Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise at report stage to discuss the changes that were made to the bill at committee and a further change that I am proposing in the House at report stage.
I think often, when we reflect on budget bills and we talk about omnibus budget bills, we think of the experiences Parliament has had under majority governments with omnibus budget bills, where we have seen quite a lot of changes to many acts rammed through without a lot of discussion or debate because the government had the majority in order to be able do that.
I think we actually saw quite a different process in this Parliament with the budget bill. This is reflected in the fact that the committee made significant changes to the disability tax credit, which would make it possible for people living with type 1 diabetes to not have to constantly reprove that they still have type 1 diabetes, that it is still expensive and that it is still time-consuming. We can take it for granted, based on what we know about the disease, that people living with type 1 diabetes are going to continue to need support, and they will continue to deserve the kind of support they get. When they are able to accomplish all of that administrative work, they should only have to do it once. The committee looked to make that the case, and I hope Parliament will soon too.
We saw the government introduce quite hastily some major changes to the employment insurance appeal board that did not reflect its commitments in 2018 and 2019 to stakeholders. After a long consultation process, the government was panned pretty widely within the stakeholder community. I think even the government was interested in pulling those provisions back. We have secured a commitment from the government to ensure it comes back in the fall with new legislation and that this is not the end of the story when it comes to the EI appeal board. It is in desperate need of appropriate reform. We were glad to see the government commit to bringing that legislation forward in the fall. We will certainly be here to remind it of that commitment and to press it to do that as promptly as possible in the fall.
We saw important reforms in the direction and control provisions for charitable organizations. These really needed to be undertaken to decolonize the charitable sector in Canada, facilitate its good work and ensure it can work with partners that may not have a charitable status but that are nevertheless doing good work. I think this shows not a blind trust but an earned trust on the part of the charitable sector in Canada for the very good work it has done, and done responsibly. I think we struck the right balance between ensuring that there is still the reasonable accountability that Canadians would expect of their charitable sector while ensuring that it has a freer hand to do work in a good way.
We saw the government also try to rush in some changes that had not been advertised with the express entry system. The express entry system allows for people outside of Canada to come into Canada on an expedited basis. The minister was asking for an incredible amount of discretion with a very low amount of accountability and transparency concerning how decisions would be made to classify people in the express entry system and get them into the country. Through working together with other parties at committee, we were very glad to see, and I have to give credit to the member for Vancouver East, who really did the legwork on this, a proper accountability regime that would require the government, in the legislation, to have a robust public consultation process. This is actually spelled out in the legislation and will not be left just to the government to decide what public consultation will mean. Written submissions would be required, so it would not just be the government having backroom conversations with some of its friends to decide who gets into the country, who does not and on what basis. There is going to be a proper process in place. I think that is very important.
On the theme of fiscal accountability for government, which is something I have tried to champion here in my time, there was some spending the government had proposed in Bill C-17, which was incorporated into the budget, with transit and housing money being sent to provinces. however, there was really no detail beyond that. We fought for an amendment that would require the government, after it has negotiated the terms and conditions with provinces, to make those public because we think that is appropriate. Canadians have a right to know how their public money is being spent and under what conditions it is being passed on to other governments, so that was also very important.
As the Conservative finance critic mentioned earlier, there was also an amendment he proposed to set the date for when the foreign homebuyer ban would come into effect, which was something I was glad to support, to give a little more certainty with that. We were also able to finally make a distinction in Canadian law, as a result of an amendment put forward by the Bloc finance critic, between cider and honey wine on the one hand and grape wine on the other, which is a distinction that has become that much more important in light of the recent arrangement with Australia following its challenge at the World Trade Organization.
I say all of this by way of trying to highlight the extent to which there was a good process with the bill. I think that the committee was able to have much more meaningful input than parliamentarians who had been in majority governments where we have seen similarly large budget bills and, in fact, sometimes larger budget bills that covered more subject areas. I think we were able to have quite a good process here at committee.
I will wrap up by talking about the luxury tax, which was something we did amend at committee. We have heard some very significant concerns on the structure the Liberal government has chosen for the luxury tax and the potential effects it could have, particularly on the manufacturing industry in aerospace here in Canada. These are concerns that New Democrats take very seriously, and I know that members of other parties take those concerns very seriously as well. What we proposed as a solution was to give the government more flexibility on the coming-into-force date so it could take the time it needs to talk to industry about these potential effects.
We still have a dearth of good economic information from government on what it expects the economic impact of the tax to be. It is something that a colleague of mine at the finance committee has proposed to look into more and ask for more information, and I fully support that request. I fully expect the government to be listening to that; taking that information seriously; generating that information, which is information I think it ought to have generated before designing the tax; and talking to industry. There is still time, and if we pass the amendment that I proposed here at report stage, there would be even more time, if the government needed it, to get the structure of the tax right.
There is no question from this side of the House that the wealthy in Canada have not been paying their fair share. A luxury tax is one way to ensure that people with the most resources in Canada are paying back into the programs we need in order to make sure that people have access to essential services on the basis of equity and not the ability to pay. It is important that we move ahead with the luxury tax, but we want to do that in the right way, and we want to create enough space for government to be able to do that in the right way. We beseech the government to listen, to think about the timetable and to develop a better proposal that would address some of the very legitimate concerns we have heard coming out of the industry. As I said, we are trying to pave the way to do that.
Now, there was some debate at committee about whether this or that was in order. The Chair of the committee, who had ruled the particular amendment out of order, had his ruling overturned unanimously. Nobody voted to sustain the ruling of the Chair. When it came to the House, I think there was a little bit of surprise that the issue resurfaced. However, I think that we have managed to change the wording of the amendment to respect the Speaker's ruling in that regard to be consistent with the ways and means motion that had been presented in advance of Bill C-19.
We now have a solve that would allow us to change those coming-into-force provisions to give the government the extra time it needs to work with industry to get the balance right on the luxury tax, which is why I am very happy to be rising today speaking to that amendment. It would have been, frankly, a travesty if a procedural hiccup, which was unforeseen and for which no warning was provided, would have such a serious consequence for an important strategic industry in Canada. I am glad that here on the floor of the House of Commons we are finding a way to avoid having our procedural eccentricities interfere with a major industry that provides a lot of good jobs for Canadians.
With that, I thank members for their attention throughout the speech, and I am happy to answer any questions they may have.