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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word is liberal.

NDP MP for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie (Québec)

Won his last election, in 2015, with 49% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Ethics November 29th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. The Minister of Finance is in trouble up to his eyeballs. He misled the House and benefited from a bill he introduced. He put himself in a conflict of interest and he is under investigation.

Somehow, thousands of shares in Morneau Shepell were sold a few days before a major tax announcement. When people say they no longer believe politicians and that they think we are all crooks, that is why. The Liberals were elected to restore public confidence.

How can the Prime minister have confidence in his Minister of Finance?

Public Services and Procurement November 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, Christmas is coming, and for many Quebeckers, that means the return of Ciné-cadeau. We are all very excited to see Asterix and Obelix again.

However, for the families of Davie shipyard workers, the holidays are unlikely to be happy. Those workers delivered Asterix and were waiting for the green light to start building a second ship, the Obelix. According to the union, 113 people have already lost their jobs, and another 800 could be on the chopping block. Only a twisted bureaucracy would deny that this shipyard is entitled to its fair share.

Are the Liberals ignoring Quebec on purpose, or can they simply not help themselves?

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question. She is quite right.

We obviously want people in Asia to have access to more services and infrastructure. This is an appealing investment opportunity for our companies. At this time, we do not see the need to invest public money in this type of bank.

My colleague is quite right when she says that there are urgent needs in many of our communities. We need infrastructure and water systems, for example. Some communities have difficulty accessing drinking water. In some communities, there is no electricity and people rely on generators, which use fuel. There are urgent needs in our own country, but we are not addressing them.

On the weekend, we learned that 25 of the wealthiest Canadians own more assets than 40% of the poorest Canadians. Unfortunately, the Liberals are doing nothing to address this inequality.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I want to correct my colleague. In committee, we were told in no uncertain terms that there is no hope for a return on investment in the short term. It is not a question of making money with the public investments that would be made in this bank.

I agree with the hon. member. I also want architects, engineers, and our Canadian experts to be able to make investments and work on projects in India, China, or Bangladesh. Obviously that is what we want. Why do we need to put in half a billion dollars to make that happen? Why is that necessary? It is extremely expensive and yet, our expertise and our companies are already available to take part in the projects.

Do we have to put a token on the table? Is there an entry fee for taking part in the project?

I would have liked that half billion dollars to be invested in creating infrastructure here at home. Our architects, our engineers, and our workers would benefit from building the infrastructure that we need here and now.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. It is always a pleasure to work with him in committee.

A disproportionately high number of former Liberal Party ministers, organizers, and fundraisers were awarded contracts for cannabis permits. I understand the hon. member's concern.

Is cronyism between Asian governments, certain companies there and certain companies here in Canada, what is behind the use of taxpayers' money and public money to pave the way for future political patronage to benefit government friends?

That is an excellent question. Judging by what has been going on these past few months, that is highly likely unfortunately.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 27th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the New Democratic Party, I am pleased to rise to speak to our amendment, but also to the entirety of Bill C-63, the Liberal government's budget implementation bill.

We proposed one amendment, but we could have proposed dozens given the great many things that are omitted, incomplete, or wrong-headed in Bill C-63.

The oddest thing about this bill is that it authorizes the Minister of Finance to inject $480 million in the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

The budget announced $256 million, and Bill C-63 increases that amount to $480 million. During committee hearings of the Standing Committee on Finance, we asked departmental representatives questions about the goals of this Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

During the last election campaign, the Liberals said that we had an infrastructure deficit and that we had to invest in water and wastewater systems, bridges, and roads. People voted for infrastructure investment here, in Quebec, Ontario, or British Columbia. We never really discussed building infrastructure in Asia. I agree that Asian countries need infrastructure; that is quite all right.

However, when we asked whether these investments would be used to privatize infrastructure, we were told that we would be investing in public-private partnerships, or PPPs. At least now we have a general idea.

Will this investment yield a return or dividends fairly quickly? No, it is a long-term investment. The goal is to create a market that is receptive to Canadian private investment in Asia. That is why we are going to invest there. It will pave the way for our companies to invest in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and China.

Did the Liberal Party tell voters about this in the 2015 election? No.

We do not believe this to be the most judicious use of $480 million, especially given that this was never mentioned before and that the goal is not even to get a return on the invested public funds.

We will be minor participants in a major Asian infrastructure bank. Our money will be sent over there and we have no idea when we will get it back. That investment will be made over there without any return on investment. We will get our investment back if we ever decide to sell our shares, and assuming that other countries want to purchase them. That is a strange investment. We do not quite understand what the objective is here.

Worst of all is the fact that the $480 million of Canadian and Quebec taxpayers' money that will be put into an infrastructure bank, one that will be controlled by China, I might add, will be reported as foreign aid. It will count as foreign aid so that we can raise our level of international aid, which is currently an abysmal 0.27%, closer to the objective of 0.7% set by the United Nations. It is appalling.

The government plans to engage in some sort of dubious investment scheme that will not yield any returns and count it as international aid in the budget.

