House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 44th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firefighters.

Topics

Veterans AffairsCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Liberal

Emmanuel Dubourg Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the third report of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs, entitled “Integrity of Juno Beach Site”.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

moved that the third report of the Standing Committee on Finance, presented on Monday, March 21, 2022, be concurred in.

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to members this afternoon. I would like to mention that I am splitting my time with the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes.

The world is different now than it was just a year ago. We have an unprovoked invasion and war by the Russian Federation against Ukraine that threatens our global security and shattered peace in Europe, inflation is anything but transitory and COVID restrictions are lifting across Canada, giving hope to our nation that we can return to some normalcy. However, it is in this global context that we must consider the budget.

Our committee heard testimony from a number of witnesses about what they would like to see in this year's budget. The budget can provide some opportunities and can deal with some challenges that our country faces. There is no question that our government needed to provide unprecedented levels of support to Canadians and businesses during the early days of the pandemic. However, as pandemic concerns abate through our greater understanding of the virus, we must be prepared to evolve our approach to government spending.

Closer to home, Canada must put its own economic house in order so that we can respond to the changing global context. We have to re-establish Canada as a destination for investment, and supply the world with ethical, conflict-free energy. If we want to stop Mr. Putin's war machine, we must help our allies reduce their dependence on Russian energy by ensuring that our energy can reach global markets. Furthermore, we can create a secure North American energy market that uses all sources of Canadian energy, including renewables, traditional fuels and nuclear energy. That is how we will help defeat Mr. Putin.

At home, the number one issue affecting Canadians is affordability. At the grocery stores, at the gas pumps and at retail shopping locations, prices keep going up and up. Our purchasing power is shrinking faster than at any other point in the last 30 years. This is a silent tax that hurts the economically vulnerable and those on fixed incomes, such as seniors, the most.

There are several ways the government can address this, and we heard some of them at committee.

We can reform competition policies and help lower prices for consumers by increasing competition in key sectors, which includes banking, air travel and telecommunications. If we believe excess profits exist in these industries, the answer is not additional taxes to increase government revenues. Rather, consumers should capture these excess profits in the form of lower prices.

We should reform the one-for-one rule on regulatory burden. Instead of taking out a regulatory rule for every one we bring in, why do we not just cut the regulatory burden by 50% over five years? Let us be ambitious.

We can quicken the implementation of the beneficial ownership registry for Canadian corporations that look to the Canadian market to hide assets in the form of money laundering. Most of those laundered funds end up in real estate, which distorts our local real estate markets. Just last week, the Bank of Montreal indicated that in six years there has been a threefold increase in housing prices in Orillia, which is in my riding. How can we expect young Canadians to look at this country and think that home ownership is in the cards for them?

We need to focus on economic growth. We have seen an unprecedented growth in the size of government by every available measure, but at this point we must focus on the private sector to take advantage of the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadians. The government has seemed more interested in wealth redistribution than it is on underlying economic growth, and this must change. We do not need new superclusters or national consultations distorted by well-connected lobbyists and rent-seekers. We must create an environment where businesses of all sizes can thrive. Businesses that grow create jobs and pay taxes.

An overarching opportunity following the pandemic is the rapid deployment of high-speed Internet across all regions of the country, and that is very important to the people in Simcoe North. It is nice that, as we heard just today, the government might be subsidizing and working with those who are of low income so they can access high-speed Internet, but this really will not help those who do not have access to high-speed Internet in the first place.

Tax policy that penalizes success also drives investment away. It is not a surprise that in the year following the changes the government made to the marginal tax rates in 2016, the government received far less revenue than it anticipated. These short-sighted policies can drive businesses, jobs and tax revenues to other jurisdictions. This hurts Canada through lower tax revenues that are used to fund social programs enjoyed by all Canadians: health care, retirement security and, of course, education.

Furthermore, industry-specific tax policy is a very poor idea. The government should set a consistent rate applicable to all sectors. Capital can move freely across borders, and in some sectors, like financial services, companies can shift operations and profits to other jurisdictions. Additional taxes on oligopolies are only going to result in higher prices for consumers or lower levels of investment.

