House of Commons Hansard #428 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.

Topics

Afghan Minority CommunitiesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in support of persecuted minorities in Afghanistan, in particular the Hindu and Sikh minorities. The petitioners call on the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to use the powers granted to him to create a special program to help those minorities to be sponsored directly from Afghanistan. They also call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to be actively engaged in this issue with her Afghan counterpart.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

The third petition, Mr. Speaker, is also in support of Bill S-240, currently before the Senate, dealing with the scourge of organ trafficking.

Canada Summer Jobs InitiativePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the fourth petition deals with the application of section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the context of the Canada summer jobs program.

The petitioners are concerned about the way in which government policy has negatively affected the rights and freedoms of Canadian organizations who wish to access the Canada summer jobs program on an equal basis. They call the attention of members to the protection of freedom of conscience, freedom of thought and freedom of belief as fundamental freedoms in the charter.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

The fifth petition, Mr. Speaker, is also in support of Bill S-240 on organ harvesting.

HealthPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the sixth petition calls the attention of the House to the fact that the World Health Organization defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The petition calls for greater awareness and study of the impact of self-care options, including natural health care products, and in particular urges Parliament to instruct the Standing Committee on Health to undertake a comprehensive study of the impact of uninsured self-care products and wellness services and of the barriers that exist for those wishing to access them.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, petition number seven is in support of Bill S-240 on organ harvesting.

Afghan Minority CommunitiesPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Petition number eight, Mr. Speaker, is also about the issue of Afghan minorities, especially the Hindu and Sikh communities in Afghanistan. The petitioners are calling on the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the Minister of Foreign Affairs to take action in their respective domains in support of these communities.

Human Organ TraffickingPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the ninth and final petition is in support of Bill S-240, which is on organ trafficking. The bill is currently before the Senate. We hope to see that bill passed as soon as possible.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Is that agreed?

Questions on the Order PaperRoutine Proceedings

10:20 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

The House resumed from June 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C-97, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 19, 2019 and other measures, be read the third time and passed, and of the amendment.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

The Deputy Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

When the House last took up debate on the question, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan had two and a half minutes remaining in his time. Therefore, we will go to him now.

The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:20 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, the points that are being made by our Conservative colleagues in the context of this debate are very important. They are that Canadians want to get ahead. Maybe they are getting by, but they are struggling to get ahead.

Under the current government, that struggle is made more difficult by the piling on of new taxes and the clear promise that the direction that the Liberals are taking this country with uncontrolled spending, if it is not controlled in the near future, is going to lead to tax increases. We have to act now to replace this government with a government that will be committed to living within its means and to managed, prudent spending.

We have to act so that we do not go down the path that the Kathleen Wynne Liberals and the Rachel Notley New Democrats took their provinces, which then required a strong correction after the fact. Rather, the alternative is for us to replace the government now with a government that will make sure the wasteful spending stops and will cut taxes and provide tax relief in so many different areas.

I spoke as well about the issues around the media bailout. We have a government here that is giving hundreds of millions of dollars to media organizations. The Liberals say this is in defence of independent media, but in fact they are delivering those funds and setting definitions around who is and who is not media through a board that includes someone who is explicitly partisan and is planning on campaigning for the Liberals in the next election.

We hear from journalist after journalist, from leading commentators in Canadian politics, about how this policy and approach are what create a threat to the independence of the media. Those who believe in independent media, including those within the media, are strongly opposing this policy. Some of the corporate barons who own media companies are happy about this policy, but individual journalists who are responsible for covering our politics on a daily basis, the voices that Canadians read and trust, are overwhelmingly critical of this policy.

Let us oppose this budget and replace this government with a government that has a new fiscal approach that allows Canadians to get ahead, that cuts our taxes, that genuinely protects the independence of the media and that moves us forward in so many other domains.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

June 6th, 2019 / 10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, on the member's last point about the media, the Conservatives proposed a motion to do exactly what he said and they could get only 32 of their members to vote for it.

