House of Commons Debates Thursday, April 14, 2016 VOLUME 148 NUMBER 039

House of Commons Debates Thursday, April 14, 2016 VOLUME 148 NUMBER 039
House of Commons Debates
VOLUME 148
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NUMBER 039
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1st SESSION
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OFFICIAL REPORT
(HANSARD)
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan
42nd PARLIAMENT
CONTENTS
(Table of Contents appears at back of this issue.)
2205
HOUSE OF COMMONS
Thursday, April 14, 2016
OPEN SCIENCE ACT
The House met at 10 a.m.
Prayer
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
● (1005)
[English]
CRIMINAL CODE
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada, Lib.) moved for leave to introduce Bill C-14,
An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related
amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying).
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
***
[Translation]
DEPARTMENT OF INDUSTRY ACT
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP), seconded by
the member for Joliette, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-258, An
Act to amend the Department of Industry Act (small businesses).
She said: Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour for me to rise today to
introduce this bill for the second time. I did so in the previous
Parliament, and now I am reintroducing this bill on the Department
of Industry with respect to small businesses.
[English]
The proposal is very simple. It is based on something that is done
in the European Union, which is referred as “think small first”. It
would apply an advance evaluation to government programs, laws,
and regulations, to ensure that their impact on small business is
considered in the process of reviewing all the legislation and
regulations that go through this place.
I am grateful for the opportunity to have it at first reading. I hope
for support from all sides of the House.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP) , seconded by
the member for Joliette, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-259, An
Act to amend the Access to Information Act (scientific research).
She said: Mr. Speaker, I want to overdramatize it, but this is
extraordinarily important legislation to ensure that never again will
scientific information and research paid for by the people of Canada
be kept from the people of Canada. It is a very simple,
straightforward measure that requires that every government
institution shall cause all records composed of scientific research
to be published on a public website as soon as is practicable and as
soon as the research is completed. It is about open science.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
***
CANADIAN FORCES SUPERANNUATION ACT
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP) moved for
leave to introduce Bill C-260, An Act to amend the Canadian Forces
Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Superannuation Act (deduction of disability pensions).
She said: Mr. Speaker, as the House most certainly knows, it is
absolutely essential that our veterans get the financial support that
they need. The current practice of clawing back disability benefits
once a veteran starts collecting CPP is an outrage. The financial and
other impacts of the veterans' impairments continue to exist once
they start collecting their CPP, and they should continue to receive
that support. The bill would ensure that any disability pensions
received by an RCMP or CF veteran will not be clawed back once
the veteran reaches the age of 65 and starts collecting CPP, or a
similar provincial plan.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
***
● (1010)
CANADIAN FORCES SUPERANNUATION ACT
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP) moved for
leave to introduce Bill C-261, an act to amend the Canadian Forces
Superannuation Act and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Superannuation Act (increase of allowance for survivors and
children).
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COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
She said: Mr. Speaker, many veterans' spouses are forced to give
up their own careers to support the veteran during the veteran's
service when they are moved from city to city, making it difficult for
the spouse to establish a career; or a spouse may give up work to
care for an injured veteran. It is important that supports remain in
place for the spouse and family after the veteran passes away.
Currently veterans' families receive an allowance after the veteran
passes. This bill would raise the amount that the veteran's spouse or
survivor or dependant children are provided for in an allowance. It
would raise it to 70% of the veteran's annual allowance or annuity.
This would provide much-needed additional financial support to
families and to veterans.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)
***
QUESTIONS ON THE ORDER PAPER
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand at this
time.
The Speaker: Is that agreed?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
[English]
THE BUDGET
FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
PETITIONS
NATURAL GAS INDUSTRY
Mr. Bob Zimmer (Prince George—Peace River—Northern
Rockies, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to present this
petition, which represents thousands of people in British Columbia
who want to see LNG go forward. I would like to respect the efforts
of Kristi Pimm De-Maid and Alan Yu on this petition.
They petition that the economy of northern B.C. is resourcereliant, with natural gas being one of the resources that provides
direct and indirect jobs to residents in the region.
Therefore, they call upon the government to approve at the earliest
opportunity, the construction and operation of LNG plants, and the
construction of natural gas pipelines required to supply these LNG
plants with natural gas.
DEMOCRATIC REFORM
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
I rise this morning to present two petitions.
The first petition is from petitioners who are calling upon
Parliament to immediately call a full public consultation on reform
of the way that we elect ourselves.
The petitioners point out that the current system, the so-called
“first past the post”, is a system which allows the voting results to be
perverse, and in fact allows a minority of voters to elect a majority of
Parliament.
The petitioners call for this electoral reform process to begin
immediately, which fortunately I believe concurs with plans in the
Speech from the Throne.
THE ENVIRONMENT
Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker,
the second petition is from many hundred residents of the
communities of Saanich—Gulf Islands.
The petitioners are calling upon the government to prohibit the
purchase of bottled water for personal use in federal government
institutions as long as potable water sources are already available.
The House resumed from April 13 consideration of the motion
that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the
government.
Hon. Robert Nault (Kenora, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a great
pleasure and an honour to have the opportunity to speak today to the
first budget of the new government. This is my opportunity to speak
directly about the budget as it relates to northern Ontario and rural
Canada. I want to start by saying that this is a historic budget, from
the perspective of the investments that will be made in the north.
If we look at the Canada child benefit and the needs of northerners
for child care, financial resources, aboriginal children, and communities that have a large segment of their population who are
unemployed or on social assistance, this Canada child benefit will
have a disproportionate way of improving the lives of northerners
more than any other region in the country. There are thousands of
families in the north who are living in poverty, who do not have jobs,
who are on social assistance. They could have an opportunity to
collect the child benefit, and it would make improvements to the
lives of those families right off the bat. That $23 billion that will be
moved as early as July 1 will have a significant impact in regions
like northern Ontario.
I want to congratulate the government for understanding the
importance of raising children, and also understanding that there
have to be options. It is not all about child care spaces. It is about the
importance of having enough financial resources to buy food and
clothes. We have had debates in this House about aboriginal people
in the last few days. I strongly recommend that people visit
communities in the north that are isolated, where the cost of living is
sometimes double that in the south. If people had an opportunity to
visit these isolated communities, some 22 that I represent in northern
Ontario, in the heart of North America, they will find that this will be
a welcome and historic investment in the lives of these communities.
Because of the child benefit and the importance of of it being tax
free and not clawed back, there will be an opportunity for people
who are on social assistance and who fill out their income tax return
to gain more opportunity to buy clothes, food, and other essentials
for life. I want to ensure that members are aware of that.
Before I forget, Mr. Speaker, I want you to know that I am
splitting my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
The other major historic investment that could have a huge impact
in northern Ontario is the investment in infrastructure. I have heard
some comments across the way that it is not enough this year and
that it is not what was expected. However, we all have to be very
straight about how this will work.
It will be a historic investment of some $120 billion of federal
funds. That does not include in the discussion the share of the
provincial, municipal, and first nations governments in infrastructure. If we look at it from the perspective of even being divided in
thirds, we could in essence be talking about $350 billion over 10
years, if all levels of government participate. That is a lot of money
to be putting into the process of developing our country's
infrastructure. This is where I want to talk more about the north
than I normally do. In this place, there is a big difference in
representing a large rural riding which is one-third of Ontario's land
mass, with 13 municipalities, 42 first nations, and virtually no
infrastructure. This is a great opportunity for us in this place to
support the building of the north, for the first time in decades.
It is always interesting in this House to listen to members of
Parliament, in particular from urban Canada, talk about the
importance of transit in Toronto or Montreal or places like that.
However, where I come from, there are no roads. When we talk
about transit, we have to start from the basics.
● (1015)
If we are going to invest and build our nation, if we are going to
improve the lives of first nation citizens who live in isolated
communities, we are going to have to start from the very basics of
putting the financial resources, the infrastructure dollars, into
building all-weather roads and grids.
If we want first nations children to be successful, they have to start
off with the same level playing field. These communities have to
have the same infrastructure, the same abilities to see the progression
of their lives in a positive way, as our children do. This infrastructure
does not have to happen this year, because planning needs to take
place.
Let us talk about all-weather roads and grids. I will use
Pikangikum as an example, because I attended the funerals last
week of the nine people passed away in a major fire there. There was
a lot of conversation nationally about it. Pikangikum has a shovelready project to build a grid that would connect energy to the
community and allow it to have sewer and water, an operational
recreation facility, and housing that is connected to energy. All of
this is ready to go. All we need is the green light from the
Government of Canada and the participation of the provincial
government. We could build an all-weather road and the grid next to
it, starting this year.
That shovel-ready project has been sitting on the books now for a
number of years. The previous government could have put that
infrastructure in place for Pikangikum, but refused to do it. That is
one of the reasons there are the kinds of tragic situations that we hear
about on a regular basis.
My region, northern Ontario, does not have a twinned highway. It
is the only region of the country, aside from the Northwest
Territories and in some respects, obviously, the Yukon and Nunavut,
that does not have that kind of infrastructure, from the Manitoba
border into southern Ontario. When people talk about infrastructure,
it is extremely important to realize that my region is coming from a
long way back. If we want people to be successful, we have to start
with the basic infrastructure that we all need and expect to have.
The other part of this budget that I think is extremely important for
northerners is the section on social infrastructure. There is $3.4
billion in the budget over five years for social infrastructure. What is
social infrastructure? Social infrastructure includes affordable
housing, early learning and child care, cultural and recreational
infrastructure, and community health care facilities in places like
reserves. Those are the kinds of historic things in this budget.
The next historic part of this budget is the environment, the whole
concept of understanding what we need to do not only as northerners
but as Canadians and citizens of the globe. We have to take our
environmental issues a lot more seriously than we have in the past.
I always tell people I am a lake person. Where I come from, there
are thousands of lakes, in some cases lakes that people have never
set foot on because they are so isolated. There seems to be more
water than there is land. We have to not only cherish that but protect
it, because that is the history and the future of my region; it is all
going to be based on water.
This budget put in place $5.5 million for the watershed on Lake of
the Woods, which is where I live, and it will have a huge impact in
doing studies on the effects that climate change and pollution have
on a lake as large as Lake of the Woods. It runs into Manitoba and
the United States, as well as Ontario. It is a big lake with a lot of
issues that need to be dealt with, and I commend the government for
understanding what that means.
I stand here today to remind my colleagues in the House that
making investments in infrastructure is not always political. It has to
be done because it makes the most sense.
● (1020)
We will not get a lot of political bang for our buck for spending
billions of dollars in northern Ontario for one seat, two seats, or three
seats, but we do it because it builds the nation and it improves the
lives of a lot of people, now and in the future.
On behalf of northerners, I am thankful for being given the time to
talk about some of the issues in the budget. I am sure we will get a
chance to talk about many more.
● (1025)
Mr. Mel Arnold (North Okanagan—Shuswap, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I would like to make one correction to the member's
speech.
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COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
The member stated that the area through northern Ontario is the
only portion of Canada that does not have a four-lane highway. I
would contradict that with the fact that there are areas through
British Columbia that are also waiting to see our Trans-Canada
Highway have four lanes. That is Highway 1 not only through my
region of North Okanagan—Shuswap but through the Columbia—
Kootenay region as well.
Would the member opposite join me in pressuring his Minister of
Finance and Minister of Transport for improvements on those
sections of the Trans-Canada Highway that do need to be four lanes,
not just in his riding of northern Ontario but in the ridings in British
Columbia that truly are a corridor for all of the trade of western
Canada through to our western ports and the rest of the world?
Hon. Robert Nault: Mr. Speaker, I am on the same page as the
member. I can assure him that I am lobbying the government every
day to look at not only the way we will make decisions on our
national infrastructure projects but also the way we will interact with
the local communities and the provinces to make sure that the best
decisions are made, and not just made for political reasons.
The infrastructure, as the Prime Minister has said many times, is
not a very sexy topic. Most people just gloss over it.
I will give an example in northern Ontario of why this is so
difficult for me to feel comfortable that this will ever happen in my
term here in office. I hope I can say to the member that that may not
be the case. Just the grid for 22 first nations communities that are
isolated is a $1.3 billion infrastructure project.
That is a lot of money to expect the governments to put in place,
but that is the necessity of the situation in which we find ourselves. If
we want to improve the lives of northerners and first nations
northerners, we have to put that infrastructure in play here in the next
couple of years.
Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on
many points the member raised, we would agree.
There are many barriers for parents to be able to access
employment. Child care is not just about spaces; it is about being
able to afford it. On that point, we would agree.
However, it is more than that, because it is about child care spaces.
It is not an either/or situation, certainly for the folks in my riding.
The single biggest barrier, regardless of whether parents can afford
child care in Saskatoon West, is that spaces are not available. The
single biggest barrier to being able to be employed or go to school is
child care spaces.
During the election campaign, we heard a lot from the Liberals
about child care spaces and that the investment was going to be
immediate. In this budget, we see that there is no child care funding
for this year and we are going to have to wait.
I would like to hear the member's comments on why we have to
wait.
Hon. Robert Nault: Mr. Speaker, as I have said before in this
place in other speeches I have given, when a commitment is made
during an election campaign and the commitment is significant by a
very activist party, now a very activist government, I would not
expect anyone in this House or any Canadian to believe that all the
commitments made by the government would end up in the first
budget.
It will take us a number of years to make significant changes, as it
did when we took office in 1993 to change the direction of the
Mulroney government. It took us four to five years to clean up the
budget mess, just to get into a surplus.
Governments take time to direct and develop their structures. It
will be the same issue here. Next year, people will be seeing things
in the budget then, so that is important. In other budgets over the
next three or four years, we will see the commitments made by the
government starting to appear.
I know people are anxious. I know they think we should do it all
in one year. However, if we were to take the NDP's philosophy and
have a balanced budget, we would not be doing any of this.
In fact, child care will come, as we negotiate with the provinces,
as we talk about infrastructure deals for child care spaces. We can
look forward to those improvements in years to come.
● (1030)
Mr. Francesco Sorbara (Vaughan—Woodbridge, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to rise and speak on the
budget. This budget, which I like to refer to as the middle-class
budget, or better yet, the growth budget, is an important step to help
revitalize the Canadian economy, strengthen the middle class, and
ensure a prosperous future for the residents of my riding of Vaughan
—Woodbridge.
I see budget 2016 as a blueprint to undertake strategic investments
for the future. As the father of two young daughters, Natalia and
Eliana, I know this budget is a plan for the future not just of this
generation but of successive generations, one that moves Canada
forward in a number of concrete ways and ensures that all our
children will inherit a more prosperous and hopeful country.
I am proud to represent Vaughan—Woodbridge, one of the fastest
growing communities in Canada. Our community, like many across
the country, is made up of dynamic hard-working Canadians who
look forward to a good standard of living and a better future for their
families. However, many of my constituents are working harder than
ever and are not getting ahead. Budget 2016 would put people first,
and it would deliver the help that Canadians and the residents of
Vaughan—Woodbridge need now, not a decade from now.
As an economist and someone who worked in the global financial
markets for nearly a quarter of a century, I can state with expertise
that budget 2016 is fiscally prudent. It is a responsible approach to
fiscal management, cemented through a fiscal anchor. Thanks to
measures taken in the mid-1990s, Canada has the lowest debt-toGDP ratio of any G7 country, and with interest rates at historic lows,
now is the time to invest in Canadians to ensure our country's best
days lie ahead.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
However, Canada's fiscal strength rests largely in its low debt
burden, and protecting this source of strength is of paramount
importance. To maintain Canada's low debt burden and its fiscal
advantage, our government is committed to reducing the federal
debt-to-GDP ratio to a lower level over a five-year period, ending in
2020-2021. This commitment preserves the government's capacity to
respond to potential future economic crises, so that future
generations are not burdened.
I am extremely proud of budget 2016. I know it would make a
positive difference in the lives of the residents of Vaughan—
Woodbridge. I wish to highlight a few measures that are particularly
significant to me and my constituents, including measures that
strengthen the middle class, undertake strategic investments in
infrastructure that build stronger communities, introduce the
transformational Canada child benefit, and ensure a dignified
retirement for our seniors.
One of the first actions our government took was to introduce a $3
billion middle-class tax cut and to ask the wealthiest 1% to pay a bit
more. In total, nearly nine million Canadians, including many in my
riding, are now benefiting from this tax cut, leaving more money in
their paycheques to save, invest, and grow the economy.
I am proud of this government's commitment to families with the
introduction of the transformational CCB. The CCB would now be
tax free to parents, better targeted to those who need it the most, and
much more generous. In fact, nine out of 10 families would receive
more child benefits than under the current system, with an average
increase of almost $2,300.
Even more significant is that, with the introduction of a better
targeted CCB, about 300,000 fewer children would be living in
poverty. The CCB would be a leading force in our efforts toward
poverty reduction, and for this our government should be applauded
by all members of the House.
We know all too well the growing infrastructure deficit faced by
cities and provinces across Canada, and we know that our economic
well-being depends on our ability to move people, goods, and
services. Our government listened during the election campaign and
heard the unified voice from experts, including from Bank of Canada
governor Stephen Poloz, who noted that “Infrastructure is an
ingredient to economic growth. It’s sort of the enabler of economic
growth”. That is why we have made a historic commitment to invest
$120 billion in infrastructure over 10 years. This is a smart
investment that is much needed. Studies have consistently shown
that, for every dollar invested in infrastructure, approximately $1.50
in economic activity is generated. Investing in infrastructure creates
good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and
prosper.
Our investments in infrastructure, be it public, social, or green, are
not just about creating jobs and economic growth but, more
importantly, are also about building communities that Canadians are
proud to call home. Currently, congestion in the greater Toronto area
is costing the economy billions of dollars and negatively impacting
the quality of life of all residents. In phase 1 of the infrastructure
plan, $3.4 billion over three years would be invested in public
transit, of which $1.5 billion is earmarked for Ontario. This
investment, along with the current infrastructure projects, including
the Toronto-York Spadina subway expansion into Vaughan, would
be tangible measures to begin to address the costs associated with
congestion.
● (1035)
As we move forward, we will implement a plan for investment in
infrastructure, but the government will also plan for a more
innovative Canada. Innovation is today's driver of inclusive growth,
and Canada must be in it to win it. In budget 2016, the government is
defining a new vision for Canada's economy to build Canada as a
centre of global innovation.
Our government will fund a $2-billion investment over three years
for a new post-secondary institution strategic investment fund to
modernize on-campus research, commercialization, and training
facilities. Budget 2016 also provides an additional $95 million per
year to strengthen Canada's world-class research capacity and
excellence.
Canadians face a rapidly changing global economy, and for us to
succeed we must foster citizens to be global leaders in their fields
and have our creative and entrepreneurial citizens propel the
economy forward.
The welfare of seniors is an issue that touches me greatly in my
riding. Seniors helped build this great country we live in. Budget
2016 puts forward significant new investments to ensure that all
seniors can enjoy a secure and dignified retirement. The planned
increase of up to $947 per year, a 10% increase to the guaranteed
income supplement, is set to start in July. It will help the most
vulnerable single seniors. Over 900,000 seniors, including many in
my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, will be helped by this measure,
but we are doing more.
We have kept our commitment to return the age of eligibility for
old age security and the guaranteed income supplement to 65 from
67, and in the coming months we will develop a seniors price index
to allow seniors to keep pace with the actual cost of living they face.
In addition, our government will continue discussions with the
provinces to enhance the Canada pension plan. An enhanced Canada
pension plan would be a major step in improving retirement
outcomes for workers and reducing the uncertainty that many
Canadians feel about entering retirement.
Our commitment to seniors is simple. We are there for them.
Finally, budget 2016 is truly a blueprint for the future, a future that
is not only hopeful but built on solid foundations which are fiscally
prudent and boldly aspirational.
Our country's best days are ahead of us, and we will seize the
opportunity to invest in Canadians, including the residents of
Vaughan—Woodbridge. I am privileged to serve them.
God bless Canada.
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April 14, 2016
The Budget
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
there are serious gaps in this budget in terms of commitments to our
country. One of the huge gaps that I see is in the area of Northern
Ontario, where we have the Ring of Fire development. This
development would be a transformative project for the economy of
our entire region, not just in the coming years but in the coming
generations.
Indigenous communities living in dire poverty in the Ring of Fire
region are looking to participate, but they need the infrastructure, the
roads, the support to build a project that would transform our
economy.
The Kathleen Wynne government had demanded the old
Conservative government put $1 billion into the project before the
provincial Liberals would do anything, and of course the provincial
Liberals have done nothing. Now the Kathleen Wynne Liberals are
not asking the federal Liberals to put up a dime, and the government
has lived up to that promise: the federal Liberals do not have a dime
in the budget for a transformative resource development project that
would involve indigenous communities and transform our economy.
I hear all this talk about infrastructure and how the Liberal
government is looking to build an economy. Why, then, has it
ignored one of the most important development projects in our
nation, particularly in the north of Canada? There has been no
consultation, and the government has given us no plan for our
communities to survive economically.
Mr. Francesco Sorbara: Mr. Speaker, the pre-budget consultations that took place with the Minister of Finance and many MPs
were the most elaborate in Canadian history. We discussed this with
many communities in northern Ontario, southwestern Ontario,
eastern Ontario, and the greater Toronto area.
Our infrastructure plan, which we will lay out in the coming years,
will not be a top-down plan. It will be a bottom-up plan. We will
listen to the communities and sectors that will be affected and we
will work with them because they know best. The municipalities
know best where these projects are, and we are continuing to listen
to them. They will give us the guidance we need, and we will
provide the resources they need for them to be successful.
● (1040)
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
we have a $120-billion investment over 10 years on infrastructure
alone, besides the almost $30-billion deficit this coming year. Could
the hon. member advise us, based on his background, of how many
jobs we can create out of a $120-billion investment in infrastructure?
Mr. Speaker, I am always intrigued by questions coming from the
New Democrats, and I will ask my colleague to provide some
commentary.
They always want to say we should be spending more money on
this and more money on that. They believe we should be spending
billions and billions of additional dollars. On the other hand, they
had a huge leap—if I could put it that way—when they said they
were going to have a balanced budget guarantee. That balanced
budget guarantee would have meant severe cuts in the budget.
Could the member give any indication of what he believes the
NDP might have cut, while at the same time saying they would be
putting more money into the budget? There seems to be a lot of
potential hypocrisy there. Would he not agree?
Mr. Francesco Sorbara: Mr. Speaker, any promise by any party
to balance the budget in times of low commodity prices and a sharp
drop in revenues for the government is really irresponsible. It is
irresponsible to Canadians for those cuts to occur.
It was ironic that the New Democrats did not say where they
would cut. Would they cut child benefits? Would they cut benefits to
seniors? It was a bit hypocritical of them.
Those cuts would result in a negative impact on economic growth
and of course on jobs. We are the opposite of that. We will be
investing in Canadians this year and for years to come.
Mr. Earl Dreeshen (Red Deer—Mountain View, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I proudly rise today on behalf of the people of Red Deer—
Mountain View to speak to this Liberal budget for the upcoming
fiscal year. I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from
North Okanagan—Shuswap.
In this budget there is bad news and there is some good news. The
bad news is for hard-working Canadians in this country and the good
news is for some very sketchy Liberal pet projects.
Mr. Francesco Sorbara: Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Bank of
Canada released its April monetary policy report. Incorporating the
budget laid out by our government, its projection for the upcoming
two years showed a substantial positive impact on economic growth
in 2016 and 2017.
During the 10 years of Conservative government, there was a
critical point that Canadians could count on: a promise made was a
promise kept. We can imagine the surprise of Canadians when they
realized that when the Liberals made a promise, it was not worth the
paper that it was written on. Perhaps they thought they could take the
Liberal campaign promises to the bank, but now they have found
that the only thing going to the bank is a request to increase the limit
on Canadian taxpayers' credit cards. That affects every Canadian.
We will generate literally tens of thousands of jobs from our
infrastructure plan over the coming years. These are good jobs. They
are middle-class jobs. They have good benefits and allow families a
brighter future.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
My constituents come from all walks of life: oil and gas, farmers,
teachers, social service workers, protection services, community
leaders, small business owners, and so many aspiring entrepreneurs.
As Conservatives, we had it right with our economic formula: tax
relief, training our future workforce, and supporting trade.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2211
The Budget
Take, for example, the knowledge infrastructure program, or KIP,
which we introduced as part of the Conservative economic action
plan. KIP was a two-year, $2-billion economic incentive to
encourage infrastructure enhancement at Canadian post-secondary
institutions. The program helped to provide economic stimulus,
training, and subsequent employment for engineers, architects,
tradespersons, and technicians in my community. It was delivered
during a time of global economic distress, and it was done in an
effective and expedient manner.
KIP also helped to generate the advanced technologies infrastructure needed to keep Canada's research and educational facilities
at the forefront of scientific advancement. Both Red Deer College
and Olds College received funding under this program, and I have
been told many times by people at these institutions how helpful the
program was for them. It had a track record of positive results, and
Conservatives were able to fund such programs while being
financially responsible.
During the past decade, central Alberta enjoyed a reputation of
being one of the fastest-growing communities in the country. It was a
region renowned for its economic growth, and we saw significant
and rapid increases in population.
This entrepreneurial spirit was evident a short time ago when I
was honoured to attend the Alberta Chamber of Commerce 2016
Awards of Distinction. I was extremely proud to see many of my
constituents and their local businesses recognized on the provincial
stage.
Melanie Tuck of Collegiate Sports Medicine took home the award
for Woman Entrepreneur of the Year. Melanie and her team saw
tremendous growth in both her Red Deer and Olds facilities as she
used their expertise to help injured athletes, workers, and community
members.
Also, Tannas Conservation Services out of Cremona was
nominated in the category for young entrepreneur, while Platinum
Homes and Developments from Red Deer was nominated in the
small business category. These job creators and community leaders
have done an incredible job in growing their businesses to the benefit
of our communities.
Sadly, it is the entrepreneurial leaders, future business owners,
small businesses, and community job creators that the government is
targeting in budget 2016. With this budget, aspiring business owners
will be hit with higher taxes, making it harder for them to save up to
start a business. Existing small businesses will also be hit with higher
payroll taxes through the addition of over $1 billion in new EI
expenditures and higher premiums for all future employers.
Additionally, the budget killed the small business hiring tax credit,
which was designed to help small businesses grow and create jobs.
Under the Conservatives, Canadians across the country enjoyed
the lowest tax rates in 50 years. Low taxes mean more money in the
pockets of every Canadian. It is not what we see in this budget.
Today more than 100,000 Canadians from across the country are
out of work in the oil and gas industry alone. These Canadians have
worked hard to take care of their families and they have paid more
than their fair share into the system. For decades they helped pay
down debt and they paid their dues. To thank them, the Liberals held
a photo op in Calgary, telling struggling oil and gas workers that
some of them would be getting a bizarre employment insurance
extension plan. This is not the jobs creation plan that Albertans were
promised. Unfortunately, this neglect seems to extend past Alberta,
with the Liberals failing to identify a solid jobs plan for all
Canadians.
The government told us to wait, that when the budget was
delivered there would be a clear job plan for everyone. With the
budget before us now, we know these were empty words from the
Prime Minister.
● (1045)
The Prime Minister's favourite saying seems to be that Canada is
back. Well, millions of Canadians are certainly disappointed to see
that what is actually back is the old tax-and-spend Liberals, wrecking
the economy and the financial well-being of Canadians.
After years of record economic growth and job creation under the
Conservatives, the Canadian economy will now be handcuffed,
thanks to this reckless Liberal spending.
The Liberals will not tell us this, but the truth is that in the last
four months, the Liberals have blown through over a $3 billion
surplus as well as an addition $5.4 billion. To pay for their reckless
spending, Liberals have already raised taxes and will raise more in
the future. With this budget, personal taxes are set to go up by $1.3
billion this year and $2.4 billion the next. Now they need to break
their election promise to borrow even more.
The rhetoric does not mask the fact that if the Liberals were the
open and transparent government they have claimed to be, they
would have allowed us to table the real economic figures and
updates in the House.
Financial experts and economists warn us that this irresponsible
spending will pile on billions more to the national debt over the next
four years. This is reckless spending, with no foreseeable economic
boost in the future. There is no clear economic leadership from the
Liberals.
This is not the economy environment that will reassure Canadians.
When investors and businesses lose confidence, investments start to
decline and communities suffer. This is manifesting itself in Alberta
at this time.
Budgets should be a source of reassurance to Canadians,
assurance that their government is doing its best to encourage a
strong economy, good jobs, and uncompromised services. On that
note, this budget has failed.
My colleagues and I came back from our ridings sharing the same
concerns of our constituents. Canadians are worried.
2212
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
The government is cutting funds from important sectors. It cut
$3.7 billion from our defence budget, and the Liberals have shortchanged public safety with a mere $57 million at time when
terrorism is a global and national threat.
In terms of provisions for the services we Canadians care about,
the Liberals came out empty-handed. They have no clear path in
supporting the long-term health of sectors such as home care,
palliative care, support for seniors, or a provincial health care and
social services scheme.
The leader of the opposition said it well when she said, “Without
real economic leadership, there is no means to pay for all of these
important social programs that so many Canadians rely on when they
need our compassion.”
I sure hope that by the time budget 2017 comes along, the Liberals
will stop taking economic lessons from the Prime Minister's
government friends from Ontario, who have successfully ransacked
local economies, cut essential services, and created mountains of
debt for future generations.
Let me again remind everyone that our children, our grandkids,
and their children did not sign up for this multi-billion credit
extension to which these Liberals feel so entitled. They promised
they would be responsible in their quest for change, but with this
budget they have abandoned that.
The Liberals have also abandoned our allies when they were
needed the most. They abandoned our natural resources industry.
They have abandoned our farmers. They have abandoned the
champions of religious freedom for persecuted religious minorities
around the world. Now they are turning their backs on the future,
economic stability, and quality of social services in our country. This
budget will short-change Canadians today, tomorrow, and for
generations to come.
Canadians and future Canadians, however, can count on the
Conservatives to be on their side.
● (1050)
Mr. Ken Hardie (Fleetwood—Port Kells, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
the hon. member talked about leadership, but what we saw over the
10 years was leadership that put the country $150 billion more in
debt.
Last year at this time, we were still waiting for a budget. We saw
oil prices start to drop, yet the previous government was like a deer
in the headlights. The Conservatives promised us that we would be
an energy superpower, and put all our eggs in one basket. Where did
that leave the people of Alberta, or Saskatchewan, or the Maritimes?
Would the hon. member care to speculate what life would be like
had the Conservatives won the election and had to stare down the
issues we face today and still balance their budget?
Mr. Earl Dreeshen: Mr. Speaker, let us look at leadership and the
types of things done under the previous government. The Liberals
talk so much about deficits and the situation that occurred as though
they were not around in 2008 and 2009, understanding the global
economic disaster and realizing how well Canada was able to make
it through that time.
The Liberals talked about all the extra dollars that were spent. The
NDP and the Liberals said that we should have spent even more by
adding dollars to various programs. Fortunately, we did not pay
attention to them. That would not have allowed us to get to the stage
where we could have removed the deficit.
There were deficits in the past few years associated with that. The
reason was that we were respecting contracts we had with
individuals. There could have been other ways of dealing with
deficits, as was done in the 1990s, as I heard in some conversations
this morning.
Having been a hospital board chairman at the time and
understanding what the Liberals had done in cutting dollars to
health care transfers and transfers to the provinces, it was important
to have someone who understood the economics that was associated
with it. We had a prime minister who understood economics and
knew what all those binders from each of the departments meant
versus simply recognizing the different colours, which is the Prime
Minister we have now.
● (1055)
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
the top priority of my constituents in Edmonton Strathcona is health
care. They are waiting for dollars for palliative care and pharmacare,
and nothing came in the budget.
The member raised another important issue, which is the shortchanging of public safety. One of the areas of public safety is rail
safety. We heard testimony in committee this week from the
Department of Transport's inspectors, saying that there were cuts to
rail safety, including rail safety inspection. I now discover that two of
the top most dangerous rail crossings in Canada are in my city. I am
sure the member's constituents are concerned about rail safety. Does
the member think that perhaps the government should be paying a
little more attention to transport safety?
Mr. Earl Dreeshen: Mr. Speaker, the member raised two issues.
The first was on health care transfers. During the campaign there was
a lot of discussion with regard to cuts to health care. We are well
aware of the massive increases that went out to all the provinces for
health care over the 10 years we were in power. It was more than a
70% increase. Page 240 of the budget shows the proposed increases.
Members will note that there are years when those increases do not
even meet the 3% escalator, which was the floor we had for our
budgets. That is critical.
As far as transportation safety, it is critical. It is so important that
we deal with the structural aspect of safety. Rail transportation is so
important to Canada. As we expand and get new trade deals
throughout the world, that really becomes one of the most important
aspects. We have to ensure we keep the government on task for that.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2213
The Budget
The Deputy Speaker: We have run out of time for our five
minutes of questions and comments. I see there is a fair bit of interest
in participating in these rounds today. For subsequent periods for
questions and comments, I might ask hon. members to try to keep
their interventions as concise as possible, so more hon. members will
have the opportunity to participate in that brief fives minutes, which
we all know goes by so quickly.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for North Okanagan—
Shuswap.
Mr. Mel Arnold (North Okanagan—Shuswap, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I thank my colleague, the hon. member for Red Deer—
Mountain View, for sharing his speaking time with me this morning.
It is an honour to stand today as the elected representative of the
North Okanagan—Shuswap. In recent weeks, I have heard members
on the government side speaking of being proud of the budget that
was tabled by the Minister of Finance on March 22. At every
mention of this apparent pride, I find myself asking how they can be
so proud of this budget. How can the Liberals be proud of promising
one thing and delivering something totally different, delivering a
deficit much larger than what they said they would limit themselves
to in the election campaign, promises made and promises broken? It
is hardly something to of which to be proud.
The bogus pride does not end there. During the election campaign,
the Liberals also told the people of Canada that the Liberal
government would “return Canada to a balanced budget in 2019”.
Yet in budget 2016, it is completely silent on this promise and is
vacant of any vision of returning our nation to a balanced budget.
Surely, if the Liberals had a plan to deliver on their promise of a
balanced budget in 2019, they would have put at least one line in
their 269-page budget to say so.
Sadly, the government appears to be dodging another promise it
made to Canadians and has no plan on how to pay back this out-ofcontrol borrowing and spending. The people of Canada want results
from their government. The hard-working women and men of this
nation, who go off to their jobs day in and day out, and their children
are the ones who are now on the hook to repay this Liberal deficit. If
all taxpayers must share in the weight of this debt, then it should
stand to reason that all taxpayers should receive equitable benefits
from this spending.
Canadians deserve to know how the government plans to spend
and ensure that this deficit spending is disbursed in an equitable
fashion from coast to coast to coast, in rural and urban communities
alike. Yet we wait for any details on how this budget will help those
taxpayers and who will carry the cost. When can Canadians expect
to see the infrastructure projects move ahead in their communities?
When can Canadians expect to see some benefit from the burden of
debt the Liberals have placed and surprised taxpayers with on March
22?
It is clear the Liberals have a plan to spend to a much higher
deficit than they committed themselves to, but it is not clear when
Canadians can expect to see improvements to their highways and
bridges, water and sewer treatment projects, low-income housing,
and the list goes on and on.
I believe that balanced budgets are both appropriate and possible.
My home province of British Columbia is proof that it is possible.
Now, with consecutive balanced budgets, my home province has
created an atmosphere of certainty, predictability, and responsibility
that continues to encourage private investment, spurring on job
creation and economic growth. I am happy and proud to live in a
province where business investment continues to be strong, but I
wonder how long that might continue if the federal government
cannot manage our country's finances and uphold the confidence of
business. After all, it is business, not government deficit, that is the
true driver of economic growth.
In budget 2016, the Trudeau government had an opportunity to
provide some stability for the economy and reassurance for investors
and business owners. Instead, the Trudeau budget has delivered a
cloud of uncertainty that—
● (1100)
The Deputy Speaker: I would remind the hon. member that we
do not use the proper names of other hon. members in the House.
The right hon. member for Papineau could be used as a substitute.
Mr. Mel Arnold: I stand corrected, Mr. Speaker, thank you.
In budget 2016, the Liberal government had an opportunity to
provide some stability to our economy and reassurance to investors
and business owners. Instead, the Liberals delivered a cloud of
uncertainty that hangs over our economy.
The government promised to reduce the small business tax rate to
9% from 10.5% to allow small businesses to invest in their
operations and their employees, but the government has now decided
to subject small business to the higher tax rate of 10.5% and not
deliver on the promised reduction. It seems the government has
broken another promise on that one. The government has also
terminated the small business job credit and has failed to follow
through on the Liberal election promise to create a credit for hiring
young employees.
Broken promises, no plan to return to a balanced budget, and tax
increases for employers: hardly a recipe for growth and certainly
nothing to be proud of. There is no plan for the government for
balancing the budget, no plan for job creation, just a murky
commitment and increasing public debt. The sad reality is that the
budget falls short of the need for leadership that this nation requires.
Whether they are managing the finances of their households or
businesses, Canadians understand and desire the values and notion
of living within their means, handling their debt with prudence, and
being disciplined and decisive in their spending. Unfortunately, the
government is out of touch with Canadians in those regards.
The reality is that no Canadian homebuyer or business operator
would expect to secure a loan from a bank for one amount and then
return to the bank shortly thereafter and demand up to triple that
amount. What is more, the government has undertaken this scheme
of bait and switch without presenting a plan for repaying the debt.
This is irresponsible and reflects an apparent detachment from
reality.
As homeowners who have to develop a repayment plan before
securing a home mortgage, Canadians are saying this budget does
not meet the same standards of accountability.
2214
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
As a small business owner and employer, I understand the values
of fiscal discipline, prudent planning, and living within one's means,
and the costs of borrowing.
Mr. Mel Arnold: Mr. Speaker, during the previous government's
time, we showed that we could balance budgets increasingly, and in
fact provided a surplus budget in the last year.
The people of Canada deserve better than what the government
has presented in budget 2016. Canadians deserve to know how the
government is plotting our economic future.
I certainly recognize the need, especially after the emergency
debate which I took part in the other night, to support these northern
communities. We need to support our aboriginal people. We do that
through a strong economy, through having income coming in
through business creation and job creation. We cannot do this if
businesses do not feel confident in investing in Canada's future,
which is indeed our aboriginals' future as well.
Last week, our own parliamentary budget officer was banned from
sharing the government's five-year cost estimates. When the
government finally succumbed to demands for information from
parliamentarians and Canadians alike, it was clear what the Liberals
were hiding: cost estimates for their policies that significantly shrink
over time. Perhaps this is no surprise, considering the Prime
Minister's previous assertion that budgets balance themselves.
If the Liberal budget were based on reality, subject to prudence
and tethered to reason, perhaps the Liberals would not be so
motivated to hide the details, the small print and the large effect it
has on our collective future.
One thing that was hidden in this budget is an increase in
government tax revenues projected for the next five-year outlook. If
one looks closely, there are predictions of government tax revenue
increases from $237.6 billion in 2015-16 to $284.9 billion in 202021. This is an increase in government tax income of roughly 20% in
five years.
Where is this increase coming from? Well, one increase is in
projected GST revenue of almost 21%, from $33.1 billion to $40
billion by 2021.
We know where this increased revenue will come from, because
there is only one taxpayer. Are these tax increases what Canadians
can expect to continue to see and expect to have to pass on to future
generations?
● (1105)
I fear that it may be what we can expect, unless the government
can do something that it can truly be proud of and reverse this out-ofcontrol spending and debt.
Canadians deserve the type of leadership and fiscal policy that
places reason over popularity, prudence over impulse, and honesty
over broken promises. Unfortunately, this budget does nothing of the
sort.
Mr. Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, it has been a difficult week. This week we had an
emergency debate on the suicide crisis in Attawapiskat and the dire
situation across Canada for first nations and all indigenous people.
Budget 2016 finds $8.4 billion of new money to combat the
hopelessness in first nations communities and indigenous communities across Canada, including $2.6 billion for primary and
secondary schools on those reserves.
I wonder if the hon. member, in light of his statements, feels that
we should be removing this money. Could the member comment on
that? Should we actually be removing this money, or does the
member in fact support the increased funding for indigenous
populations across Canada?
I certainly agree that we need to spend and recognize the needs of
these communities, but at the same time, we also need to recognize
the need to increase business investment in Canada.
● (1110)
[Translation]
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry—Suroît, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
Since tabling the budget and since the election, the Liberals and
the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food have promised that they
will take action on milk proteins crossing the border with the United
States.
On Tuesday, members of Quebec's dairy industry joined forces to
demand that Ottawa do its job and, at the very least, enforce
Canadian cheese compositional standards domestically. That would
prevent diafiltered milk and milk proteins from crossing the border
unnoticed and ending up in Canadian cheese. This problem is
costing our producers lots of money and will end up costing dairy
industry jobs. This has a real impact on dairy producers in my riding,
who are worried about their jobs. They are worried because agrifood production in Canada in general is under threat from the TPP,
the trans-Pacific partnership, and international trade agreements.
Does my colleague think that the Minister of Agriculture and
Agri-Food should keep his promise and enforce his own Canadian
cheese compositional standards?
[English]
Mr. Mel Arnold: Mr. Speaker, this is certainly a concern in my
riding, as well. We have many dairy producers in the riding. I have
met with them. I understand their concerns.
This is something that has developed over time. When the
previous trade agreements were put in place, no one envisioned that
milk could be broken down into, I believe it is 26 different protein
products. Those individual protein products were not covered in
those trade agreements. Now they are being imported into Canada. It
is certainly a big concern. I will be pressuring the Minister of
Agriculture and Agri-Food to move forward on the restrictions on
those diafiltered milk products coming into Canada, because it is
definitely an economic impact for our dairy producers.
[Translation]
Mr. Nick Whalen (St. John's East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I will be
sharing my time with the member for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital.
It was truly a pleasure for me to sit in this House as the
representative of the people of St. John's East when the Minister of
Finance presented the government's priorities.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2215
The Budget
[English]
During the three weeks since budget 2016 was laid before the
House, I have had the opportunity to visit with many groups in St.
John's East. We discussed their pleasure with the new direction our
federal government is taking and the opportunity it signals to the
local business community.
Economic indicators show that nationally, companies may already
be investing with newfound confidence now that they have a
government that is prepared to invest as well.
However, in my riding, people are anxiously awaiting the
provincial budget to be delivered later today by the Newfoundland
and Labrador Minister of Finance, Cathy Bennett. She has the
difficult task of squaring the fiscal realities of a devastating collapse
in oil prices with an aging population and a shrinking workforce. A
$2-billion deficit such as was experienced in Newfoundland and
Labrador last year would be akin to Canada running on a $140billion deficit and is not sustainable.
