House of Commons photo

Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was french.

Last in Parliament September 2021, as Liberal MP for Sudbury (Ontario)

Won his last election, in 2019, with 41% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Paul Demers September 22nd, 2016

Mr. Speaker, September 25 is Franco-Ontarian Day. For me and many others, it will be another opportunity to think of our late colleague, the Hon. Mauril Bélanger.

That being said, today I would like to take this opportunity to recognize another great Franco-Ontarian, one of our great artists and a man with a beautiful voice, Paul Demers.

Does everyone know that he wrote the unofficial anthem of the Franco-Ontarian community, Notre place? I have had the pleasure of singing it many times. It has been sung at major gatherings of francophones in Ontario since I was a high school student at Cité des Jeunes, in Kapuskasing, and it still is today in my riding of Sudbury.

Paul was the founding president of the Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique and has been a mentor to generations of young francophone artists. A caring and courageous man, he has been battling Hodgkin's disease for over 30 years, and he is still fighting today.

Sudbury and French Ontario are grateful for his career and his music. On this occasion, Franco-Ontarian Day, I salute Paul Demers, a stalwart of the Franco-Ontarian identity. Thanks to him, we have “our place”.

Thank you, Paul.

Innovation in Canada June 14th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, innovation drives growth and makes Canada more competitive.

In my riding, Sudbury, businesses have boosted their productivity and accelerated their growth by adjusting their innovation strategies.

Can the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development tell the House what the government is doing to stimulate innovation in Canada?

Canadian Environment Week June 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, this is Canadian Environment Week. Our government knows that it is essential to protect our environment while ensuring economic growth. I am proud to say that, for 30 years, the riding of Sudbury has been leading by example and proving that it is possible.

Back in 1972, our sulphur-damaged landscape was chosen as a training ground for the crew of Apollo 17 as it prepared to go to the moon. Since then, we have planted more than nine million trees. The lunar landscape is now a huge green forest.

Thanks to countless members of the community who planted millions of trees, our lunar landscape is becoming a huge green forest.

It only stands to reason that Citizens' Climate Lobby, a grassroots organization that empowers Canadians to build a more livable planet, has chosen to establish its national office in our community. Tonight, I will hold a reception with the Citizens' Climate Lobby to support this organization in its efforts to dialogue with all parliamentarians. I am proud of the organization's work. I am proud of all Sudburians who strive, through community involvement or in their own private way, to protect our environment, not just during this week but all through the year.

I wish everyone a happy environment week.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, it is very simple. The budget has no increases in the GST. It is as simple as that.

We are investing in the middle class and investing in infrastructure. After conversations with Canadians for the past little while as to what mattered to them, that is what the budget is about. That is why I am proud to support the budget.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, there is so much in the budget we could talk about that would help my region in northern Ontario. The Canada child tax benefit is a very important one, as well as the significant investments in infrastructure. There is a huge infrastructure deficit in northern Ontario from years of cutting back by the previous government.

The budget goes such a long way. We are already starting to see the fruits of the budget in investments. Those are long term. They will be creating jobs and helping out the middle class, as well, in northern Ontario.

Social housing is also a big investment we would be making through our infrastructure projects. That would have a great effect in my community.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, my grandfather was a veteran of World War II. One of the reasons I sought office was the treatment of veterans over the last few years.

It was clear in our election platform that we wanted to help veterans by refinancing and bringing back the Veterans Affairs offices across Canada. Reinvesting in veterans was a key section of our platform. That is something our Minister of Veterans Affairs is working hard toward, and I am proud to support him in that endeavour.

Budget Implementation Act, 2016, No. 1 June 7th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, I have many reasons to be proud of budget 2016.

First, I am proud of the process that led to this budget. Budget 2016 is the result of an extensive, inclusive consultation during which we heard from a wide range of Canadians in big and small communities across the country, and Sudbury was no exception.

In fact, Sudbury was one of the very first ridings to hold a pre-budget consultation. During our pre-budget town hall, we heard from individual business leaders; representatives of sectors as varied as mining, health care, and arts and culture; and concerned individual citizens. Each of them provided thoughtful, progressive, and insightful advice.

I would like to thank them all for their important contributions to the budget. These stakeholders, and thousands more like them across Canada, are at the heart of the budget. Budget 2016 puts people first.