We must carefully understand the negative impacts of certain tax policy changes. For example, the luxury boat and car tax we heard at committee will only increase the sales of these products in foreign markets, notably the United States. This will drive investment, jobs and taxes out of Canada with very little revenue increase for federal coffers. My riding has one of the largest freshwater marinas in the world, plus another dozen or so other marinas. This is going to take jobs out of my community and will hurt the people of Simcoe North.

When it comes to fiscal responsibility, now is the time to make a new path. The Bank of Canada indicates that the economy is robust and is operating near full capacity, which means additional fiscal expansion will just create inflationary pressures. These warnings are coming from all corners of the country. It has been almost 10 years since the federal government underwent any serious scrutiny of its spending, and it is unhealthy for an organization of its size to go this long without reviewing its expenditures.

It is even more important now to rationalize our non-core expenditures to focus on priority areas, including our national defence. We must support our allies, such as Ukraine and those in NATO, and we need to be able to defend our Arctic sovereignty. Pulling forward defence expenditures to displace other planned spending is a sacrifice that Canadians are willing to make in the face of increasing threats from the Russian Federation.

Additionally, the government is going to see a windfall of revenue resulting from persistent inflation, higher-than-expected oil prices and, yes, higher taxes. These excess revenues should be used to reduce the size of the deficit or provide relief to Canadian families in the form of tax holidays. Significant deficit spending at all stages of the economic cycle will have a protracted impact on the fiscal sustainability of government finances. It will threaten our AAA credit rating, which is only going to drive up the cost of borrowing. We cannot continue to erode the country's fiscal position with no plan to rein in unnecessary expenditures. The ability of future governments to deal with the emergencies of their time depends on the responsibility of our government today.

We also must think about the overarching regulatory framework in the country with respect to financial regulation. We are still waiting for open banking regulations. We are still waiting for the government to get serious about innovation in the financial services sector. However, we need to consider asking our agencies to get back to basics. The emerging housing affordability issue and related financial system vulnerability expose serious concerns about the effectiveness of our regulatory system in Canada. We have agencies on one day saying one thing about the housing market, and on the next day, a different agency says the complete opposite. That cannot be left to continue. We also need to make sure we have the right people and HR strategy to attract those who have knowledge about the financial services sector to help us through this transition.

Finally, there are a few items I would like put forward that we heard at committee that the government should be considering.

We talked about high-speed Internet. We need to re-establish the Lake Simcoe cleanup fund. We have to fund the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. We have to implement a two-year ban on purchases of real estate by non-resident Canadians. Let us take the wind out of the sails of this red-hot property market. We have to follow through on the existing mental health and addictions commitments for an opioid addiction strategy. Finally, we need to ensure that we can introduce employee-owned trusts that will help our business owners transition business interests to employees. I hope we will make some headway on affordable housing and all kinds of housing in this budget.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, the member says that the Conservative Party wants to see us cutting taxes and cutting back on borrowing. I do not think the Conservatives understand developing a program of expenditures. I will use the example of child care. I know a national child care program is something the Conservatives do not support, but by providing that program, we are going to be growing Canada's workforce. Yes, there is a cost to government for it, but there is also a revenue stream being generated because we will be growing the workforce.

I wonder if the member could provide his thoughts on that. Do members of the Conservative Party see any value in doing as we have done through the child care program? The government has made expenditures that will generate revenues, let alone many other benefits for Canadian society.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, the question is not whether child care is good or not. We had a debate in the last election about different child care policies. The question is, what are the priorities of the government? If it has so many priorities, then it really does not have any at all. If we want to talk about how to fund child care, we should not be taking on additional debt to fund operational costs of government. Why do we not just have an honest discussion about what is no longer working and where we can find the money to fund some of these programs?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Gord Johns NDP Courtenay—Alberni, BC

Madam Speaker, one thing that we put in a supplementary report around this motion is that Canadians are within only $200 of being able to pay their bills, and fishers really comes to mind for me right now. Fish harvesters are absolutely being impacted by climate change. We are seeing in other industries that there is $360 million to help support those who have been impacted by climate change in the agriculture sector and in forestry, but we saw a cut of 60% for the salmon harvesters on the north coast and absolutely no support for those harvesters. They are not $200 away from making ends meet; they are actually well over $200 under making ends meet. Now we hear that crab harvesters are going to lose half of their quota because of really important reconciliation, which we support, but reconciliation should be shared by all Canadians, not just by a handful of fishers on the west coast.