However, the people of St. John's East are glad to know that the
Government of Canada supports them and is here to help in tough
times.
Infrastructure spending is important, but there are three other ways
of particular importance to my community the budget will help
Newfoundland and Labrador, and I hope these may convince the
other progressives in this chamber to support the budget: support for
seniors; the Canada child benefit; and support for our scientists.
government is delivering upon our commitment to improve the
quality of life for seniors most at risk.
Third, in order to ensure that the true higher levels of inflation that
are experienced by seniors are taken into account, the government
has committed to indexing the OAS and the guaranteed income
supplement to a more generous seniors price index.
[Translation]
To help address child poverty, the CCB, or Canada child benefit,
which replaces the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child
care benefit, will be paid monthly to eligible families beginning in
July 2016.
The CCB will be simpler. Families will receive just one payment
every month. Since the CCB is non-taxable, families will not have to
pay back a portion of the payments they receive when they pay their
taxes.
The CCB is better targeted to those who need it most. Lower- and
middle-income families will receive more money, while those who
have higher incomes will receive less money than under the current
system.
Since the CCB is more generous, families who receive it will see
an average increase in benefits of nearly $2,300 over the next year.
Budget 2016 shows compassion for those seeking to retire and age
with dignity. We understand that many seniors are suffering, and
budget 2016 seeks to help them.
Nine out of 10 families will receive more money through this
child benefit than under the current system. This will lift about
300,000 children out of poverty right away.
Budget 2016 will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of
poverty. My constituents are heartened to see that we are delivering
on this promise immediately, notwithstanding a worse than expected
economic forecast.
[English]
Finally, budget 2016 supports innovation, research, and entrepreneurship. The Liberal government has listened and understands the
role that Canadians expect us to play in helping support economic
growth in 21st century jobs.
● (1115)
[Translation]
First of all, the previous government raised the age of eligibility
for old age security to 67. I believe that was a mistake. Our party
campaigned against that change. Budget 2016 fulfills our promise to
restore the age of eligibility for old age security to 65.
Second, the budget proposes to increase the guaranteed income
supplement for single seniors by up to $947 annually. Single seniors
are the most vulnerable. This increase will be in place starting in July
2016.
[English]
By supporting those seniors who rely almost exclusively upon old
age security and the guaranteed income supplement and may
therefore be at risk of experiencing financial difficulties, the
This is a more simple, tax-free, better targeted, and more generous
benefit, one of which Canadians can and should be proud.
With respect to innovation and investment, Memorial University
of Newfoundland is a key participant in past and future economic
growth in my province and our country. Its main campus as well as
its marine institute campus are both located in my riding of St. John's
East.
The post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund will
provide $2 billion over the next three years toward improving
research and innovation infrastructure. This initiative has tremendous potential to harness the creativity of the dedicated researchers at
Canada's world-class post-secondary institutions.
Canada's post-secondary institutions and affiliated research and
commercialization organizations are at the front line for fostering
science and research excellence. They train the workforce of
tomorrow and create knowledge and insight necessary for a thriving
clean economy. This strategic investment fund will enhance and
modernize research commercialization facilities on Canadian
campuses and will improve the environmental sustainability of
these facilities.
2216
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
The new fund will open new pathways for the future success of
our institutions. For example, a university could repurpose and
modernize underutilized space for use in a specialized field of
strength or to meet energy efficiency standards. A college could
create sector-specific training facilities in the Red Seal trades. Oncampus business and technology incubators could be expanded to
better support entrepreneurs and start-ups. Where these institutions
support prototype development or proof-of-principle assessment, the
program will be indirectly supporting the industry partners of those
institutions.
As part of budget 2016, the Government of Canada has also
proposed more funding, an additional $95 million a year, for
granting councils to support discovery research, including $30
million for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, $30 million
for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, $16
million for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council,
and $19 million for the research support fund, to support the indirect
costs associated with federally sponsored research undertaken at
outside institutions. This more than triples the funding provided to
the granting councils in 2015. It increases it to $140 million this year
alone.
Support for science and innovation does not stop there, with other
measures to support internships, fellowships, genetics research,
theoretical physics, stem cell research, and funding for the
commercialization of health research. Our government understands
and supports the independent work of scientists and their role in
developing a modern economy.
Memorial University hopes to benefit in key research areas where
it is a leader, such as in cold oceans research, naval architecture, oil
and gas engineering, medicine, and many others.
These measures are pivotal. They are necessary to grow the
middle class and revitalize the Canadian economy, and they also
chart a new course to growing the middle class. Real change is being
delivered.
Last October, Canadians sent a clear message that they wanted
real change, both in how government does things and what it is
doing. They asked for a government that would deliver on its
commitments and would be focused on what matters most to them,
like caring for our seniors, lifting children out of poverty, growing
the economy, creating jobs, strengthening the middle class and those
working hard to join it.
We are listening to what Canadians need, and our policies and this
budget reflect what we have heard.
For my province, this also includes certain targeted measures
which demonstrate an understanding of our local situation. Federal
transfers are increasing by $31 million this year, in addition to the
almost $32 million in stabilization funding in the last fiscal year; $5
million to help grow much needed public transit; $134 million in
accelerated infrastructure spending; and $22 million for an improved
ferry mooring system for Marine Atlantic. As well, many of the
changes to EI provide essential support to Newfoundland and
Labrador during this commodity prices crisis.
With evidence-based policy and a sense of fairness, budget 2016
ensures that Newfoundland and Labrador will not be left behind and
Canada's best days lie ahead.
● (1120)
Mr. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. member on his election in
October.
We, too, feel the pain of the energy sector, like he does in
Newfoundland and Labrador, along with Saskatchewan and Alberta.
However, as we all know, as he stands in the House today expecting
a deficit budget provincially in Newfoundland, we, too, expected a
deficit budget here on March 22. Unfortunately, we expected a $10billion deficit, but what we were dealt with was a $30-billion deficit,
three times as much. We are really concerned about this.
The hon. member talked about seniors and OAS. Well, they are
only getting pennies more. The Liberals took away the TFSA from
seniors. It is still there, but we had increased it.
The other thing the Liberals have taken away, and which I have
heard time and time again in my riding in Saskatoon, is that seniors
now are going to pay more because the Liberals took away income
splitting.
I ask the member from Newfoundland, what does he think that
seniors have gained in this budget that the Liberals proposed on
March 22?
Mr. Nick Whalen: Mr. Speaker, certainly I understand that in this
commodity prices crisis, many people are suffering. I and our party
feel that we are doing what is necessary to provide them the
necessary support in this troubling time, and we are putting a plan in
place to see future growth and new clean energy jobs.
With respect to seniors, we have in fact put real money in the
hands of families and the most vulnerable seniors. Single women
seniors will receive up to $947 more per year, which is meaningful
money to seniors who are living on such low incomes. It is a 10%
increase in that envelope of money that they receive.
There are changes to some of the other tax benefits that the
previous government provided which really only benefited the most
wealthy seniors. These changes are for people who need the help of
the Government of Canada to make ends meet and to put good
quality food on their tables. Seniors who have over $5,000 in
disposable income at the end of the year to reinvest in TFSAs do not
need the help of the Government of Canada to do that. It is the
people who are living on fixed incomes, buying food at the dollar
store and other places, and are not able to access clean, high-quality,
highly nutritious food who need our help, and these are the people
the Government of Canada is helping.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the very well-articulated words from my
colleague.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2217
The Budget
In this budget we see a number of measures from which
Canadians in every region of the country will benefit. I would
highlight a couple of them. One is the Canada child benefit program,
which will lift hundreds of thousands of children out of poverty. We
could talk about the middle-class tax cut. Some nine million
Canadians will get more money in their pockets. By doing that, at
the end of the day we will have fewer people living in poverty
situations and we will have a healthier middle class.
By the actions that are taken in this budget, including on
infrastructure—I do not want to let slip by the amount of money we
are investing in infrastructure—would the member not agree that
what we are really doing is investing in Canada's middle class, and
that by doing that we will have a healthier middle class and thereby a
healthier economy also?
● (1125)
Mr. Nick Whalen: Mr. Speaker, I would even go farther to say
that the new direction and new approach are transformational,
putting this extra money where it is needed at the levels of the
economy into the hands of the people who spend essentially every
cent they receive every month. They are not able to save for their
retirement. They are not able to save for their children's education.
They are not able to take vacations or buy fancy clothes. This puts
money into the hands and the pockets of people who are going to
spend it very quickly.
It accelerates the money through our economy. It should lead, and
we hope that it would lead, to stronger economic growth. When
millions of Canadians have more money to spend in their local
communities, it will create local jobs. We know that is true. While
we are asking the more wealthy to pay a bit more to help support
these initiatives, we know that when people are struggling in
Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Alberta, it is the
right thing to do at the right time.
Mr. Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, as always, it is a genuine honour to rise on behalf of the
people whom I represent in Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, who, on
October 19, voted for a change in leadership, a change in direction,
and a change in priorities for our country. I am very happy to say that
budget 2016 delivers on those promises.
As a former city councillor for many years, and a former chair of
public works, I am proud to say that this budget delivers on our
commitment to rebuild Canada's communities and rebuild Canada's
cities.
Cities all over the country, from Ottawa to Moncton, from
Moncton to Vancouver, are in desperate need of the most basic
infrastructure: regional roads, residential streets, back lanes, sidewalks, bridges, community centres, libraries, and that is just the
infrastructure above ground. The infrastructure below ground is
equally important, and some would say even more important: the
water systems, the waste-water treatment systems.
Cities and municipalities, especially rural municipalities, simply
cannot afford to do it themselves. The time is right for investment by
the federal government, especially with the interest rates being as
low as they are.
Let me give hon. members a real-time example from Winnipeg,
the city I represent. Winnipeg currently spends $1 billion a year on
strictly above-ground infrastructure, all the items I mentioned
previously. A report about six years ago by the heavy construction
industry said that Winnipeg should be spending another $380
million, in addition to the $1 billion, just on above-ground
infrastructure. If we did spend an extra $380 million, this would
not actually improve the infrastructure, but it would maintain the
infrastructure at its current state. That is the level of crisis in our
cities across Canada. Let me repeat, because it bears repeating: an
extra $380 million over the $1 billion for our city of Winnipeg would
not improve the infrastructure; it would maintain it at its current
state.
Cities cannot do it themselves. It is time for the federal
government to invest.
I am especially proud that our first slice of infrastructure spending
will be on what is arguably the most important infrastructure of all,
the underground infrastructure, our water systems, our waste-water
treatment systems.
We have to understand that for years and years, provincial
governments and federal governments have been extremely reluctant
to invest in our underground systems for a very simple reason and a
very cynical reason: we do not often get to cut a ribbon when pipe is
placed underground. It is not a play structure. It is not a sexy bridge.
We do not often get to cut a ribbon when the underground
infrastructure is placed, but nonetheless, it is probably the most
important of all, because nothing is more important than clean water
and a clean environment.
That is why I am proud that budget 2016 makes green
infrastructure its first priority. It is filling a void that previous
federal and provincial governments have created, because again,
make no mistake about this, cities and municipalities, especially
rural municipalities, cannot do it by themselves, and budget 2016
recognizes this.
We will also be giving families more money to help with the high
cost of raising their children. We will be introducing a more
generous, simplified and tax-free Canada child benefit to give
families more money for their children. Our Canada child benefit
will be geared to income to help those who need it the most: single
and low-income families. Our plan will raise over 300,000 children
out of poverty. This is an incredibly important measure that will help
provide children a better opportunity and a brighter future.
Families in Manitoba, the province I represent, alone will receive
$490 million more in child benefits the next year from the previous
year.
Another part of the plan in this budget which I am very proud of is
the raise in the guaranteed income supplement for low-income
seniors by 10%. This will give one million of our most vulnerable
seniors, often single women, almost $1,000 more per year.
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April 14, 2016
The Budget
● (1130)
As I previously noted, this has been a difficult week. Earlier in the
week we had a thoughtful, emotional, and important discussion on
the suicide crisis in Attawapiskat and the incredibly horrible
conditions of indigenous folks on reserves as well as in cities across
Canada. I was heartened that on the day of that debate, the Minister
of Justice rose and said that we are being held back by the shackles
of the Indian Act and that the solution lies in removing those
shackles and continuing an honest nation-to-nation relationship with
indigenous folks, Métis people, and Inuit people all over the country.
I agree with that.
I am extremely proud of our indigenous platform and what is in
budget 2016. There is targeted funding to improve the physical
conditions that indigenous communities live with. There is an
increase of $8.4 billion of new money over the next five years. We
will invest $2.6 billion of new money in primary and secondary
education over the next five years. We will invest $970 million of
new money in school infrastructure over five years. We will invest
$935 million of new money over five years for prevention to keep
kids out of CFS, child and family services. We will invest $554
million of new money over two years for housing on reserves.
Nobody is naively saying that better infrastructure is the only
solution. Far from it, but it is an excellent start. Ultimately, in
addition to better schools and clean water, it will be a relationship
between Canada and our indigenous communities based on respect,
on honour, on honouring the treaties, on honouring decisions of the
Supreme Court on land claims that will help our families and our
communities all over the country.
[Translation]
On Friday, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
came to Saint-Boniface—Saint-Vital to talk to members of the
community about budget 2016.
During the first roundtable discussion at the Université de SaintBoniface, we met with stakeholders from the francophone economic
sector. They commended us on our inclusive budget, a budget that
invests in the future. They are excited about our investments in green
technologies and innovation and the choices this affords them. These
investments in a green economy offer new market and job
opportunities, beyond the traditional markets.
The members of my community also talked about how important
cultural organizations are to the vitality of official language minority
communities. The budget includes a $675-million investment in
CBC/Radio-Canada, a national institution that is crucial to official
language minority communities.
In St. Boniface, ICI Radio-Canada Manitoba is an important
member of the Franco-Manitoban and Franco-Métis communities
that supports and promotes our culture. The federal budget
recognizes the contribution of cultural industries to the Canadian
economy by committing $1.9 billion to arts and culture over five
years.
These investments will support major national institutions, protect
both official languages, and support industries that showcase
Canadian culture, including the Canada Council for the Arts,
Telefilm Canada, and the National Film Board of Canada.
● (1135)
[English]
There is not enough time to discuss everything. I am proud of this
budget, and I have not even talked about the middle-income tax cut,
which will benefit nine million Canadians. I have not talked about
our infrastructure investment in rapid transit.
Budget 2016 will lift 300,000 children out of poverty. It will offer
nine million Canadians a middle-income tax cut. It will improve
living conditions for one million seniors through a 10% increase in
the GIS.
There is $8.4 billion of new funding for indigenous infrastructure
and education and $2 billion for arts and culture over five years. As
well, Canada's largest-ever infrastructure program is being introduced in this budget.
I am incredibly proud of this budget, and it should be
unanimously approved in this chamber.
Mr. Pat Kelly (Calgary Rocky Ridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I do
not think the budget is likely to be unanimously approved. In fact, I
know that it will not be, or I think it is very unlikely that it will be
unanimously supported in this House, in part because it breaks a
number of commitments that were made by the Liberal Party during
the last election campaign. The promise of a $10 billion deficit was a
serious promise that most Canadians took at its word when it was
made, and this budget blows right through that promise.
In the door-to-door campaign in my riding, these were real
questions and issues that came up. Voters want to know how much
debt is going to be taken on, if any, by the new government, and how
we are going to repay this debt over time. The budget fails to address
that question. It fails to fulfill the election promise of a so-called
mere $10 billion deficit, and there is no plan to return to surplus at
any point.
Would the member care to comment on how we are going to repay
money that is being borrowed under this budget?
Mr. Dan Vandal: Mr. Speaker, it is true that when we took office
the economy was in worse shape than we had thought. The reality is
that we are going into debt to rebuild our communities, to rebuild our
cities, to rebuild our rural municipalities, and I think that is
something Canadians want. I know they certainly wanted it on
October 19 when they voted in the new government.
It is actually quite funny to hear representatives from the previous
government accuse us of being in debt. The previous government ran
eight consecutive years of operating deficits, it ran a trade deficit
every single year that it was in power, and it had the lowest rate of
GDP since the dirty thirties.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2219
The Budget
[Translation]
Mr. Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—
Eeyou, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague
for his speech, which was very apropos.
We know that living conditions in indigenous communities are
deplorable and are comparable to third-world living conditions and
even worse in some cases. For example, we have been discussing
Attawapiskat for a few days.
When I look at the budget, housing is one of the issues that
concerns me the most when it comes to the living conditions in
indigenous communities.
The budget leaves an impression on everyone because of the big
numbers. I think that many people were surprised at the money to be
allocated to indigenous peoples over the next five years, starting in
the third year in some cases.
I would just like to give this example: $554 million is set aside for
on-reserve housing, including $416 million over two years that will
flow through Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
If we divide up this money among the 630 indigenous
communities across the country, they will each receive about
$330,000. It costs about $200,000 to build just one house in my
riding in Nunavik because of the cost of materials and transportation
in the far north.
What can the communities in Nunavik do with one and a half
houses a year for, say, the next 10 years?
● (1140)
Mr. Dan Vandal: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member
for that good question. I have a great deal of respect for him.
Over five years, $8.4 billion will be allocated for residential
housing, with $554 million over two years. Education is also
important. I know this is not ideal. It took generations to create the
situation in which we find ourselves today, and it is going to take
generations to fix it.
As a new MP who came into office five or six months ago with
new advisors, I consider this a good start. I am committed to
continuing the good work that will be done on these serious issues,
and I hope that the hon. member will help us.
[English]
Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I want to let the House know
that I will be splitting my time with the hon. member for Abitibi—
Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou.
We have all been waiting for this budget for some time now, and I
am honoured to stand in the House today to speak to it. Listening to
ministers speak about this budget, Canadians have to sit through
endless and effusive hyperbole that is liberally filled with both
bombast and pomposity. Liberals are indeed masters of selfcongratulation.
Unfortunately, the composition of the budgetary document breaks
the covenant made during the election campaign with the Canadian
people, as the Liberals do time and again when they say one thing
and do the other. Like the progressive paint jobs the Liberals have
applied to themselves in order to mask what the party really stands
for, this budget's cover features a picture that cannot do anything but
evoke an emotive response from those who gaze upon it: a mother
and daughter holding hands as they walk on a yellow brick road
toward the shining sun and a construction crane. It is beautifully
crafted symbolism of good days ahead and the building of a new
society. We can see that the Liberals are really hoping Canadians will
judge this book by its cover.
Progressives have been walking through the desert for 10 years,
waiting for a drop of change. It is little wonder, then, that the first
glass of water offered to them seems to be so good. New Democrats
are here to tear this cheerful mask off the Liberal budget and show
Canadians what we are really dealing with.
There are families that I speak to all the time who are struggling
with extremely expensive child care costs that often keep women at
home and out of the workforce. This is one of the most important
social policies of our time, and it is not being addressed. The
Liberals need to know that child care cannot be provided with a
small financial transfer to individual families.
Actually, Liberals do know. In a 2006 interview with the National
Post, the Liberal Minister of Foreign Affairs, then the member for
Saint Laurent—Cartierville, said:
We need child-care facilities to provide Canadian parents with real choice. It's a
matter of social justice, but also of sound economics: child-care facilities are a good
way to encourage flexibility and mobility of our workforce, at a time when, often,
two parents are working outside the home.
As New Democrats, we could not agree more. We need a wellfunded public policy on child care similar to what so many countries
have done. The NDP will continue to propose its plan for $15-a-day
child care, with spaces for those who need it.
We have spoken in the House a number of times about the social
determinants of health, and one of these very strong social
determinants is the right to food security. Food security is, by its
very nature, linked to agriculture, which plays a key role in my
riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, as it does in many
communities across Canada, yet this budget devotes a scant two
pages to merely discussing the topic. There are no measures for
organic or small-scale farmers. There is nothing to support valueadded production, something that is critical for the industry. This is
not the way to build the agricultural base that small communities
need.
Canada needs a healthy society, and I want to take a moment to
point out how the budget lacks the infrastructure needed for actually
creating one.
A healthy society takes care of its seniors. People should never
have to buy poor-quality food or skimp on prescription drugs just to
be able to pay their rent. It is alarming that this so-called
"progressive" Liberal government has totally abandoned its
commitment to build long-term care facilities for seniors and
increase the GST credit for new rental home construction.
2220
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The Budget
The Conservatives unilaterally cut health transfers, and the
Liberals have not given any indication that they will reverse these
cuts. We must build a health care accord now, but there is no money
set aside in this budget to do so.
commitment, set out by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruling
that the child welfare program discriminates against indigenous
children.
I think we were all encouraged when we heard the Liberal promise
of $3 billion over four years for home care. Home care is desperately
needed, given Canada's aging population. We must act now on this
issue, and it was good to see that both parties were on side, so it is a
large disappointment to see that this promise is nowhere to be found
in the budget now in front of Parliament.
● (1145)
These promises have come up short, but even then, we must do
more right away as a turning point for our indigenous communities
as they are living from crisis to crisis. It is totally unacceptable in our
country. This point was emphasized time and again by all parties
during our emergency debate on Tuesday evening, and I hope we
follow through. I hope the debate was not just a one-off and that
some meaningful action comes through in this noble House.
The budget is also missing funding for mental health, long-term
care for seniors, and palliative care. The lack of palliative care is
clearly disappointing, especially given that, during the 41st
Parliament, we passed a motion saying that we would work on high
quality home-based and hospice palliative care. The motion was not
reflected in the budget document, and it is a glaring omission in light
of the physician-assisted dying legislation we will soon be debating.
In this period of sunny ways and sunny days, the Liberal light can
be quite blinding after years of Conservative darkness. It will take
time for Canadians' eyes to adjust to the fact that the budget would
not deliver on Liberal electoral promises.
When we speak about a sustainable society, we need to address
climate change, the great challenge of our time, together. New
Democrats welcome the low-carbon economy fund, but we would
obviously like to see it get started sooner than 2017 and actually
include details on what it means or how it works. We are still
subsidizing the fossil fuel industry for the foreseeable future. The
Liberals promised to repeal this Conservative subsidy in their
election platform, but we still do not see it. New Democrats will
continue to push the government on its promises and to propose new
solutions to our pressing problems.
When we talk of green infrastructure to help us transition to a
sustainable economy, we remain concerned that the level of funding
is inadequate for small and remote communities to receive access to
these funds. I know I speak for many communities, when there is so
much to be updated and restored.
Canadians want progressive change, and we will be in the House
fighting to make that change a reality. We will stand up against the
tempting promises of the Liberals that were never intended to be
fulfilled. As New Democrats, we remain united in a vision for a
better Canada that is built on common goals of solidarity, equality,
fairness, and prosperity for all.
● (1150)
Mr. Andy Fillmore (Halifax, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon.
member for his words, particularly the comments around infrastructure. As a city planner in suburban, rural, and urban areas for
some 25 years, I understand well the importance of credible
investment in infrastructure.
In my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—Langford, the effects of
climate change are being felt, both last year and in the foreseeable
years. The Cowichan River is reaching dangerously low levels, and
we really need to update the weir to hold back more supply. That is
one thing on which I will be pressing the government. We need to
have this kind of funding for our infrastructure, to make it more
resilient, because climate change is happening.
The truth is that our government has inherited a shocking situation
of deferred maintenance and investment in infrastructure over 10
years that has left a ticking time bomb of deferred financial and
human health and safety liability for the government to now deal
with.
Why are the Liberal members of Parliament from British
Columbia not standing up for B.C. ferries? I see $51 million in
the budget for the Atlantic ferries, but nothing for the B.C. ferries.
Why are they not standing up for our coast? BC Ferries is arguably
the largest ferry transportation system in the world, and there is zero
mention from the Liberals. I hope Liberal MPs from B.C. have a
great time talking to their constituents about that glaring omission.
One of the things I am most proud of in the government's budget
is the historic infrastructure investment. Far from putting our
children and grandchildren into debt to pay for this investment, we
are investing in their future and, in the long term, making life much
better for them. I wonder if the hon. member would agree that this is
in fact the time to be making enormous investments in Canadian
infrastructure after a very long drought.
On indigenous rights, the government has not kept its promises to
first nations in the budget. Education funding in the budget is $800
million short of the government's election promises. Even then, the
funding is so back loaded; it does not come into effect right now to
address the underfunding crisis.
Cindy Blackstock, who spoke to our convention this weekend, has
stated that the government is $130 million short on meeting its legal
Mr. Alistair MacGregor: Mr. Speaker, the member will find no
argument from this particular section of the House on the need for
infrastructure funding. As I alluded to in my remarks, we have been
wandering through the desert for quite some time. I will agree that
the Liberal budget does include some much-needed funding for
infrastructure, but it is the other parts that I really wanted to hammer
home.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2221
The Budget
During the election campaign, the Liberals made some specific
promises. It adds to the disappointment in politics when someone
says one thing and ends up doing another. Canadians were really
looking for some progressive change. When we start reading the fine
print, we can see that the amount is a little less and it is back loaded.
The actual amount promised is not going to happen until the 2019-20
fiscal year. That is going to be after the 2019 election.
Infrastructure is welcome to see. I will certainly be writing letters
to respective ministers to see that my riding gets its fair share, as all
MPs in the House will be doing.
[Translation]
Mr. François Choquette (Drummond, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank my hon. colleague for his excellent speech.
He spoke a lot about the importance of fighting climate change. I
completely agree with him that we need to address this issue.
Unfortunately, in the budget, the Liberals presented the same targets
and objectives as the Conservatives did. That is extremely
disappointing.
I would like to talk today about another issue that is very
important to people in the greater Drummond area and my rural
region in particular, and that is supply management and the
importation of diafiltered milk, which is currently throwing the
market completely off balance, is totally unfair, and violates federal
regulations.
Why have the Liberals not done anything about this? What are
they waiting for? When will they take action?
This is very important to farmers, dairy producers, and my region,
the greater Drummond area.
What are the Liberals waiting for? When will they take action?
Why does the budget not address the diafiltered milk issue?
● (1155)
[English]
Mr. Alistair MacGregor: Mr. Speaker, as to the why, I am not
sure I can answer that question, but it is a real disappointment. We
have heard far less than satisfactory answers in the House from the
Minister of Agriculture . They have been short, almost one sentence
answers that gave no detail. As the member pointed out, farmers in
the supply management business really do have some legitimate
questions.
Supply management is an incredibly important tool for farmers. I
have had the honour of meeting with several constituents who
operate under the system in my riding of Cowichan—Malahat—
Langford. It gives them a sense that they know what their income is
going to be. That quota is so important for making the farming
industry a sustainable one. Many families that are engaged in the
quota system can pass on their farm to the next generation because
that next generation knows it can make a living. It is incredibly
important for not only the House but for all provincial legislatures as
well to stand up and be real champions for that and not roll over
when imports masquerade as something else.
I appreciate my colleague's work on this issue, along with that of
our agriculture critic. These two fine champions will bring this issue
up time and time again and really hold the Liberal government to
account.
[Translation]
Mr. Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—
Eeyou, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour and a privilege
for me to rise in the House, particularly to speak to the budget.
As everyone knows, the government's budget reflects its choices.
Like all of my colleagues on this side of the House, I had a lot of
hope for the first Liberal budget. We are quite disappointed because,
this time, we were expecting real change. The members opposite are
always saying that Canadians voted for real change on October 19,
but we have yet to see any. The choices and priorities set out in the
budget are rather disappointing.
I have a large riding with huge needs. My riding has always been
neglected, forgotten, and underfunded by the federal government.
Once again, I have no choice but to express my great disappointment
with this budget.
During the election campaign, I spoke about my riding's priorities.
For example, there are many seniors in my riding and they have
always been one of my biggest priorities. However, the budget does
very little for them.
The youth unemployment rate is about two times higher than the
national unemployment rate. For many years, we have been
proposing measures to help young people find jobs, including a
$4,000 tax credit for small businesses that hire young people. This is
a reasonable measure that would help young people. These are the
kinds of things that concerned me during the election campaign and
that still concern me today.
Furthermore, home mail delivery is another important issue in my
riding. A northern, rural riding like mine needs this service. The
government promised to restore this service, but as members on this
side have pointed out many times, this budget does not even contain
the words “Canada Post”.
Nonetheless, I think there are many measures in the budget that
should be highlighted. For example, the budget talks about shelters
for indigenous women. There are about 14 shelters for some 630
communities in Canada. We are all aware of the problems facing
indigenous communities, and there are huge needs. However, the
budget allocates about $500,000 per community for shelters, which
is nowhere near enough.
As I mentioned, in the north, in a riding like mine, construction
costs are very high. I do not think $500,000 will be enough. In
addition, as the representative for the riding of Abitibi—Baie-James
—Nunavik—Eeyou, I must mention that the section in the budget on
shelters does not apply to Nunavik or the James Bay area, which are
also part of my riding. This is a concrete example of why I am so
disappointed.
Forestry is one of the major industries in my riding. I have been
bringing up this issue since I became a member of Parliament, nearly
five years ago.
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COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
● (1200)
Forestry is a major industry in Quebec and in my riding. Tens of
thousands of my constituents work in this industry.
Each year, every time I rise to talk about the government's budget,
be it the former or the current government, I am disappointed by the
lack of measures to provide direct assistance to this industry in my
riding. For example, there is nothing here about the forest
communities program or the investments in forest industry
transformation program. One thing we know for sure is that it is
important to invest in innovation and research and development in
this industry. That is critical for the jobs in my riding that are tied to
forestry.
I also want to raise the subject of employment insurance. This is a
particularly tricky issue for my riding. Employment insurance
figures and statistics for a riding like mine are pretty complicated and
hard to understand. There is no logic to how this works in my riding.
The statistics are compiled for three different regions: Nunavik,
James Bay, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue. It is crazy because the
situation is so different in each of these three regions of northern
Quebec, which are part of my riding, that there is no logical way to
approach employment insurance there. We should also condemn the
government's ongoing tendency to dip into the employment
insurance fund. We have condemned that repeatedly, actually.
We need to talk about the parts of this budget that affect
indigenous peoples. Once again, disappointment. We have talked
about issues facing indigenous peoples a lot in the past few days, but
people seem to forget that the needs in this country are so great. It is
disappointing to see that the government did not bother to come up
with a comprehensive approach to the needs of Canada's first
nations. For example, as I pointed out earlier, the budget for housing
breaks down to about $300,000 per community per year for the next
two years.
Building a house in Nunavik or James Bay costs about $200,000.
How can we continue to mitigate the effects of the housing crisis on
communities when this budget provides enough funding for just one
and half houses per community for the next two years? The fact that
the government is not taking a holistic approach to indigenous issues
is troubling.
● (1205)
[English]
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I have heard a number of New Democrats talk about
the things they would like to see in the budget, and that is okay. We
have seen the most progressive budget in the last decade-plus.
Initiatives in this budget will lift children out of poverty, 300,000plus with the Canada child benefit program. Many progressive
measures are being taken in the budget.
I like to believe that some members are progressive thinkers when
it comes to how we can help society, whether it is our children
through the Canada child benefit program, or our seniors through the
guaranteed income supplement, which is getting a dramatic increase
of up to $950 on an annual basis depending on one's income. There
are so many good reasons to vote for the budge, because it is
progressive.
Does the member believe the NDP would run a larger deficit, or
would it still advocate for a balanced budget, something the New
Democrats committed to in the last federal election?
[Translation]
Mr. Romeo Saganash: Mr. Speaker, I wanted to be across the
aisle after October 19, but here we are.
The Liberals have a responsibility. They made promises and they
need to keep those promises. That is not what is happening. For
example, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made 94 calls to
action, but there is no money in the budget to address that. The Truth
and Reconciliation Commission recommends, for example, that the
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples serve as a
framework for reconciliation.
How are we going to achieve this reconciliation with the very little
money announced for first nations in this budget? The Canadian
Human Rights Commission tribunal ordered them to resolve the
problem at the first reasonable opportunity. The first reasonable
opportunity the CHRC is talking about was on March 22.
What did the Liberals do? They chose to ignore the CHRC order.
They chose to defy that order. There is a word for that in our legal
jargon. I think I am making myself clear. That is what is missing.
The Liberals know it. They are the ones who set the 2% cap in
1996. That 2% cap for first nations programs and services lasted 20
years. Imagine how far behind we fell in 20 years because of the cap
they themselves imposed.
● (1210)
There are many points I wanted to raise. Indigenous languages are
once again being ignored. Out of the 52 indigenous languages that
are still spoken today, only three will survive and flourish, and mine
is one of them. I am privileged that I can say that. Again, we all
know the importance of language in indigenous communities and the
importance of cultural continuity among aboriginal youth. That is
one reason why the suicide rate is so high in those communities. Our
indigenous youth have become lost between two worlds, between
the indigenous world on the one hand, and the western world on the
other hand. One way to help them would be to address the language
issues that are so important to our communities.
[English]
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
I would like to give my colleague an opportunity to elaborate on
what he would like to see happen in this place in support of first
nations and Métis communities of Canada.
I wish I could go on, for I am just getting started, but I will take
any question members may have.
Mr. Romeo Saganash: Mr. Speaker, we have been talking about
these issues over the last couple of days, and they are important
issues.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2223
Privilege
If there is one important issue in the country, it is the condition in
which the first peoples of our country live. It is a shame for a country
as rich as Canada, one of the richest in the world.
There is no lack of examples that we can use to tackle these issues.
One of them is in my riding. We signed the first modern treaty in the
country in 1975. It is a global approach to housing, education, police
services, justice, economic development, health and social services,
even maintaining the Cree way of life if a Cree chooses that way of
life. Therefore, it is a global approach, and it seems to be working.
Granted, it is not the perfect solution, but at least that global
approach is working in northern Quebec. I would suggest that we
take inspiration from that example for the future of first nations in
our country.
The Deputy Speaker: The Chair has received notice of a question
of privilege and we will hear on that question now.
The hon. House Leader of the Official Opposition.
***
PRIVILEGE
with respect to material to be placed before parliament, the House must take
precedence....The convention of the confidentiality of bills on notice is necessary, not
only so that members themselves may be well informed, but also because of the preeminent rule which the House plays and must play in the legislative affairs of the
nation. To deny...information concerning business that is about to come before the
House, while at the same time providing such information to media that will likely be
questioning members about that business, is a situation that the Chair cannot
condone.
That matter was referred to the Standing Committee on Procedure
and House Affairs. The committee concluded:
...the protocol of the Department of Justice whereby no briefings or briefing
materials should be provided with respect to a bill on notice until its introduction
in the House of Commons should be adopted as a standard policy by all
government departments. We believe that such a policy is respectful of the House
of Commons and its Members. It recognizes the legislative role of Parliament, and
is consistent with parliamentary privilege and the conventions of Parliament.
The committee went on to say:
This incident highlights a concern shared by all members of the Committee:
apparent departmental ignorance of or disrespect for the role of House of Commons
and its Members. Even if the result is unintended, the House should not tolerate such
ignorance within the government administration to undermine the perception of
Parliament’s constitutional role in legislating. The rights of the House and its
Members in this role are central to our constitutional and democratic government.
ALLEGED PREMATURE DISCLOSURE OF CONTENTS OF BILL C-14
Mr. Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
I rise on a question of privilege regarding the premature disclosure of
the contents of Bill C-14, an act to amend the Criminal Code and to
make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying)
introduced earlier today.
On the same day the bill was put on notice, details of the bill were
reported in The Globe and Mail. The article begins:
The Liberal government is set to introduce its much-anticipated physicianassisted-dying law on Thursday, a bill that will exclude those who only experience
mental suffering, such as people with psychiatric conditions, according to a source
familiar with the legislation.
This is not a case of journalistic speculation. The reporter
identified someone in the know who provided to her specifics of the
bill. The journalist continues to refer to this source later in the article:
The bill also won’t allow for advance consent, a request to end one’s life in the
future, for those suffering with debilitating conditions such as dementia. In addition,
there will be no exceptions for “mature minors” who have not yet reached 18 but
wish to end their own lives.
Those three issues, however, will be alluded to in the legislation for further study,
according to the source, who is not authorized to speak publicly about the bill.
On October 15, 2001, the content of another justice bill, Bill C-36
was leaked to the media. The Liberal government House leader at the
time, Don Boudria, rose in his place and did, in my opinion, the right
thing. He stated:
Last Friday afternoon I received a copy of Bill C-36. As is my role as Leader of
the Government in the House of Commons, I do what is known as a review of the
bill. I took precautions then and earlier with the minister and all of her staff to ensure
that the bill was not in any way given to the media or otherwise. I was given that
assurance by everyone I spoke to.
On Saturday I saw extracts from the bill in the media. They were not all factually
correct but enough of them were that it caused me to be as concerned as the hon.
member when raising this question in the House.
I cannot say much more other than to apologize on behalf of whoever is guilty of
this. I use the word guilty because that is what comes to mind, given the respect that I
have for this institution. Anyone who breaches that respect is guilty of an offence in
my book. The problem is that we do not know who it is.
The situation here before us is identical. We do not know who
leaked the contents of the bill. The article refers to "a source familiar
with the legislation”.
● (1215)
These are very specific elements of the legislation. The CBC The
National gave similar details last night, and it too referenced sources.
On the same day that the question of privilege was raised, the
Speaker ruled and said:
Now that Bill C-14 has been introduced and we now know the
details, we also know that those details were reported in The Globe
and Mail and elsewhere in the media prior to its introduction.
I have to say at once this appears to be similar to the issue raised earlier before me
with respect to Bill C-15. In my opinion it appears that there has been again a breach
of the privileges of the House in relation to this piece of legislation.
On March 15, 2001, the Speaker ruled on a question of privilege
regarding an incident whereby the media was briefed on a justice
bill, Bill C-15, before members of Parliament. The Speaker indicated
that there were two important issues in that case: the matter of the
embargoed briefing to the media and the issue of members' access to
information required to fulfill their duties.
In his ruling, the Speaker said:
In preparing legislation, the government may wish to hold extensive consultations
and such consultations may be held entirely at the government’s discretion. However,
The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona in his remarks tried to assist the
Chair by suggesting that it was for the Chair to investigate the matter and come up
with the name of the culprit and so on. I respect his opinion of course in all matters,
but in this matter I think his view is perhaps wrong. There is a body that is well
equipped to commit acts of inquisition, and that is the Standing Committee on
Procedure and House Affairs....
Accordingly, in my view this is a matter which ought to be sent to the committee.
In my opinion, we clearly have a breach of privilege. The contents
of Bill C-14 were leaked to The Globe and Mail and perhaps others,
and we do not know who the culprit is.
2224
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
We in the opposition are very concerned about this dismissive
view of the role of the House. I trust that members of the government
are equally concerned and would want to get to the bottom of it, as
Mr. Boudria did in 2001.
I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that you too would be concerned,
and that is why I ask that you do as your predecessors have done and
refer this matter to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House
Affairs.
In conclusion, if you would permit me to speculate here for a
moment, Mr. Speaker, I suspect that Mr. Boudria had the usual
struggles that House leaders and their staff have with ministers'
communication directors who like to preposition the government's
message on a bill. However, they did not understand the role that the
House played then, and perhaps they do not now, but members of
Parliament certainly do. I do not think any member, regardless of
what side of the House he or she sits on, wants to have their
independence taken over by staff in ministers' or departmental
offices.
Hon. Andrew Leslie (Orléans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I listened to
the intervention of my hon. colleague from the Conservative Party
concerning the troubling suggestion that someone from the
government prematurely disclosed the contents of Bill C-14, the
bill concerning medical assistance in dying, which was introduced
earlier today.
I am not aware of the details surrounding the media report referred
to by the member, but I want to assure the House that our
government takes any breach of the privilege of members and of the
House very seriously.
I can tell the House that at no point was anyone authorized to
publicly discuss the specific details of the bill prior to introduction.
On behalf of the government, I unreservedly apologize to the
House and to members. Our government will work to ensure that this
does not happen again.
● (1220)
Mr. Peter Julian (New Westminster—Burnaby, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I appreciate the member for Regina—Qu'Appelle, with his
vast knowledge of procedure and practices here in the House of
Commons, raising the point. I appreciate the chief government
whip's apology.
He then said there is no doubt that this was a very serious breach
of privilege.
Therefore, I think it is important to note the concerns of both the
Conservative official opposition and the NDP opposition. We
certainly look forward to the follow-up that the government will
be doing in this regard.
The Deputy Speaker: I thank the hon. opposition House leader,
the chief government whip, and the hon. member for New
Westminster—Burnaby for their interventions on this matter.
We will look at the question, obviously, and get back to the House
in due course.
We will carry on at this point, if there are no other interventions.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Scarborough—Rouge Park.
***
THE BUDGET
FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House
approve in general the budgetary policy of the government
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree (Scarborough—Rouge Park, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I am sharing my time with the member for Sackville—
Preston—Chezzetcook.
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak this morning in support of our
government's budget. I want to start by congratulating our finance
minister and our Prime Minister for delivering not only on our
election promises, but on building a visionary budget, one which I
am confident will irreversibly change the lives of millions of
Canadians for the better.
This budget represents a significant shift in the direction of our
country. We are asking top income earners in Canada to pay a bit
more so that the majority of Canadians will have more money to
spend on important staples, such as food, shelter, and child care. This
will greatly benefit those on the lowest end of the income ladder.
I want to get on the record that it is indeed a very serious case in
the case of Bill C-14. There is no doubt about this.
This is all the more important, as budget 2016 sets the
groundwork to bring in a group of people who have suffered
generations of failed government policies and neglect toward equal
opportunity in government services. Of course, I speak of Canada's
indigenous population.
I want to cite the current government House leader when he was
faced with a similar situation, not in government but in opposition,
around the case of Bill C-52. The member for Beauséjour, now the
government House leader, said the following on information coming
out prior to disclosure of the bill in Parliament:
This budget takes the first steps in healing old wounds and
bringing about true reconciliation in our country. It is a statement
that restores a promise that generations of Canadians have known:
that no matter who we are or where we came from, if we work hard,
we will get ahead.
We believe this situation constitutes a fundamentally unfair contempt of
Parliament, and we would ask you to rule on this very serious matter.
Today I want to devote my time to focus on two sets of policies of
which I am particularly proud.
He went on to say, in the case of Bill C-52, that:
Before the opposition received an embargoed copy or before the bill was actually
tabled in the House of Commons, some of us were responding to very specific media
questions following...[disclosure of the bill].