Last night, around midnight, the member made a good point. He said that Liberals had solved every problem with a program. I thank him very much for the congratulations. Just as a doctor or airplane mechanic solves every problem, we are happy we have done it.

We solved the problem for low-income seniors by increasing the GIS and the amount they could keep. We doubled the student jobs program and reduced the interest on student loans. We created programs for people with disabilities. The child tax credit helped families. A million unemployed people now have jobs, so they are paying taxes to help pay down the debt. There was a problem with housing for the homeless. We made investments in housing. We lowered taxes for small businesses. We created the working person tax credit for low-income people and the training benefit for all Canadians.

The total for all of this is $20 billion in unexpected increased revenue to help pay down the large deficit the Conservatives left us.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I sure hope I did not misspeak in the midst of the post-Raptors game euphoria late last night. What I intended to say, and what I think I actually did say, if we check the record, is that in response to every challenge that exists, the government proposes a program as a solution. I would never say it has been effective in its proposition of solutions to problems. Rather, the government's response to every challenge the country faces is for it to say bigger government, more spending, more interference of people's lives is the solution. We do not believe that on this side of the House. We believe that empowering individuals by cutting their taxes and allowing them to keep more of their own resources is often the best way to move our country forward.

The member spoke about our opposition day motion, and I was very proud to speak in favour of it. The Conservatives were prudent and realistic about our chances of succeeding in that vote, given the current configuration of this Parliament. However, I take the member's point that we need to do all we can to change the configuration of Parliament to ensure that in the future, we can pass common sense motions like that.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Spadina—Fort York Ontario

Liberal

Adam Vaughan LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families

Mr. Speaker, I keep hearing the Conservatives talk about the media platform we put together to support and protect local community newspapers and radio and television stations as some sort of massive cash transfer. The three pillars of the program are a tax credit to Canadians who subscribe online to print media. No dollars go to the media. The dollars actually go to Canadians. What does go to the media is an increase in subscription, something which is chosen by individual Canadians and not by anybody on any panel. Individual Canadians will make the choice of which media platforms to support and then get a tax credit for doing so. It is an incentive.

Also, we are setting up the capacity for independent media to set up charitable foundations to support independent journalism. There again the tax credit does not go to the media organization. Canadians have to donate through free will to a news organization, then they get a tax credit for doing it and the government costs that out as forgoing tax revenue.

The final piece of the puzzle is simply that if the media hires new journalists, new Canadians, give them jobs in the private sector, we provide the media with a tax credit for doing so. In other words, there is no dollar transfer to the media to buy opinion; there are dollar transfers to Canadians to choose and support Canadian media.

Why does the member not want those local media organizations to survive?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:25 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, surely the member cannot be as unaware of the arguments that people have been making, including in the media, about the reality of the effects of this, at least as unaware as he may have been about the process that Bill C-81 followed in the House.

Eligible media organizations are precisely the hinge point in this issue. It is the government, through this panel, that will determine who should be considered eligible to access this funding and who should not. Yes, we are talking about something that involves a cost to government of $600 million.

Therefore, there is a cost, and it only applies to eligible media organizations. The member knows that who fits into that box and who does not will be decided by a panel that includes Unifor. I did not just make that up. It was not an invention of the opposition. Anybody who reads the papers or consults the independent media about which he speaks will know that the government has created this panel, it does in fact include Unifor and that many of the leading journalistic voices in the country have criticized it.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am enormously grateful that my friend from Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan chose to put some focus on the media bailout, because I was not able to get in on the debate when that was before the House squarely.

I voted against the Conservative motion last night. My vote might be considered to be support for the approach of the government in its entirety. Unfortunately, the Conservative motion included deleting tax treatment for energy efficient vehicles, probably inadvertently, in a series of amendments that were about the media bailout.

I am concerned about the media bailout. The media does need support. We need independent journalism. I would have been more impressed with a commitment that zero government dollars would go to advertising in digital platforms and would concentrate government advertising in the newspapers that were struggling.