It is misleading. The government thinks that Canadians do not see what it is really up to. That is why we tabled this amendment. We want to take away the finance minister's ability to write a cheque for $480 million on which we will not see any return on investment and which will be used to privatize infrastructure. The government would have Canadians believe that the money is going to foreign aid, but that is not what I would call foreign aid.

The government is helping foreign companies and countries do some of their work, without generating any returns for Canada. The government is doing this to look good abroad in the hopes that Canadians companies will be afforded business opportunities down the road. That is the shell game the Liberals are playing with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

We do not think that this is a good investment. Canada also has an infrastructure bank that the NDP calls the infrastructure privatization bank, which was planned, designed, and practically led by BlackRock, one of the largest investment companies in the world. That company held countless meetings with the Minister of Finance to concoct this infrastructure privatization bank.

It is funny because, during the election campaign, the Liberals told us that it would run a small deficit and build a lot of infrastructure. After two years under the Liberals, we now have a large deficit and no infrastructure. The Liberals keep saying that it is coming, but we have not seen anything yet. The board of directors of the infrastructure privatization bank will be set up this year, and its members will be appointed. The board will then ask for money from private corporations and investment funds to build infrastructure in our communities.

During the campaign, they said that interest rates were low and that it was a good time to borrow money to invest in our communities, in creating wealth, and in infrastructure. That logic is sound, but what they never told us was that three-quarters of the investment would come from the private sector, and that that money would be used to pay for projects. What kind of return did the government promise the private companies involved in the infrastructure investment bank? Was it 7%, 8%, or 9%?

The state is supposed to invest in our communities to make sure we have infrastructure that meets people's needs. Private investors invest to make a profit. Sometimes those two objectives are aligned, but not always. Because of the new infrastructure privatization bank, Canadians and Quebeckers, the people who use the highways and bridges, who go to the skating rinks and swimming pools, are the ones who will have to pay for all that. That is the only way it will be worthwhile for private investors. The infrastructure has to make money. Will infrastructure projects be selected based on what people need or on how potentially profitable they are?

This is where our vision is diametrically opposed to that of the Liberals. On this file, they are really adopting a neo-liberal approach, meaning that the government is there to help private companies make a profit, not to work for the common good or the public interest. If the Liberals really wanted to be consistent and logical, they would have borrowed money in the international markets in order to raise the funds to invest in our infrastructure, their famous social infrastructure. However, that is not what they are doing. They are going to create a kind of super PPP, or public-private partnership, whose primary purpose will be to guarantee a return on private investment. We think that this is a shame and that people will be appalled.

The Liberals are always saying they are working for the middle class and those working hard to join it, but these are the very people who will be paying for the new infrastructure to be created by the Liberal government. On top of taking money out of Canadians' pockets, Bill C-63 contains no measures to fight tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance, or tax havens. According to Statistics Canada, tax havens cost us at least $8 billion a year. We are losing $8 billion a year in uncollected taxes because of our agreements with the Cayman Islands, Barbados, and the Cook Islands, like the one the Liberals signed last year. The amount we lose every year is enough to pay for two Champlain Bridges or to build 21 Videotron Centres in Quebec City. I should note that there is another problem in Quebec City, namely the fact that we have a $400-million arena but no hockey team to play in it.

Bill C-63 does not meet the needs of Quebeckers and Canadians. There is the Asian infrastructure bank that the government is putting money into that is obscure and misleading. There is the infrastructure privatization bank here, which is going to force Canadians to pay more for public services and access to certain services, whether at the provincial or municipal level. There is a lack of real action and political will to recover the money that is owed to us.

Tax evasion is theft, and the Liberals are letting it happen. It is shameful.

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2 November 27th, 2017


That Bill C-63 be amended by deleting Clause 176.

Presence in Gallery November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, during question period, the Minister of National Revenue accused me of spreading disinformation. That is not very nice. I am therefore requesting the unanimous consent of the House to table the Auditor General's report on the Canada Revenue Agency, because I get the sense she did not read it.

Canada Revenue Agency November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, that is right. The Liberals are going to continue signing agreements with tax havens, as they did last year with the Cook Islands.

Interestingly, when the Liberals wants something to happen, there is no stopping them. An infrastructure privatization bank? Done. Legalization of cannabis? Full steam ahead.

However, families who need help paying the rent will have to wait until after the next election. The Liberals are incapable of paying public service employees. That is too complicated. They cannot even answer the telephone. People just have to wait on hold.

I would like to make a direct appeal to the Minister of Finance. When will he come down from his ivory tower and start working for ordinary Canadians?

Canada Revenue Agency November 22nd, 2017

Mr. Speaker, the question was about Phoenix.

Governing is about making choices. Let us take a closer look at the Liberals' choices.

A couple with no children gets nothing. A person who earns less than $45,000 gets nothing. Someone who takes the bus no longer gets a tax credit.

On the other hand, someone who sends their money to the Cayman Islands does not have any problems. Someone who introduces a bill that will make him richer will write a cheque. Someone who wants to see the Prime Minister will pay $1,500. Netflix does not pay any tax. KPMG clients will get a deal.

When will the Liberals stop working for their Bay Street millionaire friends?