House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 43rd Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was farmers.


The House resumed from June 2 consideration of the motion that Bill C-206, An Act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (qualifying farming fuel), be read the third time and passed.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:05 a.m.


Francis Drouin Liberal Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise virtually in the House today to speak to Bill C-206.

I would like to thank my colleague, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. I am sure he has had many discussions with farmers.

I also want to thank Michel Dignard and Réjean Pomainville, two farmers from my region I greatly respect and who informed me of the impact that the changes could have on farms. I am very grateful to them.

Personally, I supported the bill because I made a commitment to those two farmers. I want to thank them. They did the right thing by telling me about the potential repercussions this could have on farming.

The bill seeks an exemption to the price on pollution. There are computerized grain dryers, but they are still rather rare in Canada. Most farmers have to use propane dryers, and those who are lucky enough to have a natural gas connection can use a natural gas dryer.

Given that the price of the carbon tax will increase to $170 by 2030, we hope that new technologies will be available on the market by then. I am sure that our government will present potential solutions and that it will invest to enable our farmers to take advantage of those solutions, which must, of course, be market solutions.

Climate change is real. For example, we know that the oil and transportation sectors account for approximately 52% of greenhouse gases produced in Canada, the heavy industries account for about 10%, and the agricultural sector accounts for roughly 10% as well.

We are trying to reduce the effects of climate change in the agricultural sector. The goal is not to penalize our farmers but to decarbonize their suppliers.

I supported Bill C‑206, and I also support the objectives and changes that our government presented.

The rebate program for farmers, which will allocate an estimated $100 million to the four provincial jurisdictions that have decided not to put a price on pollution, is a recognition by our government that we have to decarbonize the way we dry grain. However, right now those technologies may not be available to the majority of farmers. Obviously, by 2030 the price on pollution will rise to $170 a tonne, which sends a market signal to those who create new technologies to adapt technology so that it is not necessarily carbon heavy. That is where I believe we need to go. It is the only way to decarbonize our economy.

We know the ag sector contributes 10% of our greenhouse gases. However, I know that farmers have done a tremendous job, such as our egg farmers, who are able to produce more than 50% of what they used to 50 years ago while reducing their carbon emissions by 50%. There are positive stories out there. Farmers have adopted new technologies, whether they are biodigesters, solar panels or those to make their dairy barns extremely energy efficient. They are doing a fantastic job. What we are trying to do now is decarbonize the majority of their suppliers.

I was happy to hear that there is now a $200-million fund to help with the adoption of cover crops. I think that is an extremely important domain of science. If we could reward farmers so that cover crops play an even bigger role in capturing carbon, it would be an extremely good news story. The world will be looking at our net-zero products, and whether it is our produce or the other things that farmers grow, farmers will always be there. However, I think cover crops have a major role to play. I have started seeing farmers adopt it in my riding. Not everyone is, but some surely are, and the $200-million fund that was presented in budget 2021 will be there to help and guide them.

Last week, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food launched the agricultural clean technology program, which has a fund of $165 million. There will be some money there to help farmers improve their green energy and energy efficiency, and help them further adopt precision agriculture. When we think about precision agriculture, we know there used to be days when farmers would just lay fertilizer across the land. Nowadays they can actually pinpoint, to the plant and to the row, where they need to put fertilizer, should they need it, to help improve plant health. That is the way of the future. The fertilizer industry has a role to play, and it is stepping up to play that particular role. Soil health is another important conversation we need to have in this country, and I think farmers want to be part of this particular conversation.

To get back to the matter at hand, as I said at the beginning of my speech, I have supported Bill C-206 because of a simple commitment that I made to two farmers back home. I certainly do not support an exemption that would last forever, but I do know that technologies will be available to our farmers. With the funds that were announced through budget 2021, there will be some dollars to help farmers adopt new technologies on the farm.

Grain drying is something that I will be looking at in my riding to see who has the most efficient method. It is part of my summer pet project to visit farms once it is safe to do so. It will help me better understand where farmers could make changes and where they might not necessarily have to rely on traditional technologies.

I want to raise another issue. Earlier we talked about cover crops and our government's $200 million fund for cover crops. There are a lot of trees on our farmland, and deforestation of private lands is a major problem.

I am not trying to single out farmers, because I know they are doing what they have to do to earn an income and support their families. However, part of that $200 million our government announced is for a reverse auction program, which is a really interesting initiative that encourages farmers to conserve existing wetlands and trees on their private property to capture carbon. These are all measures we announced in budget 2021 to help farmers reduce on-farm greenhouse gas emissions. This is an important thing to do because that is where the industry is heading.

I think we would be sending a wonderful message to the rest of the world if we could produce food while having a positive impact on the environment and limiting our greenhouse has production. We would be the envy of the world, and I think that is how Canada should position itself.

Again, I thank my colleague from Northumberland—Peterborough South for his bill, which I support. I wish him luck. Even though this bill will not help the green transition, it is an important part of the conversation.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:10 a.m.


Christine Normandin Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise again to speak to Bill C‑206 today, as I did at second reading. Today, we have come full circle. I propose that we look at the bill by asking five basic questions, which we should ask more often in these cases: who, when, how, what and where. It is very simple.

I will start with who, in other words, those we are proposing this bill for. Unlike other political parties, we in the Bloc Québécois do not tend to give gifts to people who do not need it.

Farmers kept the agriculture sector going in a crisis, which is not easy. We know that farm owners had a very tough time on the labour front. This hurt food security, supply and, in some cases, animal health. Management of issues surrounding the arrival of foreign workers has been problematic, and, a few days ago, assistance from the government in support of quarantine was cut in half.

However, even before the crisis began, our farmers were already struggling. Climate change is causing even greater uncertainty around crops and harvests. Furthermore, it is getting harder and harder to find young farmers to take over, particularly because the price of land keeps going up year after year.

People who grew up on the land and worked with their parents will find it increasingly difficult to take over the farming operation. There are rare occasions when parents can afford to be generous and gift the farm to their children, instead of using the value of the farm business they have built up their entire lives to fund their retirement. In other cases, given the rising cost of land and quotas, it is hard to find young farmers to take over.