This budget announced historic investment in infrastructure and
our indigenous peoples, programs that will create a more equitable
and prosperous country.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2225
The Budget
First, with regard to infrastructure, Canada lags behind in
investment to our infrastructure. Investment in infrastructure is an
investment in our collective future. I compare infrastructure
investments to a personal decision that I had to make many years
ago. I recall the time that I was accepted into law school. Like most
students, I had no money to go to school. However, I looked at it as
an investment. I borrowed money. I went to law school, built a
successful practice, and paid the money back. I had a more stable
career. I put a great deal of money back into the tax system, and I
created jobs.
The investment we make in our infrastructure today is analogous
to the decisions that individuals and families routinely make. Many
Canadian cities are currently experiencing infrastructure backlogs.
With the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio of any G7 country, there has
never been a better time to invest in building roads and institutions
that will keep our economy strong. We have historically low interest
rates, currently hovering around 2.5%. This compares with 6%, 15
years ago; 10%, 25 years ago; and 18%, 35 years ago.
Equally important is the need to boost our economy. We know that
in many parts of this country there is a dire need to infuse capital to
kick-start the economy. Our current commitment to infrastructure
does just that. It takes advantage of historically low interest rates,
infuses capital into our economy, creates jobs, and secures important,
much-needed infrastructure projects for our future. We are allocating
$11.9 billion to build infrastructure that we need now, and to make
long overdue repairs to aging systems.
On public transit, we are putting $3.4 billion toward phase one of
our government's plan to improve public transit in Canada. Public
transit opens doors to employment and educational opportunities that
are not possible without it. Investment in public transit not only
provides a quicker way for people to get around, it helps to equalize
the playing field for urban Canadians.
I represent a riding with high youth unemployment. I know that
improvement in our public transit system will pay dividends over the
coming years to our youth and our community.
In addition to these historic investments, our government has
committed $3.4 billion for affordable housing, community centres,
and child care centres. These funds will ensure our communities are
better places to live and provide more low-income Canadians of all
ages with peace of mind.
All of these investments will start to provide an immediate boost
to our economy and will better the lives of Canadians in my riding of
Scarborough—Rouge Park and across this country.
I am particularly proud of our post-secondary institutions strategic
investment fund. Budget 2016 plays a major role in supporting postsecondary institutions in Canada. We have allocated $2 billion in
additional funding that will be matched by the provinces and
territories, to build and update research labs, training facilities, and
on-campus incubators. These investments will ensure that Canadian
post-secondary institutions remain leaders in innovation and
research.
● (1225)
I am proud to say that my riding is home to the University of
Toronto, Scarborough campus, and to Centennial College, both hubs
of learning in Scarborough. I am pleased that our Minister of Science
was at Centennial College in Scarborough last week to announce the
post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund. Many university and college presidents, student groups, and community
members were in attendance. We were mesmerized by the incredible
demonstrations of talent by Centennial College students, who have
the key to the collective future in new technology, the new jobs that
we often speak of.
The University of Toronto Scarborough campus has a master plan,
which principal Bruce Kidd and members of the Scarborough team
shared with the members of this House. The master plan supports the
renewal of Scarborough as a region. I believe the post-secondary
institutions strategic investment fund will greatly support UTSC in
our region and escalate the much-needed development that will lead
to a more educated workforce, more equipped scientists, incubation
of new businesses and technology, and ultimately more jobs.
As an example, this January 29, I had the privilege of taking part
in the opening of the new environmental science and chemistry
building at the University of Toronto. It is a magnificent structure. It
uses 40% less energy for a building of that size and meets the
coveted LEED gold standard. This building houses world-class
researchers, and Ph.D. and other graduate students. They are looking
to help us. As countries address issues such as global warming and
greenhouse gas emissions, the output from this building will help us
develop the technologies, policies, and workforce to build the green
economy of the future, an economy that can grow and help the
middle class.
Let me now turn to our historic investment into indigenous
communities. The Prime Minister has made it abundantly clear that
there is no relationship more important to him, this government, or
our country than the one with our first nations, Métis, and Inuit
peoples. I note that this morning the Supreme Court of Canada
expanded the definition of Indian under the Indian Act to include the
Métis nation and non-status Indians, in the Daniels v. Canada
decision. In effect, our investment in indigenous communities is
even more pressing today.
Two days ago, our House debated the most recent suicides in
Attawapiskat, and the broader issue of suicide in indigenous
communities. This is yet another tragedy, but sadly not unfamiliar
to those who live in these communities. We know there is no easy
fix, and we know that money alone will not fix this problem.
However, we know that the long-term solutions exist if government
puts its energy and resources to it. Five hundred years of
colonization, oppression, and failed policies cannot be undone
overnight. The devastating news that we hear from many indigenous
communities is a reflection of this history.
2226
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
Budget 2016 will move forward with the goal of renewing the
relationship with our indigenous peoples. I believe this budget will
serve as a down payment to resetting the relationship. Though
programs announced in budget 2016 will not solve the long-standing
problems overnight, it is the first step to ensuring that some day soon
all indigenous children will be able to have the same hopes,
aspirations, and opportunities as any other child in Canada. To this
end, budget 2016 proposes an investment of $8.4 billion over five
years, beginning in 2016-17, to improve socio-economic conditions,
education outcomes, and the well-being of our indigenous population. This investment is a significant increase over funding that
would have been made available under the Kelowna Accord.
Of this funding, $2.6 billion is earmarked for improving onreserve education, including funds for special education and first
nations language education. There is $634 million earmarked to
improve child welfare, and $1.2 billion is to be allocated toward
social infrastructure, with a focus on health and housing. These are
investments that our indigenous communities desperately need right
now. They will provide youth with the opportunity to build their
communities.
Boil water advisories are common in many first nations
communities, and we are earmarking $2.24 billion in water and
waste water infrastructure.
The spending cap, as mentioned earlier, is a very important
challenge that has faced first nations communities. We will remove
the spending cap after a number of years where this has stagnated the
growth and the needs of indigenous communities.
In conclusion, this budget is one that we should all be incredibly
proud of. It invests in our future and the future of our children. It is a
statement on who we are as a people, and it opens a new chapter in
the relations with our indigenous population. Budget 2016 is a truly
inclusive approach to governing Canada, and it will pave the way for
the prosperity of all Canadians well into the future.
● (1230)
Mr. Mark Warawa (Langley—Aldergrove, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
I have a very important question concerning the legislation that was
just introduced today by the government on assisted suicide and
euthanasia.
We know that the government announced $3 billion over four
years in its platform to directly fund palliative care. In the legislation
that has been introduced, it is a critical part of that formula to have
palliative care funded by that $3 billion. My question to the hon.
member is this. Why does the budget not include that $3 billion?
Why was it just on a platform? Was it just aspirational? Why is the
government not funding palliative care in this budget as it promised
it would? The situation has been highlighted by the legislation it has
just introduced on assisted suicide.
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree: Mr. Speaker, I believe we are now
six months into a four-year government. This is the first budget we
have introduced. There are a number of commitments our
government made during the election, and I am confident that we
will fulfill those commitments over the coming years.
With respect to health care in general, we have a very able
Minister of Health who is working with our provincial counterparts
to reset the arrangement on health care across the country. I believe
she will be meeting with her provincial counterparts shortly. Over
the next year, I am hoping we will have a new accord that will ensure
long-term stable funding for the required health care needs of
Canadians.
Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I thank
my hon. colleague for his speech and comments, and particularly for
the emphasis he put on the importance of first nations people in
Canada—the first people of Canada. Therefore, like many of us on
this side, I am surprised that the promise and the reality between
election and becoming government meant that there was a
shortchange for education. Although we saw a promise during the
election of $2.6 billion over four years for first nations education,
post-secondary education, and skills training, what we see is a
shortchange. As budgets are about choices, I am wondering why the
government decided to make that choice for this budget.
● (1235)
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree: Mr. Speaker, we know that
education is at the centre of any type of renewal with our indigenous
population. It is a very important tool and the ultimate equalizer in
our society. From our experience around the world, we know the
value of education and what it allows people to become when they
grow up. I am personally invested in it, and I know it is important to
our indigenous communities.
I am proud of our government's commitment of $8.4 billion over
five years toward a number of very important things, $2.6 billion of
which is earmarked for education. Of that number, we will also be
investing in special needs, which is a very important aspect in some
of the communities with which I have engaged.
As I said earlier, it is a down payment. I believe that over the years
we will do the right thing.
Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Parliamentary Secretary to
the Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my
colleague for his speech and for representing his riding as well as he
does. He spoke quite eloquently about our government's investment
into infrastructure and post-secondary education.
I have two post-secondary institutes in my riding, Durham
College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. I am
wondering if my colleague could speak further to how that
investment into post-secondary education, along with the doubling
of grants and the ability of students to not have to pay back their
loans until they earn a threshold of $25,000, opens up possibilities
for the students in his riding, who are probably from marginalized
communities, as I know his riding well. How does that help those
students?
Mr. Gary Anandasangaree: Mr. Speaker, my friend and I share
very similar values and very similar demographics in terms of whom
we represent.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2227
The Budget
There are a number of very important initiatives for young people.
I believe the number one incentive for young people to go to
university is what they will get out of it. I believe our investment into
jobs, job training, the 35,000 new jobs under the Canada summer
jobs program, and our commitment to co-op placements are very
important indicators—
Mr. Darrell Samson (Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand today before the
House to speak to budget 2016. This budget is extremely important
to allow growth and prosperity to the middle class.
My speech will touch on three major areas: investment in the
middle class; our relationship with indigenous people, which is
extremely important; and of course the historic investment in
infrastructure, which would see growth and prosperity in the near
future.
During the campaign, I met a gentleman named Tyler in my riding
of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, and in talking with him, I
realized the challenges he had. He was making a modest income, he
had three young kids, and his wife was a stay-at-home mom,
supporting the children. With that income, it is quite challenging for
families. When we look at how items in the budget could support
Tyler's family, it is quite impressive.
By that I mean that the Canada child benefit program would see
$1,116 per month going toward the support of his family and some
of the challenges of the costs. That represents $13,400 of tax-free
money. There is no question that this budget would make a big
difference to his family and many young families across the country.
There are many families out there, some who are even more
vulnerable and have even more challenges, and this budget would
support more than 300,000 families and pull them out of poverty. We
would also see nine out of 10 families benefiting from this budget.
It is very obvious that this is a major investment in the middle
class. Studies have shown in the past that, when we invest in young
families early, it reduces the costs to government in the future. That
is the type of government we have here.
The second point I would make is about our indigenous people.
● (1240)
[Translation]
I would like to talk about indigenous people and the challenges
they have been facing for far too long. What is really impressive is
that this government is going to invest in these communities because
they have enormous challenges. Past governments of all stripes did
not really invest as much as they should have, and that is why this
budget is important.
What kind of investments do we have here? The government is
going to invest $8.4 billion to support indigenous people.
Furthermore, I am pleased that it will invest $2.6 billion in
education. This is vital for primary and secondary education on
reserves.
It is very important to note that only 36% of indigenous youth
graduate from high school, compared to 72% for the general
population. As we can see, this is a very serious situation that must
be addressed. That is what this government intends to do. There is
also a great need for renovations to school infrastructure in
indigenous communities. This money will also be used for that
purpose. Furthermore, an investment will be made to provide access
to clean drinking water and improve health services and the quality
of education. As we know, education is probably the most important
thing we can give young people. This investment will help them
develop their skills and also help them return to their communities to
make a contribution, which is key for any group of individuals.
[English]
I would also like to talk about the tax credit for teachers, which is
extremely important. Many teachers use their own personal money
so that they can add equipment or material to their classrooms. I see
this happening often. I have personal experience. I am a teacher, my
wife is a teacher, and my two daughters are teachers. This tax credit
of 15% would be a big piece to support this initiative, up to $1,000
of course. It recognizes the investment made by teachers and the
hard work they do for students across Canada.
For the last part of my speech I would like to talk about the
infrastructure investment. When we talk about infrastructure, people
think right away about bridges and roads, but the investment in
infrastructure by this government is about more than that. It is about
social investment, digital investment, and environmental investment.
These are much larger categories and would help a greater number of
people.
Let me talk about social infrastructure. Many communities in my
riding require affordable senior housing. This would ensure that
seniors stayed in their own communities where they could see their
children and their grandchildren grow. That is important. Statistics
Canada has indicated that Nova Scotia has one of the oldest
populations in the country. The needs in my riding of Sackville—
Preston—Chezzetcook are extremely important.
As well, we are seeing investments for veterans. Our government
would reopen the nine veteran offices that were closed by the past
government. We owe a deep debt of gratitude and appreciation to all
veterans for their service. This is one small step, but we are going in
the right direction.
Also, with respect to digital infrastructure, rural broadband access
is important in my riding and across Canada. I have participated in
the rural community caucus, which has clearly announced that
broadband is a top priority. Our government would invest $500
million over five years in this budget for high-speed Internet, which
would allow small rural and remote communities to thrive and
provide people with the necessary equipment for the challenges of
the 21st century.
2228
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
I am working on many major projects in my community: for
example, the Burnside-Sackville expressway, the dredging of the
inlet in Eastern Passage, the Aerotech Business Park, and so forth.
What I like about this budget is that the categories would be set now
for us to take advantage of and get these jobs done. It is extremely
important that every member in the House, not just Liberal members,
has access to these types of categories to help the people in their
ridings.
It is a nice feeling to stand here today and know that we are seeing
steps toward what we promised to our constituents in this budget,
and many of the things we promised are going to get done. Over the
next four years, we will see many more great things happen to help
and support all Canadians.
● (1245)
Mr. Earl Dreeshen (Red Deer—Mountain View, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I too am a teacher and I understand the significance of the
extra costs associated with making sure classrooms are adequately
supplied.
The member mentioned a specific group of people who would
gain a tax credit, but the tax credit for the group he mentioned has
been taken away. The tax credit for families with children involved
in sports and music lessons has disappeared. This tax credit was
something for the entire population.
The member also mentioned young families and the extra dollars
they will have. I am curious to know whether the Liberals have taken
the time to see the significance of income splitting for families. No
tax would have been paid under those circumstances either.
I am just curious as to whether or not the member heard both sides
of the argument during the campaign.
Mr. Darrell Samson: Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite
for asking the important questions and the two points in reference.
There is no question that the budget is a comprehensive and
impressive one, because not only does it help taxpayers with a 7%
tax reduction, which is a very importance piece, but it also invests in
the Canada child benefit program, which is tax-free money. That taxfree money is a lot more, almost $3,000 more, than any family was
receiving. Those monies will enable families to invest in different
types of sports programs and have support for the costs of these
items.
The income-splitting question is a good one, because the
individuals the member is speaking of would be making a lot more
money. Of course, we have income splitting available for seniors,
and that is what is important.
This is a very comprehensive budget that supports many
Canadians across Canada.
[Translation]
Mr. François Choquette (Drummond, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
thank my hon. colleague for his speech and comments. I really enjoy
working with him on the Standing Committee on Official
Languages.
Speaking of which, I am wondering why the budget does not
contain additional efforts to promote linguistic duality. For example,
the budget of the Commissioner of Official Languages is still frozen
and so is the budget for the ACFA under the roadmap. Those
budgets have not been indexed for nearly 10 years. That is very
worrisome.
Another thing that really worries me about this budget is that it
does not really include many measures to combat climate change,
even though such measures are necessary.
Unfortunately, as members know, the Liberals went to Paris with
the same targets as the Conservatives, when everyone, even the
Liberals, were saying that the Conservative targets were minuscule
and that the Conservatives were certainly not doing what was needed
to combat climate change.
We are still waiting for the Liberals to present a serious plan.
Unfortunately, greenhouse gas emissions will increase in the coming
years. As a result, we need to make a clear and drastic shift toward
green energy.
● (1250)
Mr. Darrell Samson: Mr. Speaker, I thank my esteemed
colleague. Not only is he a member in this House, but he also sits
on the Standing Committee on Official Languages.
I am happy that he asked this question, since it is an extremely
important one.
We are certainly in the process of examining the roadmap. We
have started fast-tracking some major consultations to ensure that the
roadmap better meets the needs of our communities and organizations.
There are two important notes, here. I think that the minister has
already made some excellent changes. There were some serious
problems in the past, and I experienced this myself when I was the
superintendent of the Conseil scolaire acadien provincial. First of all,
the various organizations had to wait a very long time before getting
funding guarantees, and as a result they lost some very good
employees. They could not keep them because they did not have
guaranteed funding. This has been fixed. Furthermore, there were no
multi-year funding agreements. The minister just announced this
change.
These are two excellent and major changes made by this
government.
Mr. Rhéal Fortin (Rivière-du-Nord, BQ): Mr. Speaker, this
budget reveals the government's real priorities. It shows not what the
government said it would do, but what it is really willing to do and
where it is really putting the money. The Bloc Québécois is taking
this process very seriously.
We want to be absolutely sure that we are speaking on behalf of
Quebeckers and that we understand their needs and support them in
getting the tools they need to address the challenges they face. That
is why we met with about a hundred groups of people from all walks
of life, people from cities and the regions, people involved in social
and environmental work, workers, students, seniors, and the
unemployed. We cast a wide net so that we could accurately convey
what Quebeckers want.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2229
The Budget
Not everyone agreed about everything, of course, but we were
surprised at the strong consensus on one important thing: Quebec is
not Canada. Our challenges are not the same, our economy is not the
same, and our way of doing things is not the same either. Everyone
agrees that Ottawa needs to take that into account.
Now that the budget has been tabled and the government has to
come up with a program, Ottawa needs to sit down soon with the
Government of Quebec to adapt its program to our specific reality.
Unfortunately, that is where the fine words end. For the rest, it is
disappointment after disappointment.
We have identified four key priorities. The first one involves
protecting our public services through transfers. Second, we need to
rebuild our infrastructure through a flexible, effective program that
allocates money quickly so that we can meet the needs and boost the
economy. Third, we have to take care of people, particularly through
employment insurance, which was systematically gutted in recent
years. Lastly, we need to reinvest in the economy, but not in a foolish
or haphazard manner. Those investments must meet the needs of the
Quebec economy.
First, let us talk about transfers. If there was one thing that became
quite clear during the pre-budget consultations, it was the need to
restore transfers to a level that ensures the viability of the
Government of Quebec and the sustainability of the public services
that depend on it.
Since we are proactive, we even offered some suggestions for
obtaining additional revenue: taxing banks and cracking down on tax
havens. This budget is zero for four. It provides nothing for transfers,
nothing meaningful for employment insurance, nothing to suggest
that the infrastructure program will work quickly and effectively, and
nothing to meet the needs of our economy. The budget does not meet
any of Quebec's specific needs, either socially, economically, or
fiscally. We will therefore be voting against this budget.
Of course, the budget does contain some interesting measures.
Investments for indigenous communities are long overdue. The
federal government's record when it comes to indigenous issues has
become a disgrace. Many indigenous people are living in third world
conditions. The needs in terms of housing, health care, education,
and public safety are overwhelming.
● (1255)
Of all the governments, the federal government has the most room
to manoeuvre. As it provides almost no services, it will not feel the
impact of the aging population, particularly on health care. Unlike
the provinces, whose deficits are recurring because they are
structural, the federal government runs a deficit because of a
temporary economic slowdown. Economic conditions aside, the
trend is clear. The parliamentary budget officer, the Conference
Board of Canada, and the Council of the Federation agree that in 20
years, Ottawa will be on track to pay off its debt, while the provinces
will be in an untenable financial situation.
The scope of these financial problems goes beyond Quebec. It is
the status of province that is not viable. These prospects are quite
worrisome. In fact, unless there is harsher unending austerity,
Quebec will all but implode.
There is also the new child benefit, which is another attractive
measure. We want to see the law before giving our full approval, but
I find it attractive, more generous than former programs, nontaxable, and better targeted to those who need it. It remains to be
seen how it will be harmonized with Quebec programs.
Health care costs have increased by more than 5% a year, on
average, in the past 10 years. By reorganizing services to increase
efficiency, Quebec is hoping to limit this increase to 4.4% in the
future. The 6% annual increase in federal health transfers was a start
in helping Quebec get caught up. After hitting a low of 18% as a
result of severe budget cuts by the Liberals at the end of the 1990s,
Ottawa now contributes 22% of costs. We are very close to reaching
the 25% target set by the Romanow commission, which was put in
place by Ottawa. Unfortunately, the Conservatives put a stop to the
increase as of next year. At the end of the plan, the federal
government's share will have dropped to 18%, the same as it was
during the worst years. However, things will be even worse, as a
result of the aging population. Everyone in Quebec has been critical
of this. We need to continue getting caught up. The government
needs to continue increasing transfers by 6% a year, until Ottawa is
once again responsible for one-quarter of the system costs. Since this
is intended to cover health care costs, the allocation must also take
needs into account. It does not make sense to allocate the funds
automatically, on a per-capita basis. We need to take seniors into
account. What is there for seniors in the budget? Nothing. The
Liberals are maintaining the Conservatives' cuts. Quebeckers would
be better off getting used to austerity and wait lists. This government
just confirmed that those times are not over.
The OECD finds that Quebec has the best and most original
family policy in North America. Our people do good things. A
consistent family policy is an effective family policy. Financial
assistance from both levels of government, child care services, and
parental leave all have to be coordinated. No one should ever fall
through the cracks because two government programs are poorly
coordinated.
It is not just health transfers. Quebec's future depends on its young
people. Transfers for education and social programs have not even
begun to catch up, as if education and child care services were not
important. The government was asked to increase transfers by 6%
per year until they got back to the same level as before the cuts that
were made in the 1990s. That would represent nearly $900 million a
year for Quebec. What is in the budget? Nothing.
The crisis in Attawapiskat in the past few days has brought to light
the sense of abandonment that these people feel every day.
Therefore, we applaud the investments that were announced in this
budget. Clearly, putting money on the table is not enough. We must
meet the needs of indigenous peoples and listen to them. They must
be real partners.
It is in the Liberal DNA to centralize decision-making in Ottawa.
Quebec knows a thing or two about that. The nation-to-nation
approach that the government announced in its throne speech, and
that it refuses to use in Quebec, I would add, should be more than
just a slogan. Our indigenous brothers need more than money. They
also need respect for their differences and their distinctiveness.
Otherwise, things will not change. The Indian Act, with its colonial
approach, treats them like minors. That law must go.
2230
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April 14, 2016
The Budget
As I said earlier, the federal government provides almost no
services, and when it does, it does not manage them very well. What
the Liberals and Conservatives have been doing with employment
insurance for the past 20 years is outrageous. EI was supposed to be
an insurance program, but it has turned into an employment tax.
Rather than providing workers with insurance for when they fall on
hard times, the government is charging them extra taxes. The
government has let workers down. It has put women, young people,
and seasonal workers in dire straits. They have had to go on welfare
because they are not eligible for EI. Ottawa is treating seasonal
workers like fraudsters. The government is forgetting that it is not
the workers who are seasonal but the jobs. Like everyone else, these
honest citizens still need to eat 12 months a year.
There is not a lot of tourism in the Gaspé in winter. Not a lot of
construction either. Trying to pave a road in the middle of January is
impossible. Trying to find a teaching position in July is impossible.
These people are not fraudsters; they are the very people for whom
employment insurance was created during the depression in the
1930s. People everywhere told us that they wanted the government
to restore employment insurance, which has been gutted. That is
what we asked for. Employment insurance must once again become
what it should never have stopped being: insurance. The system
must once again be accessible and independent. Ottawa must stop
dipping into the fund as though that money were its own.
Is there something about this in the budget? Precious little. Ottawa
reduced the waiting period, which is good. However, it did nothing
to make the system more accessible or to extend the benefit period.
What is worse, Ottawa is extending benefits in regions where the
economy is tied to oil production, but not anywhere else. Montreal's
unemployment rate is higher than Calgary's, but the government is
extending benefits for Calgarians only. Seasonal workers in the
regions are worried.
● (1300)
Benefits run out at this time of the year, yet there is nothing for
them. We have gone from having a broken system to having a
system that is broken and unfair. That is not what I would call an
improvement.
Let me say a few words about infrastructure. The federal
government is currently contributing roughly $1 billion to Quebec's
infrastructure through the various building Canada plan programs.
That funding represents only roughly 5% of public infrastructure
spending in Quebec, while the Government of Quebec covers the
other 95%, including for health, education, and the municipalities.
Needless to say, the additional investments announced by Ottawa are
welcome. However, it is not enough to just put money on the table.
The money needs to be made available quickly and the programs
need to be flexible enough to meet the needs on the ground,
something that only the authorities in Quebec City and the
municipalities can determine.
The experience with the 2009 infrastructure plan is instructive.
Ottawa wanted to interfere in the choice of projects, which made the
whole process unending: 27 months to conclude a framework
agreement that opened the door to studying the first projects,
followed by negotiations, project by project, for 15 months on
average. It took three and a half years before money was released
from the federal treasury, which meant the program had to be
extended. The same thing happened with the 2014 program. The
money was frozen in Ottawa because of federal-provincial squabbles
caused by the federal government's attempts to interfere.
If the government really wants to have more money available to
fight the economic downturn now, it must not repeat the same
mistakes. The only federal infrastructure program that works well is
the federal gas tax fund. The provinces receive block payments, and
Quebec and the municipalities jointly select the projects to be
funded. It is simple, quick, and effective.
What did the government present in its budget? In its new
programs, the Liberal government decided to keep doing things the
same old way, even though it is not working, rather than doing
something that works. By all indications, the municipalities are once
again victims of the bickering between Quebec and Ottawa that will
have federal interference paralyzing the process for months, if not
years, even though the needs are urgent now.
Worse still, the community infrastructure funds that will pay for
projects like community centres, cultural infrastructure, and social
housing were incorporated into the propaganda funding for the 150th
anniversary. Will municipalities and community groups be forced to
spread federalist propaganda in order to access funding? This feels
just like the Liberal sponsorship scandal all over again. By all
indications, these programs, as they are now, will be completely
ineffective, and the municipalities will not see one red cent of the
money promised for a very long time.
This brings me to economic policy. The government said that it
wanted to reinvest in the economy, that it wanted a more sustainable
economy. We agree. When the Conservatives were in power, all they
cared about was oil and western Canada. Look where that got us.
Now it is Ontario's turn to reap the benefits of federal largesse. Once
again, Quebec is being ignored.
The Quebec economy is different than the Canadian economy.
People often forget that. Canada has a subsidiary economy,
particularly in the oil and auto sectors. Protecting head offices is
not a Canadian priority. The country's economy is not terribly
innovative, and its businesses do relatively little R & D.
Things are different in Quebec. Quebec accounts for 45% of
Canada's technology exports. Quebec entrepreneurs invest 50%
more in research than their counterparts in Canada. That information
is from Statistics Canada. Quebec has an aerospace sector and a
multimedia industry. Quebec has renewable resources like hydroelectricity and forests. That is Quebec, and federal policies must
reflect that.
I was surprised to see the level of support for an economic policy
that meets our needs among all the people we heard from in the prebudget consultations. On the left and on the right, in urban and rural
areas, there must be support for business innovation. We must
support investment, especially since the weak petrodollar makes
production equipment more expensive. We need a real aerospace
policy that supports our major players, who are world leaders. We
cannot say it enough. We need programs that support our SMEs,
which are also innovators. What we need is a real innovation
strategy.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
Quebec has a 21st-century economy. Our strengths lie in sectors
that will grow in the future: technology, the environment, renewable
resources, and culture. Quebeckers are creative.
● (1305)
The federal government's policy is unbelievably poorly adapted to
our needs, and things are not improving under the new government.
It wants to do more research itself. That is fine. It wants university
researchers to do more research. That is fine as well.
However, at the end of the day, the government wants to make up
for the fact that businesses elsewhere in Canada do not innovate
much, and it is not proposing to support innovative Quebec
companies. Its policies do not seem to take into account that
Quebec is Canada's technology engine.
We are not asking for charity: $1 billion for Bombardier is 10
times less than the $10 billion invested in GM. All we are asking for
is a policy that addresses our needs. That is all.
In that respect, this budget is downright disastrous. It does nothing
for the sectors our economy is based on. There is nothing for
Bombardier or the aerospace sector in general, nothing for the
forestry sector, nothing for the farmers who were sacrificed in the
negotiation of the agreements with Europe and Asia, and no sign of a
plan for electric transportation.
What is worse, if the government uses our money to make up for
low innovation spending by Canadian businesses outside Quebec, it
could end up creating competitors for us west of the Ottawa River.
The budget allocates a significant amount of funding to
government research concentrated in Ontario and university research
that focuses on the needs of industry. The government intends to
then turn over the findings of that research to industries that are not
very innovative to help make up for their shortcomings.
There is nothing for our innovative Quebec industries. However,
the government plans to allocate new funding to oil companies:
$50 million to help them cause less pollution. The government has
set aside money for the automotive industry and has extended the
program that funds the industry's research until 2021.
There is nothing for Quebec. The Conservatives told Quebec no
with a smirk. The Liberals are telling Quebec no with a smile, but
when it comes right down to it, the answer is still no.
In the last election, for the first time in 30 years, Quebeckers
elected a majority of government members. Quebeckers have tried
everything to succeed in a country that is not their own.
Budget 2016 gives us an idea of what that has accomplished. The
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is
working to kill Bombardier, the Minister of Transport is working to
dismantle Air Canada, the Minister of Employment, Workforce
Development and Labour is working to starve unemployed workers
and empty out the regions, the Minister of Finance is working to
choke the government, and the Quebec Liberal caucus is applauding
their efforts.
Obviously, we can draw only one conclusion from the federal
budget, and that is that Quebeckers cannot count on a Canadian party
to develop Quebec; Quebeckers cannot count on a Canadian
government to develop Quebec; they can only count on themselves.
Taking charge of our destiny and relying on our own strengths has
a name. It is called the emancipation of a people, of a nation. It is
called independence.
● (1310)
[English]
Mrs. Celina Caesar-Chavannes (Parliamentary Secretary to
the Prime Minister, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my
colleague for the work he does for his constituents.
My colleague spoke about employment insurance. The government believes that employment insurance should be available to
those who have lost jobs and are looking to care for children or loved
ones in a time of need. We have made great improvements to the EI
system through budget 2016, improvements that will allow for
changes for new entrants and re-entrants into the EI system.
We have also called for improved service delivery so processing
times can be reduced and people can have access to money faster
when they need it. We have reduced wait periods from two weeks to
one week. We have extended the working while on claim. We have
also made it easier and more flexible to access compassionate care.
Does my hon. colleague think these changes and investments will
impact those not only across the country but those in the Quebec
region as well?
[Translation]
Mr. Rhéal Fortin: Mr. Speaker, as I said at the beginning, there
are some good things in this budget. Not all of it is bad, but it does
not take long to get through the good stuff and find out that the bad
stuff is so bad it pretty much cancels out the good stuff.
For employment insurance, the extended benefit periods apply to
12 regions in Canada. The Minister of Finance was very careful not
to include Quebec when designating those regions. I cannot list them
all by heart, but they are in Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan,
northern Ontario and the Maritimes, New Brunswick, I believe.
There is nothing for Quebec. The extensions apply only to regions
whose economy has been affected by the oil crisis.
The petroleum economy is not viable. We all know that it is an
energy source of the past. Quebec is turning to green energy. Not
only is the government still investing in petroleum and handing over
compensation for Alberta's losses, but it is also paying for problems
related to the oil crisis through changes to employment insurance.
That is nice, and I am sure the people who will benefit will be happy.
I agree that it is a good measure.
However, it is good only for Canada. Quebec is getting nothing
even though we are paying 25% of the cost of the system. Employed
and unemployed workers in Quebec pay employment insurance
premiums every week. The government is going to use their
premiums to compensate regions that are struggling because of the
oil crisis. We are dissatisfied and disappointed in this budget.
2232
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
The Budget
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach (Salaberry—Suroît, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech. He raised the issue of
child services and the importance of ensuring that our young people
are treated better.
According to a UNICEF publication, Canada is one of the
wealthiest countries with the most inequalities when it comes to how
children are treated. UNICEF ranks Canada 26th out of 35 countries
when it comes to education, health, income, and a fourth category
that I do not recall. UNICEF is urging Canada to reinvest in family
incomes and child services.
When we know that the Liberals made new investments to reduce
taxes for the wealthiest Canadians and did nothing about the taxes
for those who earn less than $45,000, meaning the majority of
Canadians and Quebeckers, it makes us wonder about their strategy
to reduce inequality, especially for children.
When we know that inequality carries over throughout a lifetime,
beginning with young children, it is a little more difficult. We also
know that health transfers did not go up, even though the Liberals
promised during the election campaign that they would review the
Conservatives' cuts. This has a big impact on the quality of life of
our children and their chance to flourish.
What are my colleague's thoughts on this?
● (1315)
Mr. Rhéal Fortin: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from
Salaberry—Suroît for her question.
I agree with her, and I think it is terrible. We in the Bloc
Québécois believe in free education for children, and that begins
with early childhood centres. We believe in social equity, and that
begins with the taxes that we pay.
This evening my colleague from Joliette will be moving a motion
on tax havens. That is where it begins. Rather than taking money
from workers who make $30,000 or $40,000 a year, why not
eliminate tax havens and recover billions of dollars? Why not raise
the tax rate for banks? There is no reason not to, and yet the
government refuses. The people wind up paying for that.
As for family benefits, yes, the Prime Minister did announce
during the election campaign that those benefits would be tax free,
but that does not go into effect until next year. Benefits paid out last
year are taxable this spring.
These are nasty surprises for taxpayers in Quebec and across
Canada. We are very disappointed in how this government is
managing the education file and treating young Quebeckers and
young Canadians and the parents watching over them.
Mr. Marc Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-desSoeurs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would first like to thank my Quebec
colleague for his passionate yet flawed speech. I would like to say to
him that there are 40 Quebec MPs in the government party who
advocate for Quebeckers every day. We have a government that is
led by a Prime Minister from Quebec.
If my colleague has read the budget, he has misread it. I doubt that
he has read it, or the Constitution, because he should be bringing
many of his concerns to the Quebec government.
With respect to the budget, the member has expressed concerns
that are not specific to Quebec. They apply to all of Canada.
However, he made no mention of the Canada child benefit, which is
truly revolutionary for transfers to Quebec and the rest of Canada for
Canadian and Quebec families. In Quebec, 80,000 children will
benefit, and their lives will change drastically. Nine out of 10
Quebec families will benefit thanks to this budget. We have not had
this kind of reform to our allowance system for 30 years. I would
like to hear what he has to say about that, because families that will
benefit would like to know. That is something he forgot in his
speech, and it is in the budget.
Mr. Rhéal Fortin: Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite. I
want to thank him for thanking me for a flawed speech. I look
forward to giving a speech that is more to his liking and hearing the
Liberals applaud.
That being said, I sympathize with what my colleague said about
the 40 Liberal members who are part of the Liberal caucus. I
sympathize with them because, from what I understood from the
member's comments, their government made all the decisions about
the budget, not them. They have to live with that. That is
unfortunate. I sympathize with them, but what can we do? They
are the ones who are in power.
If our Prime Minister wants us to form a government, perhaps we
could think about it and come to an agreement with him, but for now,
the budget is a Liberal budget produced by a federal Liberal
government. That is what I was criticizing.
Mr. Ramez Ayoub (Thérèse-De Blainville, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
will be brief. I would like to ask a question because it seems obvious
that we are not always all on the same planet.
Your party has very clear intentions. However, with regard to how
Quebec fits into the federal budget, I would like to quote a comment
made by someone who should know what she is talking about. I
come from the municipal sector, and Suzanne Roy, president of the
UMQ said that the federal budget was a good budget. She said:
We can say that we have been heard. The government responded to the municipal
sector's main expectations. What is more, the Government of Canada is sending the
message that it wants to build a solid partnership with the municipalities for the
benefit of all members of our communities.
I would like to hear what you have to say about that.
● (1320)
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): The hon.
member for Rivière-du-Nord will have 30 seconds to respond, but
before I turn the floor over to him, I would like to remind members
to speak through the Speaker, not to the Speaker.
Mr. Rhéal Fortin: Mr. Speaker, for the information of my
colleague, my neighbour from Thérèse-De Blainville, Rivière-duNord is in Quebec, on planet Earth.
My colleagues from Joliette and Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—
Verchères met with the UMQ. Its demands are the same as the
Bloc's. We were calling for clear budgets that do not cause endless
squabbles between Quebec and Ottawa, which we unfortunately did
not get.
April 14, 2016
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The Budget
I am sorry to tell my colleague that his interpretation of the UMQ's
position does not seem to match what we took away from our tour of
Quebec.
[English]
Hon. Hedy Fry (Vancouver Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am
very pleased and proud to stand here and support this budget.
I know everybody is listening to thousands of pieces of
information about programs here and there, but the big thing about
the budget is that it invests in two important things. It invests in the
economy and creating jobs, and it invests in people, helping
Canadians have more money in their pockets spend, to afford to do
things they need, and to cope. For me, these two key issues are very
important.
First and foremost is the economy. We need to invest in the
economy now. We have had a stagnant economy and not very good
job creation over the past 10 years. Everything has stayed steady
because we have depended on one commodity only to float the
economy and jobs, and we have seen what has happened. We have
no control over global markets, and oil prices have gone down.
We are trying to diversify the economy, not only by investing in
natural resources, of which we have a lot, but also by investing in the
21st century economy, creativity, and innovation. To do that, we
have to reinvest in those areas that have been ignored for quite some
time.
We want to kick start the economy now so it can start moving and
then develop a long-term economy. Therefore, we are investing
immediately in infrastructure.
As members well know, we are investing $11.9 billion in
infrastructure, which is phase one. I want to point out that this budget
is not the only and final budget this government will bring in. This is
our phase one budget. When we invest in infrastructure, we are
investing in green infrastructure, looking at waste water, encouraging
electric vehicles, simple things like that which will move us forward.
We know that infrastructure brings jobs and gets people working
immediately. Therefore, we are building roads and bridges. Road and
bridges have to take our people, goods, and services across the
country to ports and areas in which we can move them around the
world. It is an important investment. For public transit alone, we are
talking about $3.4 billion over three years.
Also, what most people do not understand is that from coast to
coast to coast, ferries are important points of transportation. British
Columbia will benefit from the 25% tariff being taken off of ferries.
This will allow us to have bigger and better ferries, and to fix the
ones we have right now. Again, when we can move our goods and
services, that puts us into the competitive arena.
We are also investing in is social infrastructure. We are investing
in housing, which is the first part. Building new housing and
renovating old housing is real work for real people, which will
continue over the next five years and into the future. As the economy
grows, we will see more building going on.
We are talking about the spectrum of housing. It is not only lowincome and social housing in which rent is geared to income, but we
are also looking at building home care for seniors. We are looking at
how we can work with provinces and municipalities to build
affordable housing. Because of that, the affordable housing budget
of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation has been doubled.
When the Liberals first brought in a national housing strategy
back under Lester Pearson, CMHC was created. However, CMHC
seemed to have lost its way in the last 10 years. Now we have now
brought it back to do what it was supposed, which is to invest in
affordable housing.
Many Canadians and their children cannot afford to buy houses,
and may be living farther away. However, investing both in housing
and transit closes that loop. In other words, we can get them to work
and back home in a faster period of time.
We are also investing in the new 21st century economy. We are
looking at investing in research and development, and science. We
are looking at investing in areas such as commercializing our
technology, which is a huge. We have universities that are second to
none. They are coming up with important new discoveries, and the
ability to commercialize some of that work is very important.
● (1325)
We developed the ebola vaccine here and we sold it, gave it away
to a big company. We now have to buy it when we want it. That is
not the kind of industry. We want to be a place where people can
come here and talk about how we can develop good pharmaceuticals.
Over the years, we have shown excellence in environmental
medical technology. This is where good, well-paying, solid,
environmentally friendly green jobs will come from and it will give
Canada a name in the world as a niche market and a place when
looking for this envrionmental technology.
I do not know if many people know this, but we happen to be best
for sound and special effects in film, not just in North America but in
the world. Everyone is beating a path to our door because of our new
ability to deliver sound and special effects. This creates jobs. These
jobs start at $63,000 a year. We are not churning out people in film
school fast enough to fill those jobs. Canada can excel in
communications technology, film, arts and culture and be the place
the world looks to when it wants to find excellence.
We are looking at our ability to develop communications
technologies, green technology and translational technologies. We
are actually able to develop innovations in health care that we can
commercialize to the rest of the world. Therefore, that translational
research is very important. That is the kind of technology, the kind of
new economy about which we are talking. That is where Canada can
begin to excel.
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The Budget
With regard to aerospace, we have McDonnell-Detweiler, the
Canadarm, the ability to bring in things like CASSIOPE that can
download and upload enormous amounts of information and time.
RADARSAT, which Google and all of the world now uses to tell us
who is on what street and how to get from A to B, is Canadian,
developed in my province of British Columbia with McDonnellDetweiler. Let us go back and gear to be excellent in certain things.
When we talk about investment, this is an example.
I am just reminded, Mr. Speaker, that I may be splitting my time
with the member for Parkdale—High Park.
We are talking about that kind of investment in the economy, but
the economy is not just an abstract thing. The economy is people.
People are the ones who work, who produce, who make Canada
competitive. Therefore, we are looking at how we invest in people so
Canada can once again become a more productive nation and be
competitive in a global economy. We have not been doing that very
well.
We are reinvesting in skills so people can transition from
economies that are not doing particularly well to the new economies.
Re-training people is a huge investment, and is an important for
people in the workforce.
Let us look at the young people coming into the workforce. We
are now doubling the Canada student summer job program, with
apprenticeship programs. By doubling it, every year 35,000 new
students in university will be able to learn and train for these new
jobs. This had been severely cut under the last government. We are
bringing this back. We are telling students who come out of
university that until they find a job that will pay them $25,000, they
do not have to repay their loans.
We are bringing in grants for students to go to university and stay
in university, up to a thousand new dollars a year.
We are investing in the fastest growing population in our country,
which is the aboriginal people. If we recall, there was something
called the Kelowna accord under a past Liberal prime minister, Paul
Martin. It would have invested $5 billion over five years into
housing, education and health. It would be administered by
aboriginal people for aboriginal people in partnership with the
provincial and federal governments.
As soon as the last government came in, it was cancelled. That
meant there were 10 years in which none of those programs were
used, and aboriginal communities were 10 years behind in being able
to participate fully in the economic, social and political life of our
country. We have now brought it back. Ten years is almost a lost
generation.
We had an emotional debate in the House about what was
happening in Attawapiskat. This is not a new. It is because despair
and hopelessness. Communities need to participate fully in the
economic life of their country and know there is hope that their next
generation will do better, that they can find meaningful work in
which they can find dignity. This is important. Working with
indigenous people on a nation-to-nation basis is very important.