Does my colleague agree that there should be money to support fish harvesters and fishers who are on the verge of bankruptcy?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for talking about this issue again in the House of Commons.

Of course, it is very important that we think about our fish harvesters and those who are very close to insolvency. We absolutely need to be there to help those who are nearing bankruptcy. At the same time, there are Canadians across the country who are very close to bankruptcy, so when we talk about increasing the cost of living through higher carbon taxes or higher taxes period, it is going to push people closer to insolvency. Additionally, the Bank of Canada has said it is going to increase interest rates for the next number of meetings, so we can expect a much higher interest-rate policy. Where are families going to come up with the additional funds?

I think we should be talking in this place about how not to increase the burden on families and should really make sure we can support them in the way they need.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, the third recommendation in the report calls on the government to factor in population aging in the provinces and territories in the formula for calculating the Canada health transfer.

Just this afternoon, Quebec's entire medical community called for a health care summit to be held so that the federal government can consult with stakeholders and the provinces and territories. They are all calling for health transfers to be increased to 35% of total costs.

I expect to see this in the budget. Is that what the member expects as well?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Adam Chambers Conservative Simcoe North, ON

Madam Speaker, I certainly hope we can have an honest conversation about health care. The government campaigned in 2015 that the health care funding formula was broken. What do we have? We have the continued use of Prime Minister Harper's health care funding formula. It is time we have a good conversation with our provincial colleagues about that, and I look forward to hearing more about that in this budget.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:45 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to discuss this important issue. I want to thank my hon. colleague from Simcoe North for his great insights on this report from committee and follow up on one of the themes he touched on, which is affordability. This really is the greatest crisis facing Canadians this year.

The government has had a couple of mandates and is going into its seventh year. The member talked about how, if everything is a priority, then nothing is a priority. There was a time when the finance minister would be known as the “minister of no” because everybody has an ask at budget time.

Every community has an ask. I have a list of them from stakeholders in my community. As the shadow minister for health, I have heard asks from stakeholders. Everyone has an ask of the finance minister and the government, but we have to look at the full picture of what the greatest needs are facing Canadians today. That does not mean the asks people make are not important; it means we need to prioritize.

What are we looking at as a country? We have seen unprecedented amounts of spending over the seven years since the government came to office. During COVID‑19 there were unbelievable and extraordinary amounts of money spent, some of which was absolutely necessary, but there was also other money spent that was questionable, at best, because the accountability was lacking. While all this money has been spent, and this week's budget is probably at the printing press today, if not already boxed up, the impacts of that document and those policies on Canadians will be far-reaching.

The member for Courtenay—Alberni, in questions and comments to my colleague, talked about the burden individual Canadians are facing with respect to their personal finances and that over half of Canadians are within $200 of not being able to pay their bills, with one-in-three Canadians being technically insolvent. That situation is not going to get any better when we know that increased prices at the grocery store are going to affect the average family to the tune of an extra $1,000 this year.

The policies of the government are driving up other prices as well. We know we live in one of the world's harshest climates. We are all very proud of our great country, but it is also really cold. Heating our homes is not a luxury. However, a tax has been put on home heating, which is making Canadians choose between heating their homes and providing nutritious food for their families.

That was already a tough choice before we had the pressures of an increased carbon tax. With natural gas up nearly 19%, it becomes an impossible choice. I have already talked about the increased food prices, but we know those prices are going to go up even higher. With the carbon tax that went up on Friday, the price of everything will go up.

These are really tough choices Canadians have to make between keeping the family warm or keeping it fed, to say nothing of being able to, in many parts of this country, put gas in one's car to be able to go to work, a medical appointment, a hockey practice or a dance practice. It has become unaffordable to even get there. Many people in my community are telling me they are unable to fill up the gas tanks in their work trucks on Monday mornings. They have to wait until they get paid by suppliers during the week, and are asking for money upfront because they cannot afford the increased gas prices.