Why are we doing this, that is, why are we debating Bill C-206? We must remember that the bill would amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, including section three, which lists the products that are not taxed, in particular those for farming purposes. Natural gas and propane were missing from the list of exempt products. Why does Bill C-206 seek to add them to section three?

A carbon tax discourages people from taking a certain action and encourages them to choose a behaviour over another. However, in order for that to happen, people must have options, and that is exactly the problem.

There was an example of this in my riding during the rail crisis. CN just stopped delivering propane for two weeks when farmers had to dry their crops, which was a critical time for them. The moisture level in crops was very high that year, and had farmers not been able to dry them, they would have rotted, which would have resulted in the loss of an entire year's income.

In this particular case, propane was the only option, since any alternatives are still in the pilot-project stage and are not a viable option for large-scale farming businesses. When I asked farmers, who were worried about not getting the propane they needed, they told me that there was no alternative to propane, but that they would like to have one.

The existing power grid would not even have the capacity to generate enough heat for drying grain. It is as though people expected to one day have electric hot air balloons—they are very popular back home—but this is not going to happen overnight. Technologies like biomass are still too new, and there is not enough incentive for us to expect quick changes in carbon pricing.

That brings me to my third point: When will it happen? This is the part I find unfortunate, because we are three days out from the end of the parliamentary session and the summer recess. This Parliament could end up being replaced with a new one, based on the election rumours we are hearing.

It is really unfortunate that we are debating a bill this important and necessary at the eleventh hour, knowing that it could end up dying on the Order Paper, just like Bill C‑216, the bill on supply management introduced by my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, or the bill on farm succession planning, which the Senate just started studying.

On this third point, I want to say how disappointed we are with the government's management of the legislative calendar, because we are currently debating a great bill that, unfortunately, may never see the light of day.

How is Bill C‑206 being dealt with?

This part is a bit nicer. As I was preparing for my speech on my drive in to work this morning from my riding of Saint-Jean, I listened again to what happened and what my other colleagues said, particularly those who are members of the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food. I was very happy to hear how well people are working together on this committee. There is no excessive partisanship since everyone is serving the same cause, that of farmers and those who feed us. It is in that spirit of co-operation that a key amendment was proposed to improve Bill C‑206. This amendment is really worthwhile, because it addresses the concern that some might have about the fact that there is a gap in the bill, the ultimate purpose of which is to try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The amendment sets an end date for the exemption for natural gas and propane. In other words, natural gas and propane will be exempt from taxation for 10 years in the hope that, a decade from now, there will be new technology that will enable us to stop using natural gas and propane. That is our hope, anyway, but the government needs to get cracking because farmers do not want to be passive witnesses to these changes. They want to be part of it, but they need help. Contrary to what some people think, farmers do not wake up in the morning thinking about how great it is that they can go out and pollute. They just want help finding alternatives that are commercially viable, because they operate in a global market and cannot pass costs on to their customers. They would no longer be able to compete internationally, so we have to give our farmers that support.

The final point is, where is that supposed to happen? People might think that it is obvious it should be done in the House of Commons and Parliament, because that is where bills are passed and amendments made. That seems obvious, but nowadays, very few things that should be obvious are.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who contributed to the parliamentary spirit that has characterized Parliament during the pandemic. I would like to take a few moments to pay tribute to the interpreters, the support staff and the tech support who made it possible for us to function relatively normally, despite COVID‑19.

I also want to express my hope that, despite everything, we will get back to normal quickly, so that we can have accountability, so that there is someone in the House who answers questions, and so that reporters can do their job and ask parliamentarians questions as they leave the House. I also hope that we can go back to normal sooner rather than later so we can get parliamentarians working co-operatively, apart from the occasional stormy question period.

When we parliamentarians are working together face to face, we are able to move files along more efficiently, understand one another better, and remember for whom, why, how, where and when we create bills. It is fundamental to remember that, and that is what we are reminded of when we sit in the House in person.

With that in mind, I want to acknowledge the work of the House, but I also want to take a moment to remember the farmers. I wish Bill C‑206 could have gone forward. I cannot help but think of all the people I have known since I was a little girl growing up in the country. As members can imagine, it has been quite a while since I was “little”.

My thoughts are with our farmers, in the hope that, if not this time, Bill C‑206 can come back sooner rather than later and eventually be passed by the House and the Senate.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:20 a.m.


Matthew Green NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Madam Speaker, I have had many occasions to rise with privilege to share a bit about my own family history. I have spoken a lot about my father and the African Canadian diaspora, but I have not had the privilege of speaking about my mother's side of the family, a family that settled not far from here, about an hour from here in the South Mountain area. It is a place I have fond memories of, stories of my grandfather with a grade-six education being told by his father that the world and that road ahead is as long as he can make it.

My grandfather, Nelson Scharf, in fact had a cheese factory in Russell and Haliburton. It was a connection we had to the supply chain and the agricultural sector here. My grandmother, Doris Forward, had a family farm in Winchester. My cousin, Tom Forward, is still on the land and works within the dairy sector today.

I think about those early memories of visiting those farms, visiting the cheese factory, being up close as a child and seeing these hard-working people, folks who often do not get enough credit for the number of hours they work and for what they provide this country.

I rise today with the honour, on our 60-year anniversary as New Democrats, of being from the founding party of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation, which aimed to alleviate the suffering that workers and farmers felt and endured under capitalism. We are, in fact, the only party that was founded by farmers, so it is an honour and a privilege to be here today with that family background and that party background in support of this bill.

I want to take a moment and thank the hon. member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, a gentleman whom I have gotten to know in my committee work and somebody who I know has brought with him the good intentions of supporting the constituents within his riding.

For those who are tuning in and trying to get a sense of what this is all about, this bill, Bill C-206, seeks to amend the definition of “qualifying farming fuel” in the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to include natural gas and propane. Of course, this issue is complex. I will not pretend to be an expert, and there is certainly a lot of room for improvement at the committee stage, but this legislation stems from an unseasonably wet autumn in 2019, which was called “the harvest from hell”, when grain farmers were using propane and natural gas heaters to dry their grain. Without these grain dryers, grain rots and becomes worthless as food or as a cash crop contributing to our GDP.

