House of Commons photo


Crucial Fact

  • Her favourite word was billion.

Last in Parliament September 2017, as Conservative MP for South Surrey—White Rock (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2015, with 44% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I would remind the member that the legislation has just been tabled.

My comments are on the time frame. I will say, again, that one hour has been allotted, and time allocation has been invoked, shutting down debate.

The internal report from KPMG, which the government commissioned, said to slow down and get it right. Meetings between the Prime Minister, ministers, and BlackRock are significant conflicts of interest. The reports have all been redacted. When we look at members of the committee, who are now trying to seek $103 billion for their own projects, it is again a significant conflict of interest. With respect to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Canadians are on the hook for $1.3 billion in loan guarantees.

Why the rush? There are conflicts of interest. There are redacted reports. There are internal reports that are redacted as well. Why the rush? What is the government trying to hide?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, I am rising on a point of order. The member alluded to the Auditor General reporting to Parliament. I have the legislation in front of me, and there is no mention in it of the Auditor—

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, the member talked about $180 billion of infrastructure money from his government. I will just remind him that $90 billion is from existing Conservative programs.

Second, talking about infrastructure boosting the economy today, I want to remind the member that his government allowed $1 billion of funding from last year to lapse. It is lapsed funding that will not be reallocated until 2022.

I also want to remind the member that PPP Canada has been in existence since 2006 and has already leveraged billions of dollars in private sector infrastructure.

I would like the member to define “arm's-length”, because according to the the legislation, the minister determines who gets the financing, the minister determines which projects are loan guarantees, and the minister also chooses the board and the CEO. Would he please elaborate on “arm's-length”?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, out of the $180 billion for infrastructure, $90 billion was in the existing Conservative programs, with 7,300 projects that have been completed and some that are still under way. I am glad that, in the member's riding, she saw the benefit of that.

What I also want to say is that, in phase one, there was $1 billion in lapsed funding. Those projects announced in 2016 had to be completed by 2019, but $1 billion did not, and that $1 billion will not be reallocated until 2022, which I find absolutely astonishing. However, PPP Canada has leveraged billions of private-sector dollars for infrastructure since 2009.

Why are the Liberals not using that mechanism if they are looking for new mechanisms to leverage private-sector dollars? We already have one in place.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Madam Speaker, given that debate has been shut down and we have one hour at the infrastructure committee to discuss this, I want to hear the member's opinion and thoughts about posting for positions on the board and for a CEO before the committee has seen the legislation, before the legislation has come to the House, and before the legislation has been passed.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, actually it was the Conservatives who made the gas tax permanent and indexed it.

We look at the mechanism of PPP Canada that has already been set up, already has a track record. If there is a mandate the Liberals want to expand, then they should look at expanding it on exactly the structure that has been there and proven for many years. We should not set up a new bank that is supposed to be at arm's length using $35 billion of taxpayers' money, taking out of the communities the money that has already been announced in the communities. I find that absolutely outrageous.

For the member to think that one hour of debate on this significant bill is appropriate, then he needs to think again, because this is not appropriate. The House needs to debate the bill, we need to have proper transparency, and we have to have the parliamentary budget officer look at this conflict of interest. That is where we need to go as Canadians. Obviously, the government does not want to have this shown to Canadians.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, we do support the NDP motion put forward. It is very problematic; there are serious conflict of interest issues. We need to have this legislation reviewed. We need to have the recommendations coming out of the advisory board reviewed. We need to have the request for $1.3 billion, which was made by an individual on the board, reviewed. To not have the time to have a wholesome discussion is absolutely unacceptable, when we are talking about $35 billion of taxpayer monies that are being shuffled behind closed doors, and debate is being shut down. I do not know how any Canadian across this country would accept this kind of behaviour from a government.

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to hear the minister defend this bank.

First, I will be splitting my time with the member for Richmond—Arthabaska.

I want to thank the member for Beloeil—Chambly for bringing this motion forward. This is a very important issue. Many of us would agree that Canada is open for business. However, it is about what kind of business and what that process looks like. As we have seen with the development of this bank, there are some serious concerns on this side of the House. I want to give a bit of an overview of this bank.

Of a total of $35 billion of taxpayer dollars, $15 billion are being taken away from communities, but the government has announced these projects. Therefore, there is an anticipation from communities that these projects will be built in their communities. However, that is not so, because $15 billion are being taken away from communities, $5 billion are being taken away from public transit projects, $5 billion are being taken away from trade and transportation, and $5 billion are being taken away from green infrastructure. Therefore, the minister should really let communities know which ones will be affected and which projects that have already been announced will not go forward. That is the prudent thing to do. The government talks about being transparent. That is a measure of transparency.