They cannot carry it on their own. That is their livelihood for these contractors, who work in the community using their pickup trucks. This is true for everyone who relies on personal vehicles when they do not have public transportation. That is true for the vast majority of those in my community and those in the communities of many members in this place.

When the government looks at what the course is going to be for the next year, and very big spending commitments have been made with the fourth party in this House, its new partner the NDP, we have to wonder what that will look like for Canadians. What pressures is that going to put on affordability in their lives? It is incredibly stark.

When we talk about Canadians heating their homes and feeding their families, we presuppose that they have a place to live. More and more Canadians are not going to be making those choices about their own homes, and if they can find a place in competitive rental market, they are going to be renting homes. The dream of home ownership over the last six, seven years under the government has slipped further and further out of reach, again because of the policies of the government.

The government needs to think through what the implications are on the price of homes. Home prices have doubled during the government's time in office. What steps has it taken, aside from using the amount of money it spends as a metric of success instead of asking what it has done to make housing actually affordable for more Canadians? That is not the question that seems to be asked. We see how much it can spend to show Canadians that it has been in motion and, therefore, has made some progress, trying to confuse Canadians in the process.

Is there a path to balance that is going to be proposed in the budget on Thursday? What are the fiscal anchors? What certainty can Liberals give to Canadians that there has been some temporary pain, but there is a path back to the same type of budgeting that we have to exercise in small businesses, our homes and personal lives, something that is sustainable, because what we have seen is not sustainable?

I touched quickly on the expenses that the government has taken on during COVID-19. One that was in the news this weekend was the money spent on the Covifenz vaccine made here in Canada. The government spent $173 million on this, but we are not going to see it going to COVAX this week, and we are not going to see it as a recognized vaccine that Canadians can receive and then travel internationally. We are not going to see that this week.

Why is the $173 million that Canadians spent on this not going to be worthwhile for them? It is because the government failed to do its due diligence. This vaccine is not even receiving approval from the World Health Organization because of the failure of due diligence by the Liberal government and its partners.

What I am hoping for is prudence, that the government is going to be meticulous and careful with how it spends money, because we have seen anything but. It wildly spends money and uses that as a measure for success instead of the success of individual Canadians and how they are able to live their lives, prosper and support their families. Conservatives are looking to the government for some fiscal sanity and some responsibility.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Kingston and the Islands Ontario

Liberal

Mark Gerretsen LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons (Senate)

Madam Speaker, I am wondering if the member is aware of the fact that when he ran in the election in September of last year, his party was actually proposing to spend even more money.

More importantly, when he talks about a path to balancing the budget, what kind of path is that exactly, because the path that he ran on in September of last year was a path of 10 years. Is he saying that 10 years is the magic number, or is he now saying five years is the number, or is it 15 years? Can he quantify how many years is appropriate and if it is, indeed, what he ran on six months ago?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, this is a great opportunity to talk about how we have all of the provinces and territories across this country who have basically been asking for an agreement from the federal government to plan out what the investments will be in our health care system. While we have a global pandemic, the government is unwilling to make a commitment to the provinces and territories on what their funding is going to look like.

Instead we have an introduction of them going to throw $2 billion at it because there are backlogs in surgeries, in diagnostic screenings and care appointments, but the provinces want stability. They want planning. They want prudence, something that we are not seeing from the government.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

3:55 p.m.

Bloc

Kristina Michaud Bloc Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, QC

Madam Speaker, the Conservatives often talk about abolishing the carbon tax to help people cope with the increased cost of living. I think there are other ways to achieve this, since the carbon tax is a good way to combat climate change.

The Bloc Québécois has made a few suggestions, such as doubling the GST rebate for quarters in which inflation surpasses the Bank of Canada's target, increasing the monthly Canada child benefit in accordance with inflation and providing targeted support for the sectors that are suffering the most from increased input costs.

Does my hon. colleague agree with these suggestions and does he expect to see these kinds of measures in the budget on Thursday?

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

April 4th, 2022 / 3:55 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, when we talk about the carbon tax as a way to disincentivize people from using necessities for them such as their vehicles or heating their homes, we think that is an ineffective way to address climate change. One of the ways that we can address climate change is through technology, making sure that we are making investments in things like SMRs and vSMRs, making sure that we are collaborating with those in our agricultural sector, who are leaders and environmental stewards. That is incredibly important.