There is currently no viable alternative to the use of propane or natural gas for the operation of these dryers, and because propane and natural gas are currently not covered under the act qualifying for farm fuels, grain farmers are forced into a situation of contributing more CO2 into the atmosphere as a result of carbon taxes on the cleaner fuels. The Grain Growers of Canada has confirmed, as of February of last year, that many of them have turned to higher-CO2-emitting diesel fuel, which is listed, ironically, as qualifying farm fuel in the act, for grain dryers to avoid the higher-taxed propane or natural gas heaters.

As our very learned critic for agriculture, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, has stated, ultimately what we want is high-CO2-emitting industries to be contributing less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and if we penalize the agricultural sector with a higher price for choosing a cleaner fuel option, we are running entirely counter to our ultimate objective of combatting climate change by reducing GHG emissions. Our critic for agriculture, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, states quite rightly that farmers are not only well aware of what the effects of climate change will be, but they are also one of our greatest tools for fighting climate change.

When we are looking at this bill, I think we have heard this false dichotomy between Liberals and Conservatives about carbon taxes being the defining feature of climate change. The Liberals would suggest this is a market solution and Conservatives would suggest this is yet another tax. As New Democrats, we recognize that reducing greenhouse gas emissions ought to be our objective, and we do not feel that providing this in this particular way meets that objective. While the intent of the bill is sound, making it easier and more affordable for farmers to burn cleaner fuel should be a no-brainer, and using no fuels whatsoever or existing clean technologies is just not a viable option.

I think of my family who are still in this sector. My cousins, the Weagants, sold farm equipment throughout Ontario. I also think about the hard-working farmers in my city. I am a very proud MP representing Hamilton Centre, and many people do not know that while we have close to 600,000 people, the geography of our city encapsulates a very large portion of rural areas in the greenbelt and into some of the tender fruits land.

We are here today hoping to see a better outcome on this particular issue, to ensure that we are not adding to the complexities of the food supply chain and that we are cutting through the noise into a bit of a more intelligent argument about, again, a party founded by the CCF and about supporting our farm workers. Those who are out there across Ontario, Quebec and, indeed, across the country know that the New Democratic Party was founded on those principles.

The Regina Manifesto, right there in our founding documents, says, “The security of tenure for the farmer upon his farm which is imperilled by the present disastrous situation of the whole industry, together with adequate social insurance, ought to be guaranteed under equitable conditions.” It is right there, in the foundation of the CCF, which, 60 years later, would become the NDP of today.

I hold that position, and I support our agricultural sector. I know that farmers are on the front lines of climate change, and I know that they will play a key role in our food security and our ability to adequately adapt to the changing climate, which will have a direct impact first on them, and of course, in the spirit of the hard-working people of my own family, those who continue to this day to work the land and to acknowledge our precious connection to the land, the food that we have and the food supply chains.

In closing, I would like to thank the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who, on the technical aspects of this, has been absolutely incredible for me and our caucus to help us better understand the nuances, because we want to see a just recovery. We want to see a just transition for workers. We acknowledge that farmers are indeed some of the hardest-working people, and that includes the migrant workers who work alongside them in our fields.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the members of the House for allowing me to rise with the deep privilege that I have in the waning days of this Parliament to be able to share a little about myself, my family and our ongoing support for workers as New Democrats.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:30 a.m.


Karen Vecchio Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a wonderful Monday morning. After listening to the earlier speeches, I would like to offer my thanks. My thanks to the Liberal Party member, who I just heard speak about the importance of this bill. Then there was my friend from Saint-Jean, and I did not know that she grew up on a farm, so we have a few more things in common. My thanks as well to the member for Hamilton Centre.

This is something that we have to recognize, as it is so important to our farmers. They are the ones who produce our food. They are the ones who, throughout this entire pandemic, have been working to support Canadians. Looking at this bill, I think it is absolutely exceptional.

I would really like to thank my great friend, the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. I actually drove through parts of his riding yesterday on my return to Ottawa from Elgin—Middlesex—London. The one thing I see in southwestern Ontario is beautiful agricultural land. There are lots of different commodities and sectors, but it is a big farming community. There are some big pockets of cities, but surrounding all of those big cities are acres and acres of great farmland where they are producing necessary commodities and food.

I am going to start with a very simple quote, which actually comes from the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South. He said this at committee, and I want to put it in the record of the House of Commons because this is a very valuable debate.

These are things that are very, very important to my riding, so I appreciate having the opportunity to speak to this bill for the farmers who are living in Elgin—Middlesex—London. I can tell members that, according to Statistics Canada, in 2016 there were 1,930 farm operators in Elgin and 3,260 farm operators in the county of Middlesex. These are things that are very, very important to my riding, so having the opportunity to speak to this bill is an honour.

To quote my good friend, at the agriculture committee he said:

The greenhouse gas pollution pricing currently allows qualifying farmers an exemption on certain farm fuels such as gasoline and diesel; however, it fails to extend that exemption to other fuels such as natural gas and propane. This is challenging on many different fronts, as farmers quite often don't have other options and their only option for their particular industrial equipment may be natural gas and propane.

The science says that natural gas and propane are often cleaner fuels than diesel or gasoline. Why would we not include them in this exemption? Farmers, after all, are stewards of our land and, along with our indigenous people, were some of the first environmentalists standing up for the land and also for the animals and plants located on their properties.

That is why I wanted to talk about propane. I have quite a bias, to be honest. The former chair of the Canadian Propane Association is a resident of Elgin—Middlesex—London. He is also the CFO for Dowler-Karn, which is probably one of the biggest distributors of gasoline and fuel products to multiple farmers in the southwestern Ontario region. I can sit down with him, and when I call Dan Kelly with a question, he will answer. If he does not have the answer, he will find it, because he is out there working for Canadian farmers.

