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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 156

CONTENTS

Thursday, March 23, 2017




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 156 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[Translation]

Canadian Human Rights Commission

    I have the honour to lay upon the table the 2016 annual report of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(e), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8), I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to eight petitions.

Interparliamentary Delegations

    Mr. Speaker, from January 23 to January 26, 2017, I led a delegation with five other parliamentarians to Bogota, Colombia. After 50 years of armed conflict, in November 2016 a historic peace agreement was reached between Colombia's government and the revolutionary armed forces of Colombia. The delegation met with numerous partners involved in the post-conflict reconstruction. I would like to present and table the report on behalf of the Canadian section of ParlAmericas.

Committees of the House

Health 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the eighth report of the Standing Committee on Health in relation to Bill C-277, An Act providing for the development of a framework on palliative care in Canada. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House, with amendments.
    I want to thank the MP for Sarnia—Lambton for her good work on this. This bill had all-party support. It is timely and very much appreciated by all. Certainly, I am very pleased and proud to present the report.

Scrutiny of Regulations  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the second report, entitled “Report No. 90 - Accessibility of Documents Incorporated by Reference in Federal Regulations”, and the third report, entitled “Report No. 91 - Marginal Notes”, of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations in relation to the review of statutory instruments.
    In accordance with Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations requests that the government table a comprehensive response to these reports in the House of Commons.

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two reports, in both official languages.
    The first is the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Modernization of Client Service Delivery”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, I also have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 10th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, entitled “Main Estimates 2017-18”.

[English]

Transport, Infrastructure and Communities  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 11th report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, entitled “A Study of the Navigation Protection Act”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities unequivocally do not support this committee report on the review of the Navigation Protection Act. From its inception, the review of the Navigation Protection Act was disingenuous. The committee was informed that there would be future amendments to the Navigation Protection Act without being told what those amendments would be. This dissenting report outlines how the study came about, Transport Canada's interference in the committee process, what evidence was heard, and the contradictory recommendations made by the governing members, which do not draw their inspiration from any of the evidence that the committee heard.

Petitions

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by a number of Canadian citizens. They are pointing out that it is impossible for a person to give informed consent to assisted suicide or euthanasia if appropriate palliative care is not available to that person. Therefore, the petitioners are calling on Parliament to establish a national strategy on palliative care.

Democratic Reform  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my honour today to present petition e-616, the largest petition in Canadian history. This is a petition sponsored by a gentleman named Jonathan Cassels, calling on the Liberal government to keep its promise that the 2015 election will be the last one under first past the post. More than 130,000 Canadians signed this petition from coast to coast to coast, expressing their desire for the most simple and basic of things in politics, that when a government makes a promise, it keeps its promise, to remove us from the outdated and unfair first-past-the-post election system.
    It is my honour to present this petition today. I thank Jonathan Cassels, Leadnow, Fair Vote Canada, the Broadbent Institute, and the other Canadians who have sponsored this petition from across the country, expressing something that I think we all hope for as parliamentarians: That when a prime minister makes a promise and repeats it hundreds of times, Canadians should be able to count on that promise.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured today to present a petition on behalf of constituents who are asking the House of Commons to specifically identify hospice palliative care as defined by the medical services covered under the Canada Health Act so that provincial and territorial governments will be entitled to funds under the Canada health transfer system to be used to provide accessible and available hospice palliative care for all residents of Canada in their respective provinces and territories.

  (1010)  

International Aid  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition. The petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to allocate 0.7% of Canada's gross national income to official development assistance by 2020.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present a petition today on behalf of constituents in Cowichan—Malahat—Langford who recognize that climate change is resulting in lower water flows in the Cowichan River, which is posing a threat to fish and fish habitat, both of which, I should note, fall under federal jurisdiction.
    They note that the Cowichan River weir is necessary for managing the flow rates into the river and that the Cowichan River is a designated heritage river. Therefore, they call on the federal government to honour its pledges for infrastructure, adaptation, and climate resilience, and provide adequate federal funding for raising the weir so that we can protect this vital watershed in my riding.

Interprovincial Trade  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by a number of Canadians right across this great country who believe, with the Fathers of Confederation, that Canada was intended to be not just a political union but an economic one. Section 121 of the Constitution Act is the free trade clause. We, as Canadians, should be able to buy spirits, beer, and wine from across this great country. The petitioners are calling upon the government to help do exactly that, as the Fathers of Confederation intended.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: No. 834.