● (1330)
I could go into arts and culture, which creates 1.1 million jobs in
this country and brings about $37 billion a year into our GDP.
These are the things we are investing in, people, the economy,
jobs, and putting Canada back on the world stage.
Mr. Mel Arnold (North Okanagan—Shuswap, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, there are a few things the member opposite did not mention
in her speech. I have heard other members from the government
speak about how they are proud of this budget, but what I have not
heard them speak about and what I am wondering if they are equally
proud of are the cuts that are made in this budget to the textbook tax
credit, the children fitness tax credit, and the arts tax credit, and the
cuts that were promised but were not made to the small business tax
credit.
Perhaps the member would like to comment on whether she is
proud of those cuts.
Hon. Hedy Fry: Mr. Speaker, one can call it what one wishes, but
the point is that those tax credits did not achieve the goals they set
out to achieve. Those boutique tax credits, as we call them,
supported only high-income families or high middle-income families
who had the money to put their children into sports, or to put their
children into arts and music, and at the end of the year, they got the
money back in tax credits.
We are talking about families who cannot afford to do that now, so
they cannot afford to wait a year. Many families do not pay that
much in taxes to be able to get back that money.
What we are trying to do is level the playing field by bringing in
the child benefit. The additional money that families in the lowincome and middle-income brackets are going to get will allow them
to do those things for their children, enrol their children in sports,
buy their children sports equipment and musical equipment now,
today, and not wait for the end of the year, or never being able to
afford it because they do not qualify for a tax credit.
The important thing to remember is that the money we are giving
is going to benefit nine out of 10 families in this country, lowincome and middle-income families, and it will be tax-free. I would
like to point out that the tax credits before were not tax-free. The
child benefit was a taxable benefit. This is money that will be in
people's hands now so they can participate today.
Mr. Alistair MacGregor (Cowichan—Malahat—Langford,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, as a fellow British Columbian, I am very
interested to hear the comments of my colleague, the member for
Vancouver Centre, on BC Ferries.
It was noted in a news article last year that Atlantic Canada's
ferries are subsidized to the rate of 350 times more than BC Ferries,
and BC Ferries is, arguably, the largest ferry system in the world.
Also, the Liberal government is removing the 25% tariff on ferry
imports.
I wonder, as a fellow British Columbian who has probably used
the ferry system, why she is standing against local manufacturers for
ferries and why there is nothing in the budget to help BC Ferries.
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The Budget
Will you not stand with us on this side, with your fellow members
of Parliament from British Columbia, for BC Ferries? They do need
some federal help.
● (1335)
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): I want to
remind the member that I will not be standing with anyone. I think
who he meant was the hon. member for Vancouver Centre.
limited our means, we lived in a country where our success was
limited only by our imagination and our capacity to work hard.
The hon. member for Vancouver Centre.
Hon. Hedy Fry: Mr. Speaker, actually, I am standing with BC
Ferries.
I am proud that our new government is doing things differently.
We are committed to restoring a fair and inclusive society
We heard from BC Ferries. We heard from the ferry system in
British Columbia. What they need to help them is significant
reinvestment in ferries and the ferry system. I might also note that
this government has just announced huge investments in British
Columbia itself into shipbuilding and into helping build some of
these. At the moment, we do not have the capacity to build new
ferries and the problem is that ferries had to be imported and that
25% tariff hurt them.
They told us specifically what they wanted. We listen to what
people tell us they need. We do not decide that we know better than
they do.
Mr. David de Burgh Graham (Laurentides—Labelle, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, very briefly, I want to congratulate the member on the
milestone she achieved this week of being the longest-serving female
member in the history of this House. I think it is a very important
marker for her and I think she should be recognized for her 23 years
of selfless service here.
She talked about the benefits of this budget for our country. I want
to hear more about how it is going to help in her riding.
Hon. Hedy Fry: Mr. Speaker, in my riding we have a huge arts
and culture sector, a huge film sector. This is a new economy. These
are the new jobs. We can help by pushing for those. They are already
in this budget. By voting for the budget, the hon. member will be
helping not only my riding, but a very strong industry in British
Columbia.
Mr. Arif Virani (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise
today to speak to the 2016 budget. The document was created after
listening to what thousands of Canadians wanted to see from their
government. It reflects the priorities of Canadians and embodies the
real change that the people of Parkdale—High Park voted for on
October 19 last year.
Today, I want to organize my thoughts around three central themes
that infuse the core of this document: first, our government's
commitment to a fair and more inclusive society; second, our
objective of helping Canadian children thrive; and third, the goal of
creating a long-term vision for Canada.
On the first theme, I came to this country as a Ugandan refugee in
1972. I was 10 months old at the time. My father, my mother, my
four-year-old sister, and I arrived with nothing more than a couple of
suitcases. However, we lived in a society where my sister and I, the
children of working-class parents, had access to the same
opportunities as everyone else. We were treated with respect and
dignity. We were shown that no matter where we came from or how
However, over the last 10 years, the previous government
systematically eroded the foundation of that fair and inclusive
society, putting in place barriers to success and limiting rather than
empowering people to reach their full potential.
First and foremost, as part of that commitment is repairing our
relationship with indigenous peoples. Over the generations, that
relationship has suffered from both passive neglect and active
hostility. First nations, the Métis nation, and the Inuit do not enjoy
anywhere near the same quality of life as other Canadians. With the
2016 budget, our hope is that this relationship can begin anew. Our
government is taking its first steps by launching a national inquiry
into missing and murdered indigenous women. Coupled with this,
we are investing $8.4 billion over five years to create opportunities
and improve the socio-economic conditions of indigenous people.
Correcting this relationship and improving the plight of our first
peoples is not only beneficial for the collective, it is also a moral
imperative. I know that the residents of my riding know this as well.
Organizations in Parkdale—High Park have already been taking
action. I am proud of the work that Wigwamen has been doing in my
riding to rebuild this relationship. Wigwamen is Ontario's oldest and
largest urban indigenous housing provider, with 214 units throughout Toronto, including in Parkdale—High Park.
Our commitment in this budget to fostering a fair and more
inclusive society extends to protecting many of our most vulnerable.
We are working toward lifting seniors out of poverty. Our
government is restoring the retirement age from 67 to 65, and
increasing the GIS that is provided for single low-income seniors by
nearly $1,000.
Budget 2016 also targets housing and homelessness. Our social
infrastructure investments include $504 million over the next two
years alone to construct affordable housing units, and $573 million
to address repair backlogs in social housing.
More importantly, this budget dedicates $112 million in the next
two years alone to homelessness, which also includes much needed
support for things that relate to mental health and addiction.
Budget 2016 also strengthens protections for the survivors of
domestic violence. Our infrastructure plan will allocate $90 million
over two years for the construction and renovation of shelters and
transition houses for victims of violence. Unfortunately, my riding is
no stranger to this issue. For 23 years, the excellent staff at The
Redwood shelter in Parkdale—High Park have been providing a safe
and empowering space for women and children fleeing domestic
violence. Notwithstanding its incredible work in our community, the
need for safe spaces for women fleeing domestic violence in Toronto
and other cities around Canada persists. This budget acknowledges
that and works toward fulfilling that need.
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The Budget
A fair and inclusive Canada is one that promotes access. Budget
2016 will also make the objective of post-secondary education more
attainable by doubling the size of the Canada student grant for youth
from low-income and middle-income families.
We also know that helping people afford an education alone is not
enough. We are committed to helping our youth transition from the
classroom to the workforce by investing $495 million next year
alone in the youth employment strategy. Again, the task of preparing
our youth to succeed involves the community, and West Neighbourhood House in my riding has been contributing to this task for
decades. Through the Toronto Youth Job Corps program, West
Neighbourhood House in Parkdale connects youth to the workplace
through employment, school, or training for young people between
the ages of 16 and 29. It is helping kids who are out of school and
out of work develop important life and employment skills that will
help promote future success.
● (1340)
This budget's commitment to enhanced funding for youth
employment reflects the fact that we value the work being done
by entities like West Neighbourhood House.
Helping our children thrive is the second thematic point. The task
of positioning our youth to succeed and contribute to our collective
well-being begins much earlier than the post-secondary education
that I just referenced. Evidence shows that children who have a
strong start at the beginning of their lives have a greater chance of
success later on.
Time and again at the doorstep, young families in my community
of Parkdale—High Park told me about how difficult it is to raise kids
in today's economy. I have two young boys of my own: Zakir is age
five and Nitin will be two tomorrow. If I could be permitted a brief
indulgence, Mr. Speaker, I would just like to say happy birthday to
my little guy and that I will see him tomorrow.
More importantly, as a father of a young family, I know that it is
rewarding raising a family, but it is very challenging in this
economy. Enter budget 2016. It will give Canadian families more
money to help with the high cost of raising their children by
replacing the current complicated system of child benefits with a
single CCB, the Canada child benefit. It is simpler and it is more
generous.
Gone are the days of the previous government's universal benefits
cheques sent to persons with seven-digit salaries who frankly do not
need government help in raising their families. Gone also are the
days when the previous government would issue a cheque, only for it
to be clawed back by the taxman the following April.
This new child tax benefit is tax-free, and it is targeted so that lowincome and middle-income families will receive more benefits than
those with the highest incomes.
We campaigned on a very specific promise to deliver assistance to
those that need it the most. This targeted Canada child benefit
coupled with the middle-class tax cut that we passed on January 1
this year will do exactly that.
Turning to the third point, we have a long-term vision for Canada
that is encapsulated in this budget. Some of the aspects of that vision
have already been articulated from the day we assumed office.
We believe in equality; hence, we have a gender equal cabinet.
We believe in evidence-based policy; hence, there is the
immediate reinstatement of the long-form census.
We believe in daring to name the danger of climate change; hence,
we renamed the ministry, led in Paris at the COP21 summit, and
invested $3.4 billion in this budget alone, for the next five years, to
address climate change.
We also believe in compassion. A subject near and dear to my
heart, we have accepted 26,000 and counting Syrian refugees into
this country.
With this budget, another part of our vision becomes clear. We
believe in Canadian culture. The support in this budget for the CBC
and other organizations that promote Canadian culture illustrates
this.
The residents of my riding include a large number of artists,
writers, filmmakers, TV producers, musicians, actors and editors.
They contribute to the culture of Toronto, and they are a huge
economic engine for our country. We believe in cultivating that
creative and economic engine, not impeding it. That is why this
budget includes an investment of $1.3 billion over five years to
support arts and culture organizations, including $550 million alone
for the Canada Council for the Arts.
Our plan is not simply about promoting Canadian creative output,
it is also about preserving Canadian cultural icons. Time and time
again on the campaign trail and thereafter, the residents of Parkdale
—High Park told me that, after a decade of neglect, to save the CBC.
We have listened, and we have responded. Budget 2016 commits
$675 million to the CBC over the next five years as a reaffirmation
of the vital voice that CBC/Radio-Canada plays in our public
discourse in promoting our two official languages and supporting
our shared culture and values.
In conclusion, this budget is transformative. After 10 years of
neglect, this budget signals to Canadians that they finally have a
government that is willing to invest in this country, in its people, in
its institutions, and in its infrastructure.
Most importantly, the budget illustrates our government's
commitment to creating a more fair and inclusive society, and
helping all Canadian children get the best start in life possible.
Budget 2016 crafts a long-term vision for this country that reflects
our shared values, values like equality, compassion, and a
commitment to evidence-based policy. I am proud of this budget,
and I will be wholeheartedly supporting it. I urge all members of this
House to do the same.
● (1345)
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
that was a very detailed overview of the budget. Anyone can read it
in the book.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
With a very expensive budget for money we do not have, could
the member opposite advise us of how many jobs the $30 billion
first-year deficit will generate in the Canadian economy?
Mr. Arif Virani: Mr. Speaker, the short answer is that countless
jobs can be created with this kind of investment. It takes a bold
vision to agree to invest in infrastructure, to invest in the economy
and to stimulate it, but it is actually not that bold a decision. It is
quite facile when we have extremely low interest rates and a debt-toGDP ratio that is the envy of the G7.
It is a prime opportunity to invest in the economy. It is something
that we campaigned on during the election. It is something we are
fulfilling with this budget and will continue to fulfill as we meet our
overall infrastructure investment targets of $60 billion over the next
10 years.
The statistics are already coming in from Stats Canada apropos
my friend's question in respect to the job creation, which is already
occurring and will continue to occur in this country because we
finally have a government that is daring to invest in the economy
when it is sorely needed.
Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
noticed in my colleague's speech that he spoke about the importance
of helping those who need it most. I would like to hear his comments
on a particular choice that the Liberals made in the budget, which
was to keep $800 million in stock option loopholes open for very
wealthy CEOs while shortchanging on first nations education.
The Liberals say they are investing $2.6 billion, but this is over
five years, not four years, which is a reduction of $800 million, and it
is back-loaded in the last two years. On top of that, we know that the
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has again told the government that
we are discriminating against indigenous children on child welfare.
I would like the member to comment on those choices that were
made in the budget.
Mr. Arif Virani: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her
question and her concerns on these very pressing issues.
The budget involves choices. Any legislative policy, any
government initiative obviously relates to choices. Balances are
struck and certain issues will come to the fore and be prioritized.
First nations are a commitment that cannot be understated by this
government. I urge the hon. member opposite to consult the two
things that are in common among all of the mandate letters issued by
the Prime Minister to all 30 ministers of this government. The only
thing that is in common, other than the Prime Minister's signature, is
to repair the relationship we have with our first nations communities.
No one should underestimate or discount the level of commitment
and prioritization that has been made in this regard.
Just a few days ago, we had a very robust debate initiated by one
the hon. colleague's members, the member for Timmins—James
Bay, about the deplorable conditions in which our first nations exist.
We acknowledge that. We are working as quickly as possible to
remedy that situation.
Can more be done? Absolutely, more can be done, and we are
working to address these issues as quickly as possible. We are trying
to make this as non-partisan an issue as possible.
I have no doubt about my friend's conviction in assisting in that
regard. Obviously, addressing the needs of first nation communities
continues to be a priority, and I hope to work with her on it going
forward.
● (1350)
Mr. Frank Baylis (Pierrefonds—Dollard, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in
the last election when I was knocking on doors, some of the
households had received a cheque from the previous government's
child benefit plan. The problem was that they had spent that cheque,
and I felt bad when I had to inform them that actually they would be
paying tax back on that cheque.
The new Canada child benefit, I understand, is tax free, and I
would like to hear from my colleague how that will have a better
impact for middle-class families.
Mr. Arif Virani: Mr. Speaker, it will have a better impact because
it is more honest, open, and transparent. We will be giving people
something that they can rely upon and spend, knowing full well that
it is not going to be clawed back later.
A tactic like that is actually the politicization of a benefit, and it
was used by the previous government to give with the one hand and
take back with the other. That is not the kind of politics we practise
on this side of the House and it is not the kind of politics we are
endorsing with the budget. To the contrary, we are endorsing a plan
that will put more money in people's hands and make sure that it
stays there so they can make decisions about it going forward.
Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I will be
sharing my time with the hon. member for Elgin—Middlesex—
London.
While I was pleased to see some measures, such as a short-term
extension of employment insurance benefits for oil and gas workers
in my riding and some investments in social housing, I found that the
budget borrowed heavily from future generations, without a plan for
job creation and without any sort of thought toward returning to a
balanced budget.
The budget borrows a lot of money. It will borrow $30 billion this
year and over $100 billion over the next four. How can Canadians
trust a government that has broken its promises right out of the gate?
The government demonstrates an attitude of entitlement and an
absolute disregard for the hard-working taxpayer.
The Prime Minister has said he wants to place emphasis on our
young people, but the only thing he is doing for our nation's youth is
simply saddling them with a horrendous debt and thereby making it
extremely difficult for them to move ahead in life after graduating
from school.
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The Budget
I have listened to union economists, Liberal politicians, and
various pundits talk about how insignificant this deficit is, so let us
talk about that.
The budget borrows $118 billion over six years from future
generations. To put that in perspective, the Bow tower, which is the
tallest skyscraper in Calgary, cost $1.2 billion to build. This means
that our present budget could build 100 Bow towers. That is 50
skyscrapers more than the entire downtown core of Toronto.
The most worrisome part of the deficit is that there is absolutely
no plan to eliminate it.
I would like to take a closer look at the budget and what it means
for the hard-working people of Lethbridge that I represent.
First, let us look at jobs. I was saddened by the fact that there is no
long-term vision to get Alberta's economy back on track. The budget
confirms that the government is not interested in helping Alberta
recover from a terrific downturn in the oil and gas industry and the
loss of tens of thousands of jobs. The government's lackadaisical
approach to job creation simply will not benefit anyone.
I am both proud of and confident in the entrepreneurial spirit and
strong work ethic of the people of Lethbridge. I represent thousands
of small business owners who are smart, willing to take calculated
risks, and eager to give back to the community by creating jobs.
Small businesses are the heartbeat of the Canadian economy. They
drive our innovation and entrepreneurial effort as a nation and they
employ more Canadians than any other sector.
During the campaign, the Liberals promised to lower taxes on
small businesses. However, they have failed to come through. Our
Prime Minister lied. This broken promise will cost small businesses
across Canada a billion dollars a year, money that could have been
reinvested to create jobs.
Let us talk about families.
Our previous Conservative government made families a priority.
This was rooted in our belief that families are the fundamental
building block of Canadian society. In order to pay for their new
child benefit, the Liberals have eliminated the universal child care
benefit, the children's fitness tax credit, and the children's art tax
credit. Furthermore, the Liberals have also followed through on their
threat to eliminate income splitting for Canadian families, an
initiative that helped thousands of families in the Lethbridge region.
The government claims that families will get more money under
its child benefit plan, but when we look at it closely, we see the big
picture: the middle class actually loses out. Parents understand better
than government what is in the best interests of their children, but the
budget removes choice from parents, limits options for families, and
ultimately puts more power into the hands of government instead of
the hands of parents.
I was disappointed to note that the infrastructure spending
proposed to trigger economic growth is already earmarked for big
cities, in particular Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Vancouver. This
appears to be a big-city budget that would do very little for a small
centre like Lethbridge.
Furthermore, there is little in the way of investing in rural areas. In
my area, we have many roads and bridges in the county that have not
been repaired or maintained since the 1950s. These roads and
bridges are used each and every day to help get agricultural
commodities to market, which is very important for Canada as a
nation. Overall, the budget is in blatant disregard of our primary
producers and ignores their needs, thereby ignoring the needs of
Canada as a whole.
I would like to draw attention to two other areas that I am quite
passionate about. Those are persons with disabilities and our nation's
young people.
As in the Speech from the Throne, there is a glaring omission, and
that is help for persons with disabilities. The only immediate item for
people with disabilities is a small $2-million-a-year increase to the
enabling accessibility fund, a $14-million fund that was created by
the late Jim Flaherty.
● (1355)
This is in contrast to the Conservative budgets, which created new
programs such as the registered disability savings plan and the
Canada disability savings grant to help families save for the future of
a child with a disability. As well, Jim Flaherty created the enabling
accessibility fund in order to create access to public spaces by
persons with a physical impediment. The Liberal government
promised to introduce a national disabilities act, but this promise,
like so many others, has not come to fruition in the 2016 budget.
It is my sincere hope that in the coming years, the new
government will actually meet with representatives of the community of persons with disabilities in order to understand the significant
challenges that they face each and every day. I have had the immense
privilege of listening to many of their stories and I am encouraged
and amazed by their perseverance, resilience, and hope. I believe the
Liberal government can do better—in fact, must do better—to build
an inclusive Canada.
The Liberal government describes itself as a champion of young
people. The Prime Minister has expressed that he intends to
prioritize Canada's youth, but the monetary lines in the budget
simply do not match his rhetoric.
That said, there are a few good things in this budget that I can
support—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): Order.
If I could have your attention, please, we do have a member who
is speaking. If we could have a little respect in the room, we would
certainly appreciate it.
Thank you.
I am afraid it will only be about 30 seconds more, but please go
ahead.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2239
Statements by Members
Ms. Rachael Harder: Mr. Speaker, the increased access to the
student loans program is positive and builds upon the legacy of the
Conservative government to increase accessibility to post-secondary
education. Though it is true that grants will increase slightly this
year, it is equally true that most students will see a decrease in their
grant amounts as the Liberals implement a progressive income
bracket for grants in subsequent years. This means that despite the
focus on youth in this budget, the total sum of these measures will
not significantly reduce the cost of achieving a post-secondary
education.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mr. Anthony Rota): The hon.
member for Lethbridge will have three minutes remaining to finish
her debate after question period.
outstanding athletes. The chance to see some of our best female
hockey players and maybe a future Olympian or two is nationbuilding.
I thank all the employees and volunteers who are working
tirelessly to organize this event. To all the teams competing, I extend
my best wishes and good luck on winning the 2016 Esso Cup.
Go, Gold Wings, go.
***
[Translation]
CORPORATION ROSE-ART GALLERY
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
[English]
CLARENCE KENNEDY
Mr. Mike Bossio (Hastings—Lennox and Addington, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to pay tribute to the warden of
Lennox and Addington County, Clarence Kennedy, who passed
away in office in March.
Integrity was his hallmark, and Clarence was a model of service to
his community. He wore many hats, as many talented people like
him so often do. He was a farmer in a strong farming community. He
was a teacher with the Lennox and Addington Board of Education
and the Limestone District School Board for 33 years. He was also a
long-serving councillor and then reeve of Stone Mills Township. We
were also fortunate to see him made warden of Lennox and
Addington County for 2016, although his time in that office was far
too short.
Canada's rural communities need more farmers, teachers, and
public servants like Clarence. As a new MP, I greatly benefited from
having experienced people like him to work with in service to our
constituents.
Mr. Yves Robillard (Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
every year, in my riding, Marc-Aurèle-Fortin, the Corporation RoseArt gallery, which was founded in 1991, brings together on SainteRose Boulevard more than 90 artists, painters, and sculptors from
Quebec and elsewhere. During this symposium, more than 20,000
visitors come to this historic street in Marc-Aurèle-Fortin.
Last week, I had the privilege of being the guest of honour at an
event for Laval's next generation of painters. I rise today in this
chamber of our democracy to highlight the contribution that our
young artists from Laval and across the country make to our society.
[English]
I look at the young generation of new artists and their
predecessors and take pride in the fact that artists from all walks
of life are encouraged to follow their passion.
[Translation]
Thank you and bravo to our next generation of artists, and
especially those who can be found on Sainte-Rose Boulevard in the
summer.
I ask this House to please join me in thanking Clarence Kennedy
for his service. May he rest in peace.
***
● (1400)
2016 ESSO CUP
Mr. Robert Kitchen (Souris—Moose Mountain, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, this Sunday, April 17, I will have the privilege of dropping
the puck at the 2016 Esso Cup, AAA hockey's national female
midget-age championship in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, which runs
from April 17 to 23 at Crescent Point Place.
There will be 150 players from all across Canada in Weyburn,
competing to win the title of national champions. I would like to
specifically recognize the home team and my constituents, the
Weyburn Gold Wings, and I wish them the best of luck.
I would also like to encourage all members in this House and all
Canadians to come to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, also known as the
opportunity city, and take in a game while cheering on those
***
[English]
CANADA POST
Mr. David Christopherson (Hamilton Centre, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, Hamiltonians were front and centre in the fight to save
home mail delivery. They know just how important this service is for
seniors and those with mobility issues, as well as the other important
services Canada Post provides across our country.
In the middle of the last election, while visiting the mayor of
Montreal, the Prime Minister said that his party would restore home
mail delivery. Those comments were very clear and can be seen on
video. However, now, in a classic bait and switch, the Prime Minister
says that he is not going to be restoring home mail delivery because
his platform only commits him to a moratorium on the previous
government's plan to end door-to-door mail delivery.
2240
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Statements by Members
This is just another example of Liberals campaigning on one thing
and doing exactly the opposite when they are in power. After a
winter of frozen community mailboxes, stolen letters, and mail
littering the streets, Canadians expect the Prime Minister to honour
his word and commit to fully reinstating home mail delivery, because
as anyone—
The Speaker: Order, please.
I have had the pleasure of hearing Garry Lefebvre speak on a
number of occasions, and whether speaking on football in the CFL
or on his relationship with Jesus Christ, he spoke passionately.
Our prayers are with his loving wife Sandy, his children Cheri and
Brad, and their children.
Garry will be sadly missed.
The hon. member for Brossard—Saint-Lambert.
***
[Translation]
NATIONAL VOLUNTEER WEEK
Mrs. Alexandra Mendès (Brossard—Saint-Lambert, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, since this is National Volunteer Week, I would like to
highlight the exceptional and truly essential work done by the
millions of volunteers who keep our communities going.
We have seen wonderful examples of that over the past few
months as more than 25,000 Syrian refugees were welcomed across
Canada. Without devoted and tireless volunteers, this amazing
humanitarian operation could never have happened.
I would like to draw attention to the vigorous and enthusiastic
efforts of volunteers in Brossard—Saint-Lambert who helped out at
Maison Internationale de la Rive-Sud and worked with St. Lambert's
Christian communities, organizations responsible for welcoming the
dozens of Syrian refugees who settled in our riding and helping them
integrate.
***
TORONTO BEACHES LIONS CLUB EASTER PARADE
Mr. Nathaniel Erskine-Smith (Beaches—East York, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I grew up in my riding of Beaches—East York. As a kid, I
attended the annual Easter parade along Queen Street East, hosted by
the Toronto Beaches Lions Club. It involves marching bands and
floats sponsored by local associations and businesses, and it is
attended by thousands of residents every year, including an
estimated 40,000 people this year alone.
As a tradition for many families in my community, it is
particularly special for me to now march in the parade as the
member of Parliament.
This being National Volunteer Week, I want to thank the Toronto
Beaches Lions Club and all of the dedicated volunteers for making
this parade a success year after year.
I ask my colleagues to join me in marking this year, the Toronto
Beaches Lions Club Easter parade's 5Oth anniversary.
***
● (1405)
LAWRENCE PARK PANTHERS
[English]
With deep gratitude for the inspiring work they did and do, I offer
them all my lasting admiration.
***
GARRY LEFEBVRE
Hon. Kevin Sorenson (Battle River—Crowfoot, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I rise in remembrance of a constituent of mine, Garry
Lefebvre, who passed away on March 16, 2016.
Garry was well known and well respected all across our country
and especially in Alberta.
He was a man of strong Christian faith.
Garry was an athlete and played eight seasons in the Canadian
Football League for the Edmonton Eskimos and the Montreal
Alouettes. He earned two Grey Cup rings and achieved top rookie in
the western conference and top Canadian player in one of his Grey
Cup games.
Mr. Marco Mendicino (Eglinton—Lawrence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, during a season when, sadly, all Canadian hockey teams have
been shut out, I rise today to provide a bit of good news on the
hockey file. I know it is a shame.
I rise today to acknowledge the Lawrence Park Panthers girls
hockey team in my riding, who recently won the gold medal for all
of Ontario.
[Translation]
This is the first time that a team from Lawrence Park Collegiate
Institute has won a medal during an Ontario Federation of School
Athletic Associations championship.
That makes this a remarkable achievement for this exceptional
high school, for girls' hockey, and for the riding of Eglinton—
Lawrence.
[English]
He went on to become one of the founders of Athletes in Action
Canada.
I want to join with the parents and all constituents in our riding in
giving a heartfelt hooray to coach Karen Daigle and the grade 11 and
grade 12 players for this huge win. As a father of two girls, I thank
them for their perseverance and for being such amazing role models.
Garry helped build Canada's first Circle Square Ranch, a summer
camp in Halkirk, Alberta, where still hundreds of youth attend each
and every summer.
As the Prime Minister said on his recent state visit to the United
States, there is no doubt who plays the best hockey, and that is
Canada.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2241
Statements by Members
BURROWING OWLS
Mr. Dan Albas (Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola,
CPC): Mr. Speaker, when I mention the burrowing owl, many think
of one of British Columbia's premier wineries. We should not forget
that it took the name burrowing owl to raise awareness that this rare
species of owl was actually declared extinct in British Columbia
back in 1980. However, the winery, working with the Burrowing
Owl Conservation Society and other community volunteers, is
working hard to change that.
Last week the Upper Nicola first nation hosted an event where six
burrowing owls were released onto the reserve that also features
artificially created burrows in the nearby habitat. This event was the
first time in history that burrowing owls have been reintroduced onto
first nations land in British Columbia. This event did not happen
overnight and in fact required roughly two years of preparation.
I hope the house will join me in congratulating the Upper Nicola
first nation, the Burrowing Owl Conservation Society, the many
volunteers, and our federal species at risk interdepartmental fund for
making this great day possible.
***
LABOUR
Ms. Filomena Tassi (Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas,
Lib.): Mr. Speaker, in 2014, U.S. Steel Canada entered creditor
protection under the CCAA, pitching thousands of retired steelworkers into a spiral of uncertainty about their pensions and benefits.
For example, Marilyn, the wife of a proud retired steelworker,
worries each time she has a prescription filled. She and her husband
are out thousands of dollars each month. She lives in constant pain,
and the stress she feels each day is making things worse
On December 11, 2015, CHCH News terminated 167 workers. On
that fateful day, Hamiltonians lost 62.5 hours per week of vital local
news. The silenced CHCH voices are sorely missed by the viewing
public and by Hamiltonians whose causes found a voice through
their work.
We must work to protect the pensions and benefits of U.S. Steel
Canada retirees, and we must probe the insensitive and possibly
union-busting dismissal of CHCH workers.
***
● (1410)
[Translation]
MARIA CHAPUT
Mr. Dan Vandal (Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, today I call upon all my colleagues in the House to join me
in recognizing and thanking Senator Maria Chaput, who retired from
the Senate of Canada on March 1, after 13 years of service.
prestigious awards, including the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique.
[English]
Over her 13 years in the Senate, Maria was a strong advocate for
the respect of Canada's two official languages and an avid promoter
of the many benefits of our country's linguistic duality.
[Translation]
Maria, we are very grateful for the important role you played and
will continue to play. Thank you, dear friend.
***
[English]
VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Hon. Alice Wong (Richmond Centre, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
located in my riding of Richmond Centre is the Vancouver
International Airport, most commonly known as YVR. The year
2015 was a milestone year for the airport, having served more than
20 million passengers in a single year, with plans to increase service
to 25 million travellers per year over the next five years.
Indeed, there was another milestone at YVR last year, and that
was the opening of the McArthurGlen designer outlet, the first of its
kind in North America. This will attract even more tourists and local
consumers to Richmond.
It is my privilege to serve a riding that hosts a global leader in
excellent transportation service and continues to be a vital link for
travellers within Canada and beyond.
***
VOLUNTEERS
Ms. Karen Ludwig (New Brunswick Southwest, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, it is an honour to rise in the House today and recognize the
many volunteers across our country who give so generously of their
time to make our families, our communities, and our country strong.
Just last week, three young Syrian families were warmly
welcomed to the town of St. Stephen in my riding of New
Brunswick Southwest. I was there when they arrived, and it is
overwhelming to see how the volunteers have worked so tirelessly,
preparing every detail to make their transition into the community a
smooth one.
Maria was the first Franco-Manitoban woman to sit in the other
place, where she defended the rights of francophone minority
communities with passion and conviction.
I want to give special mention to the individuals and community
groups who have welcomed more than 25,000 Syrians. I want to
thank these volunteers who constantly remind us of what it means to
be Canadian.
Her invaluable contribution to the Canadian francophonie, and
especially the Franco-Manitoban community, earned her a number of
The leadership of our Prime Minister is inspiring volunteers in our
country and around the world to be open, generous, and welcoming.
2242
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Oral Questions
[Translation]
FORESTRY INDUSTRY
Ms. Karine Trudel (Jonquière, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the forestry
industry is at a crossroads.
In Saguenay—Lac-Saint-Jean, many workers depend on the
forestry industry. Protecting the future of our forestry jobs must be
a priority.
The softwood lumber agreement has expired. The government
will have to defend our forestry industry, despite heavy pressure
from the U.S.
The 18% surtax on calendered paper is jeopardizing our jobs in
Kénogami and Dolbeau, but the government is dragging its feet on
this issue.
I urge the government to consider how important the forestry
industry is in our region and to do something to protect forestry
workers and their role in our economies.
members standing with the Canadian Ahmadiyya community,
including my colleagues, the hon. Minister of Infrastructure and
Communities, the member for Hull—Aylmer, the right hon. Prime
Minister, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
For me, what stands out the most about the Ottawa Ahmadiyya
community is the people's inspirational community activism,
outreach, and anti-radicalization efforts.
[Translation]
For 50 years they have made Canada their home.
ORAL QUESTIONS
[Translation]
[English]
THE BUDGET
Hon. Denis Lebel (Lac-Saint-Jean, CPC): Mr. Speaker, for the
past few days, the Prime Minister has wrapped himself in the
immaculate cloak of transparency, stating that his government is
transparent and comparing our former government to his.
PATRICK SOBESKI
Mr. Dave MacKenzie (Oxford, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I rise today
to pay tribute to Patrick Sobeski, who recently died on March 17,
ironically, St. Patrick's Day.
Let us hear from a third party, an independent party. With respect
to transparency, the parliamentary budget officer said that he was
unable to provide all the data because the government did not give
him all the data. He is an independent person.
Pat was a member of Parliament from 1988 to 1993. After the
1993 election, Pat returned to private business until 2001 when he
returned to his birthplace of Woodstock, Ontario, to be with his
elderly mother.
How can the Prime Minister claim to be transparent?
Hon. Scott Brison (President of the Treasury Board, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, it is clear that our government is completely open and
transparent. That is why we gave all the numbers to the
parliamentary budget officer. We will continue to co-operate with
his office because we have a great deal of respect for the work he
does.
***
Pat was then elected to the Woodstock City Council in 2003,
serving two terms as councillor and then one term as mayor of the
city in 2010. He was dedicated to his community and always did his
very best when serving the citizens of Woodstock.
Pat died at the age of 64, which is far too young.
I offer my condolences to his family and friends.
***
● (1415)
[Translation]
OTTAWA'S AHMADIYYA MUSLIM COMMUNITY
Hon. Andrew Leslie (Orléans, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, first of all, I
would like to thank the people of Orléans for placing their trust in me
and electing me on October 19. I promise to work tirelessly on their
behalf in the House of Commons and in the riding.
[English]
A short while ago, I had the honour of speaking at the Ahmadiyya
Muslim Jama`at 50-year anniversary celebrations here in Ottawa.
This community, whose motto is “Love for all, hatred for none”,
values peace, social justice, and harmony, above all else.
Present to convey this message were the national president, Mr.
Lal Khan Malik, and the local Imam, Mr. Imtiaz Ahmed, good
friends. I was also pleased to see so many distinguished community
***
ETHICS
Hon. Denis Lebel (Lac-Saint-Jean, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the hon.
member just said that the parliamentary budget officer was not
telling the truth. That is unbelievable.
The parliamentary budget officer said that he did not have all of
the information, but my colleague is saying that his government gave
it all to him.
We should not be surprised, since, yesterday, when we asked the
Prime Minister about his four companies, he did not want to give us
any details. He was very evasive about the whole thing.
What does the Prime Minister have to hide in that regard?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my colleague opposite
knows full well that we have absolutely nothing to hide.
The Prime Minister was very clear yesterday. It has never
happened before, but he proactively disclosed information about his
personal finances when he decided to run for the leadership of our
party. The companies in question always paid all of the necessary
taxes.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2243
Oral Questions
Obviously, when he became Prime Minister, his assets were
placed in a trust, which is the appropriate thing to do.
***
[English]
THE BUDGET
Mr. Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the reviews are in for the Liberal budget with a resounding fail for
transparency.
The parliamentary budget officer called it the least transparent
budget in 15 years. A former deputy finance minister said that it
failed the Liberals' own campaign commitments. Even the CBC
called it a “shell game”.
The Prime Minister thinks that the budget will balance itself, but
how can the Liberals have any credibility on the economy when they
keep fudging the numbers?
Hon. Scott Brison (President of the Treasury Board, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, in fact, the reviews are in from economic experts, people
like David Dodge, Kevin Lynch, and Larry Summers, former
secretary of the treasury in the U.S., who have called for this kind of
important investment in jobs and growth for some time.
Their calls were ignored by the previous government. We have
listened.
We have also heard from the Governor of the Bank of Canada,
who said that we have a better mix of policies today than we would
have had without that fiscal change.
The reviews are in, and we are doing the right thing.
We are going to follow a more rational process, a more principled
one, that has a better chance of carrying the confidence of
Canadians.
Mr. Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
that is completely false. All we are asking is whether the government
will respect the result of its own process.
Canadians know that pipelines are the safest, most effective way
to get our oil and gas to market. Canadian oil and gas is the cleanest
and most ethical energy in the world, and creates high-paying jobs
here at home.
Without pipelines, eastern Canada is forced to import foreign oil.
The Prime Minister's principal secretary and top advisor said that oil
and gas development is as bad as hooking kids on cigarettes.
Can the government explain why oil shipped by ocean tanker
from Saudi Arabia is somehow better than western Canadian oil and
gas?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, it is our objective, as the Prime Minister has said many
times, to move our natural resources to market sustainably.
The previous government, in spite of $100-a-barrel oil, in spite of
all of that representation from western Canada, did not build a single
pipeline to tidewater during its majority government from 2011.
I do not think Canadians would advise the government to follow
that process. We are following a different one. We think we will have
a better chance to do the right thing, which is to move that product—
The Speaker: Order, please. The hon. member for Timmins—
James Bay.
***
***
NATURAL RESOURCES
Mr. Andrew Scheer (Regina—Qu'Appelle, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the Prime Minister is making pipeline projects more difficult to get
approved by adding more hurdles and red tape.
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
with the government responding to the crisis in Attawapiskat, we are
hearing from indigenous youth in other regions who are saying
“Where are the resources for our community?” The crisis is extreme
across this country, and band-aids will not work. The youth want
action now, yet there were zero dollars in this budget to deal with the
suicide crisis and zero new dollars to deal with indigenous mental
health.
He keeps moving the goalposts and giving special interest groups
undue influence on the process. Now he claims that this more
difficult process will ensure Canadians have more confidence in the
process, that making it harder will somehow make it easier, and yet
he refuses to commit to actually approving any project that makes it
through his new onerous process.
Very simply, if an application makes it through the new process
that he himself has designed, will the Prime Minister approve it, or
does he not have confidence in his own process?
● (1420)
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, just two days ago, there was a question from a member of
the Bloc Québécois. He said that the government was about to
impose the energy east pipeline on the people of Quebec.
The current government has the power to act. The only thing
missing is political will. Will it commit today to augment the funds
to ensure that we can end the mental health crisis in all of the
communities across this country?
Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, our
government has been clear about the fact that we will increase access
to mental health services across the country. In particular, of course,
we will be focusing on the indigenous communities, the first nations,
the Inuit, and the Métis nation to ensure that they have access to the
mental health services they need.
The day before that, there was a member from the Conservative
Party who said that the budget should announce its approval of a
pipeline, which application has not yet been received by the
regulator and without a single community having yet been consulted.
I am very pleased that in the case of Attawapiskat, there are now
18 mental health workers on the ground who were not there previous
to the time that this crisis began. We will continue working to
introduce the resources that are required.
2244
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Oral Questions
Mr. Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
we did not just get to this crisis by accident. The children have been
dying on a daily basis across this country, dying in nurses stations
from strep throat and asthma because government will not pay for
the medication, dying by suicide because government will routinely
turn down their pleas for mental health counselling. The current
government has no new money for mental health or for health
services. It has to stop. Where is the political will to invest in
resources, in what is truly our greatest resource, our children? Where
is that will to move today?
Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
hope that it is abundantly clear that our government is absolutely
committed to addressing the gaps in terms of the realities of the dayto-day life of indigenous people in this country. In our recent budget,
we have invested $8.4 million to address those gaps. Much of that
will go to addressing educational resources, which these communities need. I am pleased that within that there is $270 million that
will go to improving health centres and nursing stations in
indigenous communities. This will encourage health human
resources to stay in these communities. We are firm in our
commitment to ensure that the health care services are out there.
[Translation]
Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, Canadians are concerned about the suicide crisis in
Attawapiskat and many other indigenous communities. We cannot
continue to neglect our youth this way.
palliative care in the budget. The Liberals had promised $3 billion
over four years for home care. There is yet another broken promise.
The government says that it is taking this problem seriously, but in
reality, the budget does not provide for any investments in mental
health care services for indigenous youth. The government needs to
invest in prevention.
***
Will the government immediately make recurrent funding
available for mental health care services for first nations youth?
● (1425)
[English]
Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as
the member opposite well knows, the response to the needs in
indigenous communities is a collaborative response. This is a
response that needs to take into consideration, of course, the
leadership of indigenous leaders across this country. In terms of
Attawapiskat and other communities, we have done just that. We are
in regular communication with the national chief, the regional chief,
the grand chief, and the local chief in this community. We are also
working with the provincial government, which has recently
invested $2 million to support health care services in Attawapiskat.
We will be there working in partnership with all of these jurisdictions
to make sure that people have the services they require.
***
[Translation]
HEALTH
Ms. Brigitte Sansoucy (Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, when it comes to palliative care services, there is a crying
need for help across the country.
The government itself acknowledged that this is an important
issue in the bill it introduced today, but there was nothing for
Will the government finally acknowledge that this is urgent and
invest in palliative care?
[English]
Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
was pleased this morning to introduce, along with my colleague the
Minister of Justice, new legislation that will support Canadians and
provide medical assistance in dying. At the same time, this has
triggered a conversation, a very important one, about the need to
make sure that Canadians have access to the palliative care services
they require in end of life. I have said repeatedly that it is important
that Canadians should be able to have a good and peaceful death.
However, just as much, it is important that Canadians will have a
good, peaceful, and dignified life until the very end. For that
purpose, we will make sure that Canadians have access to the
palliative care services they need. We will do so in participation with
our colleagues in the provinces and territories.
NATURAL RESOURCES
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC): Mr. Speaker, 84% of
Canadians know it is possible to transport our energy resources
while protecting the environment, and 70% of Canadians believe
pipelines are the most appropriate method of transporting oil and
gas. Canada's oil and gas is the most socially and environmentally
responsible in the world. When will the Liberals finally get on board
and proudly support Canada's world-leading, internationally renowned energy sector?
Hon. Jim Carr (Minister of Natural Resources, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, we do support the wonderful energy sector in Canada. I
have had the pleasure of having conversations with people around
the world about Canada's energy sector and they feel very confident
that we will get over this dip in prices and emerge stronger. In part,
we will emerge stronger because they will know that our regulatory
system carries the confidence of Canadians and they will know that
in 2016 we must move responsibly to market, and that is what we
intend to do.
