House of Commons Hansard #121 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was s-5.


The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

October 31st, 2022 / 7 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising during today's adjournment proceedings to follow up on a question that I asked the government on October 17, a few weeks ago.

That was the same day that the NDP brought forward its successful opposition day motion. Basically, the gist of my question was the fact that, under successive Conservative and Liberal governments, we have seen CEOs and corporations increasing their share of wealth. It is really a question of fairness. My question to the government that day was whether the government would finally admit that it has let corporate greed go unchecked by finally voting with the NDP to defend Canadian families.

In that opposition day motion vote that we had following question period, I am very pleased to report that the motion was passed by the House unanimously. I believe the vote was 327-0, which was amazing because it showed that the Conservatives, the Liberals, the Greens and the Bloc Québécois are following the NDP's lead. They are listening to their constituents and understanding that this is an issue.

To reference that motion, it asked the government to basically force CEOs and big corporations to pay what they owed and to close the loopholes that have allowed them to avoid paying $30 billion in taxes in 2021 alone. It asked the government to launch a fair and affordable food strategy that tackles corporate greed in the grocery sector and to also support the agriculture and agri-food committee, where I also managed to pass an unanimous motion for study into this very issue.

We always see those news items that come out of social media, either on January 1 and January 2 of every year, which show that the average CEO has already made, in the first couple of days, more money than the average Canadian. That is why I really want to centre on this theme of fairness.

Canadians For Tax Fairness found that in 2021, 123 of Canada's largest and most profitable corporations managed to evade even more taxation than they had paid in the three years before COVID-19. That is inclusive of 2017 to 2019. This was done in a variety of ways. There are tax havens they take advantage of. There are deductions for business meals, entertainment and other expenses. Even the executives' pay itself, businesses can claim as an expense.

If we think about what $30 billion would have done, what that lost revenue that the Canadian treasury missed out on could have paid for, we could have protected and expanded even more ecosystems. We could have helped workers and communities adapt to and mitigate climate change. We could have increased the minimum wage for federally regulated industries. We could have paid more on the national debt, reduced our deficit and increased transfer payments to provinces. The list goes on as to what we would have been able to do.

I believe we need to get serious about this. The government has already followed through on some initiatives that have long been NDP demands, but I believe it needs to go further. It needs to start implementing things like a tax on extreme personal wealth. It needs to bring in a windfall profits tax to get at that money that so many corporations have been able to benefit from over the last couple of years and to really tackle those extreme profits.

We believe added resources are needed for the CRA. We need to see those higher taxes so that we can have this fair and level playing field instituted while so many Canadians are struggling to get by right now.

Again, my question to the parliamentary secretary is this: Will she, on behalf of her government, admit that corporate greed has gone unchecked and will she put in policies to address it?

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:05 p.m.

Oakville North—Burlington Ontario


Pam Damoff LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his motion, which was debated in this place earlier in the month. I was pleased to see it received unanimous support.

My colleague across the way is right. Canadian families are struggling with the rising cost of essential purchases. For seven years now, our government has been working to build an economy that works for everyone, and for seven years we have been doing just that. We have introduced measures that have helped grow the economy, created jobs and created a fairer and more level playing field for Canadians.

Our government is keenly aware that rising prices, which have been seen around the world, are impacting Canadians. High inflation is a global phenomenon caused by events beyond our control. The root of the problem is not Canadian, but we have a made-in-Canada solution to help people who need it the most.

Now that Bill C-30 has received royal assent, individuals and families receiving the GST credit will receive an additional $2.5 billion in support starting in early November.

With Bill C-31 and the support of the New Democratic Party, we are proposing to create the Canada dental benefit for children under 12 in families with annual incomes under $90,000 who do not have access to a private dental plan. The bill also proposes a one-time top-up to the Canada housing benefit, which would put $500 in the pockets of nearly two million renters who are struggling to pay their rent.

These two bills stand as a testament to what can be achieved in this place when members from all parties work together, and I am sure the hon. member can appreciate the impact these measures will have for Canadians who are struggling to make ends meet.

I am also happy to see the Competition Bureau has launched a study on food pricing in the grocery sector. It is completely unacceptable to take advantage of a crisis to raise prices on consumers. We expect the Competition Bureau to act swiftly if there is evidence of unlawful or anti-competitive behaviour in the marketplace. If there is evidence of anti-competitive behaviour, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry will ask the Competition Bureau to investigate promptly and take appropriate action.

We brought in universal child care that is helping young families, including my own, as my son and his family benefit from the program. I would also like to reassure my hon. colleague our government firmly believes in tax fairness. Since 2015, we have worked to ensure the wealthiest people and businesses pay their fair share, and we will continue to do so.

In budget 2022, we announced a permanent increase in the corporate income tax rate by 1.5% on the largest, most profitable banks and life insurance company groups in Canada. Budget 2022 also announced a temporary Canada recovery dividend, under which banks and life insurance groups would pay a one-time 15% tax on the 2020 and 2021 average taxable income above $1 billion to recover some of the benefits conferred to financial institutions from the government's pandemic supports.

Later this week, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance will release the fall economic statement, which will lay out some of the steps our government will take toward a brighter future for our country. Our government is doing everything we can to make life affordable for Canadians. We will also continue to make the Canadian tax system fairer so we can continue to deliver the effective programs and services Canadians deserve.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.


Alistair MacGregor NDP Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, BC

Mr. Speaker, a record number of Canadians are having to resort to food banks right now. This is a shocking statistic for a country as wealthy as Canada. We can juxtapose that with the record profits grocery chains are making. Canadians are seeing the high prices of food, looking at the record profits oil and gas companies are making and juxtaposing that with the high prices Canadians are paying at the pumps.

I am glad to see the Liberals followed our lead and agreed to bring in things such as dental care, the rental benefit and doubling the GST credit. These are things we have been calling for for quite some time, and I am glad to see the Liberals follow our lead on this, but more needs to be done.

More needs to be done, and Canadians need to see their government will no longer let corporations and rich CEOs pad their wallets and use inflation as an excuse for doing so. Therefore, I am looking for a commitment from the parliamentary secretary to see that instituted, followed up on and brought forward in the fall economic statement.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.


Pam Damoff Liberal Oakville North—Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government knows the cost of living is a real concern, and the rising use of food banks is simply unacceptable. That is why making life more affordable was at the heart of budget 2022 and has been at the heart of our actions ever since the budget was tabled. On Thursday, the fall economic statement will provide further details on our plan to continue building an economy that works for everyone. Canadians from coast to coast to coast can count on us to continue supporting them through this period of global inflation.

The EconomyAdjournment Proceedings

7:10 p.m.


The Deputy Speaker Conservative Chris d'Entremont

The motion that the House do now adjourn is deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 7:12 p.m.)