He brought this to my attention as well. He said that Bill C-206 is excellent and what we need to do. He was actually hoping that we would not have to put through Bill C-206, and that the Liberal government may recognize the issue and put it in the budget, but we did not see that. The government does not recognize that it is going to take more than just two or three years for farmers to transition to greener fuels.

I was really happy to see this bill continuing on to third reading, but as the member for Saint-Jean indicated, these are the final days, so I hope that today we can get through this. After we return to Parliament, hopefully this is a bill that the Senate will look at very quickly. This is what our farmers need and what they are asking for.

Continuing on to the Canadian Propane Association, I would like to read a statement I received from it. I am sure everybody has received it as well. It explains why we should support this bill and the importance of the exemption that would come to our farm operators.

This statement, I believe, was put out after the vote on second reading of Bill C-206, a vote of 177-145. All opposition parties actually agreed and recognized that this is something that needs to be done. We saw that the Liberal government was not good with that, yet it may have had to do with it coming from an awesome Conservative. We may never know. However, I will read out the Canadian Propane Association's statement, which says:

“Discouraging the increased use of carbon-intense fuels such as gas and diesel in favour of low-emission energy like propane for agriculture applications would be a win-win for the environment and for farmers’ bottom line,” said Nathalie St-Pierre, President of the Canadian Propane Association....

“The principle of the GGPPA is intended to encourage a reduction in the use of carbon-intense fuels,” said St-Pierre. “By exempting gas and diesel but not allowing the same exemption for propane, the law actually encourages the increased use of gas and diesel – this is environmental nonsense.”

Just moments ago, we heard my friend from Hamilton Centre say the exact same thing, which is that, because of this, people are beginning to use diesel. The government has established the carbon tax, but it is actually giving an exemption to a dirtier fuel. We have an option here. The statement continues:

St-Pierre said that CPA members are also hearing from their customers in the agriculture sector about the significant added cost due to the federal carbon tax. According to an estimate provided by the Parliamentary Budget Officer last December, over the next five years about $235 million will be collected from farmers for using natural gas and propane.

I will note that statistic. I was speaking to Dan about this. On behalf of the farmers in our area, he sent a cheque for over $1 million for just a few months for carbon tax collection. That $1 million that could have been used for so many other things, perhaps new technology, workers or new things on farms, but instead, that money is paid to the government.

We are talking about $235 million. I have heard people say that the government is going to lose $235 million. To me, the government should not be taking that $235 million in the first place, so it would not be losing revenue. This is revenue it should not be taking, so we have to look at this as not being a loss of revenue for the government.

The government had no business taking the $235 million in the first place because, at the end of the day, who pays for it? It is going to be the farmers. After the farmers, who pays for it? It is going to be people sitting at their tables, eating their cornflakes or their eggs from the local chicken farm. These are the people who, at the end of the day, are going to be impacted.

Yes, this bill is good for farmers, but it is also good for Canadian consumers who want to support the agricultural industry in Canada, especially that in Elgin—Middlesex—London, which is so important to me.

We have talked about inflation. In the last few weeks, inflation has been really key. We have talked about how much the price of wood and lumber have gone up. Housing is a big issue. In my riding of Elgin—Middlesex—London, there has been a 46% increase since last April in the cost of a two-storey home. Inflation is an issue, and the government is adding more costs to our goods.

If we talk about poverty reduction strategies, we need to see what we are doing that is creating more barriers. I look at not giving this exemption as just another barrier to reducing the high cost of our goods right now. Farmers know that, when they are paying all this money, it affects their bottom line.

I am so fortunate to work with Scott at the Grain Farmers of Ontario in my area. He is the zone manager there. I thank Scott, who always works with me. The Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province's largest commodity organization, representing over 28,000 barley, corn, oats, soybean and wheat farmers, and it has been very supportive of Bill C-206, an act to amend the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act regarding qualifying farming fuel.

The Grain Farmers of Ontario is supporting this bill because of its exemption of the carbon tax for on-farm fuel and calls on all MPs to consider the tax on grain drying and its impact on the agriculture system in Canada. It is quite simple. The government should not be making money off a tax that negatively impacts a farmer's ability to market viable grain. The carbon tax does not make that happen.

Brendan Byrne was the chair of the Grain Farmers of Ontario on February 22, 2021. There are a lot of AGMs going on, so that may not be his position now.

As we have always indicated, farmers have been doing great work in our communities. They are the stewards of our land. I think of some of the great projects that have been done in the back of farmers' fields with wetlands conservation. Those settlements are being taken back.

I love farmers, so I am very supportive of Bill C-206, and I thank the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South for bringing this bill forward.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:40 a.m.


Garnett Genuis Conservative Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, AB

Madam Speaker, it is great to be back in the House. It is great to have a vast audience across the way to hear what I am about to say, although the member for Kingston and the Islands may not entirely agree with it.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak to this excellent private member's bill, Bill C-206, from my colleague for Northumberland—Peterborough South, and in particular to talk about the significant failures in environmental policy on the part of government and how it is imposing costs on Canadians without a real plan to help us achieve our environmental objectives vis-à-vis climate change.

I will start briefly by congratulating the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South on his excellent work on this bill and so many other issues. He serves as the shadow minister for revenue in our caucus. When I hear “shadow minister of revenue”, I think it sounds exciting, but he really has grabbed this position by the horns. It has been a pleasure to work with him on a number of revenue issues, including trying to bring about reforms to the direction and control system.

This member has been a great champion of the charitable sector, trying to push the government to reform various aspects of the regulatory and legislative environment around revenue, especially direction and control, to really empower our charitable organizations and help them move forward. I want to congratulate the member for all his work, particularly in this bill, on behalf of farmers in his riding and elsewhere.

Bill C-206 seeks to change the definition of a qualifying farm fuel to include certain fuels not currently included, and that is a step forward in terms of allowing any fuel a farmer would use to be qualified as a qualifying farm fuel, and therefore not having the carbon tax applied to it. Right now, while natural gas and propane are not identified as qualifying farm fuels, gas and diesel are. Not only does this impose additional costs on farmers, but it also gives farmers an incentive to move away from using natural gas and propane and toward using relatively more gas and diesel.