Mrs. Shannon Stubbs (Lakeland, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we can
say it is wonderful, but we are all wondering when, just like the
workers.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2245
Oral Questions
Canada can be a major global competitor for long-term, highreward LNG contracts with Asian markets. These projects will
provide thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment and
revenue to benefit communities all across Canada. Exporting LNG
will help the world lower GHG emissions. The Liberals will be
responsible if Canadian LNG is shut out.
Mr. François-Philippe Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would remind my
hon. colleague to read the entire budget, because this is the
government that reduced taxes on nine million Canadians. We did
that in December. The taxes on small business have been reduced.
Will the Liberal government stop blocking Canadian companies
from getting LNG to global markets?
Mr. Jonathan Wilkinson (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, major resource projects play a vital role in our economy,
and we clearly recognize the importance of creating jobs and
economic growth. We have been very clear that the focus is on
moving the environment and the economy forward hand in hand. In
fact, that is a requirement in the modern age.
This is a government that works for Canadians, Canadian families,
and small business. We will continue to do exactly that.
With respect to LNG projects, they will go through an appropriate
environmental assessments and decisions will be made on science
and data, not on politics as perhaps they have in the past. This is the
responsible approach. This is the modern approach. It is obviously
not the Conservative approach, but this is how we plan to move
forward.
***
SMALL BUSINESS
Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC): Mr. Speaker, in the last
election, the Liberal leader said, “Raising corporate taxes, like the
NDP want to do, strangles growth.” The current immigration
minister also said that the NDP's proposed corporate tax hikes would
cost 150,000 jobs.
It stands to reason therefore that raising the corporate tax rate on
small business would have a similar job-killing effect on our
economy.
Would the Minister of Finance tell us whether his department did
a calculation of the number of jobs that would be lost based upon the
tax increases the budget imposes on our small business job creators?
● (1430)
Mr. François-Philippe Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister of Finance, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to remind my
hon. colleague that we did reduce taxes for small businesses and we
did reduce taxes for nine million Canadians.
I would invite my hon. colleague to read the entire budget. He will
see that this government is working for Canadians.
Hon. Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, CPC): Mr. Speaker, while the
member is chopping, it was only our government that cut taxes for
small business.
As the law currently stands, the rate will fall down to 9% within
three years. The government proposes legislation that will raise it up
back to 10.5%. That is an increase in taxes on 622,000 small
businesses that pay $150 billion in wages.
The budget contains a bunch of inflated numbers for job creation.
Has the finance department done any calculation on job losses with
this tax hike?
***
GRAIN TRANSPORTATION
Mrs. Kelly Block (Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, Prairie farmers and farm families are waiting for the
Liberals to extend the grain freight provisions, including interswitching, that have helped them get their grain to market.
The minister could have made this decision last year, but will
spend the rest of the year consulting, unnecessarily, By the time he is
done dithering, these provisions will have ended, leaving producers
without reliable access to market.
Why is the minister deliberately delaying this extension?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, we are looking at this matter very seriously. It comes at a
time when the Canada Transportation Act review has been
submitted, something which I tabled in the House on February 25,
a very serious document with a large number of recommendations,
some of which touch upon grain transportation.
I can assure my colleague that we are looking at this matter very
seriously.
Mr. Chris Warkentin (Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, if the Liberals were serious about doing anything on this,
the Liberal MPs yesterday would not have refused to agree to hear
from prairie grain farmers who were concerned about these
provisions not having yet been extended.
In fact, I then took the opportunity this morning to meet with these
farmers. They said that while the Liberals refused to listen to them,
they know that this side of the House would stand up for them.
Will the minister extend these provisions that the farm families
desperately need?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I am sorry, but my hon. colleague is blowing smoke here.
We have met with a number of groups ever since I put out that
report. As I said, I put it out on February 25, because I wanted to
hear back from western grain farmers, from the shippers, and from
the railroads. I wanted to hear from everybody. Believe me, my
schedule shows that I am meeting a whole bunch of them. I
encourage my hon. colleague to relax. I am doing my work.
2246
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Oral Questions
[Translation]
FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Ms. Hélène Laverdière (Laurier—Sainte-Marie, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, the Liberal government continues to dig itself a deeper hole
in the Saudi Arabia arms deal.
The minister claims that his hands were tied and that the contract
was a done deal by the former government, but that is not true. He
authorized the export permits, the most crucial, essential step.
Why does the minister continue to mislead Canadians? Will he
finally step up and confirm that this decision was made by his
government?
● (1435)
Hon. Stéphane Dion (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I think my colleague is well aware that she is the one who is
confusing the matter. I want to share a quote from a news story:
At the end of March, Minister Dion said that he and government officials would
examine whether the armoured vehicles exported to Saudi Arabia “comply with
international laws, human rights and our national interests”.
If a journalist understood, why did my colleague not understand?
mentary secretaries must avoid a conflict of interest or the
appearance of one at all times. The guideline states:
There should be no preferential access to government, or appearance of
preferential access, accorded to individuals or organizations because they have
made financial contributions to politicians and political parties.
Does the Minister of Justice not see that by attending a pay-toplay private event with high priced Bay Street lawyers who might be
considered for a Governor in Council appointment she is actually
granting preferential access?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we have said on a number
of times in the House, the minister contacted the Ethics Commissioner proactively to ask whether it was appropriate for her to attend
that fundraising activity, as every member in the House of Commons
does from time to time and as did ministers in the previous
Conservative government from time to time. She received a
confirmation that it was entirely appropriate for her to do so.
***
[English]
MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe, NDP): Mr. Speaker, divisive personal attacks are not going to distract from the
government's misleading of Canadians.
Trying to pit the jobs of workers against human rights is a cynical
distraction, but it does not hide government failure to open up new
responsible markets and support long-term sustainable manufacturing jobs in our region. Instead, the Liberals have gambled the jobs of
workers on a deal with an oppressive state, giving our city an unfair
black eye.
Where is the government's plan for long-term sustainable jobs for
the workers at General Dynamics and throughout London?
Hon. Navdeep Bains (Minister of Innovation, Science and
Economic Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are very
committed to the manufacturing sector. We understand the
importance of this sector in London in particular. I was there just
a few days ago, making an announcement with respect to the
automotive innovation fund and extending this fund for the next
three years. This would allow further investments to allow job
creation.
Above and beyond that, just a few days ago I was in Kitchener
with my colleagues to announced the automotive supplier innovation
fund initiative, which again invests in a supplier base. We are
investing in manufacturing. We are investing in jobs. We are
growing the economy. That is good for the country.
In fact, the Ethics Commissioner, in a three-page letter, confirmed
that to my hon. colleague who asked the Ethics Commissioner that
exact question. We consider this matter closed. The member is
obviously having a struggle ending the matter.
Mr. Blaine Calkins (Red Deer—Lacombe, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the Prime Minister states that the definition of a stakeholder is an
individual employed in, contacted by, or who otherwise represents
corporations or organizations that have current or anticipated official
dealings with ministers. The Minister of Justice had a secret and
private pay-to-play fundraiser in Toronto with high-priced lawyers
who have a history of lobbying the justice department.
Why did the minister contravene the Prime Minister's guideline,
which is far above what the House leader is currently saying in
defence of her, and why did she put the integrity of her office in so
much jeopardy?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague knows
full well the minister did no such thing. He keeps referring to this
supposed secret fundraiser. Just because he repeats these exaggerated
lines does not make them true. A fundraiser where every donation is
disclosed on the Internet is hardly a secret fundraiser. It is something
that members opposite have done many times over.
***
JUSTICE
Mr. Blaine Calkins (Red Deer—Lacombe, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the Prime Minister's guidelines outline that ministers and parlia-
We will continue to respect all of the provisions of the Prime
Minister's open and accountable government code, as well as the
Conflict of Interest Act and any other related provisions.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2247
Oral Questions
Mr. Michael Cooper (St. Albert—Edmonton, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the Prime Minister's own ethics code states that ministers
shall not raise funds from department stakeholders and lobbyists. Yet
last week the Minister of Justice attended a pay-to-play fundraiser at
a law firm with extensive dealings with the minister's department and
a lobbyist who was registered to lobby, guess who, the minister.
Therefore, will the minister stand in the House and advise which
other lobbyists were at the fundraiser?
● (1440)
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, again, the hon. member
keeps repeating these silly phrases like “pay-to-play”. He is
confusing his Saturday night at the arcade with a very legitimate
fundraising activity—
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
The Speaker: Order, please. I would encourage ministers to use
judicious language and not do things that bring disorder to the
House. It is not helpful.
The hon. member for Middlesex—London.
Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, we have been asking the same questions for four days, with
no answers. The House leader continues to stand on behalf of the
justice minister.
We are talking about her Prime Minister's guidelines, clearly
outlined instructions to ministers. She was not only told to avoid
conflicts of interest, but to avoid the appearance of one as well.
Was the Prime Minister consulted when his justice minister
decided to ignore his rules?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, my colleague, the Minister
of Justice, has answered that question a number of times.
My colleague across the aisle knows very well that members in
the House attend fundraising events from time to time, done entirely
according to law. All of the donations are disclosed publicly, as is
required by law.
The Minister of Justice did absolutely nothing different than the
ministers in the previous government used to do. Every member on
this side of the House respects the Elections Act and the Prime
Minister's code of conduct, and will always continue to do so. That is
something the Conservatives had considerable trouble doing when
they were in government.
***
RAIL TRANSPORTATION
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
the Minister of Transport claims rail safety is his top priority, yet this
week rail inspectors told our committee, despite a projected tenfold
increase in dangerous cargo, that the rail safety budget was being
slashed 21%.
Yesterday it was revealed that Transport Canada had withheld
information on the 500 most dangerous level crossings, two of the
most dangerous in my riding of Edmonton Strathcona.
Cuts, inaction, secrecy will not improve rail safety. When will the
minister take real action on rail safety?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, of course rail safety is my top priority. It is in my mandate
letter. I was very glad that the Minister of Finance announced in this
last budget $143 million additional dollars dedicated toward safety.
That is a very serious commitment.
With respect to grade crossings, I have made it very clear that this
information, which is a tool that Transport Canada uses, can be made
accessible to the municipalities if they wish it. In fact, I will be
meeting with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in two
weeks to make that offer to them.
[Translation]
Mr. Matthew Dubé (Beloeil—Chambly, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
Quebeckers and Canadians certainly understand that rail safety is
important. The minister says he understands it is important. Maybe
he should tell that to the Minister of Finance because the rail safety
budget was cut by 21%.
Tragic incidents like the one in Lac-Mégantic and other accidents
happen across Canada. The Lac-Mégantic tragedy is very fresh in
people's memory.
We recently learned that Transport Canada sat on information
about the 500 most dangerous rail crossings. It is time to stop talking
and start taking action.
When will the minister and the government start taking action?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, let me be clear: rail safety is my top priority. I do not
know which budget my colleague was looking at, but in our budget,
the Government of Canada allocated $143 million to rail safety in
this country over the next three years.
I was very clear about the information on grade crossings. We will
certainly share that information with the municipalities if they want.
I am meeting with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in two
weeks to talk about it.
***
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Mr. Steven MacKinnon (Gatineau, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the
Syrian crisis sparked an outpouring of sympathy on the part of
Canadians, who responded with tremendous generosity.
Our communities have welcomed over 25,000 refugees and
continue to do so. People have donated a great deal to help those
who are settling in their regions.
Can the Minister of International Development and La Francophonie tell the House about the kind of support the government is
still providing?
● (1445)
Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau (Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I want to thank
my colleague from Gatineau for his question.
2248
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Oral Questions
The Syrian refugees on the Hill today will be pleased to hear that
Canadians have donated nearly $32 million to the Syria Emergency
Relief Fund. As promised, our government is matching that
contribution, and even topping it up for a total of $100 million.
Of the 29 projects that will receive funding, the largest is the
UNICEF project that will help 84 education centres in Jordan,
provide school supplies in Syria, and support a national vaccination
campaign.
***
VETERANS
Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the Minister of Veterans Affairs keeps repeating the words “care”,
“respect”, and “compassion” when talking about our veterans. One
veteran, Robin Brentnall, recently went on a hunger strike to protest
the bad decisions made in his case by the department.
Can the minister confirm that he has been in contact with this
veteran, that he has gone to visit him in order to save him before it is
too late?
[English]
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate
Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, what I can say is
that Veterans Affairs takes all applications to review veterans' issues
seriously. There is a process whereby it comes into the department,
and then our veterans also have a chance to appeal at the Veterans
Review and Appeal Board at two separate levels. We also provide
legal assistance to veterans who are looking to get their benefits,
allowing those claims to go forward.
I thank the member for his question, and we will continue to
monitor the situation going forward.
[Translation]
Mr. Alupa Clarke (Beauport—Limoilou, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
this veteran is expecting more than just administrative procedures.
He is expecting a visit, or at least a call, from the minister.
The 2016 budget provides for a retroactive increase in the
maximum disability award.
Can the Minister of Veterans Affairs share with us today how
much will be paid for loss of hearing, which many veterans suffer
from?
[English]
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate
Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can tell the
member that budget 2016 was a great day for our veterans. We
delivered on many different aspects of our mandate items, including
increasing the earnings loss benefit, increasing access to the
impairment allowance, and increasing the disability award.
We will continue to work with our veterans with care,
compassion, and respect to get them the services they need when
they need them and where they live.
Part of that budget is for opening up nine new offices and hiring
more staff to allow veterans' issues to be handled in a timely and
effective manner.
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, Robin Brentnall, a veteran and advocate from Newfoundland and
Labrador, has been denied his claim to a disability award by Veterans
Affairs and the Veterans Review and Appeal Board. He so strongly
believes that he qualifies that he is protesting through a hunger strike
until the minister assures him verbally that his file will be reviewed.
On April 11, in The Gander Beacon, Robin said, “All it takes is a
phone call.”
After all their promises to veterans during the campaign, why are
the Liberals abandoning this veteran now?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate
Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I can assure my
hon. colleague that Veterans Affairs has an excellent process to
review veterans' claims.
To reiterate, when a veteran has a claim, it goes through to my
department. If that claim is rejected, a member can go to the Veterans
Review and Appeal Board not once but twice.
We also have the opportunity to provide them with legal counsel
to assist them in any and all processes along the way.
I also point out that these are de novo application processes
whereby they can present new evidence at all points along the
process.
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall (Yorkton—Melville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised investments in mental health and suicide
prevention for our veterans. The Liberal budget completely failed to
deliver.
Building two new centres for research and treatment will not
address these issues. Many veterans need to travel often and over
long distances to receive even basic face-to-face treatment.
How will the minister ensure that mental health support and
suicide prevention initiatives will be provided to all veterans close to
home, no matter where they live in Canada?
Hon. Kent Hehr (Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate
Minister of National Defence, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, budget 2016
goes a long way to addressing some of those issues that have been
brought up.
We are opening up nine new offices. In fact, there will be more
outreach in Surrey, B.C., and the north for veterans to have points of
contact.
We are hiring staff to replace the 800 members that the
Conservatives cut from our front-line services. This will allow
veterans to get care, compassion, and respect and have their issues
dealt with in a timely fashion.
I can also say to the member, my goodness, I have been the
minister for 162 days. We have accomplished a lot. We will continue
to work on the mental health file and get these centres of excellence
up and running to get the veterans the care, compassion—
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2249
Oral Questions
● (1450)
The Speaker: The hon. member for Elmwood—Transcona.
***
AIR CANADA
Mr. Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
after years of pretending to be champions for Air Canada workers,
the Liberals tabled legislation that gives Air Canada free rein to ship
the good-paying jobs of 2,600 workers and their families right out of
Canada.
The Prime Minister once stood alongside protesting maintenance
workers. He was chatting about solidarity and probably throwing in
the odd Kumbaya for good measure, but where is that solidarity
when it could actually do something for workers?
Will the Prime Minister stand up, apologize for his cynicism, and
withdraw Bill C-10?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, the end of litigation between Air Canada and the Province
of Quebec and the Province of Manitoba has allowed us to clarify the
Air Canada Public Participation Act. That is exactly what we are
doing.
This is an important adjustment that needs to be made, and I
would say this: there are jobs being created. The amendment actually
says that there must be jobs in the provinces of Quebec, Manitoba,
and Ontario.
I cannot say any more than that at the moment, because it is before
the tribunals.
[Translation]
Mr. Alexandre Boulerice (Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, NDP):
Mr. Speaker, that is not what we would call “clarifying”. That is
what we would call “sacrificing”. The Liberals are giving Air
Canada carte blanche. Just yesterday they were saying that the
Conservatives should have upheld the law. Even the Prime Minister
shouted through his megaphone, “So-so-so solidarity!”
Today, it is even worse. They are in the process of legalizing the
job losses that were illegal just yesterday. It is outrageous and
disgusting. I have never seen such spineless people before.
Are the Liberals not ashamed of sacrificing the lives and work of
2,600 families?
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, the end of the dispute between Air Canada and the
provinces of Quebec and Manitoba now allows us to clarify the Air
Canada Public Participation Act. That is precisely what we are
doing.
I would remind my colleague, who is all worked up, that the
amendment we are proposing requires Air Canada to keep jobs in
Quebec, Manitoba, and Ontario.
I cannot elaborate further because this matter is before the courts.
DEMOCRATIC REFORM
Mr. Gérard Deltell (Louis-Saint-Laurent, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
the government appears to agree with the Conservatives' dissenting
report on the sensitive issue of physician-assisted dying, since the
bill does not deal with minors or people suffering from mental
illness. Good. It is clear—
The Speaker: Order, please.
The interpretation does not seem to be working right now. Is it
working?
It is working, so I will ask the hon. member for Louis-SaintLaurent to start over.
Mr. Gérard Deltell: Mr. Speaker, the government appears to
agree with the Conservatives' dissenting report on the sensitive issue
of physician-assisted dying, since the bill does not deal with minors
or people suffering from mental illness. Good.
It is also clear that the government will finally allow its members
to vote freely, which we support. Good. Now, we must take action.
On this side of the House, we think it is important that all
members who want to speak to this sensitive issue be allowed to do
so. However, we are running out of time. We want the government to
know that it has our full co-operation.
Is the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
prepared to review our parliamentary sitting hours?
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for
his question.
It is too bad that his parliamentary leader is not in the House, since
he could have sent—
Some hon members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Dominic Leblanc: I am sorry, Mr. Speaker, I should not
have said that.
It is too bad that my colleague opposite does not know that I made
that offer yesterday at the House leaders meeting. We completely
agree that we should ensure that as many members as possible have a
chance to rise in this House to speak to this important issue.
I would be happy to work with—
The Speaker: I thank the hon. minister for his apology.
The hon. member for Lethbridge.
***
● (1455)
[English]
PHYSICIAN-ASSISTED DYING
Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, every
single large organization within the persons with disabilities
community shares the same opinion on assisted dying: they want a
prior review process of non-medical social vulnerabilities for every
patient.
2250
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Oral Questions
This request comes from their shared experience. Poverty,
isolation, and temporary depression often accompany a person's
adaptation to a new disability.
investment of $27 million to the agricultural greenhouse gases
program. This program funds vital research in practices and
technology that can be adopted on farms across the country.
What I would like to know is this: will the Liberals respect those
with disabilities by ensuring a robust prior review of social
vulnerabilities is provided, and if so, what will that look like?
Hon. Jody Wilson-Raybould (Minister of Justice and Attorney
General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have been
able to introduce legislation and to encourage robust discussions. We
have had substantive feedback reports, including the special
committee report that spoke to the fundamental need to ensure that
we present the best approach that balances personal autonomy with
the protection of vulnerable people.
This is a great example of our government's commitment to
research and innovation and to ensuring that the Canadian
agricultural sector is more innovative and sustainable than ever.
We have employed in the legislation the safeguards that were
recommended by the joint committee, and we are going to ensure
that we maintain this discussion and make the report available—
The Speaker: The hon. member for Peace River—Westlock.
Mr. Arnold Viersen (Peace River—Westlock, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, indigenous communities in my riding will be directly
impacted by today's legislation on assisted suicide. I am concerned
that the Liberals have ignored these communities. Dr. Alika
Lafontaine, president of the Indigenous Physicians Association,
highlighted the absence of major indigenous organizations during
the joint committee hearings and stated, “I believe there has not been
meaningful consultations with indigenous peoples”.
Why did the Liberals not undertake consultations with indigenous
communities on assisted suicide?
Hon. Jane Philpott (Minister of Health, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as
the House knows, there were a number of consultations that were
undertaken, which led to the legislation that was introduced today.
We were informed by the external panel, which provided a report to
us not many months ago. We were informed by a very interesting
report from the provinces and territories and by an excellent report of
the special joint committee of the House.
All of those bodies have in turn reached out to a number of other
organizations, including indigenous organizations across this
country. We intend to continue consultation and a rigorous debate
in the House. We are pleased with this legislation. We believe—
The Speaker: The hon. member for Lac-Saint-Louis.
***
AGRICULTURE AND AGRI-FOOD
Mr. Francis Scarpaleggia (Lac-Saint-Louis, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
McGill University's Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental
Sciences is located in my riding. The faculty does world-class
research on the relationship between environment, including water
supply and climate change, and agriculture.
Could the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food tell the House
what our government is doing to support and encourage research in
this area, both at McGill's Macdonald Campus in Sainte-Anne-deBellevue and across the country?
Hon. Lawrence MacAulay (Minister of Agriculture and AgriFood, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I was proud to join my colleague recently
at McGill's Macdonald Campus to announce our government's
***
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Mr. Randy Hoback (Prince Albert, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
Canada's business owners, farmers, and manufacturers deserve to
be on a level playing field with their global competitors. However,
the Liberal inaction and comments are confusing Canadians. The
Canadian Chamber of Commerce has said that we should and must
ratify the TPP because being left behind would be catastrophic for
Canadians. How will the Liberals help out our exporters to do
business with Japan and Asian markets if they do not ratify the transPacific partnership?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon.
member for his question as well as for his hard work and leadership
on the trade committee.
We have committed to studying the TPP before taking a decision.
We are doing precisely that. The trade committee is doing that, so we
are gathering the appropriate information before taking a decision on
ratifying.
In the meantime, I would assure the hon. member that we are
looking at every avenue for increasing Canada's trade and attracting
job-creating investment to Canada.
[Translation]
Ms. Ruth Ellen Brosseau (Berthier—Maskinongé, NDP): Mr.
Speaker, yesterday, the Quebec National Assembly passed a second
motion asking the government to resolve the diafiltered milk issue
once and for all. In less than two days, 4,500 people signed a petition
calling on the government to take concrete action. Our producers are
losing $220 million a year as a result of this government's inaction.
Our regions' economies are suffering as a direct result.
The government either needs to take action or compensate our
producers. What is the government waiting for? When will it finally
resolve the diafiltered milk issue once and for all?
● (1500)
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank
my hon. colleague for her question.
We are aware of issues with enforcement of our rules surrounding
supply management. As the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
has often said in the House, our government supports supply
management.
We are working with the industry to find a long-term solution.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2251
Oral Questions
[English]
HOUSING
Ms. Yasmin Ratansi (Don Valley East, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
Toronto Community Housing provides affordable housing to 58,000
households, of which there are 68 buildings in my riding of Don
Valley East, encompassing thousands of residents. With a repair
backlog of $2.6 billion, thousands of homes are affected. Could the
minister please update the House on how he is working with the City
to alleviate this problem?
Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos (Minister of Families, Children and
Social Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would first like to
congratulate and thank my colleague for this very important
question.
Budget 2016 would provide the largest federal investment in
housing in over 25 years. This investment of $2.3 billion includes,
among other things, $200 million for seniors housing, doubling the
federal investment in affordable housing, as well as close to $600
million for retrofits and renovations.
I very much look forward to working with my colleague from Don
Valley East, Toronto Community Housing, and the Ontario
government to make those funds quickly and easily available.
***
[Translation]
INTERNATIONAL TRADE
Mr. Jacques Gourde (Lévis—Lotbinière, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
Canada's dairy producers are totally distraught because the Liberal
government is dragging its feet on the issue of diafiltered milk.
Canadian dairy producers are losing millions of dollars every week
because of an injustice, a scheme orchestrated by processing
industries that do not care about behaving ethically toward their
business partners.
Our dairy producers have been tormented long enough. The
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food must act immediately in the
collective interest of the entire dairy industry. Will he take action
now, or is he going to put it off indefinitely?
Will the government commit to respecting the unanimous will of
the National Assembly and dairy producers, yes or no?
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, we are aware of the
resolution adopted by the National Assembly of Quebec. We are also
aware of the issues all across the country. We have committed to
finding a solution, and that is exactly what we will do.
***
TAXATION
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ): Mr. Speaker, the
government has once again dismissed the unanimous will of
Quebec. I will give it a second chance
This morning, the Quebec National Assembly unanimously
adopted another motion. It calls on the federal government to work
with Quebec to implement the motion I will be moving this evening,
which will put an end to the shameful use of tax havens in Barbados.
Quebeckers are sick and tired of seeing Canadian law encourage
profiteers.
Will the Prime Minister make a formal commitment to honour
Quebec's unanimous request by supporting the Bloc Québécois's
Motion No. 42, yes or no?
● (1505)
Mr. Emmanuel Dubourg (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Minister of National Revenue, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure
to answer my colleague's question.
First of all, I would remind members that the protection of
personal information is one of our priorities. When the Canada
Revenue Agency shares information with other countries, personal
information is protected.
My colleague has seen that the budget includes an unprecedented
investment of $444 million. This shows that the government is
determined to put an end to these schemes in order to benefit
Canadians.
***
[English]
Mr. David Lametti (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of International Trade, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, as the minister has
often pointed out to the House, we inherited this problem from the
previous government.
PRESENCE IN GALLERY
The Speaker: I would like to draw the attention of hon. members
to the presence in the gallery of Her Excellency Inara Murniece,
Speaker of the Saeima of the Republic of Latvia.
We are working on the problem. We are aware of the issues and
we know how important this is to the industry in Quebec and all
across the country. We are working on coming up with a long-term
solution.
Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
Hon. Erin O'Toole: Mr. Speaker, I am rising on an important
point of order seeking unanimous consent of the House, and I will
tell the House why. It is to confirm our collective intention that no
RCMP member be prevented from communicating with his or her
member of Parliament on Bill C-7, and that no discipline be enforced
upon a member who has responded to the call of the public safety
committee to appear before it as a witness.
Mr. Luc Thériault (Montcalm, BQ): Mr. Speaker, we did not
ask whether the government is aware of the issues; we want to know
if it is going to enforce the regulations.
For the parliamentary secretary's benefit, I repeat that the National
Assembly called on the government to ensure that the Canadian
Food Inspection Agency enforces its own regulation on cheese
composition, using the same definition of diafiltered milk that the
Canada Border Services Agency uses, namely, a protein concentrate.
I am sure it is the intention of all of us to make sure that members
affected by laws in front of this place have the right to communicate
in a responsible way with their elected representatives and to respond
to give testimony before the committee considering that bill.
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The Budget
Why is unanimous consent required? It is because a letter was
shared today that would suggest that some members could not
appear and that some members may be disciplined for giving
testimony this morning at committee.
The Speaker: Let us go on now to the Thursday question. The
hon. member for Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston.
I would ask for unanimous consent so that, as a collective, we can
exercise our right to call witnesses on important matters affecting
this country.
BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE
Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I wonder if the government House leader could provide us
with information about the agenda for the remainder of this week
and for next week.
The Speaker: Is there unanimous consent for what the member
has requested?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
***
POINTS OF ORDER
ORAL QUESTIONS
Ms. Linda Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
the Minister of Transport, in reply to a question from my colleague,
offered to provide his agenda of meetings to this place. In keeping
with the mandate letter issued to the minister wherein he is required
to be open and transparent, I am asking that he make available that
agenda of meetings, including with communities that are concerned
about rail safety.
The Speaker: I am not sure that is a point of order, but I see the
hon. Minister of Transport rising to respond to this.
Hon. Marc Garneau (Minister of Transport, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I said that the hon. member should look at my agenda. If
she wants to come over to my office, I will show it to her.
The Speaker: That sounds like debate to me.
The hon. member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie.
Mr. Chris Warkentin (Grande Prairie—Mackenzie, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, the minister made that same offer to me during question
period as well, so I wonder if he will offer me the same opportunity
to look through his schedule.
The Speaker: I think this is more debate. We will let it go at that.
Mr. Scott Reid (Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I too would like to see the minister's agenda. In the spirit of
equity, I will show him mine if he will show me his.
The Speaker: Some phrases really do not help the Speaker.
***
[Translation]
Hon. Dominic LeBlanc (Leader of the Government in the
House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I have good news. I have
no documents to table, and thus there is no need to worry.
[English]
This afternoon will conclude the fourth and final day of the budget
debate.
Tomorrow we will commence second reading of Bill C-10, the Air
Canada legislation, and continue that debate on Monday.
● (1510)
[Translation]
Next week, we will have opposition days on Tuesday and
Thursday. On Wednesday, we will begin debate on Bill C-14 on
medical assistance in dying, introduced this morning by my
colleague, the Minister of Justice.
[English]
Mr. Speaker, after discussions with all parties I think you will find
unanimous consent for the following motion:
That, pursuant to Section 20 of the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act,
the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development be
designated for the statutory review of the Freezing Assets of Corrupt Foreign
Officials Act and the Special Economic Measures Act.
The Speaker: Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent
of the House to move the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it
the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
(Motion agreed to)
We will now have the Thursday question by the hon. member for
Lanark—Frontenac—Kingston.
Mr. Scott Reid: Mr. Speaker, everybody is waiting with bated
breath for the Thursday question, but before we turn to that, I wonder
if I could seek unanimous consent of the House to table the January
“Fiscal Monitor” which shows that the current government received
a $4.1 billion surplus for—
The Speaker: Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent
of the House?
Some hon. members: Agreed.
Some hon. members: No.
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
[English]
THE BUDGET
FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House
approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
The Speaker: The hon. member for Lethbridge has three minutes
remaining in her speech.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2253
The Budget
Ms. Rachael Harder (Lethbridge, CPC): Mr. Speaker, with
regard to the partnership between post-secondary and industry, and
co-operative placement initiatives, I will reserve judgment until the
details are further released. I support the intent of this project,
because greater links between employers and post-secondary
institutions are certainly needed. This would ensure that students
receive the training and the skills that businesses are looking for in
order to fill their current job openings. This would continue the trend
of the Canada jobs grant and expand this approach to students.
However, we need to acknowledge that this budget would
significantly roll back previous tax benefits to students with regard
to the measures the Liberals have taken. The ending of the education
and textbook tax credit would have a significant impact on young
Canadians, especially as they transition to full-time employment.
The education tax credit was the greatest benefit to students as they
started their career in the workforce, as it significantly reduced their
income taxes, typically to zero, for the first few years after
graduation. Eliminating this tax credit would mean that youth would
have less money in their pockets when they were entering the
workforce and struggling to establish themselves.
Most alarmingly, the current government would saddle the next
generation with a ginormous debt load. While this generation would
dine, the next generation would be stuck with the bill. Using big
government to achieve economic growth simply does not work.
History has shown this over and over again, without exception.
The facts of life are simple, and in fact, they happen to be
conservative. We all have basic needs: food, shelter, clothing. To
purchase these things, we need an income. To have an income, we
need jobs. The best way to create jobs is by cultivating an
environment where small businesses will thrive, an environment
where entrepreneurs are encouraged to take calculated risks to
pursue innovative ideas, thus creating jobs for everyone. Unfortunately, this budget is out of step with the needs of Canadians.
Interestingly, in the budget itself on page 19 the party opposite
acknowledges “...that Canada is starting from a relatively strong
fiscal position”. For that, those of us on this side of the House would
say the government is welcome.
Canadians deserve better stewardship of this gift. Unfortunately,
however, the only real changes we see in the budget before us today
are poor fiscal management and obvious disregard for today's hardworking taxpayers and the generations that are to come after us.
[Translation]
Mr. Matt DeCourcey (Fredericton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I really
enjoyed the speech given by my colleague opposite.
[English]
I recall being here, working on Parliament Hill in 2005-2006,
when we left the former government with a huge surplus that it ran
right through quickly. I was also here at the time when the Kelowna
accord was struck, and I am so proud to see the reinvestment in
indigenous communities right across the country, something that our
former friend and colleague Andy Scott would be very proud of
today.
● (1515)
[Translation]
I am also proud of our investment in innovation and the plan we
will draw up for supporting universities and university graduates.
[English]
In my riding, the University of New Brunswick, Canada's most
entrepreneurial university, and St. Thomas University will be able to
take tremendous advantage of this. Also, the commitments that we
have started to roll out for veterans are something else that is
important in the community of Fredericton and Oromocto where
CFB Gagetown is located.
I wonder if the member can speak about how those investments
would really strengthen our country from coast to coast. Does she
understand the impact that those sorts of investments have on
ordinary persons right across the country?
Ms. Rachael Harder: Mr. Speaker, when I look at this budget, I
see a whole lot of money being spent. There is absolutely no doubt
about that. Unfortunately, however, it is $30 billion, which is $20
billion more than what the current government said it would spend.
That is breaking a promise. That is a significant deal.
With regard to that, in the midst of all of this spending, at the end
of the day someone has to pay all of that back. It will not be this
present generation; it will be the next generation. This budget would
not in fact be an investment in the rising generation, in the youth of
our nation. This is a budget that would actually saddle them with
ginormous debt and therefore actually would have a detrimental
impact on their future.
Mr. Darren Fisher: Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, before
question period, the member for Lethbridge made a derogatory
comment when she called the Prime Minister a liar.
It is a function of this House that we disagree, but I would suggest
that this is unacceptable and I would request, respectfully, an
apology.
The Speaker: I thank the hon. colleague for raising this point of
order. I was not in the House at the time and did not hear such a
phrase. I do not see the member standing to reply. I will review the
blues and come back to the House.
Now we will go on to questions and comments.
Mr. Ron Liepert (Calgary Signal Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is
important, as part of this budget debate, to ensure that we do remind
our friends across the way of the very generous surplus that we left
the Liberal government after November 1.
I wonder if the member could talk a little about the evidence that
has been presented that would show that the Liberal government
actually inherited a surplus and is now delivering a budget some
three or four months later that has a $30 billion deficit.
Ms. Rachael Harder: Mr. Speaker, it is true that the former
government did leave this country with a $5 billion surplus, which is
certainly remarkable and something that is noteworthy.
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The Budget
The way the former government did that was through prudent
fiscal management and achieving a balanced budget, which then led
to a surplus. Again, I would bring to the attention of members in the
House that the government opposite acknowledged in its budget that
it was left in a positive fiscal state.
As the MP for Elgin—Middlesex—London, I am happy to see
$3.1 million being invested to address phosphorous levels in Lake
Erie. This is very important, especially since we have 80 km of Lake
Erie along my riding.
Unfortunately, when it comes down to the “Fiscal Monitor” and
accepting the report that this House would like to put on the table,
the members opposite simply will not accept it. Nevertheless it does
not change the fact that the former government left a $5 billion
surplus.
However, today I stand as the official opposition critic for
families, children, and social development. I would really like to
focus on budget 2016 and the changes to the family benefits and
their effects on Canadian families.
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, I will be very clear, because the member wants to focus
on the deficit, and provide assurances to Canadians that the reality is
that there was a multi-billion dollar deficit left by the former
government.
I would not want to do this to the House, but I would have liked to
bring in my beautiful pencil that my husband bought me, so I could
do all these calculations. It is a brand new pencil and eraser, so I can
complete, review, and compare the new Canada child benefit to the
previous government's family tax cuts.
It said it was going to have a balanced budget; it did not happen. It
is as simple as that. History cannot be changed by having a bunch of
Conservative MPs standing up and proclaiming that there was a
surplus when in fact the reality is that there was a debt.
Let us look at the facts. The government has said it would assist
more middle-class families than the current plan assists. The biggest
issue is that the numbers just do not add up. Reviewing the average
family income using numbers provided by the most recent Statistics
Can data, when I do these calculations, I see that six out of nine
families, which are of average income for families, benefit from the
current plan put forward by the Conservative government. This is
better than under the new plan that would now be offered. Therefore,
when we look at a simple tax return, it is truly clear that the
headlines from the government mislead Canadian families.
Will the member not admit that there was actually a debt? If she
does not want to do that, maybe instead of the Speaker having to
review Hansard, she should just apologize for her earlier comments
about the Prime Minister.
Ms. Rachael Harder: Mr. Speaker, where do I start?
The member does want assurances. At the end of the day, the
assurances the member is looking for are found in a record that the
member opposite and his party will not accept. Other than that, I
have no further proof.
With regard to the comment, calling the Prime Minister a liar,
when the Prime Minister made the promise to spend $10 billion,
which has now turned into $30 billion, that was in fact untruthful.
However, my comment was out of line in this House, and so I do
extend an apology.
● (1520)
The Speaker: I thank the hon. member for Lethbridge very much
for retracting the statement. That is very helpful to order in this
place.
Resuming debate.
Mrs. Karen Vecchio (Elgin—Middlesex—London, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, it is a pleasure to have you in the chair as I speak today.
A local journalist from my riding always asks me what I like and
what I do not like, so I am going to start off with a few positive notes
of things that I saw in the budget that I do support.
I am pleased to see the increase in GIS for single-income seniors. I
have seen, over my years, many seniors who find it difficult, so any
way we can help a single senior I feel is very important.
I am pleased with the continuation in funding for broadband
Internet, known as the connecting Canadians program. It is a great
program that was introduced by the former government.
I will give a simple scenario. John and Mary have two children.
Their son Jack participates in programs at a local recreation centre
and plays on the house league soccer team. His sister Grace, age 4,
loves to dance and swim and participates twice a week in programs.
Both Jack and Grace play the piano and take lessons once a week.
Mary works as a mechanic and John as a school bus driver. To me,
those are very middle class incomes and values.
With my new mechanical pencil, the federal tax form, and the
family tax cut forms, using the previous tax rates, I calculated the
following. The federal income tax forms for both John and Mary are
based on the 15% and 22% respectively. I used the child tax credits
for both Jack and Grace, as well as the arts tax credits. Finally, I used
the income splitting for families, which increases the tax credit up to
an additional $2,000.
Now, to make things simple, because I did not want to get into a
whole bunch of things, I did not use the CPP, I did not use the EI
contributions, and I did not use the employment credits that are
given, because both governments agree that these are things that are
on a federal tax return.
The bottom line is that the middle-class family has more money in
its pocket through the Conservative government's family tax cuts.
Also, because my new pencil had lots of lead, I completed more than
80 tax returns using the Liberal middle-class tax cuts with the new
Canada child benefit, and I compared the scenarios.
April 14, 2016
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The Budget
As I stated, when looking at the average income for Canadian
families, six out of nine families did better under the Conservative
plan. With this budget there would also be the removal of the
textbook and education credit. That is before families would start
paying directly out their pockets for the national carbon tax and the
carbon tax being introduced by different provinces throughout the
country.
These same families I speak of include the same small business
owners and the people who run our family farms. Employers would
be paying more taxes in the future. The current government would
cancel the small business tax rate. It would also be introducing
increased contributions into public pension plans, by both employers
and employees, after consultations. However, it also cancelled
contributions into people's own personal tax-free savings accounts in
December, and it has cancelled the hiring tax credit. These are tax
increases to small businesses.
I would be remiss if I did not talk about our local agricultural
producers and farms. Ninety-eight per cent of farms are owned by
families. During his speech, the Minister of Finance encouraged
farmers to produce energy if commodity prices have dropped.
Although I appreciate that some communities may feel this is a great
option, I live in Elgin—Middlesex—London, where this has become
a big issue, especially at the provincial level.
● (1525)
I come from an agricultural community, and I have had the
opportunity to talk with our grain and oilseeds farmers, as well as our
beef, hog, tobacco, bean, lentil, apple, strawberry, pumpkin, and the
many other producers. Farmers have really diversified. They have
clearly stated to me that they need new markets and support for their
industry.
As the industry moves forward, we must support science-based
research not only in Ottawa centres, but in the fields, and with the
agricultural producers and agribusinesses. Over the next six years,
we will see a $30-million investment into agricultural research in
Ottawa. However, that is just a start, or I hope that it is just a start.
We need to do more for our farmers.
Finally, for all Canadian families, agricultural and small business
owners, a huge deficit has been tabled. It will be these families and
small businesses that will be footing the bill. For many Canadians, it
is truly hard to fathom amounts like $10 billion, $20 billion, and $30
billion, as most Canadians only understand their own household
debt. The government is treating Canadian tax dollars like Monopoly
money. I like to play The Game of Life. My son always makes me
play it. However, this is not a game. This is real money, and what we
need is a vision, not just spending. Often when we speak in
Parliament we use figures, formulas, and numbers that Canadians
just are not in touch with.
I believe there is a time for governments to participate in stimulus
programs to grow the economy, as we saw with the stimulus
spending programs of the previous government. We had shovels in
the ground to build new roads, bridges, recreation centres, and much
more, as well as an incredible investment into programs such as KIP,
the knowledge infrastructure program. We saw universities like
Western University, in the city of London, Ontario, improve the
facilities for the Ivey Business School. This was great infrastructure
spending at a time when it was needed most. At that time, across
Canada, and especially in my riding where over 6,500 jobs had been
lost just in the city of St. Thomas, investments were made that truly
stimulated the economy and got people back to work. However, this
is really not the time. We need viable options and opportunities to
get people back to work. We need to spend wisely.
As I said, I do see some positive things in the budget. However,
first and foremost, the Liberal government is misleading Canadians.
Important programs and tax incentives, like a fitness tax credit, do
not just help families by giving them tax breaks, but they also help
promote physical fitness. Although sports might not be everyone's
cup of tea, the ability to compete and improve oneself is hard to
challenge. My children have participated in sports, from swimming
and getting their Bronze Cross to playing in house league soccer
teams. Sports and physical fitness programs improve people
physically and mentally. Why would the government cancel
programs that encourage participation? If anything, I would have
loved to see increases to these credits, especially for seniors. What
the Liberal government calls boutique tax credits help seniors who
are worried about their physical fitness purchase a gym membership
or participate in activities. At the end of the day, these types of tax
credits may help our health care system because there would be
fewer people needing to use it.
The arts credit is another excellent example. Music and arts
programs are built on creativity and are linked to learning. The
government likes to use the term “boutique tax credits“ when
discussing these credits. We need to see not only how these credits
improve people and put money in their pockets but also what they do
for communities when people get involved with local recreation or
sports teams. Sometimes small businesses also benefit. It is not only
families that benefit but organizations as well.