[Text]

Question No. 834--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
     With regard to the Canadian Revenue Agency's (CRA) administration of the Alberta government's new carbon tax rebates: (i) what is the total number of rebate payments issued, (ii) what is the total monetary amount of these rebates, (iii) what is the total number of rebate payments issued to non-residents of Alberta, (iv) what is the total monetary amount of rebates issued to non-residents, (v) what is the total annual administrative cost for the CRA to manage this program for the provincial government?
Hon. Diane Lebouthillier (Minister of National Revenue, Lib.):
    Mr. Speaker, concerning the CRA’s administration of the Alberta climate leadership adjustment rebate, ACLAR, the CRA is not in a position to release the information in the manner requested.
    In processing parliamentary returns, the Privacy Act is applied, as are the principles set out in the Access to information Act. The ACLAR is a program authorized under provincial legislation and is fully funded by the Alberta provincial government. Although the ACLAR legislation is in effect, the service level agreement, which authorizes the CRA to manage and administer this program on behalf of Alberta, is still under negotiation.
    Therefore, information will not be provided, on the grounds that the release of information would potentially prejudice the negotiations and be injurious to federal-provincial relations.

[English]

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if the government's responses to Questions Nos. 831 to 833, 835, and 836 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 831--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
     With regard to the purchase of televisions, since November 4, 2015, broken down by department and agency: (a) what is the total value of televisions purchased; (b) how many televisions have been purchased; and (c) what are the details of each purchase, including (i) make and model, (ii) size, (iii) price per unit, (iv) quantity, (v) was the television a 4K television, (vi) was the television a 3-D television?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 832--
Mr. Chris Warkentin:
     With regard to studies related to the legalization of illicit drugs conducted since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of any studies conducted by the government on the subject, including (i) who conducted the study, (ii) when it was completed, (iii) which drugs were studied, (iv) what were the findings of the study, (v) what was the internal tracking number of the study; and (b) what are the details of any outside studies conducted for the government, including (i) who conducted the study, (ii) when it was completed, (iii) which drugs were studied, (iv) what were the findings of the study, (v) what was the internal tracking number of the study, (vi) what was the vendor name, (vii) what was the amount of the contract, (viii) what was the date of the contract?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 833--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
    With regard to diplomatic postings by Global Affairs Canada, between November 4, 2015, and February 2, 2017: (a) what is the total number of vacancies in diplomatic postings; (b) which positions are vacant; (c) how long have each of the positions identified in (b) been vacant; (d) at which stage of the recruitment and posting process are the positions identified in (b); (e) what is the average length of time taken to fill a diplomatic posting; (f) what percentage of diplomatic postings have been filled from within the Foreign Service; (g) what percentage of ambassadorial postings have been filled from within the Foreign Service; and (h) what percentage of diplomatic postings require ministerial approval?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 835--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
     With regard to the $2.65 billion in government funding announced on November 27, 2015, in Valetta, Malta, to help combat climate change in developing countries: (a) what is the itemized list of projects funded by this fund, including (i) title of project, (ii) recipient organization or name, (iii) recipient country, (iv) amount contributed; and (b) what is the number of jobs that have been created outside of Canada with this money that are (i) full-time, (ii) part-time?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 836--
Mr. Tom Kmiec:
     With regard to the 2016-2017 Main Estimates relating to Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development: (a) under Contributions and the allotment for “Annual Voluntary Contributions”, (i) what is the itemized list of organizations, persons, or programs, which received funding from this allotment, (ii) what items were purchased with this funding; (b) for each of the items in (a)(ii), what was the related (i) title of the project, (ii) recipient name, (iii) recipient country, (iv) amount contributed; (c) under Contributions and the allotment for “Canada Fund for Local Initiatives”, (i) what is this fund’s mandate, (ii) which department directly administers this program at Global Affairs Canada, (iii) for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, what is the itemized list of organizations, persons, or programs, which received funding from this allotment, (iv) what items were purchased with this funding; (d) for each item in (c)(iv), what was the related (i) title of the project, (ii) recipient name, (iii) recipient country, (iv) amount contributed; (e) under Contributions and the allotment for “Global Commerce Support Program”, (i) what is this program’s mandate, (ii) which department directly administers this program at Global Affairs Canada, (iii) what is the itemized list of persons, organizations, or programs which received funding from this allotment; (f) for each item in (e)(iii), what was the related (i) title of project, (ii) recipient name, (iii) recipient country, (iv) amount contributed?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

    Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.
    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

Government Orders

[The Budget]

[Translation]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance   

    The House resumed from March 22 consideration of the motion that the House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.
     It is my pleasure to rise on behalf of our Conservative caucus and all Canadians who are concerned that their tax dollars are not being respected to respond to the Liberal Budget.
    I have had many opportunities to travel this country, and I have seen first-hand how the job-killing policies this Prime Minister promotes are hurting families and businesses.