It is also very important that we collaborate on ways to support individual families, make sure that those supports are means tested and make sure they are able to support their families so they do not have to make those terrible choices, as I mentioned before, between heating and eating.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

NDP

Rachel Blaney NDP North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, in my riding of North Island—Powell River we are seeing a lot of folks without housing. This is a growing concern. The market in our region is very hot. People are coming from all over the country to live in the beautiful area, but it is just making it so hard for local folks to be able to afford housing. At the same time, as those houses are being bought up, we are seeing fewer and fewer available rentals.

I am wondering if the member could speak to why we need to see affordable housing across this country. I am also wondering if he has any thoughts about when the government is going to do what it promised and ban blind bidding.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Conservative

Michael Barrett Conservative Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, ON

Madam Speaker, it is no surprise that we had a promise from the government, and it looks like it will be joining a long list of broken promises. It is incredibly important. Here in Ontario, for example, a commitment from the federal government, money that is owed to the province for supports for housing and homelessness, just does not flow. That is the hallmark of the government. A lot of talk and big announcements, but not a lot of action. Liberals have done nothing to remove the gatekeepers that have kept prices high and supply low, and that is the shame of the government.

Alleged Breaches of Privilege Presented in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

4 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

First, if I may, I am rising to respond to a question of privilege raised on March 31, 2022, respecting an order of the House made on March 25, 2021, in the previous Parliament. I would like to begin by making it clear that the ministers are accountable to the House of Commons for duties carried out within their departments and for the actions of their political staff in their political offices.

Page 30 of the House of Commons Procedures and Practice states the following regarding the fact that ministers are responsible to Parliament:

In terms of ministerial responsibility, Ministers have both individual and collective responsibilities to Parliament...The principle of individual ministerial responsibility holds that Ministers are accountable not only for their own actions as department heads, but also for the actions of their subordinates; individual ministerial responsibility provides the basis for accountability throughout the system. Virtually all departmental activity is carried out in the name of a Minister who, in turn, is responsible to Parliament for those acts.

This is not a new concept. To reinforce this assertion, allow me to quote from Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who, in the 2006 publication “Accountable Government: A Guide for Ministers”, stated, “Ministers are accountable to Parliament for the exercise of their responsibilities whether they are assigned by statute or otherwise”, and “Ministers are personally responsible for the conduct and operation of their office.”

The second issue I would like to draw members' attention to is a Speaker's ruling of December 9, 2021, on the effects of dissolution in which he stated:

House of Commons Procedure and Practice, third edition, clearly stipulates, at page 397, the following:

“With dissolution, all business of the House is terminated....The government’s obligation to provide answers to written questions, to respond to petitions or to produce papers requested by the House also ends with dissolution....Committees cease to exist until the House reconstitutes them following the election. All orders of reference expire....”

Consequently, as a result of the dissolution of the 43rd Parliament, the orders of the House from March 25 and June 2 and 17, 2021, have expired. The government and the people summoned to appear are released from their obligations. Similarly, the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations and the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics have ended, as have their studies. Any report presented in connection with the study involved only the committee from the previous Parliament.

The ruling is actually clear. Orders from the previous Parliament expired with dissolution. Therefore, there can be no breach of an order in the current Parliament for which a prima facie question of privilege can be found.

I would further submit to the House that logic follows that the simple retabling of a report from a previous Parliament does not constitute a new order for which a breach of privilege can be found. If a committee in this Parliament were to issue new orders for the appearance of individuals who were the subject of a study of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics in the 43rd Parliament and those individuals did not appear or refused to appear before the committee in this Parliament, and the committee produced a report on the refusal of these individuals to appear and that report was tabled in the House, then a member could raise a question of privilege to argue that the privileges of members had been infringed.

That is not the case here. A report from a previous Parliament has been retabled and reported to the House. That in itself does not give rise to any contempt. All previous orders from the 43rd Parliament have expired, as the Speaker stated in the December 9 ruling. No new order has been made. Therefore, there is nothing for the Speaker to adjudicate.