These are great programs and initiatives that help members of our
communities participate, and I do believe it is important to support
all families. The government's approach is not exactly what I would
have hoped for, but I will say that some families will be helped.
However, it was six out of nine times under the Conservatives, and
only three out of nine times under the Liberal government.
I do support helping single parents and families with disabled
children. However, this budget is very misleading. I would suggest a
universal approach with the universal child care benefit, fitness tax
credit, arts credit, and income splitting. I think they are the best
approach.
I am truly concerned with the debt which seems to help families
today, but in the long run it will be what they have to deal with
tomorrow. These debts are as a result of the current spending. What
happens when we get the bill? We need to look at these deficits.
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I look forward to the further discussion on the budget in the
House.
● (1530)
Mr. Wayne Long (Saint John—Rothesay, Lib.): Mr. Speaker,
John, Mary, Jack, and Grace came into my constituency office last
week. They are living in poverty. In fact, they are having trouble
making ends meet. They are on a wait-list for affordable housing.
They line up at the food bank. What John, Mary, Jack, and Grace
want is a budget like the one we delivered last month. They want a
budget that has progressive ideas. They said to me that after 10 years
of cutbacks and regressive policies, they need a change.
They are very pleased about the Canada child benefit, which is
better for nine out of 10 families, which will lift thousands of people
in my province and in my riding out of poverty.
They asked me about the tax-free savings account. They asked
why the Conservative government would double a tax-free savings
account that only 4% of Canadians maximized.
I will say that John, Mary, Jack, and Grace were thrilled with our
budget. They were thrilled with the progressive nature of it.
Will the member opposite not concede that the Canada child
benefit is a transformational program, a government program that is
going to be good for the many and not the few as under the UCCB?
Mrs. Karen Vecchio: Mr. Speaker, Grace is a smart four-year-old.
It is great that Grace came to visit the member.
As I said, we have to look at everything here. We are talking
about, as the member indicated, a full transformation.
election campaign. He did not seem to think that it was very
important. He even said that it was not an industry of the future.
I would like the member to talk to us about the industry in her part
of the country.
What can we do to help these people whom the government has
abandoned?
[English]
Mrs. Karen Vecchio: Mr. Speaker, truly, that is something that is
absolutely on my radar. We need to ensure that we have
manufacturing incentives. We need to ensure that we are investing
in new technologies. We need to ensure that there are going to be
jobs for Canadians. I agree 100% with the member. It is very
important.
When the leader of that party at that time was campaigning, he
said, in my own community, that southwestern Ontario should stop
manufacturing and diversify. I will tell members that the majority of
people in Elgin—Middlesex—London stepped back and choked.
That is not what grows our economy.
I come from agriculture and manufacturing. It is extremely
important that we continue to invest in those things. I will continue
to support the manufacturing in my community. We have lots of
automotive in our community. Lots of different things are always
occurring. Any time we can help manufacturing, we are helping
families and we are helping the Canadian economy.
● (1535)
With this budget, great programs, like the fitness tax credit, have
been removed. The arts credit has been removed. Income splitting
has been removed.
Mr. Blaine Calkins (Red Deer—Lacombe, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
I finally get to ask a question of an hon. member in this House.
Yes, I believe that we must continue to invest in affordable
housing because not all Canadians are moving forward. That is why
we need to have excellent job-creating opportunities, so that we can
get parents back to work, so that when our youth are looking for their
first part-time job, they find a job, that we have an economy that
provides these.
I remember what got me motivated to get into politics. I remember
my wife and I making decisions for our family. We had one person
stay at home to raise our children. We thought that was what was
best. I remember the policies of the day of the former Chrétien and
Martin governments were absolutely disastrous for my family. I was
absolutely thrilled in the last 10 years, as a member of Parliament on
the governing side, to bring forward many great policies that helped
families in my constituency who are all telling me that they oppose
what the Liberal government is doing to them, getting rid of all of
these benefits that help them,
It is important to have things when we need to give a hand up, but
we do not always need to give a hand-out. We need to focus on job
creation. We need to focus on these things.
When we talk about that fitness tax credit, that is just looking at it
very simply. Jack and Grace are probably getting those lessons from
our 16-year-old or 17-year-old sons or daughters. Those are the great
things because those are the people out there, volunteering, making
our community a better place, and giving our youth their first-time
jobs.
Let us not forget about those important things, as well.
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank my colleague for her speech.
Since she comes from a manufacturing region, I would like to
know what she thinks of the comments made by the Prime Minister,
who basically dismissed the manufacturing industry just before the
I wonder if the hon. member would reiterate just how positive the
environment was for families under the former prime minister and
how terrible they are now under the current Prime Minister.
Mrs. Karen Vecchio: Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the
member asked this question. Just the other day, I was talking to my
sister about income splitting. Unfortunately, her husband suffered a
severe concussion and has been off work for the last two years, and
therefore, he does not have the income he used to have. However,
because of the income-splitting opportunities, they would have been
able to put more money in their pockets. What would have been
great about that is they have two kids currently in university. Things
like the textbook credits and all those important things would have
helped my sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Scott, as they go
through this journey and difficult time.
April 14, 2016
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The Budget
Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I am going
to share my time with the member for Winnipeg South.
Two years ago in my riding, under the former government,
hundreds of people were laid off when the iron ore industry started to
collapse. I saw four mines close in my region. At one point I saw a
community with nearly 400 for sale signs on houses.
I am very proud to speak to budget 2016.
Members talk about the reasons they get into politics. This budget
is certainly a reflection of one of the reasons I got into politics; it is
about reaching out to all Canadians, in a fair and balanced way,
ensuring that they all have opportunities in this country. That applies
to everyone, from the east to the west. This evening we will hear
some interesting perspectives on the budget and how it is going to
help Canadians from one end of the country to the other.
I have spent a number of years in politics, and I can guarantee that
in representing people in my riding, and before that in my district at
the provincial level, it has not always been easy. It is not always easy
to advocate for people, especially in times when governments are not
tuned in, not listening to the needs of the people, and when they do
not always see the big picture, a vision for the country.
In the last number of years, people in ridings like mine that are
remote, rural, northern, and indigenous, have not been listened to.
When we look at the infrastructure deficit that we carry today, it is
because there were governments in the country in the last 10 years
that did not believe in many of these communities and many of these
regions. These are regions that are northern, indigenous, remote,
rural.
I am very pleased to see a budget like we have today that is
reflecting those needs and looking at the reality of what investments
it will take to be able to meet some of those demands.
Today as we speak, there is a budget coming down in
Newfoundland and Labrador. I do not envy the job of the premier
and his government, but I certainly have confidence in them to know
that they will make the right decisions for the people in their
province. They are carrying a huge deficit, and they have to make
tough decisions. I am happy to say that I am part of a national
government that recognizes this, and that has reached out in this
budget to help provinces, like Newfoundland and Labrador, when it
comes to creating jobs and new opportunities, to help provinces like
Saskatchewan, Alberta, and many others.
This year we were able to increase the transfer dollars to
Newfoundland and Labrador, and we were able to ensure that there
were increases in health transfers over those of previous years. We
were able to see increases in social transfers over those of previous
years. We were able to ensure that there was proper fiscal
stabilization investments that would be transferred to Newfoundland
and Labrador.
It means partnering with provinces and territories. When a
province is strong and its economy is strong, we all benefit. Our
government is recognizing that. We are recognizing that, and we are
partnering with provinces and territories to help them do the things
they need to do to move infrastructure forward.
The other thing we are doing is we are recognizing that the
challenges they have need to be dealt with.
When I listen to the members opposite ask about what we are
doing to help people who are unemployed, it is ironic. There were
thousands of people in this country laid off and unemployed under
the former government, people who received absolutely no support,
absolutely zero support.
● (1540)
We have been able to work with communities like Wabush and
Labrador West so we can ensure that we have better employment
insurance benefits for them to help them through the transition. We
have been able to work with them in their communities and in the
province to secure new investors and new opportunity. We have been
able to put more money into investing in skills training and
diversifying skill levels. We have been reaching out to communities
in this way all across the country.
We know that when we build stronger communities and when
families have financial security, everyone contributes more to our
country. That is why in our budget our government was adamant
about raising the middle class, about allowing families to have
opportunities and save for their children's future, to save for their
retirement, and to be able to own a home.
This is the kind of balance that our government has had to tackle.
We have done a great job in targeting so many middle-income
families and low-income families that really need the government to
give them a hand up in society.
That is why things like our child tax benefit program and our
reformed income tax program will make a difference. In addition to
that, we also realize that not all people live equally. We recognize
that in northern regions the cost of living is much higher. That is why
we included special initiatives within the budget to help. We have
added more money to programs like nutrition north so families can
look at providing more affordable food to their children.
We are also committed to doing a full review of the nutrition north
program, to work with the communities that are impacted and to
look at how we can expand this program so they have better quality
food but, most important, affordable food when they need it.
We have also made changes to tax deductions for northern
regions. For the first time in many years, we have given substantial
increases under the northern tax reduction program, which will allow
more families to have more money in their pocket to deal with the
higher cost of living that they have to live with on a regular basis.
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The Budget
For the first time ever, I listened to a budget that referenced not
just indigenous people, or first nations, or Métis, but actually
referenced Inuit people and referenced areas like Nunavut,
Nunatsiavut, Nunavik, all of those areas about which we never hear
much. They are referenced in the context of investment, in investing
money into critical programs across northern regions. I represent a
large area of northern Inuit people and for the first time we will get
investments in housing. We will be able to provide better housing,
better support programs, and a better foundation to help them build
their communities.
We have talked about suicide a lot in the House in the last few
days. The Inuit regions of Canada have a suicide rate that is 10 times
the national average. We have to get to the root causes of these
problems. That is why this government is making one of the largest
investments ever, more than $8 billion, for indigenous communities
and indigenous people across the north.
We are prepared to tackle the most challenging issues that we face
as a country. We are prepared to resolve those issues in collaboration
with those who are impacted. We know in doing so all Canadians do
better.
● (1545)
Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I find
it curious that the member started off her statement with a reference
to the Newfoundland and Labrador budget today, and that she
expressed her extreme confidence in that government do the right
thing.
In the statement today in the Newfound legislature, this is what the
premier's finance minister said, “The previous government’s willingness to mortgage our future has left our province facing the
biggest deficit and highest net debt ever recorded in our history.” I
will remind the House and the hon. members on the opposite side
that we in fact did leave a budget surplus, as evidenced by the
“Fiscal Monitor”.
When the member speaks of confidence, these were the measures
in today's budget: 16.5¢ a litre increase in the gas tax in
Newfoundland as of June; $900 income-based levy on all taxpayers
; HST, up by 2%; average families paying $3,000 more in tax;
income tax brackets going up in every income level; corporate tax
rates increasing up to 15%; and class sizes also increasing in
Newfoundland and Labrador in grades four to twelve.
Is that confidence in the government that the member spoke about
an example of the foreshadowing that all Canadians will see with
future budgets?
Ms. Yvonne Jones: Mr. Speaker, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is dealing with tremendous challenges left behind
by a former Progressive Conservative government, not unlike what
we are dealing with regarding the challenges on debt and deficit that
were left to us by the former Conservative government opposite.
Canadians will always have security, they will always have a
government to depend upon, and they will not be left to their own
devices.
● (1550)
Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
am the health critic for the New Democratic Party, so I read this
budget with a particular interest in the provisions around health care.
We know that during the last election, there were some very clear
promises by the Liberals to the Canadian people. One was that they
would allocate $3 billion over four years to home care, which we all
agree is very important need in our country.
The Liberals also, without promising it explicitly, left a clear
impression that when they renegotiated the health accord, they
would address some of the deficiencies that had been put in place by
the previous health accord. Yet in this budget, not a penny is
allocated or budgeted for $3 billion in home care either this year or
in any year, and there is not a single dollar allocated in this budget
that would indicate that the health accord would be repaired after
2017 when the 6% escalator is scheduled to drop to 3%.
Would my hon. colleague tell Canadians why there is no money in
this budget for home care or a new renewed health accord when that
is what her party promised Canadians just six months ago?
Ms. Yvonne Jones: Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that we are very
committed to home care. Looking at home care for Canadians today,
we announced the initiatives that we would undertake around
palliative care as well.
The other part is with regard to the health accord. We are looking
to the provinces and territories. We will be working with them to
develop a new health accord. That health accord will reflect the
modern demands of the health care system, whether that be around
mental health services or other health services. However, I can
guarantee that these are priorities for us, and priorities that we will
address in this mandate.
***
MESSAGE FROM THE SENATE
The Deputy Speaker: I have the honour to inform the House that
a message has been received from the Senate informing this House
that the Senate has passed the following bill to which the
concurrence of the House is desired: Bill S-201, An Act to prohibit
and prevent genetic discrimination.
***
THE BUDGET
FINANCIAL STATEMENT OF MINISTER OF FINANCE
However, do we govern in a country and do we bill our way back,
or do we allow the country and that province to go bankrupt?
The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House
approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
The people opposite may be prepared to run large deficits, run the
people's country and the people's province into the ground, leaving
nothing to rebuild from. The Liberals do not work that way. We look
for a path forward, and sometimes that path is painful. However,
Mr. Terry Duguid (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Families, Children and Social Development, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, it
is a great privilege and honour for me to rise and speak today in the
House on the subject of our government's 2016 budget.
April 14, 2016
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It is not an exaggeration to say that we have the good fortune to
live in one of the world's great democracies. Canadian democracy as
we know it has been evolving over 250 years. If one considers the
consensus-style government long practised by our first nations, then
our democratic tradition has in fact been in place even longer than
that. Therefore, for me to have this opportunity to add my voice to
the long list of those who have gone before me in this continuing
story of democracy is a truly humbling experience.
I must also add that my sense of pride today is felt in double
measure because of the constituency I represent. Winnipeg South is a
community that epitomizes and crystalizes the very idea of what it
means to be Canadian. From pre-contact times, the mighty Red
River that flows through Winnipeg South was a trade route for
Canada's first people. Our riding became a place where French
explorers and indigenous people met, traded, and settled together,
and French continues to thrive as a language of our daily life.
Our part of Canada, in fact, created key pieces of a whole new
culture unique to the world. The Métis people and Louis Riel's
house, the site of national historic importance, is situated in
Winnipeg South. Our community has, since those earlier days,
welcomed immigrants from around the world, and continues to this
day to embrace the spirit and the fact of Canadian multiculturalism.
When I recently visited Fort Richmond High School in my riding,
I was astounded to learn that the students attending that school could
trace their roots back to 170 different countries. It is amazing.
Winnipeg South is what Canada is all about, and I could not be
more proud to be its member of Parliament. I thank the voters of
Winnipeg South for the trust they have placed in me, and I pledge
here that I will serve them faithfully.
I am a Liberal because I believe government has a role to play in
improving the lives of Canadians. In the election, the Liberals
promised that, if elected, we would play that role in building our
economy and our country. Now, with our new budget, the Liberal
government is keeping the election promises we made to build
Canada and make it a better place for all.
For me, and particularly as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister
of Families, Children and Social Development, I am especially
looking forward to helping implement the investments in social
infrastructure we will make to ensure all Canadians have a chance to
succeed. A key component of this approach is the investments we
will make in affordable housing that were announced in this budget
in the social infrastructure fund.
Canada is a federation, as members know, and all levels of
government need to examine how they can work together to best
serve the interests of their constituents. I believe the federal
government has a strong leadership role to play in ensuring that
all Canadians have a home and a safe place to live. This budget
provides that leadership. I am pleased to say that, through budget
2016 investments, we will work with our partners and the provinces,
territories, and indigenous communities to address the most pressing
housing needs in the short term.
With new funding commitments of $2.3 billion over the next two
years, budget 2016 represents a huge step in providing affordable
housing for Canadians who need it most. Of the significant
investments we will make in housing over the next two years, close
to $1.5 billion of it will be delivered by the provinces and territories
under the investment in affordable housing program, also known as
the IAH. This will provide an immediate response to the most
pressing housing needs in communities all across Canada.
It is important to note that these new investments are only a first
step. A more permanent, longer-term approach is needed to develop
an effective and made-in-Canada housing strategy. As these shorterterm measures are being implemented, we will carefully develop a
comprehensive, forward-looking strategy that supports innovative
approaches to affordable housing and improved housing outcomes
for all Canadians and for all types of housing.
To that end, we will consult with the provinces and territories,
indigenous people, and other stakeholders in the coming year to
develop a national housing strategy. More details on these
consultations will be shared later this spring.
● (1555)
Another one of the promises we made during the election
campaign was to create a new Canada child benefit, and I am so
pleased to note that budget 2016 keeps this promise and proposes to
replace the current complicated child benefit system with the new
Canada child benefit in order to give Canadian families more money
to help with the high cost of raising their children.
This new benefit would provide a maximum annual benefit of up
to $6,400 per child under the age of six and up to $5,400 per child
for those aged six through 17. Families with less than $30,000 in
income would receive the maximum benefit. Families would receive
approximately $9.8 billion more in child benefits during the 20162018 period than they do now, and nine out of ten families would
receive more in child benefits than under the current system.
In my province of Manitoba, families would receive $490 million
more in child benefits during the 2016-2018 period, and as the
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families, Children and
Social Development, I am gratified to say that the new CCB, as my
hon. friend from New Brunswick has said, will lift some 300,000
Canadian children out of poverty and set them on the road to
success. This is an example of the positive work that government can
do to improve our society, and I am proud to play a part in it.
In the last election, the voters in Winnipeg South had a clear
choice between a Conservative government, which they believed
represented the status quo and felt that the status quo was good
enough, and a Liberal Party, led by Justin Trudeau, that believed the
middle class deserves better.
My apologies, Mr. Speaker.
The Deputy Speaker: I know the hon. member realizes that at
this point he can, of course, substitute “the Prime Minister” or his
riding.
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The Budget
Mr. Terry Duguid: Mr. Speaker, the alternative was a Liberal
Party, led by the Prime Minister, that believed the middle class
deserves better. Voters saw that while the wealthiest 1% of society
had seen their incomes more than double in the last 30 years, middleclass incomes had stagnated.
Middle-class Canadians were doing all the right things—studying
hard, working hard, and making a real contribution to the Canadian
economy—but their hard work was not paying off in higher
incomes. We in the Liberal Party said that was not fair. Canadians
agreed and voted in favour of our promise to give a tax break for the
middle class.
I am happy to note that we have already kept this promise and
lowered the middle-class income tax rates, saving the average
middle-class family in Winnipeg South and across Canada hundreds
of dollars per year. Middle-class voters gave us their trust, and we
have lived up to it.
Budget 2016 will literally help build Canada and prepare it for the
future. Our budget proposes to invest up to $11.9 billion over the
next five years on a cash basis to maintain and upgrade federal
infrastructure assets that provide services all Canadians can rely on.
These assets include things like public transit, cultural and
recreational facilities, green infrastructure that represents the
economy of the future, universities and community colleges, as
well as things like roads and bridges. A robust infrastructure is the
backbone of a strong economy, and budget 2016's new spending will
continue to build the things that Canadians want and need.
This new spending will also create tens of thousands of jobs.
I have mentioned only a few of the many things that our new
budget will do to improve the lives of Canadians. These are first
steps, but they are important steps and ones that set us on a bold new
path compared to the recent past.
I began my remarks by saying how proud I am to serve as the
member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and how proud I am to
serve as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Families,
Children and Social Development. This new budget reaffirms the
values of our party and our government. It is only the beginning. In
the coming weeks and months, we will continue to take steps to
strengthen families, build our infrastructure for the future, and
support the middle class.
I would like to conclude by saying that none of these initiatives or
new programs would mean anything without the help and hard work
of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. As a Liberal, I believe that
governments and the people who elect them work together to make
society a better place. Governments can provide leadership, to be
sure, but it is the people who create the co-operative spirit required to
build great societies.
As we move forward from this first budget, I know that my
constituents in Winnipeg South are ready to face the future with a
new optimism and a new hope for the great things that we will
achieve together.
● (1600)
Hon. Jason Kenney (Calgary Midnapore, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
congratulate the new member for Winnipeg South on his election to
this place and I wish him well during his time here.
In his speech he cited completely misleading statistics to support
the central premise of this big-spending, big-borrowing, big-taxing
budget when he said that the top 1% of income earners had benefited
from all of the income growth in the past 35 years.
It is very interesting that he would replicate the Minister of
Finance's statistical jiggery-pokery of choosing the 35-year time
frame. That statistic is true if we start from 1982, from the period of
the Trudeau administration, but interestingly, during the administration of the previous Conservative government, the average growth in
real family income for the top 1% income earners from 2005 to 2014
actually shrank, while real average median after-tax incomes for the
average middle income family went up by 11%. The actual picture of
income distribution and growth between 2006 and 2015 looks
radically different from what it does if we go back to 1982.
I have a very simple question. Why is he presenting misleading
figures in order to justify his budget? Why does it not stand on its
own?
Mr. Terry Duguid: Mr. Speaker, I think the record is clear. We
have had 10 years of stagnation in this country, 10 years of low
growth under the previous government, and this budget makes
historical investment with which we will stimulate our economy,
create jobs, and lift children out of poverty.
The hon. member should not take my word for it. He should take
the words of the IMF and national and international economists that
our Minister of Finance has cited many times.
The Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and I
have met with all manner of social development groups. They agree
that this is a good budget because we are investing in the Canadian
people.
● (1605)
Mr. Kennedy Stewart (Burnaby South, NDP): Mr. Speaker, we
talk a lot about pipelines in the House, and of course that topic is
definitely related to this matter today. I have seen an article in the
National Post saying that the Prime Minister has told his senior
lieutenants to draw up plans to make Kinder Morgan's Trans
Mountain expansion a reality.
A lot of times I hear in this House that the government believes in
a new process, but it seems that now it is overriding the process and
approving this pipeline before the application has even been filed.
Can the parliamentary secretary tell me if a decision has already
been made? Will they build Kinder Morgan, or will he stand with me
in this House today and oppose this pipeline?
Mr. Terry Duguid: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his
question. I forgot to thank the previous hon. member for his
question, so I will do that now.
I had the very good fortune to be the environment commissioner
for the Province of Manitoba, the home province of the member for
Elmwood—Transcona, and I know the importance of good process.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
Members have heard the Minister of Natural Resources and the
Minister of Environment and Climate Change talk about the good
process that we intend to follow. We believe that the environment
and the economy can go together and must go together, and we will
follow due process in assessing all of these pipelines.
Hon. Judy A. Sgro (Humber River—Black Creek, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I want to begin by congratulating my new colleague on his
comments and on the very active work he is doing here to advance
our government's agenda.
When it comes to the issue of university tuition and postsecondary school, we have much in common between Winnipeg
South and Humber River—Black Creek in terms of our population
base and the issues that are important to all of us.
I would be interested in comments from my hon. colleague on the
investments that our government is making to allow many more
people to be able to afford post-secondary education.
Mr. Terry Duguid: Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member from
Toronto for her question.
Indeed, we do share much in common. My riding is the home of
the University of Manitoba, our major research university. We have
enhanced grants, particularly for low-income families, as well as
loans. Student will now have to make at least $25,000 before having
to begin paying back their student loan. They will get that extra time
to get a good job before they have to start paying back their loan.
I would also point out that there have been other major
investments in our universities. There is a $2 billion knowledge
infrastructure fund that will be administered by the Department of
Industry, Innovation and Science, and there are major investments in
research, CIHR, Genome Canada, and CFI. As well, we have
formally ended the war on science.
Hon. Deepak Obhrai (Calgary Forest Lawn, CPC): Mr.
Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my colleague, the member
for Durham.
Mr. Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege to stand to speak to
the budget. As this is approximately the seventeenth or eighteenth
budget that I have debated, I will give my perspective on all the
years that I have been in this House talking about budgets.
First let me say that on the other side, there are a considerable
number of new members of Parliament. I welcome them all into this
House. I am sure they will have a great time in this House over the
next four years. We will debate many issues, many of which we will
agree on and many of which we will not.
For the new members of Parliament, let me give them a little
history. I came here about 18 years ago. From that time, until
October last year, every government had been fighting to balance the
books. The previous Liberal government, under this Prime Minister's
father, created huge deficits, and every government, including the
Liberal government that preceded us, fought to balance the budget,
to bring the books back into shape. We can all remember that the
former prime minister, when he was the finance minister, cut
transfers to the provinces to balance the budget, which no province
has forgotten.
Under the leadership of former prime minister Harper and finance
ministers Jim Flaherty and Joe Oliver, we worked very hard to bring
the finances back into shape.
During the recession of 2008, when I travelled all over the world,
wherever I went, I was asked all the time how Canada had not
suffered from the world recession. It was because the policies we had
were sound. We were not recklessly spending the money that we
now see the present government doing in the budget of 2016.
Budget 2016 is the first budget in the 18 years that I have been
here where there is absolutely no control on spending, no control on
any kind of transparency or accountability for Canadian tax dollars.
What we have in this budget is a deficit. It started with a $10-billion
deficit. Now it is a $30-billion deficit, with no plan as to when we
are going to pay it. As it continues with the unplanned expenditures,
we do not know where this deficit is going to end up.
In 2008, when the world faced a recession, the G20 countries
came out with spending on infrastructure to stimulate the economy.
At that time, the Conservative government also went into deficit.
For the present government to now say that it is bringing in
infrastructure spending and all these things is something that the
world economy has done. However, we are done with the plan, a
plan to bring back and balance our books.
The present government, despite the fact there it is very clear that
when we left government there was a surplus, tends to mislead
Canadians. It misled Canadians by saying that there will only be a
deficit of $10 billion. It is misleading again to say there was a deficit
when it came into power. It is utter nonsense.
During the period that we were the government, I remember very
clearly taking control of our expenses. We gave the departments and
everybody an opportunity to see how they would reduce expenses to
make it balance. That allowed us to cut taxes. We moved the taxes
from early July to the middle of June for Canadian taxpayers. We
reduced the GST to 5%. Now, with all this massive spending by the
government, many people are asking whether the GST is going to go
up. “Are they going to raise the GST?” It is a question that many
Canadians are asking. Based on the past experience of the Liberals,
we cannot trust what they are saying. It may go up.
● (1610)
Of course, we are facing a crisis right now of low oil prices, but
everybody tries to say it is a regionalized issue in Alberta or
Newfoundland. Today budgets are being presented both in Newfoundland and in Alberta. In all of them, they are talking about
massive deficits. The oil prices are world-controlled, but let us make
it very clear that everyone benefits from the energy industry. It is not
only the few provinces of Saskatchewan, Alberta, or Newfoundland;
it is everyone, including Ontario, and most importantly Quebec.
Because everybody benefits, it is important that this energy sector
now be given assistance, as we did when the automobile industry
was under pressure. We came out with a program to help the auto
industry in Ontario. It is the same thing, and today the energy sector
requires assistance.
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However, what do we have to do? It is very simple. We need to
move our oil resources to tidewater, as everybody keeps saying.
What is interesting is that the NDP government in Alberta has
recognized that this is a vital thing for the economy of the country.
The Alberta government is changing its tune and saying it needs
pipelines to take oil to tidewater.
I will explain to the member that for the last 20 years when
previous governments overspent, we had to fight to bring it back.
Then after that, we managed to reduce the tax. It was our
government, with that kind of management, that reduced the GST
to 5%, putting more money into the pockets of Canadians. More
money in the pockets of Canadians is what moved the economy.
The latest opinion poll shows that most Canadians agree that
pipelines are the safest way to take oil. What do we get from the
other side? We get nothing. We get statements saying that they know
it has to go there, and yes they will do all this. They put in all these
rules and regulations that can delay for years and years the project of
making pipelines.
We all know that it is the consumers who move the economy and
not the planners or economists. Therefore, this is a critical aspect.
While reducing the GST to 5%, I would remind the member that in
2008, Canada was not in a recession at that time.
The rhetoric that the other side is giving is that the current
government streamlined the environmental regulatory process so that
it would be a balanced process, not a process taken over by special
interest groups, which the government seems to be representing all
the time. We need to have the pipelines and the natural resources that
this country is blessed with go to foreign markets. That is the key
element of where prosperity would fly all across Canada for more
jobs. Yes, we have infrastructure in the budget. We did that too, but
there is no plan on that side. The parliamentary secretary was just
talking about it.
Canadians are extremely worried by this huge spending budget of
2016. They do not know where it will lead them. I can say that all of
us will have to pay for this deficit. As I have said, in the last 20 years
we have been fighting to ensure that the overspending of the
previous Liberal government was brought under control. The
generations to come will be paying for the current government. It
is not going to pay. It is the generations to come that will be paying.
Our young children will be paying for all of this deficit.
There are some economists talking about this being a good thing,
but I know from history that all economists have different views.
However, the simple, straightforward logic that everybody knows
and that everybody's parents and grandparents taught them is to live
within our means. That is what the current government should be
doing, and not spending money as if it is somebody else's money.
I will conclude by saying this to the Liberal government: respect
the taxpayers' dollars.
● (1615)
Ms. Anita Vandenbeld (Ottawa West—Nepean, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, the hon. member talked about spending, but Canadians
know the difference between spending and investment. When we
invest in Canadians, we create growth in the economy. In fact, just
this week the Governor of the Bank of Canada said that our budget
would have a positive impact on growth. Christine Lagarde, the head
of the IMF, singled out Canada to say that if other countries have the
capacity to do so, they should follow Canada's lead. In fact, she said
that the slower growth due to the energy sector is going to be offset
by an increase in public investment.
Does the hon. member think that the head of the IMF and the
Governor of the Bank of Canada are incorrect?
Hon. Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Speaker, what is correct has been put
in a historic context, which is to live within one's means.
● (1620)
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank my colleague for his speech. I cannot ignore
what he said, which is rather surprising coming from a Conservative
member.
I would like to come back to the matter of deficits. In his speech,
my colleague mentioned the late Mr. Flaherty. In 2007-08,
Mr. Flaherty listened to the advice of economists, who said that
significant government investments would stimulate the economy,
and he did exactly that. At the time, the government was proud to
say that it was making investments to stimulate the economy. It even
called those investments its economic action plan.
Why then is my colleague today denying the validity of this
economic theory when his own government used the same strategy
in 2008?
How does he explain the fact that he is completely opposed to that
theory today?
[English]
Hon. Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Speaker, the problem with this budget
is that it has no plan to meet the deficits made through the
government's spending.
I agree with the hon. member about Mr. Flaherty during the 2008
recession, which I stated in my speech, but I do not think he listened.
We spent the infrastructure money because that was what the G20
had agreed to. However, we then immediately had a plan on how to
balance the books, which is what we did. Subsequent to balancing
those books, we were able to give assistance to families, provide tax
credits, invest in social services, and reduce the tax burden.
Therefore, I say yes, but there has to be a plan.
Under the 2016 budget, there is absolutely no plan on how to
reach that. It is just motherhood statements that the Prime Minister
has been making, known to be the fluffy statements that he makes
that somehow we will balance the budget, or like he said in—
The Deputy Speaker: We have time for just a very short question
and response.
The hon. member for Barrie—Innisfil.
Mr. John Brassard (Barrie—Innisfil, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I
want to thank the hon. member for his comments. One of the things
he talked about was a lack of a jobs plan.
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The Budget
I would remind the House that 1.3 million net new jobs were
created, and the current government, with this plan, is on track to
make the employment insurance system the largest employer in this
country.
Given the member's history in the House, what would he suggest
that the government do to create a jobs plan for this country to get
Canadians to work?
Hon. Deepak Obhrai: Mr. Speaker, first and foremost, what
anyone would do is work towards balancing the budget. Once we
work toward living within our means, we will have the money to
spend where we want to spend it. We will create an environment in
which there is more investment, where more businesses are attracted,
which would then generate the economy. Most importantly, what
generates the economy are small businesses, medium-sized business,
and the middle class, not high government.
Hon. Erin O'Toole (Durham, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am proud to
rise today as the member of Parliament for Durham to speak in this
important budget debate. What is most important about this debate is
it is the first budget for the new Liberal government. It shows areas
that it will focus on and as an opposition member, it shows areas that
I am concerned about for our economic future. My remarks will be
about that.
I will start off in a manner that my mother always taught me to do.
She used to tell me that if I did not have anything nice to say, then I
should not say anything at all. However, I will say something.
I was proud to see the government continue the legacy of Jim
Flaherty, who recognized the unique strain placed on families
dealing with young children with disabilities. I applaud the
government for continuing the practice he started and for including
extra support in its new child benefit for families with disabilities. I
know first hand the late Jim Flaherty's passion on that subject and
the impact it has had on families. The Liberals will continue that
tradition and I salute them for it.
However, with that out of the way, the budget is built on a house
of cards. When the Prime Minister was the leader of the third party,
he did not support running a deficit. We have heard speeches from
some of his brand new Liberal MPs, and I congratulate them on
being here, but they do not know the position the Prime Minister
took previously. For many years, he indicated the importance of a
balanced budget. That was his position. That was the legacy he tried
to take from Paul Martin and people like David Dodge. Members
will hear them mentioned a lot. His position was that it was the
responsibility of a government to keep a balanced budget.
The other house of cards is this. The budget is built upon an
election document. All senior civil servants have essentially been
given their marching orders from an election document. The Liberal
government brought in a senior member to the Privy Council who
wrote the election document. Had the last government done any of
that, there would have been riots on the streets of Ottawa, but it
seems to be acceptable by the Liberal team. The other fallacy was
that Canada was in a recession and that was why the government
needed to do it. That was not true.
We saw that just a few weeks ago when job numbers and GDP
numbers were announced. We would all like to see more jobs,
particularly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and
Labrador, provinces that have been impacted by resource prices. The
economy is growing modestly so the whole premise for running that
no more than $10 billion deficit was also false. Why is that so
important? Because it is building an economic plan for the new
government that is built on a house of cards. The Liberal government
is putting my children's future at risk by making poor economic
decisions.
A deficit in the midst of a global recession with a plan to get back
to balance is prudent. A massive deficit during a time when the
economy is growing with no real emphasis on job creation is
reckless. In fact, very little of the infrastructure money will stimulate
job creation. Most observers have been profoundly disappointed.
I am happy there is some infrastructure spending, building upon
the build Canada plan of the last government. However, virtually
none of that spending will be stimulative, so there will be no jobs
from it. There is no extension of the auto innovation fund or the parts
innovation fund brought forward by the previous government to help
Southern Ontario, to help areas in Oshawa and my riding of Durham,
working with industry to modernize, to increase productivity, and to
create jobs. There is none of that.
● (1625)
In the middle of an election campaign, really to take advantage of
a weak position of a party on the left, the Liberals started saying that
they would run a modest deficit of no more than $10 billion. In
reality, there will not be a deficit lower than $10 billion over the
course of four years. In the first two years, the deficit will be roughly
$30 billion and around $14 billion in the final year. Not only does
this break his promise about no more than $10 billion; it also breaks
the promise about balancing the budget within his four year term.
My remarks will show that some of that spending will have no longterm job creation impact on Canada at a time when that has to be a
priority.
That is a broken promise on the job front to small business by
reversing their position on the small business tax rate, another
broken promise, in fact almost the unheralded or unheard of position
of not meeting with the Canadian Federation of Independent
Business and getting direct budgetary input amid the consultations
the Liberals claim to have, I guess on Facebook, to help the hundreds
of thousands of independent and small businesses in Canada.
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The Budget
In fact, leading economists will say that amid those tough global
years of the recession, it was small to medium-sized employers that
helped us make it through, which was why the previous government
had a strategic plan to do away with some regulation and red tape for
small business, but, more important, make their tax rates competitive
and incent them to hire. If every small business hired two people,
that is equal to a new shift at a plant in Oshawa or Windsor, or more.
Therefore, letting down small business and having no plan for jobs is
a profound concern when running billions upon billions of dollars in
deficit financing for Canada.
I will now speak for a few minutes about a few areas of particular
concern. I am the public safety critic. It was shocking to have a
budget delivered the day of the terrible terror attacks in Brussels. The
finance minister was gracious enough to acknowledge that terrible
attack on our friend and ally at the beginning of his speech, but with
$30 billion in new spending, how much is there for front-line public
safety and security? There is zero, nothing.
There has been some talk about a few good initiatives such
countering radicalization, those sorts of things, which the Conservatives support, even though we have not heard anything from the
minister. However, there is nothing for front-line members of the
RCMP, CSIS, CSC to keep us safe. That was very concerning, and
the minister has not explained why.
Now I will move to the Canadian Armed Forces. I am proudly
wearing my RCAF pin. There was an RCAF reception on the Hill
this week and I was proud that a lot of members attended. We have
entered another decade of darkness. I had dinner last night with some
friends of mine who I went to military college with and we called it
“decade of darkness II”, like the sequel we never wanted to be made.
Why is it as bad as the 1990s? Because there is a $3.7 billion cut
to the procurement budget. One of the members from Winnipeg is
laughing. The aerospace industry in Winnipeg is looking to him and
the government for some leadership. The F-35—
● (1630)
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, the
member is trying to impute motives of mine when he indicated that I
was laughing at what is a very important industry to my province. I
was not laughing. I asked the member how many F-35s or jets the
member got for the Canadian Forces, but he should not be imputing
motives.
The Deputy Speaker: It is not a point of order. There are
opportunities for members, when the times comes in question and
comments, to perhaps challenge things they have heard in the House.
I am sure the hon. member is no stranger to doing that when the need
arises. I am sure he will have an occasion to perhaps address that
point at another time.
Hon. Erin O'Toole: Mr. Speaker, having served in Winnipeg, and
knowing the tremendous history of aviation and of the jobs in that
province, it is not something to heckle about. Rather, it is something
to support. I believe the F-35 the member references is being
cancelled. However, that decade of darkness, is the sequel of the
F-35 replacing the old Sea King that Jean Chrétien cancelled, which
I flew on and which put lives at risk. That ill-timed decision to cancel
cost $500 million in penalties, and we still needed a new helicopter.
Those are the types of decisions that the $3.7 billion cut to new
equipment will mean for our men and women.
There is also a cut between the estimates of 2015-16 and the next
main estimates of $400 million in operational spending. That means
the Canadian Armed Forces will go through the exact same thing as
it did when the Liberal government came in under Prime Minister
Chrétien. Then there was a defence white paper of 1994. We now
have a defence review. It was the same sort of window dressing to
cut and slash.
With respect to old age security, rolling back the modest reforms
to ensure this program, which is not a pension but a program
financed by the government, addresses demographic change is the
best example of no plan at all. Our allies have made similar reforms,
as have most of the countries in Europe. In the U.K. it is age 67, In
Australia it is age 70. This is a responsible and sensible, evidencebased decision.
David Dodge, the former governor of the Bank of Canada who
was quoted today, called this move in the government's budget “a
backwards step.”
In a book called, The Real Retirement, it states, “Canada will not
have enough workers in the years ahead, and various incentives,
government policies, and employment practices to encourage early
retirement will make little sense.” Who wrote that? The finance
minister. He is not even following his own advice.
Governing is hard. It is about making decisions in the long term. It
is ensuring there are job opportunities for everyone in Canada, for all
families. It is about not burdening our children with debts piled up
with overspending. We have seen that in Ontario with the McGuinty
and Wynne governments. The federal Liberal government needs to
recognize this and change its course before subsequent budgets put
us on the economic shoals and put our future at risk.
● (1635)
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (Parliamentary Secretary to the
Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the member might want to reflect more on some basic
sense of commitment.
April 14, 2016
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The Budget
We were both here at this time last year when the leader of the
Liberal Party, the now Prime Minister, talked a great deal about the
importance of Canada's middle class and that we needed to invest in
it. It ultimately became a part of the election platform for the Liberal
Party. Then, if we read the throne speech from last December, two
highlights came out of that: the significant cutbacks to taxes for the
middle class, with millions of dollars going back into their pockets;
and, the Canada child benefit program, with millions of dollars being
invested in our children. These are two initiatives that really helped
Canada's middle class. It was an election commitment, it was part of
the platform.
I always thought the Conservatives would support tax cuts,
especially to Canada's middle class. Yet the Conservatives voted
against those tax cuts. Could the member please explain why the
Conservative Party voted against the tax cuts, and why it does not
support increasing child benefits that will lift hundreds of thousands
of children out of poverty? Why do the Conservatives not support
those two initiatives?
Hon. Erin O'Toole: Mr. Speaker, I will explain how this is
another area where the Liberal Party is misleading Canadians in how
it defines and reaches out to the middle class.
The Prime Minister is a little older than I am. However, both our
families were recipients of the baby bonus, as were all members of
the House. It was a universal program that recognized the
universality and importance of children and family. That is what
our universal child care benefit did. It was for everyone.
There were also benefits to families for income splitting, for
children's fitness, and for children's arts. The Liberals are removing
all of these programs that apply to all families and they do not want
to tell people the result. In Ontario, if there is a family with a nurse,
firefighter or police officer in the GTA, it is likely worse off under
this new plan. Certainly, those families took advantage of the tax
credits for university, books, arts and fitness.
This is what is happening. There is a lot of talk and window
dressing by the Liberal government. However, when we search for
the reality, it is not there. That is why the parliamentary budget
officer said that this budget was the least open and transparent in 15
years.
The member and his colleagues should tell their constituents why
they have kept elements out of the budget. That is very concerning.
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
would like to thank my colleague for his speech.
In his comments, my colleague spoke about the budget of the
Department of National Defence and said that the Liberals were
neglecting that department.
I would like to hear more about a negative aspect of the budget
that was raised and criticized by the parliamentary budget officer,
and that is the lack of transparency in the document and the figures.
A lot of spending will go on until 2021-22. That is the case for the
Department of National Defence. Some expenditures are even
planned for 2021-22. That is basically two elections from now.
Could my colleague talk about the government's approach of
announcing figures when those amounts will not be spent until two
elections from now?
[English]
Hon. Erin O'Toole: Mr. Speaker, all members of the House know
the passion I have for the men and women who serve us in the
military and the RCMP. This is an area of profound concern because,
as the member said, they have already outlined a number of figures
for the military that allow a comparison with the decade of darkness.
The main estimates that we now see before the House show an
operational cut of $400 million and an almost $4 billion procurement
cut or delay. If we combine the procurement cancellations alongside
the operational cuts, they amounts to cuts that are actually larger than
what we saw in total in the 1990s.
With procurement in particular, the longer we wait to acquire
these aircraft, the higher the cost will be. The Sea King was
cancelled while I was an officer cadet at the Royal Military College.
I served my military time. I became a lawyer. I practised law. I was
elected to Parliament. Then, in my first time on Power & Politics,
what was I talking about? The Liberals' screwed-up Sea King
procurement.