Also, the CPP Investment Board has stated that investors will only look at projects worth over $500 million because it needs a return on its investment. However, $20 billion will be provided to the bank through equity and debt, which means it will not be on the books unless the project defaults. This is another very problematic issue.

The bank will seek out private investors and public pension funds to invest in Canadian infrastructure projects. However, if we come back to what the expectation is from investors, they want a return on their investment as high as 12%. For those who have RRSPs invested or any investments whatsoever, 12% is a really good return rate. What is missing in this is that the minister has not identified where that money is coming from. How is that being paid back to the investors? If it is through taxes, tolls, road pricing, whatever fees and mechanisms that looks like, it should be implicit in the legislation. It is not there. There is no mention of what the return on investment will look like. Again, that is very problematic.

I go back to 2009, when the Conservative government set up PPP Canada. At the time, I was the mayor of a large city of 520,000 people. We were a beneficiary through PPP Canada. We worked together and commenced the building of a biofuel facility, which is being completed now. We leveraged private sector dollars. However, the taxpayers are not paying fees to investors on that front. Therefore, the structure is already there in PPP Canada. The initial investment into PPP Canada was $1.3 billion, which leveraged $6 billion in infrastructure. The mechanisms and the tools are there.

One of the other functions of the bank is data collection. The FCM has been doing data collection for quite some time. In fact, $50 million were given to the FCM by the current government specifically for data collection. Therefore, again, it is a repetition of things that are already being done.

The infrastructure bank portion of Bill C-44 will be studied for just one hour. For something as significant as this, with $35 billion of taxpayers' dollars, to be studied at committee for one hour is absolutely not enough time. Within the motion that has been put forward today, the NDP has requested that this be brought back to the House separately so we can have a wholesome debate on it. Unfortunately, the government has invoked time allocation. It is shutting down debate and giving one hour in committee. This is absolutely unacceptable.

In a Globe and Mail article on Wednesday, May 10, the Minister of Infrastructure stated: “We are not hearing concerns from [those on] whose behalf we are doing this”. Of course there are no concerns from the people for whom they are doing this. That comment from the minister is really telling.

I want to talk about the significant conflict of interest. The Liberals gave direct control over the development of the bank to the very same private investors that will be profiting from the bank. This is a clear and blatant conflict of interest. BlackRock officials were invited by the Liberals to work directly with senior public servants, as well as ministerial staff, ahead of a closed-door meeting with the Prime Minister and ministers on November 14. This was to ensure that BlackRock clients would hear from the minister about the infrastructure bank. In fact, they even looked over the speaking notes of the minister. Documents also reveal that a member of the finance minister's advisory council, who is the president and CEO of Quebec's largest pension fund, was the lead in the policy decisions of the infrastructure bank. That is interesting, because now the pension fund is seeking a $1.3 billion contribution from the Liberal government for a $6 billion light rail transit project. Again, this is a blatant conflict of interest.

The postings for the positions on the board are closing before the end of this month, and the legislation has not even been passed.

Let us talk about the Liberal infrastructure plan. Ninety per cent of the announced infrastructure projects have failed to start construction. That means there are no jobs being created and the economy is not being stimulated. The majority of the funds in the Liberal infrastructure plan are back-ended after 2022. There are no bilateral agreements for phase two that have been signed, and no projects have been submitted by the provinces.

The PBO, the Fraser Institute, the Senate, and the C.D. Howe Institute all have serious concerns. They cannot follow the money, there is no transparency, the projects are not getting built, and there is no way they can measure progress. No wonder the government wants to muzzle the PBO.

The Liberals continue to say “historic” amounts of spending, and they are spending. They are spending $253 million on the Asian infrastructure bank, but we are going to be on the hook for $1.3 billion in loan guarantees. The Chinese government is taking the lead on that.

I would like to make an amendment to the motion. I move:

That the motion be amended by adding to part (c) after the word “investors” the following:

using taxpayer dollars while also imposing user fees on Canadians

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, it is not arm's length because the minister has to approve the financing of projects.

I want to talk about some of the alternative facts. The minister spoke about sustainable funding. The Conservative government brought in the gas tax that went directly to communities. He talked about historical spending on infrastructure of $180 billion. There are $90 billion in the existing Conservative programs. We announced 7,800 projects and completed 7,300, which was 94%.

Pages 266 and 277 in budget 2017 talk about lapsed funding. There was so much red tape that there were $1 billion in lapsed funding, something the Liberal government said it would never do. If there were any money, it would go back to communities. We see in the budget that it will not be reallocated until 2022. When will communities be receiving their money?

Business of Supply May 11th, 2017

Mr. Speaker, there is $15 billion being extracted from projects that have already been announced in communities: $5 billion coming out of public transit projects, $5 billion from trade and transportation corridors, and another $5 billion from green infrastructure projects. How does the member feel that is going to impact her community?