Alleged Breaches of Privilege Presented in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I thank the member for the additional information. I will certainly take it under advisement and will bring it back to the House once we have had time to deliberate on that.

Alleged Breaches of Privilege Presented in the Third Report of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and EthicsPrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Ahmed Hussen Liberal York South—Weston, ON

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

I am tabling the government's responses to Questions Nos. 337 to 356.

The House resumed consideration of the motion.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

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

Madam Speaker, here we are again today where the official opposition here in Canada has made the determination that it wants to have a continuation of what I would suggest, and my colleague from Kingston, no doubt, would vouch, is a filibuster because the Conservative Party just does not want to see Bill C-8 pass.

The Conservatives have made it very clear that they do not support Bill C-8. What they are doing today is to prevent the bill from being debated once again. I am not too sure exactly how many days this bill has been up for debate, but I suspect that if one were to do a bit of research one would find that it has been a good number of days. It would have been nice to see the bill actually pass. After all, Bill C-8 is the fall economic update and here we are now in the spring.

My colleague from Kingston had a question for one of the many Conservative members on Bill C-8 this morning, in essence asking when this bill will be passed or why they have not passed it. The response was that it was because the government has not brought in time allocation—

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Conservative Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola, BC

Madam Speaker, as a point of order on relevance, we are discussing the pre-budget consultation and concurrence. Maybe the member could steer his thoughts and start talking about that.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

NDP

The Assistant Deputy Speaker NDP Carol Hughes

I want to remind members to wait until I respond. When it is time for questions and comments, it will be time for members to decide to stand up if they have anything to say.

On the hon. member's point of order, he knows very well that there is some latitude to the discussion when debates are before the House. I want to remind members, though, that they are to make sure that they are referencing the motion and to keep that in mind during debate.

The hon. parliamentary secretary.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Madam Speaker, the member is not. He is standing up on a point of order to say it is not relevant to a concurrence motion that is dealing with the budget, when Bill C-8 is all about the budget. It is all about the fall budget. I just cannot quite understand why the Conservatives, for whatever reason, have chosen to vote against that bill.

When we think about a report from the finance committee on budget ideas, we can take a look at Bill C-8. In listening to the consultations, I can assure the member opposite that Canadians are very much concerned about the pandemic. The very bill the Conservatives do not want to debate today, for whatever weird reason, deals with the priorities Canadians have today.

I concur, they are priorities. The issue is why the Conservative Party does not recognize that providing things such as rapid tests is important. All one has to do is look at what provinces and territories have been saying. They want to have rapid tests. This provides literally hundreds of millions of dollars for the acquisition of rapid tests for Canadians, which are in high demand.

It provides supports today. The concurrence motion is referencing the importance of consultation, and if the members opposite consulted, they would understand that we need to support small businesses. That is in fact what Bill C-8 does. If they continued to look at consultations, they would see that many people are concerned about the air they breathe and ventilation in our schools, in particular. They would find that, if they were in fact consulting with Canadians. Once again, that is what is in Bill C-8. If the Conservative Party of Canada really understood the importance of consultation and actually reflected what they were hearing from their constituents back inside this chamber, Bill C-8 would have passed long ago.

Now, it is as if the Conservatives have turned a leaf and know how to consult. They are saying that they want to concur in this report because of all the things that they heard in regard to this particular report. However, let us listen to some of the speeches they have given. There were only two Conservative speakers, so far. I sure hope it gets better. What did the members talk about? I made notes of some of the things they were talking about. They talked about cutting back on borrowing and stopping any form of tax increases. That is the message from the Conservative Party. Some members opposite might applaud while others are saying that it is a good start.

However, there are expenditures. This is the question I put earlier. The expenditures the government makes do cost money. “Expenditure” means that it costs money, but just because the government is spending money does not necessarily mean that it is not bringing in money. The example I would give is the Canada child care program. For the first time in the history of Canada, we now have a government that has instituted a national child care program. Let us talk about that program. I am sure that if the Conservatives did their homework, and they did not, they would find that there is a broad spectrum of support for a national child care program. There are even some Conservatives, albeit somewhat shy Conservatives, who actually support child care programs and what the national government is doing.

FinanceCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:05 p.m.

Some hon. members

Name them.