I am originally from northern Ontario, and I can say unequivocally that budget 2016 is good for the people of the north. I grew up in a small community where the pulp and paper mill is still the biggest employer and a pillar of the local economy.

Today, I am proud to represent a northern city known the world over for its exceptional mining sector. Anyone who has worked in a mill or a mine knows the meaning and the value of a hard day's work.

They also know, and so does the government, that when local industries suffer, workers, their families, and entire communities suffer as well.

Over the past few years, too many hard-working Canadians have faced tough times. Northerners know that when times are hard, families and communities must stand together and help each other to overcome adversity.

When a business that has fed a family for generations disappears, when the mill, the mine, or the factory closes its doors, when people lose their jobs and have to swallow their pride and ask for help, the last thing they need is to get tangled in a web of bureaucracy that prevents them from getting the help that is essential for their families.

The budget eases that burden by improving employment insurance and extending benefits in a dozen regions that have been particularly hard hit, including my riding of Sudbury. It is an important measure that will help Canadians when they need it most.

I am delighted that the budget commits $150 million in new funding through regional economic development agencies, such as FedNor for northern Ontario, to renovate, expand, and improve existing community and cultural infrastructure.

Sudbury is home to 15 housing co-ops, and access to affordable housing is an ever-growing challenge in our community, as it is throughout the country. Budget 2016 includes $1.5 billion to improve access to safe, adequate, and affordable housing, including shelters for victims of violence. It also includes support for the construction of up to 4,000 new affordable housing rental units.

Throughout the country, close to 700,000 seniors' households face a housing availability challenge, and affordable options for seniors are extremely limited. That is why I am proud that budget 2016 commits more than $200 million to boost funds for the construction, repair, and adaptation of affordable housing for seniors. Our government will give Canadian seniors greater access to safe and affordable housing and a better quality of life.

I am also proud to see that budget 2016 makes significant investments to improve the quality of life of indigenous communities, including $1.2 billion for housing, early learning and child care, health, and cultural and recreational infrastructure on reserve. These are significant, meaningful investments and mark an important step toward improving the lives of those who have, all too often, been overlooked by previous governments.

We need to make sure that the economy works for everyone and to make sure that our tax system is fair for all Canadians. That is why, as one of its first actions, our government introduced a middle-class tax cut and raised taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians. These changes give middle-class Canadians more money on their paycheques and increase the fairness of our tax system.

I am proud that budget 2016 will take action to prevent tax evasion at home and abroad. In particular, though they have been largely ignored over the past 10 years, this budget commits to tackling tax havens head on. As part of a coordinated multilateral effort, our government is acting to address international tax planning arrangements undertaken by multinational enterprises to inappropriately minimize their taxes. These efforts will also increase transparency through the automatic exchange of financial account information between various international tax authorities.

In order to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance, budget 2016 increases the Canada Revenue Agency's funding by $444 million and provides $351.6 million for the CRA to improve its ability to collect outstanding tax debts.

As a tax lawyer, I am well positioned to attest to the fact that these measures improve the fairness and integrity of our tax system and contribute to fiscal sustainability over the long term.

A few weeks ago, I joined the right hon. Prime Minister and my hon. colleague, the member for Nickel Belt, to announce a $27-million investment for the Maley Drive extension, a new road in Sudbury.

This kind of infrastructure investment, which responds to a priority identified by the municipality and involves support from all three levels of government, will create good jobs, make it easier for people and goods to get around, and contribute to economic growth for years.

I am very proud that our government is prioritizing investments like this one. I am also proud that one of the first of these infrastructure investments is for Sudbury.

It is a well-known fact that mining has been at the heart of Sudbury's economy for almost 130 years. Sudbury continues to be one of the largest integrated mining complexes in the world. However, Sudbury's economy is not just about pulling resources from the ground. It is one of the world's leading clusters of mining research and innovation.

Local businesses continue to find new ways to increase their global competitive edge while becoming safer, more cost-effective, and more environmentally sound. That is why I am particularly pleased that budget 2016 sets out a new vision for Canada to stand as a global leader in innovation. Expanding Canada's network of innovative, globally connected firms will drive clean economic growth and will help grow our middle class for years to come.

Sudburians know that investing in research and development is also imperative for sustaining long-term innovation, renewal, and growth. Budget 2016 will strengthen Canada's research excellence by investing in infrastructure and post-secondary institutions and by funding innovative research.