In all likelihood, this is sort of perverse incentive that encourages greater greenhouse gas emissions, so this member is rationalizing the system through this bill in a way that would reduce costs for farmers and help our environment by removing this artificial incentive to use fuels that pollute to a greater extent.

One would think this is a no-brainer on that basis. If this is going to reduce costs for farmers, but is also going to help our environment by providing more of an incentive for farmers to use cleaner fuels, why would it not just be automatic that everyone in this House supports it? The Liberals are stubbornly clinging to their position that the way they did it was fine.

The big problem with these Liberals on so many aspects of their environmental policy is they do not understand the way in which perverse incentives can lead to worse outcomes for the environment, and they are not willing to look critically at the impact of those incentives on behaviour.

One of the issues we have talked about a lot in the Conservative caucus in terms of the failures of the Liberals' environmental policy is this issue of border adjustments. The Liberal approach is to impose carbon taxes on Canadian producers, Canadian farmers and Canadian consumers, but not to apply those same requirements on people outside of Canada who are producing products and then selling those products in the Canadian market.

The effect of this is that it is artificially creating an advantage for foreign producers, the people manufacturing goods and growing crops outside the country who are trying to then sell those products in Canada. One is creating an advantage for those outside Canada who are selling their products to Canada over Canadian producers. This obviously does not make any sense, in terms not only of protecting our own economic interests, but also of responding to the environmental challenges we face.

When one makes it more expensive, and in the case of this particular bill, it relates to farming, and when one imposes more costs on Canadian farmers and therefore tilts the field against our farmers and in favour of people involved in agriculture production outside of the country, that is not helping the environment. It is simply hurting our own economy at no environmental benefit.

We understand, in this caucus, that the challenges we face in terms of climate change are global challenges. Canada has to do its part, but it also has to put in place policies that recognize that emissions can happen outside of the country, and when they happen they impact us. We need to have a structure that integrates an appreciation for the global impact of climate change.

That is why the Conservative environmental plan, for the first time from any party, proposes a strong policy around border adjustment tariffs. There has to be an equivalency between the burden imposed on Canadian producers and the import adjustments that are taking place. We should not be creating a tilted playing field in which we are actually creating an advantage for those producing greenhouse gas emissions outside of the country.

We have raised this issue of perverse incentives: incentives in the policy that actually encourage the wrong kind of behaviour. In the case of border adjustments, we are talking about an incentive that the government has created, in its approach to environmental policy, to move production outside of the country.

If someone is making products for the Canadian market right now in Canada, that person is paying carbon tax. If someone is producing those products outside of Canada in a jurisdiction that does not have a carbon tax and then selling them into Canada, they are in an economically advantageous position, at least vis-à-vis the carbon tax.

This should be fixed so that we have a fair environmental policy that encourages improvements to environmental performance, but does not encourage the wrong kinds of adaptation, such as moving work outside of the country. As other colleagues have talked about as well, in the case of this bill we are talking about another case of perverse incentive. In imposing the carbon tax on certain kinds of fuel and not others, as the system is currently structured, there is an incentive for farmers to use fuels that may be more expensive and that may produce more in the way of emissions.

I think we can do better. The member for Northumberland—Peterborough South has quite rightly seen the opportunity to do better and has thus put forward a bill that seeks to adjust the incentive environment. That is why I am very supportive of this bill. I would encourage all members to be supportive of it and to push the government to recognize something. It has been a talking point of the Liberals for a long time. They say the environment and the economy go hand in hand, yet they impose restrictions and taxes that hurt our economy and provide no benefit to the environment.

It does not make any sense that they would impose obligations on Canadian producers and not have the corresponding adjustments happening at the border. It does not make any sense from an environmental standpoint. If they really believed that there was a unity of objective that could be pursued between the environment and the economy, they would be supportive of the plan that we have put forward, which includes these kinds of border adjustment measures.

In general, in our environmental plan as announced by our leader, the money that is gathered through the deductions paid when people purchase products that emit carbon is put back into their pockets to also pay for adaptation. Our plan is not just about taking money away from people who are producing: It is about giving those resources back to them to invest in adaptations that improve their environmental performance. Our plan is very different from what we see from the Liberal government. The government is trying to use the environment often as a way to raise extra revenue. Our approach is to target measures that are going to improve the environment, while also supporting our industry.

On this side of the House, we recognize the important role of our farmers. We recognize the value of having agricultural production in Canada. We want to strengthen farming communities. We recognize that from a basic security, food security and well-being perspective, it is important to have strong agricultural production happening here in Canada.

We have championed this position, as a party, from the very beginning. We understand that it is not enough to just say it. Within every party we hear members saying flowery words about the agricultural sector, but the Conservative Party has always been there to stand with our farmers, and Bill C-206 is another example of that.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:50 a.m.


Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, it is certainly an honour to rise on behalf of the good people of Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola to speak to my colleagues about Bill C-206, brought by the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South, who has done an excellent job of finding an issue that resonates not just within his riding but right across the country. I will make a few short points about this, because I believe that Private Members' Business provides the opportunity for members, such as the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South, to bring up issues they are hearing locally to see if they are salient. The adoption of this bill through second reading to committee and now to third reading shows there is a consensus in this country. The Liberals were the only party to vote against it. Every other party recognizes that Canada's future is, in great part, due to agriculture. Many may argue that Canada's past was formulated on that, and I would say that is true, but so is the fact we can do more.

In fact, in the majority government the current ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, put forward the Barton report and said that Canada could do so much more by working with agriculture. It could expand exports and feed people not just across our country but around the globe. It seemed for a while that the report might go somewhere. Most farmers thought it was great to have a government that was focused on that. Unfortunately, the government was not. Rather, it was focused simply on ideology and not on helping to connect the dots to make it work for farmers.

As the MP who sponsored the legislation said, the Grain Farmers of Ontario stated, “there are no readily available grain drying technology replacement alternatives that are cost effective. Drying grain is essential for marketing grain.” This points out that when the input costs are too high, grain farmers will lose traction to other areas that have better prices. Unfortunately, it is a commodity market and we cannot just say, “Buy Canadian because Canada is great.” People in other countries also need to feed their families. If the rate for our grain is too high because of input costs, these people will simply go to another cost provider.