I would also be more impressed if the group that was deciding who got the money did not include recipients of the funding. One reason I could not vote for the Conservative motion on its own was it singled out Unifor. Sun Media is sitting on it. The point, as made as journalist, Andrew Potter, is this. Why would the recipients of the funding form the group to decide who gets the funding?

Those are my concerns. The are not full-on opposition to the government's approach, but I would like to see it tweaked.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, I guess we agree that it should be tweaked, but we might disagree about the degree of the tweaking.

The member makes an interesting point about looking at other members of the panel. In the context of our motion, our observation would be that the Unifor case is particularly egregious. Nobody else, in the context of that panel, has publicly tried to define itself as “the resistance” to not only a particular party, but to a particular individual who leads one of those parties. Obviously it is the tone and the rhetoric in explicit support of one party and in explicit opposition to another party.

It would be obviously inappropriate that anybody else in a government-appointed administrative role that was supposed to make these kinds of determinations would show such favouritism, such partisanship.

The member may have other points about other individuals on the panel, but it is quite clear that the case of Jerry Dias is particularly egregious in this context.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, I want to pick up on a question that the member for Yukon put forward.

The Conservatives have attempted to make a big issue out of this, and theirs is the only party in the House that has really taken the position it has. However, when it came time for a vote the other night, it was interesting to see that only 35, about a third of the Conservative caucus, voted for the opposition motion. That speaks quite strongly about the Conservatives' sense of commitment on this issue, let alone supporting the member's statement.

Could the member indicate why so few Conservative voted in favour of their opposition motion?

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Mr. Speaker, as a matter of order, I would question the discussion about the presence or absence of members. I would be happy to engage in that conversation. Of course I would not comment the relatively small number of government members who are in the House now or, for example, the fact that we had successful quorum calls during this budget debate. A quorum for the House of Commons is only 20 members, and in debating the government's own budget, somehow we fell below quorum. Again, does the member want to go down this road?

Some of our members were busy campaigning in Winnipeg North at the time of that vote. I know the government always has to have enough members here to ensure they win the votes, and we do not win very many votes in the opposition. However, the Conservatives are also very successfully engaged in beautiful ridings, like Winnipeg North, talking to voters there.

I look forward to seeing the fruits of both the arguments we make in the House on the issues and of our many visits to ridings like that of the member.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:35 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my esteemed colleague, the hon. member for Malpeque.

I am proud to rise today to speak in support of Bill C-97. This budget goes the next step in accomplishing the goals the Liberal government set out four years ago. It lifts Canadians up with an economy that supports them and a government that makes investments to make their lives easier. This is a change from the previous Harper Conservative government that cut important investments in infrastructure, health care and social programs.

In four years, our government has created over one million jobs, the unemployment rate is at the lowest point in years and Canada has the fastest-growing economy of all G7 nations. We have lifted 300,000 children out of poverty. Billions of dollars have been invested in affordable housing and infrastructure investments throughout Canada.

I want to thank the residents of Surrey—Newton for giving me the responsibility of delivering this real change in our community.

As members of Parliament, our purpose is to make a positive difference in the lives of our constituents. In all my terms as an MP, that is what I have sought to do. Whether it is making my personal cell number available to my constituents or going to as many community events as possible, I do this so my constituents can get the timely help they need and are able to share any issues or concerns they may have.

I am proud to share with everyone that since our first budget, our Liberal government has made important investments that have strengthened Surrey—Newton.

Since 2015, we have invested over $7 million to build more classroom space at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as $125 million to build a new sustainable energy and environmental engineering building at SFU Surrey campus.

To help people get to where they need to be more efficiently, we are investing over $1 billion to expand the SkyTrain in Surrey. This comes after delivering 106 new buses and replacing the aging SkyTrain cars so they are more reliable for commuters.