Sudbury is also an important cultural hub, and given the tremendous range of artists and arts and cultural organizations that contribute to the local economy and raise the quality of life in Sudbury and across Canada, I am truly proud to say that the budget is great for arts and culture.

Over the next five years, our government will invest over $1.9 billion to support this country's great cultural institutions, including the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board of Canada.

These investments will have a positive impact on hundreds of communities across the country and will enable Canadian artists to continue making their mark as leading lights on the international scene.

I am also delighted that our government is investing an additional $675 million in CBC/Radio-Canada. This investment will ensure that both of our official languages are heard on public airwaves from coast to coast. The arts and culture community has been waiting for these investments for a decade. These investments will create jobs, strengthen the economy, and enable Canadian culture to shine here at home and around the world.

We have every reason to be proud of our Canadian creators, and these investments make it clear that we support the good work they are doing.

Budget 2016 is good for families, good for hard-working Canadians, good for businesses, good for innovators, and good for our cultural sector.

The budget is good for Sudbury and good for the north, and it will be good for Canada.

We are investing today to ensure a better, more prosperous future for our children.

This will be our legacy. It marks the way to a brighter and more hopeful future for all Canadians.

Sudbury Book Fair May 9th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, the seventh Salon du livre du Grand Sudbury took place last week. Every two years, thousands of book lovers gather in downtown Sudbury to attend this event and meet their favourite francophone authors from across Canada.

Our communities still find it quite difficult to access francophone cultural products, including French-language books. That is why readers from across northern Ontario come to Sudbury for this wonderful book fair, which has become one of the largest literary events in the country. Francophones in northern Ontario all look forward to this special event that takes place in our community.

The week was jam-packed with artistic activities. In addition to the book fair, Sudbury also welcomed Reading Town Canada, a national reading campaign, and hosted the fifth edition of the Foire d'art alternatif, a major alternative art exhibit that is crucial to the visual arts.

Long live the Sudbury book fair, the Reading Town campaign, the Foire d'art alternatif, and our authors and artists.

Ted Szilva April 19th, 2016

Mr. Speaker, on March 9, 2016, Sudbury lost one of its pioneers, Ted Szilva. It is a privilege for me to pay tribute to him today.

Ted Szilva was best known as the creator of Sudbury's iconic Big Nickel, a nine metre replica of a Canadian 5¢ piece. It stands today as one of the most photographed landmarks in Canada.

It was in 1963 that Ted, then a 28-year old firefighter, first conceived the idea of developing a tourism centre built around a giant 5¢ piece, a replica mine, and a learning centre to help the public discover the science behind mining.

Ted was a model of resourcefulness. On his own initiative, he obtained a piece of land, raised some money, and designed and began building a park.

Ted minted and sold mail-order coins to raise money. He built the Big Nickel three feet outside city limits because the city refused him a building permit.

Ted Szilva was a community builder, visionary, a loving husband, father and grandfather. He was 81 years old. On behalf of all Sudburians and Canadians, we thank him.

Tax Avoidance April 14th, 2016

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague across the way for raising this question. If someone had told me six months ago that we would be talking about tax havens in the House of Commons, I would not have believed it, but here we are.

Tax havens and the tax system are not simple issues. It is a question of multinationals and taxation. We talk about international taxation, but that is not the right term. It is about how a government collects taxes on income earned abroad by residents or corporations of that same country. There is therefore no such thing as international taxation.

Today, I would like to go over the Canadian tax system and talk about how the budget will address this issue. The last two members who spoke made rather simplistic analogies. It is a bit more complicated than that and I will try to explain why. I will do so in English, and then I will talk about the budget in French.

Canadian income tax rules allow active business income earned by foreign subsidiaries of Canadian corporations to be repatriated back to Canada free of Canadian tax if the income was earned in a jurisdiction with which Canada has a tax treaty or tax information exchange agreement. We currently have 114 tax treaties around the world. Barbados is one of these countries, as are several other countries with low tax rates or provincial regimes. The exempt surplus rules in the Income Tax Act and the income tax regulations allow active business income to be earned by a foreign affiliate.

So we have active business income. What does that mean? Basically, the test is that, as long as a corporation has five employees, it qualifies as active business income. That is the test.