The member of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan previously mentioned the concept of carbon leakage, which is where adding extra regulations or taxation beyond that of another jurisdiction eventually makes it difficult for a place with a carbon tax, such as Canada's, to compete. I should know this. A B.C. Liberal government was the first to introduce a carbon tax in British Columbia. It found out quite quickly that the farming community would not be able to be competitive. Therefore, along with cement, it ended up having to subsidize many of those activities.

I am grateful the MP for Northumberland—Peterborough South has brought forward something that will help with that competitiveness. The bill has received broad agreement, with the exception of the Liberal government and its backbenchers. I am sure there was a whipped vote on this, so I know many Liberal members probably felt very sympathetic and wanted to vote alongside the Conservatives, the Bloc and the NDP to support our farmers, but unfortunately it seems many on that side do not question the government's position as much. In fact, some seem to want to carry it on all day long, but enough about the member for Kingston and the Islands.

I just have a few more things to say. The Conservatives believe we should be working with agriculture. The government has put out a clean fuel standard that is so complicated that farmers do not know what opportunities are there. They are worried about getting lost in the paperwork. It is the same government that is making it more difficult for farm operations to use small amounts of propane. The government is basically encouraging them, through red tape, to move to diesel. We know it is not as clean, as easy to store or as manageable. The current government seems to always be at odds with what farmers need and want.

I will say this. Members like the member for Northumberland—Peterborough South and our Conservative caucus will be standing up for our farmers. We will put forward solutions, and we will have a meaningful impact on our greenhouse gas emissions while growing the economy, especially for our farmers.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business

11:55 a.m.


Philip Lawrence Conservative Northumberland—Peterborough South, ON

Madam Speaker, it is absolutely my pleasure to rise on my private member's bill, Bill C-206. To me, it is a fantastic wrap-up for the year, if we go to an election.

A couple of weeks into being an MP, I was in Ottawa and my staffer came to me and said, “You won the lottery”. I did not think I had bought a ticket. What did that mean? I had gotten number 16 on the private member's bills, which then put in place a large canvass of issues: ones that affect people across Canada and in my wonderful riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South. One issue that kept coming up was the impact of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act on the agricultural sector.

I am a very proud advocate for and supporter of the agriculture sector and rural Canada in general. I had been told that dirtier fuels like diesel and gasoline were exempt from the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act but propane and natural gas were not, and of the impact this was having on our local farmers. When I had the opportunity, I was compelled. This was something I had to bring forward for the residents of Northumberland—Peterborough South and for our farmers across the country.

I have enjoyed this process. It has been an iterative process and it has been collaborative. In fact, this whole hour has been an island of its own in a sea of partisanship. This has been full of non-partisanship. We had the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell stand up for my private member's bill and for a commitment he made to a couple of constituents. That is the very epitome of what it is to be from rural Canada and rural Ontario. When we give our word in rural Ontario and in rural Canada, we stand by it. That is exactly what this member did, and I salute him.

One of the issues he brought to attention in his discussion was that things may change, and that very well may be. That is why the member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford made a wise amendment to my private member's bill, which was to timeline it and have it go for only 10 years. If technology evolves and, in a decade, we can get to a point where there are biofuels or some other way, we are all for it, but as of now there is no other solution. Climate change is 100% real, and we are all in the House to fight climate change.

In the absence of exemption, we are pushing our farmers out of competitiveness because they are dependent on worldwide markets and on trade boards for pricing. When a cost is increased, such as with the carbon tax, it is put directly on the tables of our farmers. Farmers work so hard. Especially through this pandemic, they have not stopped for a moment, and because of that they have kept our food supply the best in the world. We produce the best grain, the best poultry and the best beef right here in Canada, and we need to make sure that our farmers stay competitive because when we increase input costs, those come directly from the farmers.

These costs not only affect our farmers, but entire rural communities because farmers are largely the ones who drive our economies. They are the ones who go to tractor dealerships and buy tractors. They are the ones who go to local restaurants, and there may be only a couple of restaurants in their towns. They are also the ones who support our local grocery stores, so we need to support and protect our farmers.

As I said, we are at the end of the session. I would like to take a moment to thank all the wonderful members of my constituency of Northumberland—Peterborough South and thank the farmers for this wonderful piece of legislation that I have been able to work with. Particularly, I would like to thank Brandon from the Grain Farmers. I would like to thank my staffer Hailey, who was fantastic and critical to doing this. Most important, I would like to thank all the members of the agriculture community who worked so hard to get this on board. We will have a vote on Wednesday and we will get this across. Hopefully, we will be back in session so we can get this bill passed and help our farmers.

I thank everyone out there so much. It has been a great pleasure to hear all the interventions. Some of my best friends, across the aisle and otherwise, have spoken. The member for Hamilton Centre is even wearing a blue suit for us, if I am allowed to acknowledge that he is in the chamber. I really appreciate that. I thank everyone for their learned interventions and their contributions. It is a great day for farmers.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business



The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

It being two minutes past noon, the time provided for debate has expired.

Accordingly, the question is on the motion.

If a member of a recognized party present in the House wishes to request a recorded division or that the motion be adopted on division, I would invite them to rise and indicate it to the Chair.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business



Bernard Généreux Conservative Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, QC

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to request a recorded division.

Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing ActPrivate Members' Business



The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Pursuant to order made on Monday, January 25, the recorded division on the motion stands deferred until Wednesday, June 23, at the expiry of the time provided for Oral Questions.

The House resumed from June 18 consideration of Bill C-30, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on April 19, 2021 and other measures, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of Motion No. 2.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders



Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to continue the speech I started on Friday.

Does Bill C-30, budget implementation act, 2021, no. 1, provide adequate guarantees to protect workers, to protect the unemployed, to protect sick workers and to treat seniors and their care workers with dignity? As I was saying, the answer is maybe or no.

I would like to use the five minutes I have remaining to talk about sick workers, who were counting on the government to take action after 50 years to extend special EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50 weeks once and for all.