[English]

    It is my pleasure to rise on behalf of our Conservative caucus and all Canadians who are concerned that their tax dollars are not being respected, to respond to the Liberal budget. As Conservatives and as the official opposition, we are here proudly as the voice of the taxpayers.
    I have had the opportunity to travel this country quite a bit in this role, and I have seen first-hand how the job-killing policies the Prime Minister promotes are hurting families and businesses. In Medicine Hat, I visited a greenhouse that is set to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, in fact exactly $750,000, to accommodate the Prime Minister's new carbon tax at $50 a tonne.
    On Canada's proud east coast, I met families who are finding it harder and harder to save after the government hiked the cost of textbooks and after-school programs for their kids. The Prime Minister likes to talk about cleaning up the tax code, but he forgets that all of the tax credits that he is taking away from families made life more affordable for them. The truth is that regular Canadians feel like they are being nickel-and-dimed to death by the Prime Minister.
    He promised a lot in the election. He made a lot of commitments, but now it seems like a lot of rhetoric. For all the money that he spent, and for all the taxes Canadians have to pay, what are the results? The Prime Minister is now in his second budget, clinging to this failed Liberal idea of taxing and spending because it seems impossible for him to understand what regular Canadians are actually going through out there.
    Canadians needed a break. That is what they were hoping for in this budget, but they did not get one. We, on this side of the House, are not surprised. After all, this is the same government that broke its promise to lower taxes on small businesses, broke its promise to limit its deficit spending to only $10 billion, and broke its promise to balance the budget, all within six months.

  (1015)  

[Translation]

    These broken promises are proof to Canadians that the Prime Minister does not understand the everyday challenges families and workers are facing.
    Canadians are not looking for bigger, shinier promises that will cost millions but never arrive. They are looking for common-sense solutions to the most pressing problems.

[English]

     What are those most pressing problems? They are about getting new jobs for our young people, and people keeping their jobs and getting to keep more of their hard-earned money while the Prime Minister makes life more expensive.
    I was at a function this morning with a lot of small business owners. One of them said that he works 15 hours a day, seven days a week, and in this budget the Prime Minister says he is going to target small business owners because he thinks they are sheltering money. That small business owner said that he invests every cent he has back in his business. He buys new equipment, hires another employee, and expands his business, and the Prime Minister thinks that somehow he is using the tax system to hide taxes.
    This is the kind of attitude the Prime Minister has toward small business owners. This year's budget is just a sequel to last year's budget of his nickel-and-dime plan. Last year, it was textbook and education tax credits, which were cancelled. That cost families up to $600 per student. The Prime Minister made after-school programs more expensive, to the tune of hundreds of dollars. For a regular family, hundreds of dollars is a lot of money. If a family can write off an expensive registration for hockey, soccer camp, arts classes, or piano lessons, that is a big deal to a family, and those are all gone.
    The Prime Minister steamed ahead with the higher small business tax. He got rid of the hiring tax credit for small businesses, which are struggling across the country. They want to hire more people.
    We need to provide them with those incentives. Why would he take away an incentive to hire more people in this country? This year they are raising money off the backs of small businesses again by hiking EI premiums and CPP premiums.
    They are raising taxes on Canadians who use the bus. Really? If a person takes the bus to work every day, or to school every day, and likes to enjoy a beer at the end of the day, guess what? They are taxing that too. They are even taxing our Saturday night plans. If we want to grab an Uber to go to the pub to have a glass of wine with friends, or a beer, they are taxing all of that. They are taxing Uber ride-sharing. They are taxing our wine, our beer. Why? It is because they are looking for every possible cent they can find in the sofa cushions to fund more government spending.
    In short, they are making everyday life more expensive for regular Canadians. What do they have to show for it? They promised more growth. Guess what? There is none.
     Despite continuing to squeeze taxpayers, there is not even in this budget new support for the Canadian men and women in uniform who help keep us safe. The Prime Minister just does not seem to get it. The more we watch him, it is like he does not understand what regular people are going through out there.

[Translation]

     This budget is proof that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the needs of working people. Any family across this country will tell you the anxiety they feel about losing their job. Any student will tell you that their biggest anxiety is whether or not there will be a job for them when they graduate, a job that pays enough to cover their student loan payment and maybe a car loan payment someday. They have reason to worry because wages are not going up, and the jobs out there offer fewer hours of work, which means less money in their pockets.

  (1020)  

[English]