It has to be earned by a foreign affiliate. A foreign affiliate is a corporation of which a Canadian corporation has at least 10% equity. It is repatriated to the Canadian parent corporation as dividends without being subject to Canadian tax, provided that the foreign affiliate is resident in, and the income is earned in, a jurisdiction with which Canada has a tax treaty, such as Barbados.

In contrast, active business income earned by a foreign affiliate of a Canadian parent corporation that is resident in a country with which Canada does not have a tax treaty is subject to Canadian tax when repatriated to the Canadian parent as dividends. So we have a foreign tax credit system. Basically, if there is no treaty it is taxed in a foreign jurisdiction. If the dividend is paid to Canada, we recognize and give credit to the foreign tax that was paid and then we tax that income in Canada.

We have two regimes: if we have a tax treaty; and if we do not have a tax treaty.

Budget 2016 would be a start to addressing tax evasion in Canada from Canadian corporations and individuals as well.

Tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance by individuals and businesses entail a fiscal cost to governments and taxpayers, and reduce the fairness and integrity of the tax system. As a matter of fairness for all taxpayers, the government seeks to prevent underground economic activity and tax evasion and to close tax loopholes. Consequently, budget 2016 provides resources to ensure more effective administration and enforcement of tax laws and includes measures to improve the integrity of Canada's tax system.

A key component is the $444-million investment over five years to help the Canada Revenue Agency, the CRA, do more to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance. This significant increase in funding will see examinations of personal income tax returns increase from 600 to 3,000 every year over five years. This large increase should generate additional tax revenue of approximately $400 million over five years.

Furthermore, the CRA will hire more than 100 senior auditors and specialists to audit high-risk multinationals, which should generate even more revenue over five years. The CRA will also create a program to charge those who promote tax schemes, thereby increasing the number of files that the CRA can review every year to 200, which is 10 times the current number.

The number of auditors working on these schemes will increase sixfold, from four to 24. This is highly technical and highly specialized. This team will be able to conduct audits, apply penalties, and refer cases for criminal investigation, where appropriate. Furthermore, to make sure they deliver results, the CRA will embed legal counsel within the investigation teams. These lawyers will ensure that the cases are properly prepared and go to court as quickly as possible.

Canada is also taking measures to protect the integrity of Canada's tax base internationally. First, Canada and other members of the G20 and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the OECD, are working together to develop the base erosion and profit shifting action plan, also known as the BEPS action plan. This refers to international tax-planning arrangements undertaken by multinational companies to inappropriately minimize their taxes, for example by shifting taxable profits away from the jurisdiction where the underlying economic activity took place.

As part of its commitment to protect the integrity of the Canadian tax base, the Government of Canada is acting on certain recommendations of the BEPS project in budget 2016. As we announced in our first budget, we are proposing new legislation to strengthen transfer pricing documentation by introducing country-by-country reporting for large multinational enterprises.

The Canada Revenue Agency is applying revised international guidance on transfer pricing by multinational enterprises, which provides an improved interpretation of the arm’s-length principle.

We are participating in international work to develop a multilateral instrument to streamline the implementation of treaty-related BEPS recommendations, including addressing treaty abuse.

The CRA will also undertake the spontaneous exchange with other tax administrations of tax rulings that could potentially give rise to base erosion and profit shifting concerns.

As for the future, Canada is committed to the BEPS project and will continue to collaborate with the international community to ensure a consistent and standardized response to the BEPS project.

Second, the government is working with its international partners to increase transparency through the automatic exchange of financial account information between tax authorities. The implementation of the new global standard in that regard, the common reporting standard, which was developed by the OECD, will help promote monitoring, combat tax avoidance and tax evasion, and restore public confidence in the fairness of the Canadian tax system. Right now, over 90 jurisdictions have agreed to implement this new standard.

Finally, the ability of the wealthy to use private companies abroad to inappropriately reduce their taxes or defer paying them is another source of national concern.

The fact that these people have money and access to clever accountants and lawyers should not excuse them from having to pay their fair share of taxes.

Budget 2016 includes measures that respond to this concern and indicates that a review of the tax system will be conducted in the coming year.

I can assure my colleagues that, in the future, the government will continue to identify and take action against tax planning schemes in order to ensure that the tax system operates as fairly and effectively as possible.