Peterborough—Kawartha and her team, because that is the department that will flow the money. I want to thank the LGBTQ2 Secretariat that resides in the Privy Council Office. Without its steadfast work, without its coordination, this would not be possible. I want to thank my own team. To each of them, I want to say that they have made history and they will change and save lives.

Why is the pan-Canadian suicide prevention service, money that we put aside for the national suicide prevention line, so important? It is $25 million over five years.

Earlier today, I was at something called Children First. It was a luncheon and colleagues from the other side of the aisle were also there. We each got paired up with a young person, and I was paired up with 11-year-old Ethan from PETES, an elementary school. We started chatting, in front of a hundred of his colleagues. I asked him what he likes to do. He said he was a video games guy; he likes to play, draw and dance. Then I asked him, “When you talk with your friends, what are some of the big things you want adults to fix?” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Can you stop bullying? Can you stop people from hurting other people?” I asked if he knew someone who was bullied, and he said he was. It scared him. It ruined his life, and he was quiet for way too long. He became really depressed and had suicidal thoughts. This is an 11-year-old kid who was opening up to me in front of a hundred people at a luncheon today. He asked if we can do something to keep more kids safe.

He wanted to make sure that people would listen. He was not sure that if he told an adult, somebody would listen. The people we will employ on this pan-Canadian suicide prevention hotline will listen to people like Ethan, and that is why budget 2019 is going to make a difference in the lives of so many Canadians.

Turning to another pressing issue in Edmonton Centre, it is important that we do better for, with and by indigenous people, particularly urban indigenous communities. About 60% of indigenous people in Canada live in an urban setting, and Edmonton is home to Canada's second-largest indigenous population. That makes indigenous supports in urban settings a priority for me and for our government. We are investing in safe and culturally relevant community spaces, with $60 million over five years to support capital infrastructure in friendship centres.

With budget 2019, our government is on track to end boil water advisories in Canada by 2021. That affects first nations people whether they are in urban settings or across the country. I attended the Kehewin First Nation sod turning in February. By January 2020, that will be the last boil water advisory for any first nation in Alberta.

With the minute I have left, I want to talk about why an urban riding like mine needs infrastructure. We have the youngest city in the country, with an average age of 34, which is putting me on the other side of the young age now. When a city is that young and dynamic, we need infrastructure, like transit. We have invested almost $1 billion in the transit system that would go through my riding all the way to West Edmonton Mall and to Lewis Estates, so that parents can get home to their kids faster, so that young professionals can get to their activities after work, so that our dynamic economy can continue to grow.

In an urban riding like mine, we need to see commerce increase, and we need people to be able to get home to their families. Our government has listened. Our historic investments in infrastructure will continue, with $16 billion a year over the next nine years. That is improving lives. It is making things better. That is why, with budget 2019, our government and I are here for Edmonton.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

8:20 p.m.


Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, one of the comments my hon. colleague made was about the Canada child benefit. Bill C-97, which came through the finance committee, a committee I am privileged to serve on, included the poverty reduction strategy. For the first time in law, we will have set targets for a reduction in poverty.

We know that the best poverty reduction plan is to create jobs. Since we took office, Canadians have created over a million jobs, the majority of which are full-time. We have also implemented a number of other measures, such as the Canada child benefit, the Canada workers benefit and the 10% increase in the GIS.

Could the member for Edmonton Centre tell us how important these measures are to his constituents?