If we delay or screw up procurement, we are delaying it for 25
years. It will raise the cost to Canadians. Worse, it will potentially
put the lives of the people we ask to serve this country at risk. I ask
the Liberals to stop that.
● (1640)
[Translation]
The Deputy Speaker: Order.
It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House
that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are
as follows: the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo,
Indigenous Affairs; the hon. member for Saskatoon West, Health; the
hon. member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, Indigenous Affairs.
[English]
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
Mr. Kyle Peterson (Newmarket—Aurora, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
will be splitting my time with the brilliant and fantastic member for
St. Catharines.
I rise today to speak in favour of budget 2016. At the outset, I
want to let the House know how proud I am of this budget and how
proud I am to be part of a government that believes in Canada,
believes in Canadians, and believes in restoring hope and rewarding
hard work.
Budget 2016 focuses on growth, not austerity. It includes many
measures that will grow the economy for the benefit of every
Canadian. Investment is desperately needed, and it is needed now.
Members need not take my word for it alone. The International
Monetary Fund and the OECD have called on countries to make use
of available fiscal room as an effective lever to support long-term
growth.
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The Budget
The strategic and smart investments in budget 2016 will
strengthen and expand our middle class. They will reduce inequality
among Canadians and, what I think is especially important, they will
position Canada for sustained economic growth for years and years
to come.
The Canadian economy is bearing witness to dramatic shifts in the
global economy, but these shifts present opportunities both for
Canadians and for our economy. This is why we need a long-term
plan for growth. There are no quick fixes, and significant investment
is required. We will make these investments.
This government listened to Canadians and took their input to
heart. This budget was designed in part through extensive
consultation with Canadians. I was pleased to participate in prebudget consultations with my constituents in Newmarket—Aurora.
There are many elements of this budget that I am particularly
proud of and will be speaking about today. I want to highlight four
components of budget 2016: infrastructure investment, the Canada
child benefit, support for seniors, and investing in arts and culture.
Canada's middle class will benefit from the immediate help
provided by budget 2016, but ongoing growth is equally important.
By investing in infrastructure now, this government is delivering on
its promise to support the middle class and to secure a future of
economic growth.
Infrastructure is crucial to our everyday lives. My riding has seen
considerable growth recently, and the municipalities there need
infrastructure investment. Without these investments now, economic
growth is ultimately undermined. Congestion in Canadian communities makes life more difficult for busy families and has a negative
effect on the economy.
Together, investments in infrastructure and innovation will form
the foundation of a more inclusive society. Through strategic
investment, this government is working to help facilitate and create
good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and
prosper today and well into the future.
Canadian businesses can only succeed when they have the tools to
succeed. Budget 2016, by investing in infrastructure, goes a long
way to support businesses across this nation. This means having
better infrastructure to move products and get to work. It means
having faster and more reliable broadband to communicate and reach
customers, and it means having access to experts who can advise on
how to develop businesses, including how to grow businesses
globally.
Another important component of this budget, of course, is the
Canada child benefit. It is essential for Canada to invest in its
children. Canada's existing child benefit system is complicated and is
neither tax free nor income tested. This system is inadequate for
meeting the demands of so many Canadian families, and it is not
efficiently targeted to those who need help the most.
Budget 2016 gives Canadian families more money to help with
the high cost of raising their children by replacing the current
complicated child benefit system with the new Canada child benefit.
The CCB will provide a maximum annual benefit of up to $6,400
per child under the age of six and up to $5,400 per child for those
aged 6 to 17. Families with less than $30,000 in net income will
receive the maximum benefit.
● (1645)
With the introduction of a much better-targeted Canada child
benefit, about 300,000 fewer children would be living in poverty by
2017. Let us think about that: 300,000 more Canadians who would
have greater opportunity and, most importantly, more hope.
The budget also has a good component for seniors. The
government has made a clear commitment to improving the lives
of all Canadians, and a key element of this commitment is improving
the quality of life for seniors through strengthening public pensions
and increasing social infrastructure funding for seniors' living.
Canada's retirement income system has been successful in
reducing the incidence of poverty among Canadian seniors.
However, many seniors continue to be at risk of living in poverty.
The budget has committed to increasing the guaranteed income
supplement top-up benefit by up to $947 annually for the most
vulnerable single seniors. It supports those seniors who rely almost
exclusively on old age security and guaranteed income supplement
benefits.
Once again, I am proud that budget 2016 is supporting Canadians
who need it the most.
The challenges in affordable housing are something I hear from
constituents in my riding, and it is an increasingly difficult barrier
facing seniors. Through budget 2016, the government has committed
to new social infrastructure investments that would be instrumental
in increasing the quality of life for very many seniors. With real
investments in construction, repair, and adaption of affordable
housing for seniors, the government has committed over $200
million over two years to help provide this vulnerable population
with access to the affordable housing that they need so desperately.
Our senior population is growing, and our government understands
that every individual deserves housing that is safe, affordable, and
ultimately sustainable.
In 2017, Canada and all Canadians will be celebrating the 150th
anniversary of Confederation. Budget 2016 would ensure that our
country's heritage is celebrated and shared.
As many know, our cultural industries represent a key driver in
our economy. Investing in the Canadian cultural sector helps to
create jobs, strengthens the economy, and ensures that our unique
Canadian stories are shared with the world. By investing $1.9 billion
in arts and culture, budget 2016 would offer support to national
institutions, safeguarding of our two official languages, and
promotion of industries that highlight Canada's culture.
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The Budget
Another announcement made in budget 2016 to celebrate this
important time is the enhancement to the national historic sites costsharing program. This enhancement would include expanding the
program to include heritage lighthouses and railways through the
provision of $20 million over two years. Improving and restoring
Canada's very important historical sites is something that is
important to many communities across Canada.
The government will work with our partners to ensure that all
Canadians will have the opportunity to participate in local, regional,
national, and international celebrations. This celebration is an
exciting opportunity for everyone to get involved and to showcase
Canada's heritage, which has been shaped through one of the
strongest pillars of our great nation, our diversity.
I am proud to support the budget, and I encourage all members of
the House to support budget 2016. By investing in communities, in
our children, in our seniors, and in our arts and culture, budget 2016
is a clear step toward a prosperous future. It offers immediate help to
those who need it most and lays the groundwork for sustained,
inclusive economic growth that will benefit Canadian families for
years to come. When Canadians have more money to save, invest,
and grow the economy, everyone benefits.
● (1650)
Mr. Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood—Transcona, NDP): Mr. Speaker,
today the government brought forward legislation that has to do with
medically assisted dying. One of the things I noticed when it
presented the budget was that even though we knew this type of
legislation was going to be coming to the House, because there is a
court-ordered deadline, there was no money in the budget for
palliative care.
that the CBC, a public institution, would get $675 million over this
term, starting this year with $75 million.
However, I should also say that, while encouraging our kids to sit
on the couch and watch television, the Liberals would do away with
the sports tax credit and the arts tax credit, a part of heritage in this
country where families coast to coast to coast could put their kids
into dance or music. For heaven's sake, in sports, families could try
two or three options instead of just one during the year.
My question for the hon. member is this. You have talked about
what you would do in the heritage file, $1.9 billion. However, on this
side of the House we are hearing the other as families are disturbed
that these two very basic institutions that we have had over the years
when we were on that side of the House would be now vaporized
with this budget.
The Deputy Speaker: I just remind the hon. member to address
questions through the Chair.
The hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora.
Mr. Kyle Peterson: Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for
that great question. The dynamic the member sets up in choosing
between culture and arts and sports I do not think is a fair dynamic. I
do not think investing in arts and culture makes couch potatoes out
of our kids.
Regardless of what side of the issue members in the House
ultimately end up falling on, there is some agreement across party
lines that the new legislation, whatever form it takes, has to be
accompanied by a meaningful strategy for palliative care across
Canada.
The member from Saskatchewan has probably lured more children
to stay on the couch in his past career when his wonderful baritone
voice covered sports throughout the province of Saskatchewan.
Children were probably thrilled and waited every night to hear his
sports report, and that kept them on the couch, I am sure. I appreciate
the member's affinity for sports and his affinity for culture. Believe
me, they are not opposed; they can work in conjunction.
There was not so much as a dime to even hire an analyst, or even
seed money to start creating a strategy for how to roll out better
palliative care across Canada. I wonder what the member's thoughts
are on that and if he would be willing to advocate to his own
government to get that money in as soon as possible, instead of
having to wait for next year's budget.
Mr. Kyle Peterson: Mr. Speaker, let me first thank the member
for Elmwood—Transcona for that question, and let me advise him
that palliative care is something very near and dear to my heart.
On the sports credits, I agree. Tax credits perhaps encourage
people to try different sports. However, answer me this if you will.
Think of a family whose parents cannot afford to put the child into
sports. A tax credit does nothing for people who cannot afford to pay
for sports in the first place. We would be taking that tax credit and
putting it into the Canada child benefit so every child in Canada,
including in Saskatchewan, can play sports and can play three, four,
or five sports a year. That is what this budget would do. That is not
what the former government did.
I was once the president of our local hospice, Doane House
Hospice in Newmarket—Aurora. I have been committed to palliative
care throughout my volunteer work in our community, and I remain
committed to palliative care. I think palliative care is an important
component of any end-of-life program in a civilized and moral
society, and I will advocate of course to continue my commitment to
palliative care and to do what I can to ensure palliative care remains
a priority for this government.
Mr. Kevin Waugh (Saskatoon—Grasswood, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora made several
references to the heritage budget that would increase by $1.9 billion
in the next five years or so. We should remind members of the House
● (1655)
The Deputy Speaker: I would ask the hon. members to direct
their comments to and address the Chair in their questions and
comments.
We are resuming debate. The hon. member for St. Catharines.
Mr. Chris Bittle (St. Catharines, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would
like to thank my hon. colleague from Newmarket—Aurora for
sharing his time with me today. I am honoured to rise in this place
and speak on behalf of my constituents from St. Catharines, Ontario.
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I would like to begin today by saying that the provisions contained
in budget 2016 would, without a doubt, deliver positive results for
the people of my riding, the region of Niagara, and in fact all of
southern and southwestern Ontario.
St. Catharines is a vibrant and dynamic community, located on the
shores of Lake Ontario in the north end of the Niagara region. The
Niagara region itself is uniquely located within close proximity to
four border crossings to the United States. For much of Niagara's
recent history, this proximity to the United States has allowed for a
sizable manufacturing industry to grow and flourish, providing many
good-paying jobs and a healthy middle class.
However, the last 20 years, and in particular the last 10 years, have
not been kind to the region. As the world economy shifted away
from heavy manufacturing, our region saw much of this industry
close and move elsewhere. Thousands of Niagara residents lost their
jobs or found new work at significantly lower wages, often in
precarious employment. In my humble opinion, the economic
policies of the last 10 years did nothing to help the people of
Niagara. In fact, they made things worse.
Yet, there is in fact light at the end of the tunnel for the people of
St. Catharines, Niagara, and all of Canada. On March 22, the hon.
Minister of Finance presented to this House our government's first
budget, a forward-looking, progressive economic plan that would
finally put the focus of the national economy back on the middle
class and putting Canadians to work.
Throughout the election campaign, the Prime Minister was clear
that we must refocus our national interest to the middle class that
truly drives the economy and creates jobs. I am extremely happy to
say that this budget would do just that and more for the people of my
riding and the people of Canada.
I was honoured to have the opportunity to rise on the first day of
this 42nd Parliament to ask a question of my good friend, the hon.
member for Brampton North. This question was on child poverty. I
rose that day, having read in the newspaper that 24% of the children
in my riding lived in poverty. That was a shocking statistic.
What was even more shocking was when I went back to the riding
and met with members of the non-profit community and was advised
that it was a conservative estimate, and the number was probably
closer to one-third.
We are one of the wealthiest countries on earth, and this is not
acceptable. Children in our country deserve to live without fear or
wondering where their next meal will come from or where they will
lay their head at night. Child poverty is a national issue, and must be
front and centre in our national debate.
This is why I am extremely pleased to see the Minister of Finance
announce the creation of the new Canada child benefit. I can say
without hesitation that this improved benefit would most certainly
help families in St. Catharines.
The Canada child benefit would provide the residents of my riding
and across Canada with a tax-free benefit that, on average, would
give families an additional $2,300 to help make things easier. Our
government committed to raising more than 300,000 children out of
poverty with this new tax-free benefit. I believe with the passage of
this budget, we would succeed in meeting our goal.
However, combatting child poverty is only one of the key matters
our government has committed to fighting. We have also committed
to creating jobs and putting Canadians back to work. Our
government committed to the largest infrastructure investment in
Canadian history, and when the Minister of Finance tabled the
budget, phase one of this investment was included.
The minister conducted consultations right across the country, as I
did in my riding. He met with municipalities, community groups,
and everyday Canadians. The message was clear: now is the time to
invest in our communities.
However, as I have said locally to my constituents, infrastructure
projects are no longer just buildings for politicians to cut ribbons in
front of. The infrastructure spending that my riding needs and that
we would deliver to Canadians goes much deeper than that.
● (1700)
We will invest in the social infrastructure of our society. Of the
$11.9 billion we have committed to spend in phase one of our
infrastructure plan, we would dedicate $3.4 billion to help lowincome and middle-class families. This includes a firm commitment
to expand access to affordable housing throughout Canada.
In St. Catharines and throughout the Niagara region, there is a
clear lack of accessible and affordable housing. Low-income
families can wait upwards of seven years for housing that is suited
to their needs. Again, this is not acceptable.
I am pleased to be a member of the governing party that will
finally do something about this. It is unbelievable that the Regional
Municipality of Niagara alone has an infrastructure deficit of
approximately $235 million. If the federal government does not
invest in our local communities, the region and municipalities will
have to obtain funding on their own. Far too often, this will fall on
local taxpayers to fund that infrastructure gap. We recognize that the
federal government can do more to help municipalities and be a true
partner for infrastructure renewal.
I am incredibly proud to be part of a party and a government that
is willing to invest significantly in public transit. As mentioned
previously, Niagara is uniquely situated in southern Ontario.
However, it may surprise members of the House to know that there
is a fragmented and sometimes non-existent transit system in the
region, with limited public transportation options to Toronto. I had
an opportunity to meet with the president of the Niagara College
student union, who advised me that he has to negotiate with eight or
nine separate transit commissions in order to help move the students
of Niagara College around the region.
While there is some inter-municipal transit in urban areas in
Niagara, there is still no concrete solution to help service the entire
region equally, mainly due to the unique urban-rural makeup of
Niagara. That is why I am excited to see this commitment by the
finance minister to invest in public transit.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
It is also very interesting that, through the tenure of the previous
government, much of our government-owned and managed infrastructure was left to fall into disrepair. Take, for example, small craft
harbours. These small craft harbours are essential to the livelihood of
many east coast Canadians. However, St. Catharines has a small craft
harbour of its own in Port Dalhousie. While no longer an active
commercial harbour, the piers that remain have significant historical
value for the riding and the people. They pay tribute to the Welland
Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway, upon which the very city built
its economy. For 100 years, they have provided a scenic haven for
residents and tourists alike to enjoy a walk along Lake Ontario.
However, they are now closed, shuttered from public access, because
of the lack of needed investment by the previous government.
I am very much looking forward to working with my friend and
colleague, the hon. Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian
Coast Guard, as well as the hon. Minister of Infrastructure and
Communities, to ensure that the piers are given the consideration
they deserve. The people of my riding and tourists alike deserve to
have those piers restored in the manner they deserve.
Historic investments would not be made just in our children, but
in our seniors. Throughout the election campaign, I heard from
constituents across the riding that we need to do more for our aging
population. We would keep our commitment to maintain the OAS
and GIS eligibility at age 65, cancelling the planned Conservative
increase to age 67.
Furthermore, the increased funding to the GIS would help
900,000 seniors in need. The minister was clear that we must do
everything possible for our most vulnerable, and the increase of
$975 annually would be welcomed by seniors in my riding.
Contrast all of this to the last 10 years, when the government shied
away from investing in Canadians and did nothing to expand the
middle class. In fact, that government abandoned the middle class
and focused our economy on the 1%. However, on October 19
Canadians made a choice to invest in jobs, grow the economy, and
return focus to the middle class and those working hard to join it.
● (1705)
Mr. Richard Cannings (South Okanagan—West Kootenay,
NDP): Mr. Speaker, the member for St. Catharines talked in various
ways about how we have to help Canadians who need help the most,
and yet his government has proposed tax changes that would not
help almost two-thirds of Canadians. Instead of helping those who
need help the most, Canadians who get the biggest benefit out of
these tax changes are those making $200,000 a year. When I ask my
constituents who is in the middle class, everybody put up their
hands, but hardly anybody would say that people making $200,000 a
year are the middle class.
I want to know why he can say his government made those
decisions, when it could have made tax changes to help people who
make less than $45,000 a year.
Mr. Chris Bittle: Mr. Speaker, this government campaigned on
the fact that our first act would be to cut taxes for the middle class,
and it is a promise delivered.
We delivered tax relief to nine million Canadians as this
government's first act in office. In addition, this budget provides
for, as I mentioned, the Canada child benefit, which will help nine
out of 10 families in this country with a tax-free, simplified benefit
that will provide upwards of $2,300 more for families who need it
the most.
This government is determined to help the middle class, and those
who are working hard and want to be part of that middle class but
have been left behind for the past 10 years.
This budget is going to deliver on those promises.
Mr. Mark Gerretsen (Kingston and the Islands, Lib.): Mr.
Speaker, I took particular note of the member's comments about
infrastructure and the need for infrastructure renewal.
I also represent a riding from Ontario, and having some
experience in the municipal sector prior to this, I know that only
seven or eight cents out of every tax dollar that is collected is
actually going to municipalities. Yet, at the same time, during the last
number of decades, there has been more and more pressure on
municipalities to provide and make those investments and to get that
money through property taxes.
I wonder if the member could provide some input as to how this
infrastructure renewal and our investment in infrastructure will
benefit his community in St. Catharines.
Mr. Chris Bittle: Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member
for Kingston and the Islands for having such good humour today.
His Frontenacs lost in the OHL play-offs to the Niagara IceDogs. I
thank him for maintaining such good humour about that.
We are a government that is committed to having our
municipalities as partners in this endeavour. We have committed to
the largest infrastructure investment in Canadian history. I met with
municipal leaders and advised them to come to me to advise of their
concerns and that we will take it up. It is no longer a top-down
approach. As the minister said, municipalities do infrastructure better
than the federal government. We are looking forward to investing
this historic investment in infrastructure and working closely with
municipalities.
The infrastructure deficits are enormous across Ontario and across
Canada. If we do nothing, it will fall on taxpayers through increased
property taxes. It is time for the federal government to act.
● (1710)
[Translation]
Ms. Monique Pauzé (Repentigny, BQ): Mr. Speaker, can our
colleague tell us why the Liberal Party is bringing back an
infrastructure program that does not work?
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April 14, 2016
The Budget
In the last program, because of Ottawa's interference in provincial
jurisdictions, it took 27 months to get a framework agreement, and
then 15 months for each project. We have talked to municipal
representatives in the riding of Repentigny, and the needs are urgent.
There is no time to wait four years.
Why is the government yet again taking the most complicated
route when it comes to its infrastructure program?
[English]
Mr. Chris Bittle: All evidence to the contrary, Mr. Speaker, I have
had the opportunity to go back after the budget and consult with
municipal leaders, who are excited about this infrastructure plan.
This infrastructure plan delivers on what communities are looking
for on programs that are often overlooked, such as sewers, water, and
things that we do not necessarily have to cut a ribbon in front of that
have been ignored for too long. There is digital infrastructure for our
rural communities so that they can compete in the 21st century.
This is a budget that delivers on what municipalities care about,
and I look forward to working with our municipal partners going
forward.
Mr. Ron Liepert (Calgary Signal Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I am
honoured to stand in the House today to convey a few of my
thoughts about the federal budget, but more importantly to convey
the feelings of the residents of Calgary Signal Hill. I am also
delighted to be sharing my time today with the member of
Parliament for Calgary Nose Hill.
I am privileged to represent a riding where about half of my
constituents used to either rely directly or indirectly on the energy
sector for their livelihood. As has been stated many times, inside and
outside of the House over the past six months, our energy industry
has not had such a dramatic downturn in close to 30 years.
When I was door knocking last fall, about on every street I would
run in to at least one person who was unemployed as a result of the
downturn. If that election were taking place today, I am sure that
number would be more like two or three people on every street. In
almost all instances, these were highly educated and highly trained
men and women, many with young families. Many have moved into
my riding over the past number of years from other provinces and
from other countries. They did so with high hopes and high
expectations for the future.
“Hope” is a word that members will hear me refer to on many
occasions in my few minutes this afternoon. It is a word that is
important to the folks I just talked about, the next generation of
CEOs, community leaders, and probably some political leaders.
They were not expecting the budget to solve the current economic
conditions, but they were looking for hope. The budget failed badly
in that respect.
The budget leaves each and every Canadian deeper in debt. It
means more money for their children to eventually pay back, and
there is a strong likelihood of higher taxes in the future. This is
especially disappointing because many Canadians, including a lot
more than I thought in my riding, voted for this Prime Minister
because he seemed to be giving them hope. Instead, it has been one
broken promise after another, and the budget is more of the same.
Instead of a $10-billion deficit as promised, this budget deficit is
much higher, in fact three times higher. It is three times higher, not in
a recession but in a growing economy. While Alberta is clearly in a
recession, the overall Canadian economy is growing. However, the
government is proposing to plunge our country a further $150 billion
into debt over the next five years. Even worse, there is no plan to get
out of debt.
How can my constituents have any hope for their future? What
could the budget have looked at that would have given some hope to
my constituents? The government could have said, as an example,
that all efforts will be made to get out of the way and let the private
sector create jobs for the future. It is a simple statement, one that
would have cost nothing, but it would have provided some hope.
Instead, we have more regulations and more spending on
government programs.
We hear time and again from the government that running a huge
deficit is necessary to creating jobs by investing in infrastructure
spending. Now on the surface I could support those types of
expenditures, but I want to break those numbers down a bit.
The budget provides $10 billion over the next two years for
infrastructure. When that money is spread across the country on a per
capita basis, that means about $1 billion for our province over the
next two years. In contrast, the infrastructure budget of the Province
of Alberta over the last half dozen years has averaged $5 billion
annually, almost 10 times what this federal budget is going spend to
in Alberta on infrastructure. I have heard members across the way
talk about it creating thousands and thousands of jobs. I think they
are going to be in for a big surprise.
Second, the government could have said it made a mistake by
extending the timeline for a decision on pipelines and LNG projects.
It was going to speed up the process so that a project that was
approved by the National Energy Board would receive immediate
cabinet go-ahead. If the government had said that in this budget, my
constituents would have felt some hope.
We all know that immediate approval of a pipeline will not put
constituents back to work in the short term, but there were some
temporary measures that could have been included in the budget. Let
me give an example. While the government is throwing around
billions of dollars, it could have thrown a little toward an
environmental clean-up initiative in western Canada for abandoned
oil well sites.
● (1715)
The Prime Minister committed $2.5 billion to a UN fund that will
not create a single job in Canada. An environmental cleanup of oil
well projects would have not only been a good environmental
initiative, it would have been good for job creation.
I want to briefly touch on the middle-class tax cut, which we hear
a lot about, and the math is not difficult. We can do it without a
calculator.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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The Budget
By the government's own admission, the average annual benefit to
a middle-income couple—let us call them Kevin and Kelly—would
be about $540. Stop and think about that for a minute. Three hundred
and sixty-five divided into $540 works out to an extra $1.25 a day.
Kevin and Kelly could not even go to Tim Hortons and buy a coffee
for that price.
I will conclude by saying that it was two years ago that I decided
to return to public life. The Alberta economy was booming. We had
a stable government in Alberta that was balancing the books and a
solid Conservative government in Ottawa that was headed for a
surplus after steering this country through one of the worst global
recessions in 50 years. Optimism was everywhere.
Today as I stand here, however, as the representative for Calgary
Signal Hill, many of my constituents have been laid off, and fear and
pessimism have replaced hope and optimism. As I stand in my place
in the House to respond to the budget, an NDP finance minister is
standing up at the same time in the Alberta legislature and presenting
a budget with the largest deficit in the province's history, some $10
billion. How things have changed. However, I remain an optimist
and believe that the economic situation in Alberta will improve,
because Albertans are a creative and entrepreneurial bunch.
There has never been a time in history when my constituents have
had so little faith in their governments, both in Ottawa and in
Edmonton. However, I am confident it is going to get better, and that
alone gives me some hope.
Mr. Matt DeCourcey (Fredericton, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I
enjoyed my colleague's theme of hope. I would invite him to join
me anytime on a Saturday morning in Fredericton at the Boyce farm
to listen to my constituents talk about the hope they feel now that
this government is installed and is using this budget to deliver on the
commitments that were put forth in the election.
There is hope for young people who are starting out on careers
that they will find employment opportunities. A middle-class tax cut
will help them with their car payment or mortgage payment. It will
help them invest in the economy. There is hope for seniors in my
community, who will benefit from a 10% increase in the GIS for the
lowest-income single seniors. There is hope for veterans who will
see increases to their disability awards. Many more commitments
will be followed through on, including an innovation agenda that
will have a tremendous benefit to the universities in my riding, UNB
and St. Thomas.
I wonder if the member opposite could talk a bit more about the
hope that is being spread across the country by this budget.
● (1720)
Mr. Ron Liepert: Mr. Speaker, I too have spoken to a number of
the member's constituents who used to work in Alberta in the oil
patch. Their hope was that the government would get out of the way
and approve a pipeline.
This budget does nothing for those unemployed people from the
riding of Fredericton who used to fly out to Alberta every week and
had a good quality of life. They are not going to benefit from any
kind of tax break, because they are unemployed.
That particular member could push on behalf of his constituents to
get that pipeline built and get the government out of the way. Then
his constituents would be back working, not sitting in Fredericton
with hope.
Mr. Don Davies (Vancouver Kingsway, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I
listened to the comments of my hon. colleague from Edmonton. I
was born in Edmonton and grew up there. I spent 27 years in
Edmonton before moving to Vancouver and representing the great
riding of Vancouver Kingsway.
I was intrigued by my friend's comments where he appeared to be
very critical about the Alberta government's decision to run a $10billion deficit at a time when the Alberta economy is facing a global
collapse of commodity prices, particularly oil and gas, but of course,
he represents the Conservative Party.
I was in this House when his government, the Conservative Party
prior, added $125 billion to Canada's debt and ran seven straight
deficits, including a $50-billion deficit in 2009 when Canada was
facing a great recession. At that time, the Conservative Party argued
that running stimulus spending and deficits was critical for the
economy of Canada, yet now he stands in this House and criticizes
the Alberta government for running stimulus spending in Alberta.
Premier Rachel Notley is showing that there is a way to have
responsible resource development in this country while showing
national leadership in terms of climate change and dealing with
environmental protection.
I think Albertans see there is a different way, because the
Conservative government that Ms. Notley replaced was a government that failed to diversify that economy, as Peter Lougheed once
said was so instrumental to that economy, and left the Alberta
government and the economy in a very vulnerable position for a
global oil collapse, which is what happened. That is the reason the
Alberta economy is in trouble. It is the failure of the Conservatives to
plan.
I wonder if he has any comments about those facts.
Mr. Ron Liepert: You bet I have some comments, Mr. Speaker.
One of the reasons the economy in Alberta is struggling today is
that member and his party continue to stand in the way of pipelines
being constructed. Let us be honest about that.
Will the member stand up in this House and say that his party will
get out of the way and approve a pipeline or help approve a pipeline?
We will stand behind the people of Alberta to get a pipeline to the
west coast.
I ask that member, will he do that? Will he stand up in this House
and say, “Yes, I will support a pipeline to the west coast”?
Hon. Michelle Rempel (Calgary Nose Hill, CPC): Mr. Speaker,
I understand I have about five minutes to talk about climate change.
I want to reference page 149 of the budget, wherein the Liberals
condense their approach to addressing climate change, with the main
argument being, “Pricing carbon emissions will drive Canada’s
transition to a stronger, more resilient, low-carbon economy and help
Canada address the global climate change challenge.”
2272
COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Private Members' Business
When it comes to pricing carbon, we have to consider something
called the price elasticity of demand. Basically, what that means is
we have to look at whether, if the price of something increases, the
demand for that product will drop. Something is considered price
inelastic when, even if the price is increased dramatically, the
demand for that product might not necessarily drop. Historically, one
could make a very good argument that what research is out there
shows that oil, and certainly gasoline, is fairly price inelastic in the
short term and even in the long term.
I have a question for the government, and I hope it will consider
this. When it is looking at carbon pricing as a mechanism to address
climate change, especially to address the targets it put in place at the
Paris conference, will it look at whether or not the price that it is
setting is actually going to have an impact on greenhouse gas
emissions?
I read an article in the January 22 edition of The Globe and Mail. I
will not have time to quote from it as it is quite lengthy. It talks about
how regional differences in our economies can in fact have different
strategies on greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
I would caution the government that there is a large body of
research—in fact, I was talking on Twitter the other night with
Andrew Leach, an economist who had some involvement with the
Alberta government's carbon pricing model—saying that it would
likely be close to $100 a tonne that would be required as a price to
have any sort of major reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
My concern is this. I am not advocating for a $100 price on
carbon. Actually, what I am trying to say is I am not sure that even if
the government puts a carbon tax in place it will have any real
reduction in greenhouse emissions, any effect on that, but what it
will have an impact on is people's pocketbooks.
If the government is going to put a consumption tax on an
inelastic good where there really are not substitute goods right now
that would see a demand change over time, and I think that there is a
good argument for that, the government should call it what it is. It is
a consumption tax. All that a consumption tax on an inelastic good
means is more revenue for the government and it does not really
incent behaviour over time.
A consumption tax does a few things. It disproportionately affects
the poor, especially on an inelastic good, such as oil. It is going to
affect low-income people disproportionately. People still have to get
around. It is going to affect the cost of public transit. It will affect
small businesses disproportionately, because they do not have the
same capitalization as larger businesses to be able to overcome the
effects of a tax.
Again, it will not likely work. This will not likely see a reduction
in greenhouse gas emissions. It will create even more investment
uncertainty in different parts of the country, especially in my home
province of Alberta, where we are looking at investment certainty as
something that we absolutely need. Some of my colleagues here
have talked about how this is all based on low commodity prices, the
issues that are happening in Alberta. That is not true. For the
government to send signals, like new taxes, certainly is very bad
timing right now. It is not actually going to do anything. It is going to
put a chill on economic growth, because when people have to pay
more for a good that they have to buy, they have to make choices on
how they are spending their money in other areas. That is true for
families, as it is true for businesses. If their tax burden is increasing,
they are going to have to figure out how they are going to get money
from other places to pay for the things that they need. I think that is
going to put a chill on investment and a chill on economic growth.
● (1725)
My advice for my colleagues is simple. If they are going to look at
carbon pricing and they are going to look at some of the rhetoric
saying that a price on carbon of $140 a tonne is working in Sweden,
what does that mean in the context of a regionalized economy in
Canada where we do not necessarily have the same economic
structures or the same needs from province to province? I ask the
Liberals to really consider this so that they do not promise Canadians
that they are going to lower greenhouse gas emissions and do not,
and worse, make Canadians pay more out of their pockets for
something that is essentially a consumption tax.
If the Liberals want to raise taxes, which this does, then let us have
a debate about raising consumption taxes, because Canadians would
push back very strongly against that. That is a big concern I have
with the budget.
I wish I had a lot more time to talk about this very important issue.
I wish I had 20 minutes. I wish everyone a very good Thursday
evening.
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): I am sure
that a lot of people would like to have more time, but unfortunately,
it being 5:30 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Monday, April 11,
2016, the question on the ways and means Motion No. 2 is deemed
put and a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, at the expiry of the time provided for oral
questions.
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
● (1730)
[Translation]
TAX AVOIDANCE
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie (Joliette, BQ) moved:
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should put an end to the
widespread tax avoidance practised by many shell companies set up in Barbados by
Canadian companies, by amending subsection 95(1) of Income Tax Act and section
5907 of the Income Tax Regulations to specify that no business that is entitled to a
special tax benefit conferred by Barbados under the Canada-Barbados Income Tax
Agreement Act, 1980, shall be exempt from taxation because of a tax treaty.
He said: Madam Speaker, the top story in last week's news was the
leak of the Panama papers. These leaks give us some idea of the
extent of the use of tax havens. It is enormous.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2273
Private Members' Business
This week, the government was in a hurry to say that it was
working hard to combat tax havens. Last year, the Luxembourg
schemes were leaked. The year before that, it was documents from
HSBC Bank. The year before that, it was UBS, and prior to that it
was Singapore and the Virgin Islands. Every time, the Canadian
government announced that it would work very hard to combat this
issue. Before that, it was ships from Canada Steamship Lines, and
before that, it was the Bronfman trust and the Irving family. The
government has been supposedly working hard on this for 25 years.
Clearly, we have yet to see any results.
With each new scandal, the government announces new measures.
However, this phenomenon continues to escalate. For 25 years, the
government has announced measure after measure to catch cheaters.
That is good, but it does not solve the problem.
The crux of the problem is that it is perfectly legal to use tax
havens. We cannot fix this problem by going after individual
cheaters. We need to be going after the bad laws, the bad regulations,
the bad treaties, and the tax system.
Barbados is a small, faraway country, but in 2014 alone,
$71 billion left Canada and ended up in Barbados. That is more
than the amount that originates from all of Asia and 12 times more
than the amount that originates from France. This happens year after
year.
The colossal sums of money that Canadian businesses send there
to avoid paying taxes are having a direct impact here at home. That
tax-free $71 billion has a huge impact on government revenue.
Since Quebec is not a country, it cannot sign tax treaties. Quebec's
tax law with respect to international taxation is identical to the
federal law. We simply have no choice. When the federal
government allows the use of tax havens, the Quebec government
loses revenue too.
All taxpayers end up paying the price, whether they are in Quebec
City or Ottawa or anywhere else in Canada. They have to pay more
taxes and tariffs, and they have to cope with austerity measures. That
is one consequence of our current status as a province.
For now, the key is the federal Parliament, so I would like to
inform the House that, this morning, Quebec's National Assembly
unanimously adopted a motion that is identical to the one we moved
and are currently debating. Yes, it was adopted unanimously.
● (1735)
In Quebec City, every member of the Liberal Party, the Parti
Québécois, the Coalition Avenir Québec, and Québec solidaire voted
in favour of a motion calling on this House and the Canadian
government to deal with the tax haven in Barbados.
The fight against tax havens, and specifically Barbados, is
something all Quebeckers agree on. I believe that may also be the
case for the rest of Canada.
International taxation is complicated. Every time organizations
ask the government to do something to combat the use of tax havens,
the government always says the same old thing, that nothing can be
done, that this can only be fixed internationally, and that Canada
would lose its competitiveness if it acted alone.
Let me draw a parallel. The fight against climate change is
complicated too. For 10 years, every time groups called on the
Conservative government to take action, it always said the same
thing, that nothing could be done and that this could only be dealt
with internationally. We all know that was an excuse to do nothing.
Environmental groups were not asking to withdraw from
international efforts. They were simply asking Canada to take action
at home and clean up its own backyard. This is also the case for tax
havens. We must take action at the international level, but also at
home. It can be done, and that is the point of the motion. Barbados is
Canada's tax haven. It is the second-largest recipient of Canadian
foreign investments, even though it is just a tiny island. The socalled investments are nothing more than accounting tricks. There is
no real activity down there.
It was not a decision made internationally but a decision made by
the Government of Canada that turned Barbados into Canada's tax
haven. Furthermore, the decision was made without the consent of
this Parliament. Parliament never supported the decision. We created
the problem in this place, and it is here that we can put a stop to it. It
is like environmental groups managing to fight climate change under
the previous government. I want to show that we can take action in
this place.
The motion offers a concrete, very specific solution. If Parliament
adopts it, Canadian companies will no longer be able to use their
subsidiary in Barbados to avoid paying taxes here. When they
repatriate their profits, they will be taxed, quite simply, like any
income for any taxpayer who cannot afford a creative and perhaps
crooked tax expert.
I am not saying that this motion solves everything. We will also
need to work really hard on the international scene. We need to
ensure that profiteers can no longer use the differences between the
various tax systems to separate their activities and ultimately not pay
taxes anywhere at all. Now is the time for some real progress in this
area. All over the world, governments are having money problems.
Austerity is affecting people more or less everywhere. People are
starting to feel real indignation about tax havens. Tax havens are like
a cancer that is destroying our societies.
We do not need to wait for the entire planet to come to an
agreement. The biggest users of tax havens are banks. It is hard to
get the exact figures, but we know that most of the money in tax
havens is from the financial sector.
Canada is able to act in a way that other countries cannot. The
banking sector in Canada is protected. Banks are not subject to
international competition. Canadian banks cannot move elsewhere.
The Bank Act prohibits that, which means that Canada can take
action against tax havens without hindering banks' competitiveness
and prompting them to leave. In other words, Canada can do
something.
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Private Members' Business
● (1740)
I targeted Barbados because that is the most common tax haven to
which Canadian money is directed, but the Conservatives opened the
door to other tax havens in 2009. They also introduced this into the
regulations, in secret, without any debate in Parliament.
Section 5907, which is targeted in the motion, has to do with
Barbados. However, it also has to do with 22 other tax havens. I
remind members that this motion does not have to do with a partisan
issue. Yes, in the past, the Liberals authorized the use of Barbados.
Yes, in the past, the Conservatives authorized others. However,
Parliament never authorized a single one. The House never once
made tax havens legal. Never.
I remind all hon. members that there are no party lines when it
comes to private members' business. For the purposes of private
members' business, Liberal members do not represent the government any more than Conservatives members represent the former
government. Here, we all represent the people. We have the privilege
of being the spokespeople for our constituents. We are the
representatives of real people who pay their taxes so that we can
live in a better society.
Of course members do not all share the same values. The
Conservatives want to lower taxes. Some Liberals and the New
Democrats want to put an end to austerity. Regardless of our
different motivations and values, I think that we can all agree on one
thing: everyone needs to pay his or her fair share. There is no reason
why white collar profiteers should be making off with money and
hiding it in tax havens.
I have not yet met any voter or any Canadian who is against this
motion. On the contrary, what I am hearing is that we need to crack
down on tax havens. What we need to do is to make changes to the
regulatory framework to eliminate the loopholes that allow white
collar profiteers to shirk their obligations.
Today's debate puts the issue on the table. In June, there will be a
second hour of debate and a vote. In the meantime, I plan on writing
to every member of the House and meeting with as many members
from all parties as possible.
I would like to remind members that the motion is meant to be
non-partisan and that, this morning, all members of the Quebec
National Assembly from all parties adopted a motion that is exactly
the same as the one that I moved. This motion calls on Parliament,
on the federal government, to resolve the Barbados tax haven
problem. I would also like to remind members that Parliament never
voted on the regulations that allow the use of tax havens. Never.
Because of this motion, for the first time in the history of Parliament,
members will be called upon to vote on the regulations that allow tax
havens to exist. It will be the first time. Parliament never authorized
the use of tax havens. Never. That is what it will be doing if it does
not support my motion. I have high hopes that the motion will be
adopted in June.
● (1745)
Mr. François-Philippe Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister of Finance, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I would like to
thank my colleague for raising this important issue. I have a lot of
respect for him and especially for the issue he is raising in the House
this evening.
We knew that tax evasion was a problem long before the famous
Panama papers. During the election campaign, the government
promised to fight tax evasion. In the budget that was tabled on
March 22, we made a historic $444-million investment to give the
Canada Revenue Agency the tools, technology, and teams it needs to
do three things: detect fraud, investigate fraud, and go after those
who engage in tax evasion and aggressive tax planning in our
country.
I am sure my colleague will appreciate the fact that we also struck
an international committee to advise the minister. Does my colleague
acknowledge that the government's historic investments will
eliminate tax avoidance in Canada once and for all?
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank
my colleague, the member for Saint-Maurice—Champlain, for his
remarks.
I do recognize the efforts that are being made. However, the
money that is being spent, the additional auditors, and the work
being done are meant to detect fraudsters, individuals, people.
The problem I am raising via the motion before the House this
evening is that the rules, which were never voted on in the House,
allow banks and multinationals to legally divert their money into tax
havens. That is the problem with tax havens, and it is a dramatically
bigger problem than individual fraudsters.
The motion would cost the government nothing. It would actually
bring in money, and it is a much more effective way to solve the
problem.
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP): Madam Speaker,
I thank my colleague for his initiative. I would like him to revisit an
important point, which is the very essence of the problem in
Barbados. Whether we throw $450 million or $2 billion at this
problem, it will not change anything, because Barbados has a double
taxation avoidance agreement. That is the crux of the problem, and
my colleague did not talk about that in detail.
I wonder if he could elaborate on the tax agreement between
Canada and Barbados, one of the only tax agreements with a
notorious tax haven.
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague
from Sherbrooke for his question.
A Canada-Barbados tax treaty has existed since 1980. It was
amended in 1999, retroactive to 1994. The international treaty states
that if a shell company exists in Barbados, when the profits are
repatriated to Canada, the company or repatriated profits must be
taxed and the taxes must be paid here. We can all agree on that.
The problem is that section 5907 of the income tax regulations
states that this regulation will not be enforced and companies do not
have to pay taxes on repatriated funds. This section was not
negotiated with Barbados and was changed by the Chrétien
government at the time. It might be illegal. It has never been
challenged in court.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2275
Private Members' Business
Mr. Anthony Housefather (Mount Royal, Lib.): Madam
Speaker, I have a question for my colleague. I appreciate his
passion for this matter.
We are talking about Barbados, but we have tax treaties with about
114 countries. Other countries, like Panama, are also tax havens.
If we adopt the resolution as it stands and agree to crack down on
subsidiaries in Barbados, what will happen to all the other Canadian
companies that have subsidiaries elsewhere? If I had a company with
a subsidiary in Barbados, I would simply move it to another country.
How is that fair, if we crack down only on Barbados?
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie: Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague
from Mount Royal.
Section 5907 that is targeted in the motion focuses on Barbados.
That is Canada's tax haven. Some $71 billion is hidden there. By
way of comparison, when it comes to Panama, we are talking about
$128 million.
Nonetheless, section 5907 also deals with 28 other tax havens,
including Panama. This motion deals with other tax havens. We are
focusing on Barbados because there is a great deal more money there
than in all the other tax havens.