There is no reason for the government to pass up this opportunity, to ignore the testimony and to abandon 150,000 people who benefit every day from sickness benefits, which expire after 15 weeks.

The government decided to take a half step by increasing the benefits to 26 weeks starting in 2022. In the short term, sick workers will have no more than 15 weeks of benefits. We are making a heartfelt plea for the bill to be passed. We heard the evidence; the House of Commons adopted a motion; the bill sponsored by my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît was adopted by a majority; the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities, of which I am the deputy chair, did a clause-by-clause study of the bill on June 17. All that is needed is one last push. We must act, and the government can do so by seeking royal assent. It must do so now.

Unemployed workers had very high expectations. I remind members that, in 2015, the Liberal government promised to overhaul the EI system, which leaves behind 60% of workers. They cannot access it because it discriminates against women, part-time workers, and workers are are ineligible and abandoned by the system.

It took the pandemic to force the government to implement temporary measures. Once again, all the budget offers is a single, 420-hour eligibility requirement for a period of one year. This is urgent. Where is the government? This is not enough. Once again, the government has everything it needs.

The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities conducted a big study on modernizing employment insurance. The committee's report was tabled in the House last week. The government has everything it needs, it has the solutions and has access to all of the analyses on the flaws of the program. However, according to Bill C‑30, there will be another two years of consultations.

I read an article from Radio-Canada in which the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion was saying that the computer system was in need of updates, that modernization could not happen all at once and that we might actually have to wait another seven years. That is preposterous.

It is unbelievable that the government is going to negate all of the efforts that have been made for so long and invest in consultations. The time for consultation is over. We need to sit down at the drawing board and take action. All of the solutions are in place. We need to do this for women, youth and self-employed workers.

Some might think that the crisis is over because there is a glimmer of hope. However, some sectors of the industry are still heavily impacted and still do not have any answers for their workers. They cannot provide any answers in the short term unless the government changes course and takes immediate action to undertake a reform.

We cannot wait any longer. I think that the government has everything it needs. Although some aspects might technically be more difficult because it is a complex system, the government needs to make them more politically desirable and implement a real employment insurance system. Workers are calling for it, as are groups representing unemployed workers and women.

We cannot continue with a system that discriminates against so many workers. I am thinking in particular about the many regions of Quebec and Canada that rely on seasonal industries. These workers experience gaps and become impoverished between their two employment periods. If we want to revitalize our regional economies, then we need to recognize the unique situation of seasonal economies and adapt the EI system accordingly so that workers in these industries are not penalized by default.

I would like to quote a witness who appeared before the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities and send a message to the government. The witness said, “Just do it.” It is time to act.

From what columnists are saying, we have probably reached the end of this Parliament. The government could very well trigger an unnecessary election campaign. It will no doubt brag about everything it has done for workers, but we must not lose sight of the fact that the government has not taken any structured, concrete action, even though it has had the means to do so for quite some time now. It has made only empty promises, without any commitments.

Nothing will change as of tomorrow morning for workers who are sick. They will still be entitled to only 15 weeks of benefits, or possibly 26 weeks in 2022. We in the Bloc Québécois are calling on the government to increase sickness benefits to 50 weeks right now, but the government is still asking the unemployed to wait.

The government's Bill C‑30 has many other shortcomings, including the fact that it discriminates against seniors. We asked that a study be done and evidence provided to justify discriminating against seniors between the ages of 65 and 74. Very little information was forthcoming. It is ridiculous—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Order. I apologize for interrupting the hon. member.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

I am hopeful the government will rise in the House today to take concrete steps for all workers—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Questions and comments, the hon. parliamentary secretary.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba


Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Madam Speaker, June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, a day we can all reflect on the 215 children who matter, children who really do matter, and murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. It is very important for all of us to work toward reconciliation.

The budget implementation bill is a continuation of support programs that have been there to help Canadians get through this pandemic, whether one is a senior, a worker or a youth. These support programs were there to ensure that we would be in a better position to be able to recover in the pandemic, while at the same time providing disposable income for Canadians at a time in which they need it most.

Could the member provide her thoughts as to why it is important we actually pass this legislation?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, in terms of the length of debate on the bill, that is up to us.

With regard to all the measures, the Bloc Québécois said it would support Bill C‑30. Indeed, this bill does have measures that people need and that we need to implement.

However, I must remind the government that, whether it be the Canada emergency wage subsidy, the Canada emergency rent subsidy, EI, sickness benefits or measures for seniors, all these measures are temporary and will come to an end. The bill does not include any meaningful measures nor any vision.

We have been saying for a long time that, in order to find a way out of this crisis, we need a vision to help us look forward and propose real, concrete and meaningful measures that will be lasting, not just temporary.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:10 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, I had the chance to listen to both the first part and second part of the hon. member's speech.

I have not heard very much about a part of the bill that proposes an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, which specifically would make it unlawful to knowingly mislead electors during an election campaign. I find it interesting that this is in an omnibus budget bill. Has she had a chance to look into the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act and does she have any comments on it?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question, even though I cannot answer it entirely.

The entire election issue has us scratching our heads. Why make changes with respect to elections when everyone here is saying that there will not be an election during the pandemic and we are still in a pandemic?

I even wonder why there needs to be an election and why we should make changes. I hate the fact that we in the House are unable to reach a consensus on the conditions to put in place to hold an election. It is up to parliamentarians. This should not be done through a regulation in a bill.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


Peter Julian NDP New Westminster—Burnaby, BC

Madam Speaker, I really appreciated the speech by my colleague from Thérèse‑De Blainville.

She talked about employment insurance and the fact that the current system is flawed. Many workers have suffered the consequences. She also talked about sick leave and the fact that the bill provides for only half the period that everyone considers necessary. People suffering from diseases such as cancer need sick leave for up to a year.

There are also cuts to the Canada emergency response benefit. Since the budget was tabled in House, we have been calling for an adjustment to allow people to continue to receive $500 a week. It is important, especially during a pandemic.

According to my colleague, why is the government refusing to make these important changes?