Through a $600,000 investment in the Newton Recreation Centre and the Surrey Art Gallery, we have ensured that families have strong community centres for them to gather at.

Above all, the Canada child benefit is helping nearly 14,000 families, with an average monthly benefit of $630 a month. That is $8.7 million every month that is helping parents and children lead strong, healthy lives.

The Canada child benefit helps families with everything from groceries to child care to sports and recreation activities for our youth.

Because of this benefit, 300,000 children in Canada have been lifted out of poverty. That is something of which each and every member of the House should be proud. It is the single largest decline in poverty in the country's history. It happened because of the vision and leadership of the Prime Minister, the hon. member for Papineau. He promised real change and he has delivered.

When the finance minister delivered budget 2019, he spoke about the choices we have made in this budget to make life easier for Canadians.

To help young families buying their first home, we have created a new first-time homebuyer incentive, which will lower monthly mortgage payments by providing funding of 5% or 10% of the home purchase price for existing or new homes, respectively. This program is expected to help approximately 100,000 Canadians buy a home they can afford.

We have also increased the homebuyers' plan withdrawal limit for the first time in a decade. This would provide first-time homebuyers with more access to their RRSPs to buy a home.

Budget 2019 also lowers the interest rate for Canadian student loans to the prime rate, helping close to one million students who are repaying their student loans and saving the average student approximately $2,000 over the time of the loan. The interest payments during the first six-month grace period after graduation will also be waived, which will help approximately 200,000 students every year transition successfully from their studies to the workplace.

Canadians can now purchase the prescription drugs they need without having to worry about the costs. We are putting a plan in place to implement a national pharmacare plan that will help lower prescription costs. Through this plan, Canadians will save $3 billion each year.

To help more seniors retire with dignity, we are enhancing the GIS earning exemption from $3,500 to $5,000 while also automatically registering seniors aged 70 or older for their retirement benefits.

Finally, to ensure that our communities are stronger, we are investing an additional $2.2 billion to support local infrastructure priorities.

These are just some of the many highlights from budget 2019 that are going to directly help Canadians.

After 10 years of neglect by the Harper Conservatives, our government's investments are strengthening Canada. Opposition members have said that if they were back in government, they would not make these choices. What they would do is take us back and cut investments that are so vital to Canadians.

These investments, whether for seniors, child care, reducing income tax for small businesses or helping with infrastructure projects, are the real investments that change the lives of Canadians, particularly when it comes to Surrey—Newton. This is a very diverse community, socially and economically, and these policies for the middle class have helped over the last four years. I am certain that the 2019 budget will help even more so they will be able to do even better.

I am thankful for this opportunity to share my words.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Mr. Speaker, the member mentioned housing, which is one of my favourite subjects right now, especially in the budget, with the 100,000 so-called first-time homebuyers who will be helped. However, neither CMHC nor the Department of Finance could point me to the document where the numbers actually came from. They each said that the other one knew how they got to the number. It is interesting that the member thinks that it would help that many people, because there are no details about the program available.

Perhaps the member could tell me if there would be a special fee assigned with the government purchasing equity in a person's home, because the government would then own a share of the home. Will the homeowner be able to buy out the government's share early, before selling the house? Will there be any other terms and conditions associated with the shared equity mortgage? Does the member know that the Mortgage Brokers Association said that it would take eight to 10 months to set up the IT system to enable the rollout of this program? Is the member aware that the chartered banks have similarly said that it would take much more than two months to do so? Will there be a special premium on the shared equity mortgages?

I would like to hear from the member on this matter.

Budget Implementation Act, 2019, No. 1Government Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Surrey—Newton, BC

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Calgary Shepard should be aware that, for 10 years, the Harper Conservative government, which the present Leader of the Opposition was a part of, did nothing to address the issue of housing affordability, but rather pushed home ownership further out of reach. Our government is investing so that ordinary working Canadians can afford a house.

The member also asked about our strategy. Once we roll out this plan, we will have those details and the member for Calgary Shepard will be able to have them.