● (1750)
Mr. François-Philippe Champagne (Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister of Finance, Lib.): Madam Speaker, again, I thank
my colleague for his initiative. However, I would like to point out
that it is this government that has made an historic investment to
combat tax evasion.
My colleague is talking about Barbados, but I might point out that
the Minister of National Revenue was clear on the subject of tax
evasion. We are currently conducting audits on the Isle of Man. To
put what my colleague said into perspective, in a 12-month period,
$860 million was transferred to the Isle of Man. This is a global
problem that requires international co-operation. It is historic
investments like the one we have made that will help us work on
eradicating tax evasion.
[English]
I appreciate the opportunity to discuss the issue raised in today's
motion.
Addressing questions of tax fairness and integrity are a
fundamental part of and a priority of this government, and that is
because they are a matter of fundamental importance to Canadians.
Canadians work hard to build a better life for themselves, their
families, and for their communities. Through their efforts, innovation, and integrity, they are building a strong economy for today and
future generations. They deserve to fully share in the promise and
potential that Canada has to offer.
We believe that Canada's tax system should reflect this
fundamental principle of fairness. Our government is inspired by
this vision in everything we hope to accomplish. It is based on the
premise that everyone contributes their fair share and that everyone
can benefit in return.
Unfortunately, tax evasion and avoidance undermine this basic
social contract. It comprises our ability to collectively support some
of our most vulnerable fellow Canadians. It shifts the financial
burden on to Canada's middle class, while inappropriately benefiting
some who may be more than capable of paying their own fair share.
This is why we have taken decisive action through budget 2016 to
crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance. Our budget
will invest $444.4 million over five years to enhance the Canada
Revenue Agency's assessment capabilities, through hiring additional
auditors and specialists who will have the resources needed to
undertake more comprehensive investigative work.
However, we also recognize that assessing tax revenues alone is
not enough. Once we assess these tax revenues, we then need to
collect the unpaid amount. That is why budget 2016 is investing an
additional $351.6 million over five years to improve the CRA's
ability to go after and collect these outstanding tax debts.
However, our efforts to support tax fairness do not stop at
improved compliance and collection. Canada's tax system needs
ongoing adjustment to ensure it is functioning as intended and
contributing to the objective of an economy that works for everyone.
Therefore, we will continue to take legislative and other actions to
improve the integrity of Canada's tax system on both international
and domestic fronts to ensure that.
For example, we are acting on a number of recommendations from
a multilateral project to address international tax planning arrangements undertaken by multinational enterprises to inappropriately
minimize their taxes. We are also in the process of implementing the
automatic exchange of financial account information to better
combat international tax evasion.
As well, budget 2016 takes action to address unintended tax
advantages that businesses and wealthy individuals may be able to
obtain through sophisticated tax planning techniques involving
private corporations. I want to assure all Canadians that the
government will continue to identify and address inappropriate tax
planning schemes to ensure that the tax system operates as fairly and
effectively as possible.
These actions are not just consistent with the basic principles of
economic efficiency and responsible fiscal management. They are
consistent with the basic principle of fairness that defines us as a
nation. Tax evaders and avoiders would do well to take note of these
initiatives.
By improving compliance both domestically and internationally
and from the underground economy, we expect to recoup around
$2.6 billion in fairly owed revenues over five years.
This is revenue that we will be investing in empowering all
Canadians to build better lives for themselves. It will help strengthen
and grow our middle class, and enable more Canadians to contribute
to and share in the prosperity that our country has to offer.
A strong and reliable federal revenue base is essential to the wellbeing of Canadians. It helps pay for things like the Canada child
benefit that was introduced in budget 2016. The Canada child benefit
is the most significant social policy innovation in a generation.
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Private Members' Business
● (1755)
A stronger revenue base will help support our new budget 2016
investment in education, infrastructure, training and other programs
that will help to secure a better quality of life for Canada's
indigenous people, building a stronger, more unified, and more
prosperous Canada.
It will support our budget's new investment to modernize and
upgrade public transit, improve water and waste water systems,
expand affordable housing, and protect the infrastructure we depend
on from the effect of climate change.
The billions of dollars we recoup in forgone tax revenues will also
support our budget investments to help seniors in their retirement
years, with increased benefits to ensure that Canadian seniors have a
dignified, comfortable, and secure retirement.
It will support increased funding for innovation, collaboration,
and partnerships to protect the integrity of our health care system.
In short, it will help us advance our plan to put people first, and
deliver the help they need now, while investing for the years and
decades to come. It will do so while helping to prevent underground
economic activity, tax evasion, and the exploitation of tax loopholes.
These achievements are two sides of the same coin. On the one
side, everyone contributes their fair share and on the other, everyone
can benefit in return.
These are the principles that unite and inspire us as Canadians and
as a government. I can assure the hon. member that these principles
will continue to guide us in our efforts to clamp down on tax evasion
and avoidance, to improve the integrity of Canada's tax system, and
to invest in a Canada that is fair and prosperous for all.
Mr. Phil McColeman (Brantford—Brant, CPC): Madam
Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to rise and speak to Motion
No. 42. This is an important and timely discussion, part of a broader
debate, about international tax avoidance that is taking place in
Canada and around the world. The idea that all Canadians should
pay their fair share of taxes is one our Conservative Party strongly
supports. That is why we took a number of important steps in
government to combat tax avoidance.
Most significantly, we created the stop international tax evasion
program aimed at reducing international tax evasion and avoidance.
We are looking forward to working with the new government to
continue building on our strong record in this area.
twice as they are earned in a foreign country and then again when
they are remitted to the parent company's country of residence.
Here is how it works in Barbados. Tax payable in Canada shall be
deducted from the Barbadian tax payable on such income, profits or
gains. In the case of a dividend paid by a company that is a resident
of Canada to a company that is a resident of Barbados, which owns
at least 10% of the voting power, the credit shall take into account
the tax payable in Canada in respect of the profits out of which the
dividend was paid.
In Canada, tax payable in Barbados shall be deducted from the
Canadian tax payable on such income, profits or gains. For the
purpose of computing Canadian tax, a company resident in Canada
shall be allowed to deduct, in computing its taxes payable, any
dividend received by it out of the exempt surplus of a foreign
affiliate resident in Barbados.
Through the allowance of tax credits between particular countries,
the international tax burden on companies and investors is
effectively minimized. There is a general international tax principle
that the country in which immovable property is located should have
the right to tax the gains from the disposition of such property.
To successfully operate a foreign affiliate and legally benefit from
the low tax rates available, the company must satisfy a set of
regulations in place. These include both Canada Revenue Agency's
demands as well as the local laws that govern IBCs.
The Canada-Barbados Tax Agreement Act was amended in 2011
to follow in the framework of the OECD treaty models and ensure
holding corporations, trusts, or partnerships that held Canadian
investments in real property and resource properties would be
subject to Canadian taxation on sales of the shares of the holding
company or the interests in the partnerships or trusts.
The Conservatives believe that any motion to override the act's
provisions should be regarded with skepticism. Why target
specifically this act? Undermining an existing act does not seem to
be the most appropriate response. Minister Findlay signed the
Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement, helping to set the
stage for the automatic exchange of financial information with
international partners.
With respect to Motion No. 42, the basic premise behind this
motion is the condemnation of tax avoidance practices. Again, the
idea that all Canadians should pay their fair share of taxes is one that
we support. We do not contest the premise of the motion. However,
what we do contest is the method employed in the motion to achieve
its purported aim.
Economic action plan 2015 reiterated the Government of Canada's
pledge to working with international partners to address international
tax evasion and improve tax compliance, including a proposal to
adopt the OECD's Common Reporting Standard, starting on July 1,
2017, with the first exchanges of financial account information
beginning in 2018.
The Bloc believes that implementing the motion would result in
more money back in the hands of the Government of Canada. In
reality, it is not so clear-cut. The motion would nullify the CanadaBarbados Income Tax Agreement Act.
● (1800)
The Canada-Barbados Income Tax Agreement Act was designed
to limit double taxation, a situation where the same profits are taxed
Canada is one of more than 90 jurisdictions that, to date, have
committed to implementing the common reporting standard. The
Liberal government is implementing more direct measures to
investigate tax evasion.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2277
Private Members' Business
I will repeat that we highly condemn the practice of tax evasion.
However, we disagree that overriding a flexible act set in compliance
with international standards is the best way to address the problem.
[Translation]
Mr. Pierre-Luc Dusseault (Sherbrooke, NDP): Madam Speaker,
once again, I would like to thank the sponsor of today's motion, the
member for Joliette, for his speech and his initiative on an extremely
important and timely issue.
In 2016, I believe it is more important than ever to address this
problem. Although efforts have been made by the current and
previous governments, there is still much work to be done in several
areas. Therefore, it is quite appropriate to raise the issue of Barbados
today.
It is fairly obvious that there is a problem with Barbados. We need
only look at the numbers to realize it. My colleague mentioned a few.
In 2014, $71 billion was invested in Barbados. Over the past 10
years, $390 billion has been invested there. It is the second-largest
destination, after the United States, for Canadian foreign direct
investment, ahead of the entire Asia and Pacific region. The reason is
quite simple, and I will explain later.
Why are such incredible amounts of money being invested in a
country like Barbados, which has a population of 284,000 and a
GDP of roughly $3.7 billion?
In 2014, Canadians invested $71 billion in Barbados. There has to
be a reason. I do not think it is because the sun is warmer than in the
Cayman Islands or Hong Kong. There is a very simple fundamental
problem: Canada signed a tax treaty with Barbados that prevents
double taxation.
My Conservative colleague explained the rules. When someone
brings back profits reported in a foreign country and Canada has an
agreement with that country to prevent double taxation, the
individual simply needs to prove that he has paid taxes in the
original country so that he will not have to pay taxes again in
Canada.
It makes sense to have an agreement to prevent double taxation
with countries like the United Kingdom or United States, since this is
fair for our businesses. However, Barbados has a tax rate of 0.25% to
2.5% for international companies, so it is clear why Canadian
businesses are interested in investing there and reporting their profits
there. Why pay 15% tax in Canada, or 11% in the case of small and
medium-sized businesses, if you can get a better rate in Barbados?
It is not surprising that $71 billion from Canada ended up in
Barbados in 2014. That was handed over on a silver platter. It is not
difficult to come up with such strategies, and they are completely
legal.
It is all well and good for the government to say that it will invest
$450 million to go after cheaters, since everyone acknowledges that
tax evasion is illegal, but all of that money will do nothing to prevent
perfectly legal activities. How can we prosecute someone whose
actions are legal?
This is a serious problem. I thank my colleague for raising this
issue. It is not a new one, but it is still very important.
Earlier I said that tax evasion was simple. I do not want to
encourage Canadians to engage in it, but I just want to make my
point to parliamentarians.
● (1805)
Imagine that there is a company here in Canada with a subsidiary
in Barbados. Obviously, the company hires a consultant to make
things easier. There are consultants on every street corner in
Barbados, and some in Canada too. The company hires a consultant
who starts a company in Barbados in accordance with that country's
laws. That company becomes a subsidiary of the Canadian company,
which then becomes a multinational corporation. It is not difficult to
conduct all of the business in Canada and then have the subsidiary in
Barbados issue an invoice for $5 million, for example, for expert or
advisory services, even if no services were rendered. The subsidiary
will bill $5 million, which will be paid. Then, the company owner
will declare in Canada that the year was somewhat but not overly
profitable. In Barbados, the subsidiary will declare profits of
$5 million or $4.5 million. The subsidiary will then be taxed in
Barbados, according to that country's tax rate for multinational
corporations. Obviously, if business is really being done in
Barbados, that is legitimate. It is legitimate to have companies
throughout the world, in Barbados or elsewhere. However, these
corporations are not even taxed at such low rate in Barbados. It is
therefore quite obvious that there is a problem.
Just last Monday, the Minister of National Revenue responded to
journalists by saying that what the government also wants to work
on is trying to make what is immoral illegal.
She also said that if any changes need to be made to the
legislation, they will be made.
According to her, the trap is set.
It seems pretty clear that something can be done in the case of
Barbados. That is what my colleague from Joliette is proposing
today. Solutions are within our reach, for this is not the only possible
solution. However, it is quite clear that the minister and the members
of the other parties really need to take a serious look at this matter
and the problem of Barbados. This situation could be resolved,
although it is far from simple.
As everyone knows, the NDP has always fought for greater tax
fairness to ensure that our fellow citizens and our businesses pay
their fair share. We are pretty fortunate in Canada. Our country
delivers important services to Canadians, but someone has to pay for
those services. Things like health care and education come to mind,
for example.
As more and more individuals and businesses try to avoid their tax
obligations, our base will shrink progressively, and it will become
harder and harder to pay for the services people expect.
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COMMONS DEBATES
April 14, 2016
Private Members' Business
I can guarantee that when the people and the CEOs who engage in
these immoral but legal practices have a health problem, they will
not go to a hospital in Barbados. They will go to a hospital here in
Canada. They will use our health care services. The first thing they
will do is come here to take advantage of our good services, but the
first thing they will do when they leave the hospital is continue to
avoid paying their fair share for the services they received.
It is time to legislate a solution. My colleague from Victoria
proposed a solution in the previous Parliament, and it still makes
sense: it addressed the economic substance of a transaction. People
would have to prove that there is real economic substance for a
transaction, not just tax reasons. That is one solution, and there are
other legislative solutions.
Yes, the agency needs more resources. We do not oppose that. It is
a good solution, but it does not solve the problem, which is purely a
legal one.
● (1810)
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 need tougher penalties and no more amnesty. That is another
solution that still makes sense. When the agency finds that certain
taxpayers have engaged in illegal activity, they should not be granted
amnesty so they can avoid penalties and legal action.
We have two regimes: if we have a tax treaty; and if we do not
have a tax treaty.
Lastly, there is no denying that international co-operation is
extremely important here. I look forward to hearing the rest of the
debate.
[Translation]
Mr. Paul Lefebvre (Sudbury, Lib.): 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.
● (1815)
[English]
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.
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.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2279
Private Members' Business
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 countryby-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.
● (1820)
[English]
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Before
we resume debate, I want to advise the member for Regina—Lewvan
that the time for debate on private members' business will expire at
6:30. I will have to interrupt you, but you will be able to continue
your speech at the second hour of debate on a different day.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan.
Mr. Erin Weir (Regina—Lewvan, NDP): Madam Speaker, since
I have only a few minutes, I would like to focus on three key
questions: what is the problem; how big is the problem, and what, if
anything, is the government doing about it?
What is the problem? We need to talk about what tax rates are
actually in effect in Barbados on international business companies.
What we find is that on the first $5 million U.S. of profit the tax rate
is 2.5%. That used to go down to a tax rate of 1%. However, as of
2013, Barbados has cut that all the way down to 0.25%. A quarter of
a percentage point on profits over $15 million a year is what
international companies pay in Barbados, so when the Conservative
member for Brantford—Brant or the Liberal member for Sudbury
give us these textbook explanations about avoiding double taxation,
we have to talk about what is really happening in Barbados.
Certainly it makes sense that if a Canadian company actually pays
a decent amount of tax somewhere and then repatriates profits back
home it does not again pay Canadian tax on that same money, and
fair enough. However, is the position of the Conservatives and the
Liberals in this debate that when a Canadian company pays a tax rate
of 0.25% in Barbados that is good enough, that the company has
paid its fair share of tax and it should not owe any more Canadian
tax on that money? It seems that is what we heard from the previous
speakers.
There is absolutely a very serious problem of Barbados being a tax
haven and it really does not make sense to exempt profits repatriated
from that country from Canadian tax.
The next question is, how big a problem is it? Maybe there is a
little loophole there, but if Canadian companies are not really taking
advantage of it, we would not worry. The member for Mount Royal
tried to suggest that there are all kinds of different tax havens out
there, so why focus on Barbados. I will tell him why. If we look at
Statistics Canada's figures on foreign direct investment positions, we
find that most of Canada's foreign direct investment is in the United
States, as one would expect, but the second largest Canadian foreign
direct investment position in the world is in Barbados at $71 billion.
Why is that? Barbados is a pretty small country. Its GDP is
something like $5 billion Canadian, so why would we be parking
$71 billion in an economy of that size?
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Adjournment Proceedings
We have not heard an answer to that this evening. I think it is
obvious that Barbados is just being used as a tax shelter. Why would
Canadian companies be investing more in Barbados than, say, in the
United Kingdom, the third largest country for Canadian foreign
direct investment? The United Kingdom, of course, has an actual
economy and there are things there that corporate Canada might
actually want to invest in.
There is a really big issue with Barbados. It is not to say there are
not other tax havens, but clearly, Barbados is the biggest tax haven
being abused by corporate Canada. We have to start somewhere and
it makes sense to start with the biggest part of the problem. That is
exactly what this excellent motion from my colleague, the member
for Joliette proposes.
The third question that we need to address here is, what is the
government doing about this very serious and very large problem?
There was a lot of talk in speeches from the Liberals about all the
good measures in the budget to deal with tax evasion. Indeed, the
budget documents use the term “tax evasion” about a dozen times. It
even uses the term “tax avoidance” about half a dozen times. A word
that does not appear in the budget at all is “Barbados”. We are going
to fight tax evasion without even talking about the largest source of
tax evasion and tax avoidance. That is a very major problem, and
that is the reason why members of the House need to vote in favour
of the motion presented by my colleague from Joliette.
● (1825)
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The next
time this private member's motion is debated, the member will have
five minutes and twelve seconds to debate.
[Translation]
The time provided for the consideration of private members'
business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of
the order of precedence on the order paper.
ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS
A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed
to have been moved.
[English]
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Mrs. Cathy McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo,
CPC): Madam Speaker, I am really thankful for the opportunity to
talk about a question that I asked on March 8. I am going to read the
question and the response, because it is critical for people to
understand why I am so concerned with the response.
The question was as follows:
Mr. Speaker, a recent lawsuit by the SSN is looking to declare aboriginal title over
private property. The Premier of British Columbia responded that government must
defend with conviction the sanctity of private land and private land rights.
Furthermore, she told the people of Kamloops she has their backs.
There was no such message from the federal government. Will the justice minister
stand shoulder to shoulder with the premier of B.C. and defend private property
ownership?
This is absolutely critical. I would ask members to listen very
carefully to the response that I received from the Minister of Justice
and Attorney General of Canada. She thanked me for the question,
and then stated:
Our government is committed to developing a substantive nation-to-nation
relationship with indigenous peoples in this country, sitting down and working
jointly, based on recognition and moving forward in order to ensure that indigenous
communities can have an improved quality of life, can settle, ultimately, the land
question, and do it based on respect and based on the United Nations Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
I think members can understand why this answer was very
concerning. The minister talked about the government's mandate,
which the Liberals have been very clear about. They have said that
they have a goal of settling long-standing land claim issues. That is
an important goal, and we recognize that it is an important goal, but
what she did not acknowledge is that as they go about that process,
there will be an impact on people. It is really important to talk about
that. I know that a tepid response was given to this particular lawsuit
and that they will be responding to it, but it is important to recognize
that this is going to have very far-reaching ramifications.
As well, the ruling in the Daniels case today is going to add an
additional complexity to the job the government has ahead of it, but
it is also going to have an impact on private property and sometimes
small businesses. I can give a couple of examples: after the
Tsilhqot'in decision, I received a very powerful letter from a man
who is 70-some years old. He had a trap line and had invested a lot
of money in his small business. Ranchers in northern British
Columbia will be very significantly impacted due to a settlement of
one of the treaties.
The bottom line is the government is going to have to be proactive
and absolutely deal with the long-standing issues, but it will also
have to deal with private property rights and local community small
business owners.
● (1830)
Mr. Sean Casey (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Madam Speaker,
our government is committed to renewing the relationship between
Canada and indigenous peoples on a nation-to-nation basis.
This relationship will be based on respect, co-operation, and
partnership. A renewed nation-to-nation relationship is a political
goal, but it reflects a history of crown-indigenous relations. Nationto-nation relations are not a revolutionary break with our legal and
constitutional order, but an evolution closer to the promise of section
35 of our Constitution as outlined in jurisprudence from the Supreme
Court of Canada.
Canada modernized its constitution in 1982 to reflect a confident,
inclusive, and just country that respects diversity, with balance for
individual and collective rights. In particular, section 35 recognizes
indigenous peoples and provides protection for their rights. The
inclusion of section 35 is a turning point in Canadian history.
It is to this end that the Supreme Court of Canada has encouraged
a purposive view of section 35 and its promise of a balanced
relationship between the crown and indigenous peoples. We can see
this balanced approach presented in the Supreme Court of Canada's
decision that was referred to by my colleague, the Tsilhqot’in Nation
v. British Columbia, from June 2014.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
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Adjournment Proceedings
The court held that the Tsilhqot’in Nation has title to
approximately 1,750 square kilometres of land in the interior of
British Columbia. In the decision, the indigenous perspective and
legal traditions were given equal weight to common law property
concepts, for example, what goes into proving title, how title content
is defined by indigenous views, and how justification has to take into
account indigenous perspectives as well as the interest of the general
public.
The Supreme Court of Canada did not address the issue of what
happens when third party property interests intersect with title.
However, an essential part of section 35 is to find an appropriate
balance to reconcile the sometimes competing rights, claims, and
ambitions of indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.
Reconciliation will be a multi-generational journey, requiring hard
work and compromise by both indigenous nations and Canada's
institutions. All Canadians will benefit from a balanced and
respectful dialogue.
I would like to thank the member for Kamloops—Thompson—
Cariboo for bringing this question forward, and indeed for bringing
the question forward in a manner that allows for a more complete
response and opportunity to emphasize the balanced approach that
will be necessary in this and in all land claim disputes involving
indigenous peoples.
● (1835)
Mrs. Cathy McLeod: Madam Speaker, we do acknowledge that
much has to be done, and there is going to have to be hard work in
settling these long-standing indigenous land claims.
I want to hear from the government that as it goes about this
process that it will consider the farmers, trappers, and ranchers who
have been active on the land and who have lived side by side since
the early days of Confederation.
Furthermore, this is going to have a very significant effect. This
question was put forward to the National Chief Perry Bellegarde. He
used a quote and said that we must have “peace in the valley”. I
thought that was a very nice statement.
As the government does the work, it has to have a recognition in
terms of third party owners. I would urge it to adopt a policy of
“avoid, mitigate, compensate” when these settlements intersect in a
way that creates undue hazards.
Mr. Sean Casey: Madam Speaker, our government is committed
to renewing the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples
on a nation-to-nation basis.
This relationship will be based on respect, co-operation, and
partnership. We support a vision of Canada that reflects a confident,
inclusive, and just country that respects diversity, with balance for
individual and collective rights. This includes recognition of
indigenous peoples and their rights, as contained in section 35 of
our Constitution.
Balancing and recognizing all of our interests is a nation-building
challenge. Reconciliation will be a multi-generational journey
requiring hard work by all of us.
HEALTH
Ms. Sheri Benson (Saskatoon West, NDP): Madam Speaker, on
January 27, I asked the hon. Minister of Health about a central
principle of the Canada Health Act: equal access for all Canadians to
health care.
In many places across this country, including my home province
of Saskatchewan, wealthy Canadians are getting preferred access to
health care services; most notably, MRIs.
Because the Canada Health Act outlaws user fees, and the unequal
access to health services is contrary to both the spirit and the letter of
the law, I asked the health minister when she would act to enforce
the Canada Health Act and crack down on private payments.
The minister's answer was that she had met with provincial and
territorial health ministers and that she is “determined to make sure
that Canadians will always be able to access the appropriate care
they require based on need, and not ability to pay”.
While I was encouraged to hear of the minister's strong
commitment to the Canada Health Act, I regret that, to date, the
minister has yet to announce what she will do to uphold this
commitment.
I am gravely concerned that Saskatchewan is not only allowing
but actually encouraging the privatization of health care; namely,
private MRI services.
Where is the universality of access if special access to MRIs is
given to those who can afford to pay?
The Saskatchewan Medical Association, which represents the
province's doctors, is opposed to the two-tiered MRI system. The
SMA has said that the policy has been implemented hastily and that
there is no clear evidence that offering private scans will lead to
shorter wait times for the public.
Dr. Ryan Meili, of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, notes that
although Alberta has the second-highest number of diagnostic
imaging scanners per person in Canada, it also suffers from the
longest wait times.
The real impact of private-pay imaging clinics is to give those
with money an advantage in obtaining necessary surgery.
Private MRIs can cost anywhere from $700 to over $2,000 each.
While this cost may be acceptable for some Canadians, it is virtually
unaffordable for many more. Canada's health care system was
designed as part of our social safety net to ensure everyone is able to
access necessary exams.
Canadians are proud of our universal health care system, but we
must work to strengthen and expand it, not carve off pieces to be
sold to the highest bidder. One of the driving forces behind the
creation of our health care system is the principle that health care
should be available to Canadians based on need and not the ability to
pay.
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Adjournment Proceedings
For-profit clinics are only beholden to their owners' or shareholders' bottom line and not the well-being of patients. There is an
inherent conflict of interest in allowing for-profit operators into a
publicly funded health care system that seeks to provide medical
services for patients, regardless of their income level.
to insured health services, including medically necessary MRI
services at private diagnostic clinics, which has often been called
queue-jumping, contravenes the accessibility criteria of the Canada
Health Act.
Just today, we heard about allegations that a private health clinic
in Calgary is trying to pressure its doctors into giving preferential
treatment to fee-paying patients.
Further, when patients jump the queue by paying to gain quicker
access to a diagnostic service such as an MRI, they are then able to
jump the queue a second time for any follow-up care indicated by the
MRI. That means they gain faster access to both the initial diagnostic
test and they gain quicker access to any required follow up surgery
or procedures in the public system.
A two-tiered health care system only exacerbates unequal access
for Canadians. More than 6,000 people are waiting for an MRI in the
province, making it the longest wait list of any special imaging
service.
Today, there are two for-profit MRI clinics in the Regina area, but
one in Saskatoon and not one in the north. It is not difficult to see
that for-profit providers will locate where it is good for them, not
necessarily where patients need the services to be.
Indeed, the SMA has said that creating dual access to MRI scans
does not reduce surgical wait times. It also suggests it could lead to
queue-jumping for surgery because those with a completed scan
could see a specialist sooner.
The minister and the government have to protect public health
care across the country by disallowing for-profit clinics and private
service providers.
When will the minister act?
● (1840)
Ms. Kamal Khera (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Health, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I appreciate the the opportunity to
speak today. I am pleased to take part in this important debate and I
wish to thank the member for raising this issue for debate at this
time.
Our government is committed to protecting our publicly funded
health care system. Like all Canadians, we share the strong belief
that all individuals deserve access to timely, quality, universal health
care, regardless of their background, physical needs, where they live
or how much they make. This is one of the core values of our
country.
Access to health care is an important matter for all Canadians. The
Canada Health Act is more than Canada's federal legislation for
publicly funded health care insurance; it is an integral part of our
identity. The Canada Health Act preserves the values embedded in
our health care system and in our country as a whole, values of
equity, accessibility and solidarity. These are the values that make
Canada one of the most desirable countries in the world in which to
live.
Not only do we have a health care system that all Canadians can
be proud of, but it forms the bedrock of middle-class economic
security. Our publicly funded health care system offers a competitive
advantage for Canada in an increasingly competitive world.
The Canada Health Act requires provincial and territorial health
insurance plans to provide medically necessary hospital and
physician services to their residents on a prepaid basis and on
uniform terms and conditions. Permitting payment for faster access
This is not access based on medical need. This is access based on
ability and/or willingness to pay, and it is a contradiction of the
underlying principle of the Canadian health care system.
It is our belief that MRI services, when medically necessary,
should be covered by provincial plans. I would like to assure the
House that discussions are under way in relation to this issue.
The strong support that our government has for our publicly
funded health care system is echoed by the support of many
Canadians. Polls continue to show that Canadians consider health
care to be a high priority and that there is strong support for the
principle of access to care based on need. In a September 2015
EKOS research poll, when asked if individuals should be allowed to
pay extra to get quicker access to health care services, 64% of
respondents disagreed.
Canadians want a system based on need, and not their ability to
pay. They consider equal and timely access to medically necessary
health care services to be part of our national character, not a
privilege of status or income.
The hon. member may be assured that this government is
committed to preserving the fundamental principles of our health
care system and we will continue to work with provinces and
territories to ensure access to quality health care services, based on
need, not ability to pay.
● (1845)
Ms. Sheri Benson: Madam Speaker, I am heartfelt to hear those
words around protecting one of the fundamentals of the Canada
Health Act, and that is universality. Unfortunately, the government
just seems to want talk about it and not do anything about it. We are
asking her to do is to disallow the service immediately.
During this week's emergency debate on the suicide crisis in
Attawapiskat, the minister said:
It is unacceptable to have multiple tiers of health access. We would agree that all
Canadians...need to have access to the medical care they require based on that need,
not based on where they live or whether they can pay for it.
It is time for the government to step up and defend the universality
and accessibility. It is time to actually enforce the Canada Health
Act.
April 14, 2016
COMMONS DEBATES
2283
Adjournment Proceedings
Private, two-tier health care is a very slippery slope that will
dismantle our social safety net, and Canadians need to hear their
government commit to protecting health care for everyone and not
just the wealthy.
Ms. Kamal Khera: Madam Speaker, our government recognizes
that universal, publicly funded health care is a core Canadian value
and a foundation for economic prosperity. This is why our
government is committed to upholding the Canada Health Act and
its fundamental principle of providing access to medically necessary
care based on need, not the ability to pay.
We recognize that sustaining a strong, universal health care
system requires the collaboration and co-operation of federal and
provincial governments. As such, we are committed to a renewed
relationship with our provincial and territorial partners to support
their efforts to strengthen our publicly funded, universal health care
system.
The federal, provincial and territorial ministers of health met in
January 2016 to discuss common challenges facing our health care
system. I am pleased to note that at the meeting, ministers of health
from across the country reaffirmed support for a publicly funded
health care system and the values on which it is based.
INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
Ms. Georgina Jolibois (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, NDP): Madam Speaker, I stood in the House a couple of months
ago and asked the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs what
she and her government planned to do to help the community of
Wollaston Lake, which at the time was facing a challenge. Due to
climate change and warm weather, an ice road in northern
Saskatchewan was deemed unsafe to transport provisions. A
community of 1,800 people were running out of fuel and supplies
due to the unsafe winter road.
First nation chiefs in Saskatchewan said that the unusual mild
weather had softened a northern Saskatchewan ice road leaving two
reserves facing safety and access challenges: Hatchet Lake First
Nation and Fond du Lac Denesuline First Nation. It is clear and
undisputable that reliability of this road has been impaired. The
danger imposed by soft winter roads is increasingly isolating
Northern communities. This is rendering their lives more difficult as
supplies are harder to transport to remote communities. This is
without question, an urgent matter.
What does it mean when an ice road is unsafe for Northern remote
communities in Saskatchewan?
This ice road represents a life line for those communities. It is a
significant factor in the local cost of living, on the economic
development in the communities, and on housing and infrastructure.
Sporadic availability of truck transport imposes significant extra
costs on the communities.
An expensive and uncertain transportation situation is a major
barrier to all forms of development in northern communities. It
brings food prices considerably up. It brings fuel prices up, fuel that
is used for transportation and for heating on reserves. Medical
supplies do not make it on reserves for the sick and health care
workers who struggle to provide the care needed. Unsafe ice roads
make it harder if not impossible for the RCMP and paramedics to
reach those who require urgent help instantly.
As members can see, this is becoming a safety issue. There have
been reports of trucks transporting provisions that have fell through
the ice. Chiefs have also warned their communities to avoid the
winter road as they are unsafe for travel.
This is not an issue that is exclusive to northern Saskatchewan.
Northerners across the country have seen the roads they count on for
provisions and for movement becoming more and more unsafe and
unreliable for their livelihood due to climate change.
The current government promised an open nation-to-nation
relationship throughout its election campaign. The Prime Minister
pledged to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
recommendations. Despite that promise, we are still waiting.
The government still fails to act on issues that are of great concern
for northern remote communities that often feel abandoned and that
often feel that their issues are just not important enough in the eyes
of the federal government. Like all Canadians, northerners count on
an equitable treatment of their concerns.
This government had a chance to demonstrate goodwill in tackling
this concern with its first budget. However, nowhere in the budget do
we see allocation of specific funds for winter roads, and this, despite
the continuous outcry and warnings from first nations chiefs and the
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations on this issue that is
crippling communities.
Action is needed even more urgently than even before, and the
problem will not disappear on its own. It will only increase. Specific
funding and a comprehensive strategy for ice roads is required now.
In the long run it is going to enhance and better the lives of the
people in the north.
This is about lives. This is about safety. This is about economic
development in northern remote communities.
What steps has the Prime Minister taken to work with isolated first
nations to meet their needs for safer and reliable roads that will bring
more prosperity to their communities?
● (1850)
Ms. Yvonne Jones (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of
Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Lib.): Madam Speaker, I am
pleased to rise to respond to the question from my hon. colleague,
the member for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River. I want to
thank the hon. member for bringing this important issue to
Parliament. I know it is a concern that is shared by her constituents.
I live in a northern region of Canada, and I know the significant
challenges that we face in winter when it comes to transportation,
whether it be by air, ice roads, or snowmobile, which is the other
preferred route that we have to use.
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Adjournment Proceedings
I want to first of all point out to the member that in the budget
there was $255 million for roads and bridges that was allocated
directly and specifically for first nation communities. No community
in the north, or anywhere in this country, should have to face a
shortage of essential supplies during the winter. However, we all
know that it happens.
In my riding, as the member can appreciate, there are times of the
year when we have to ship by vessel during a small window. It is not
always easy to do that because of ice conditions, just like the
challenges faced with reliable winter roads as well.
The network is essential and vital to remote communities like the
one the member represents, and we know how much they rely upon
these ice roads for essential services like fuel, food, medical supplies.
We also know, and have acknowledged as a government, that the
reliability of those transportation modes are being tested. In part, it is
due to climate change, a discussion that we all continue to have.
Environment Canada has told us that the average annual temperature
in Canada has warmed by 1.6°, so that is significant. It also means a
shorter winter road season for many of our communities.
Typically, winter roads are open from mid-January to mid-March.
Some can go longer, as we know. However, when the season is
shortened due to weather, as we have seen in some years and in some
communities like Wollaston Lake and Hatchet Lake First Nation, the
communities that the member has referenced may have reduced
access to the essential items they would normally receive by land.
There are systems in place, and I think the member recognizes
that, to help these remote communities when these situations occur.
For example, depending on a specific situation, Indigenous and
Northern Affairs Canada makes additional funding available to first
nations to subsidize the delivery of essential items by air. We have
done that in the past. We also monitor the number of days that we are
expected to provide that service, and we look at what we can do
early on to mitigate any impact that could be placed upon the
communities.
Our minister met with Chief Tsannie and the delegation from his
first nation community regarding the winter roads issue. We have
met with Hatchet Lake First Nation and its leadership to follow up as
well. It is an issue that we have been dealing with, have dealt with,
and will continue to deal with based on the urgency that the situation
requires.
● (1855)
Ms. Georgina Jolibois: Madam Speaker, I appreciate the answer,
but I will do further follow-up, as I have continued contact with
Chief Tsannie and the Hatchet Lake First Nation, as well as Fond du
Lac Denesuline First Nation, the Prince Albert Grand Council, and
the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.
This is a concern and continues to be a concern. I appreciate the
dialogue that we are having today and moving forward.
Ms. Yvonne Jones: Madam Speaker, I also want to point out that
Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada has funded studies
mitigating these challenges, which have been undertaken by first
nations and the provincial governments.
We are looking forward to the department engaging with the
provinces and first nations about longer-term transportation plans. In
the cases that have been referenced here, they are more of a
provincial responsibility and jurisdiction, but we want to assist and
to help. It is a concern for us, and we understand the nature and the
importance of this to the region.
The member should never hesitate to bring forward important
issues on behalf of constituents to us as a government. We would be
happy to respond and work with the member to ensure that we get
the best results.
[Translation]
The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): The
motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted.
Accordingly, this House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 10 a.m.,
pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).
(The House adjourned at 6:58 p.m.)
CONTENTS
Thursday, April 14, 2016
ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS
Criminal Code
Ms. Wilson-Raybould . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-14. Introduction and first reading. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
printed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Department of Industry Act
Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-258. Introduction and first reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
printed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Open Science Act
Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-259. Introduction and first reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
printed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Ms. Mathyssen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-260. Introduction and first reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
printed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Canadian Forces Superannuation Act
Ms. Mathyssen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Bill C-261. Introduction and first reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and
printed) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Petitions
Natural Gas Industry
Mr. Zimmer. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Democratic Reform
Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Environment
Ms. May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Questions on the Order Paper
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2205
2206
2206
2206
2206
2206
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
The Budget
Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Nault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Arnold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Sorbara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Aboultaif . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dreeshen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Hardie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Arnold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2206
2206
2207
2208
2208
2210
2210
2210
2210
2212
2212
2213
Mr. Vandal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Quach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Whalen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Waugh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Vandal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Kelly . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Saganash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. MacGregor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Fillmore . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Choquette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Saganash . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2214
2214
2214
2216
2216
2217
2218
2219
2219
2220
2221
2221
2222
2222
Privilege
Alleged Premature Disclosure of Contents of Bill C-14
Mr. Scheer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Leslie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Julian . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2223
2224
2224
The Budget
Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Anandasangaree. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Warawa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Caesar-Chavannes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Samson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dreeshen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Choquette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Fortin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Caesar-Chavannes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Quach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Mr. Ayoub . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Fry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Arnold . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. MacGregor . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Graham . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Virani . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Aboultaif . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Baylis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Harder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2224
2224
2226
2226
2226
2227
2228
2228
2228
2231
2232
2232
2232
2233
2234
2234
2235
2235
2236
2237
2237
2237
STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS
Clarence Kennedy
Mr. Bossio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2239
2016 Esso Cup
Mr. Kitchen. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2239
Corporation Rose-Art Gallery
Mr. Robillard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2239
Canada Post
Mr. Christopherson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2239
National Volunteer Week
Mrs. Mendès . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2240
Garry Lefebvre
Mr. Sorenson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2240
Toronto Beaches Lions Club Easter Parade
Mr. Erskine-Smith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2240
Lawrence Park Panthers
Mr. Mendicino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2240
Burrowing Owls
Mr. Albas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2241
Labour
Ms. Tassi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2241
Maria Chaput
Mr. Vandal. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2241
Vancouver International Airport
Mrs. Wong. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2241
Volunteers
Ms. Ludwig
..............................................
2244
Natural Resources
Mrs. Stubbs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Stubbs. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Wilkinson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2244
2244
2244
2245
Small
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Mr.
Business
Poilievre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Poilievre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2245
2245
2245
2245
Grain Transportation
Mrs. Block . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Warkentin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2245
2245
2245
2245
Foreign Affairs
Ms. Laverdière . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2246
2246
Manufacturing Industry
Ms. Mathyssen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Bains . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2246
2246
Justice
Mr. Calkins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Calkins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cooper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Vecchio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2246
2246
2246
2246
2247
2247
2247
2247
2247
2247
2247
2247
Mrs. Philpott
...............................................
2241
Forestry Industry
Ms. Trudel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2242
Patrick Sobeski
Mr. MacKenzie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2242
Ottawa's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Mr. Leslie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2242
ORAL QUESTIONS
The Budget
Mr. Lebel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Brison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2242
2242
Ethics
Mr. Lebel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2242
2242
Rail Transportation
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dubé . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
The Budget
Mr. Scheer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Brison . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2243
2243
International Development
Mr. MacKinnon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Bibeau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2247
2247
Natural Resources
Mr. Scheer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Scheer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Carr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2243
2243
2243
2243
Indigenous Affairs
Mr. Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Philpott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Angus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Philpott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Sansoucy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Philpott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2243
2243
2244
2244
2244
2244
Veterans
Mr. Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Hehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Clarke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Hehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Wagantall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Hehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Wagantall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Hehr . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2248
2248
2248
2248
2248
2248
2248
2248
Health
Ms. Sansoucy. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2244
Air Canada
Mr. Blaikie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Boulerice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2249
2249
2249
2249
Democratic Reform
Mr. Deltell . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2249
2249
Physician-Assisted Dying
Ms. Harder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Wilson-Raybould . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Viersen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Philpott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2249
2250
2250
2250
Agriculture and Agri-Food
Mr. Scarpaleggia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. MacAulay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2250
2250
International Trade
Mr. Hoback . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lametti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Brosseau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lametti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2250
2250
2250
2250
Housing
Ms. Ratansi . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Duclos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2251
2251
International Trade
Mr. Gourde . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lametti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Thériault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lametti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2251
2251
2251
2251
Taxation
Mr. Ste-Marie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dubourg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2251
2251
Presence in Gallery
The Speaker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2251
Points of Order
Oral Questions
Ms. Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Garneau . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Warkentin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Reid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2252
2252
2252
2252
Business of the House
Mr. Reid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. LeBlanc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
(Motion agreed to) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2252
2252
2252
2252
2257
2258
2258
Message from the Senate
The Deputy Speaker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2258
The Budget
Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Duguid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Kenney . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Stewart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Sgro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Obhrai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Vandenbeld . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dusseault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Brassard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. O'Toole. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dusseault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Peterson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Blaikie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Waugh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Bittle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Cannings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Gerretsen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Pauzé . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Liepert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. DeCourcey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Davies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Rempel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Division on Motion No. 2 deferred . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2258
2258
2260
2260
2261
2261
2262
2262
2262
2263
2264
2265
2265
2267
2267
2267
2269
2269
2269
2270
2271
2271
2271
2272
PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS
GOVERNMENT ORDERS
The Budget
Financial Statement of Minister of Finance
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Harder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. DeCourcey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Liepert . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lamoureux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mrs. Vecchio . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Long . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dusseault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Calkins . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Brassard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Davies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tax Avoidance
Mr. Ste-Marie. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dusseault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Housefather . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Champagne . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. McColeman . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Dusseault . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Lefebvre. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mr. Weir . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2272
2272
2274
2274
2275
2275
2276
2277
2278
2279
ADJOURNMENT PROCEEDINGS
2252
2253
2253
2253
2254
2254
2256
2256
2256
Indigenous Affairs
Mrs. McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo). . . . . . . .
Mr. Casey (Charlottetown) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Health
Ms. Benson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Khera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Indigenous Affairs
Ms. Jolibois . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ms. Jones . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2280
2280
2281
2282
2283
2283
Published under the authority of the Speaker of
the House of Commons
Publié en conformité de l’autorité
du Président de la Chambre des communes
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PERMISSION DU PRÉSIDENT
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