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

The hon. member for Thérèse‑De Blainville only has a few seconds to reply to the question.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


Louise Chabot Bloc Thérèse-De Blainville, QC

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. A very brief answer would be that the government has abandoned the idea that these programs are part of the social safety net. The government views them as an insurance policy. The time has come for the government to reconsider—

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Alexandra Mendès) Liberal Alexandra Mendes

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Battle River—Crowfoot.

Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1Government Orders

12:15 p.m.


Damien Kurek Conservative Battle River—Crowfoot, AB

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to join in the debate, once again, in the House.

However, from what I am hearing in the media, and the rumours around Ottawa, we very well may be facing an election in the coming months. As this may be my last speech prior to that election, I want to share some brief words of thanks to the constituents of Battle River—Crowfoot for the honour to be their voice in Canada's Parliament over the last year and a half or so.

As we have faced an unprecedented time on so many fronts and the need for collaboration and to hold the government to account as a member of the opposition, it has been a true honour. I look forward to life getting back to normal. Alberta plans to open for the summer, with the vast majority of COVID restrictions being lifted on July 1. It is an exciting prospect for Albertans as we look forward to getting back to normal.

Even though Parliament is scheduled to rise in a few days, I look forward to continuing to fight in every way possible for the good people of east central Alberta and Battle River—Crowfoot for whom I have the honour and privilege of serving.

I am rising on debate on the Liberal's budget, an omnibus budget bill, Bill C-30, which the Liberals promised to never do. When a Liberal parliamentary secretary was asked that very question on Friday, he said in effect that this was different because it was a budget bill. I have asked a number of questions and on this and, quite frankly, I have not received much response to them. This bill covers a wide swath of things that, yes, were promised in the much-delayed budget that was introduced a number of months ago, but it also includes some other aspects, such as an amendment to the Canada Elections Act, a change to the gas tax fund and a few other things, which I will dive into in more detail.

However, I would like to address one concern I increasingly hear from constituents, and that is the attitude to which this current Liberal government has approached the legislative agenda and the way it has governed the country. I had a constituent give me a very apt description that I would like to share with members about the rhetoric that has been coming out of the Liberal benches as of late, and it is simply this.

The government is quick to blame the opposition for all its failures, which I think we have been very effective at articulating how absurd that is. Had it not been for the opposition, Canada would be in a much worse spot when it comes to COVID relief programs. The third time is the charm with respect to legislation that has had to be repaired several times. The fact is that the opposition has been exposing many of the areas of mismanagement and very troubling trends related to the approach that the Liberals have taken to government accountability and ethics.

These last couple of weeks, in particular, the government House leader, other Liberal members and the Prime Minister in his press conferences, who would never say this in the House of Commons because he would be held to account on it, have effectively said that it is the Conservatives who have been obstructionists, that it somehow is the opposition's fault that the government cannot get anything accomplished.

A constituent shared with me an analogy that I will share with members. It is a bit like students, after having received the syllabus for the school year, coming upon the night before the deadline for a major assignment at the end of the course and all of a sudden realizing they had lot of work to do but did very little or nothing and now they have a choice: They can either admit their failures or they can blame, pivot and make excuses. The Liberals have chosen to do the latter by blaming the Conservatives for obstruction, rather than acknowledging that they are the ones in charge and that they have utterly failed in their legislative management. If this is any indication of how the Liberals have managed government over the last six years, no wonder our country is facing some major challenges.

Bill C-30 is a large bill and it addresses many aspects of COVID response program changes to other aspects of the functioning of government. I am going to get into those specific things.

However, I want to touch on a couple of things that have not received a lot of air time, so to speak, one of which is the proposed amendment to the Canada Elections Act. The part of the Elections Act that talks about misleading statements during an election was struck down by a court ruling. The government has inserted in the bill, somewhat innocuously, an amendment to the act that would include the words “knowingly mislead” during an election.

There should be a lot of discussion on the “knowingly mislead” part, especially when we see the failures of the current government to uphold elections commitments, its pivoting away from promises made and, certainly, the astounding level of mistrust that is faced across political discourse these days. I find it troubling that this has not been debated extensively. It calls into question some of the purposes associated with why that would be inserted into the back of a budget implementation bill.

The second thing, and this is typically Liberal, is that in the budget implementation bill, the government plans to rename the gas tax fund. This is the Liberal agenda at its best. It takes something, renames it, shines it up a bit, gives it a little spit and polish, and then suggests they have done Canadians a great service with this new program with its fancy new name. That appears to be what Liberals have done with the gas tax fund, which will be called the Canada community building fund going forward.

The new name certainly has a ring to it, and most Canadians might say that it is a great idea, with grant applications and funds going to municipalities. However, it is very important to highlight that it is simply a change in name of a program, which has some of the challenges associated with government accountability and the increased costs. Then I expect to hear a flurry of election spending announcements, promoted by the infrastructure of government, as we saw prior to the 2019 election. We are already seeing cabinet ministers jet-setting across the country, using the tools they have at their disposal to make a myriad of promises prior to the election.

We are going to see a whole bunch of promises related to this new fund, but the Liberals probably will not call it a new fund. However, under a new name, the Liberals will certainly claim credit for the work, even though it was not the Liberals who brought forward that fund, and how it has benefited many municipalities, including some in Battle River—Crowfoot.

I am glad to have had the opportunity to put that on the record so Canadians know that simply renaming something does not give the government of the day credit.

There are extensions to many aspects of COVID programming and there are some concerns related to not being able to address some of the folks who have fallen through the cracks. There are further changes to health transfers, some of which are very needed. I would suggest the dollars are a little too late when it comes to vaccinations, which speaks to the Liberal strategy. If we had been on time with vaccines, we would not have had a third wave. This was the Prime Minister's third wave, when it comes to the delays we face.

As I have come to the end of my speech, I will simply say this. Parliament is an institution that represents Canadians, and to hear that the government is trying to circumvent, at every cost, the need for this place to carefully and thoughtfully debate and discuss legislation, including something as significant as the bill before us, Bill C-30, is very troubling. It is very troubling to hear the Liberals try to circumvent and dismiss the need for what should be of absolute importance to every single one of us.