    This budget is proof that the Prime Minister is out of touch with the needs of working people, because any families we talk to across the country will tell us about the anxiety they feel about maybe losing their jobs. Students will tell us that their biggest anxiety is whether there is going to be a job to look for when they finally graduate, a job that will pay enough for them to be able to buy a car one day, get a car loan, get a house or a condo, and pay back a student loan. They have reason to worry, because wages are not going up and the jobs out there on offer are offering fewer hours of work, meaning less money in their pockets.
    For all the Prime Minister's grandstanding plans, let us remember back to the election. He promised to not raise taxes; he has raised them. He promised to balance the budget; he has not. He promised to spend $10 billion on infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, which is what most people think of as infrastructure; he has not. What do we have for it? Less growth. We are not seeing the growth he promised, so what is all this spending for?
     With an aggressive American administration looking to attract every available job to its side of the border, time is running out to get serious. This budget missed a huge opportunity to protect the Canadian economy from the policies of the Trump administration. We were all waiting for it. We were hoping that he would recalibrate. This is a real threat to our economy. That country is our biggest competitor and our biggest customer. There is a lot on the line. There is a potential border adjustment tax. There are potential changes to NAFTA. He had a chance to change course, and he did not.
    Lower taxes and less red tape are the tools to do exactly that to keep us competitive. However, instead of competitive solutions, the Prime Minister offers, and we are not surprised, more spending. As for his buzz words programs, how do I say this? I think yesterday they even invented new words. I thought that was a George Bush thing, but now, apparently, our Prime Minister invents new words as well. These kinds of programs do not reach the vast majority of Canadians. They will never see a benefit from these kinds of programs, as great as the Prime Minister thinks they are. All those people out there who are waiting for a signal from the government are the ones who are going to face much more intense competition from a low-cost, low-tax United States.
    If the Liberals think people's jobs are fashionable enough that they might make a good photo-op after the budget, the Prime Minister might show up there. There is a good chance that they might be able to get a photo with him. They will be lucky. If they have a super cluster venture capital accelerator, then they are in luck, because this budget was made for them, but I do not think there are a lot of them in Portage—Lisgar. Maybe one day.
    The truth is that graduates are looking at this and saying that they are struggling to pay off debt, let alone save a bit of money. They are looking at this budget and thinking, “What's in it for me”, because that is what people look for. There is not a lot. There is not a lot in it for the guy who is working on the oil drilling rig. There is not a lot in it for the person running a family farm. If someone drives a truck or owns a hair salon, those jobs are not fashionable to the current Prime Minister, and there is nothing in this budget for them. I hate to break it to those people, and it is not funny, but those jobs are not Liberal favourites. The Liberals are picking favourites, and the rest of the workforce will pay for it. The rest of the people in this country, families and businesses, will pay for that.

[Translation]

    As it stands, these billion dollar programs are not really about the average working Canadian. Families and businesses were looking to this budget for a sign that the Prime Minister had done his homework, figured out a plan, and would be moving beyond his haphazard tax-and-spend approach.

[English]

    As it stands, these billion-dollar programs are not really about the average working family. They really are not. Families and businesses were looking for a sign in this budget from the Prime Minister that he had done his homework, that he had listened, that he had figured out a plan and would be moving beyond this haphazard tax-and-spend approach. However, the opposite is true. There is actually no fiscal plan in the budget. An economist made mention of that yesterday. When is the last time there was a budget with no fiscal plan? There is no fiscal plan. There is no plan to return to balance. There is no appreciation of what this will cost. There is no accounting for the programs and the jobs they will create. There is no costing or measurement of the amount of GDP associated with these programs. The Liberals have not done their homework.
    Despite the Prime Minister's promise to return to balance, he admitted yesterday that he has no intention whatsoever of returning to balance. Not only did the Prime Minister break his solemn commitment during the election to spend only $10 billion, but the upcoming deficit for this year is $29 billion. In fact, since November of last year, which is just six months, the Prime Minister blew through an additional $13 billion. Taxpayer money has disappeared into a black hole of photo ops and international trips, which have produced zero growth. Let me rephrase that. There is growth. Do members know where that growth is? It is in the size of government. Yesterday, the comment was made that this is unprecedented growth in modern times. That is how it was described. There has been 12% growth in the size of government. When taxpayers look at that, they think, “What is happening? That is not the bargain we were told we were going to get when the Prime Minister got elected.”
    The budget also admits that the Prime Minister's infrastructure plan is not on track. It is right there in black and white. Very little of the billion dollars that was earmarked has gone to roads and highways and ports. It sounded like a good idea. We want shovels in the ground. We want people working. Those are the kinds of things Canadians expected when he said he was going to spend on infrastructure. That is not what happened. The construction sector has actually declined by 3.3%. Money is not getting out. Projects are not being built. Shovels are not in the ground. That means that jobs were not created in the construction business.
    What is worse, the Prime Minister has not ruled out the idea of selling off Canadian airports to pay for an infrastructure plan that he even admits in this budget, still, after two years, is vague and unfinished. Let us be clear about that. The Prime Minister is still considering selling off Canada's airports to fund what amounts to a $40-billion shot in the dark for an infrastructure bank. Remember, the infrastructure bank was never mentioned in the election. This was not a promise the Prime Minister made. However, guess what? Canadians will be paying for it.
    Something else that is very concerning in this budget is the notion of targeting small business owners. There is a shot across the bow in this budget that is very concerning for small business owners. If they are professionals, people who are accountants, doctors, dentists, lawyers, physiotherapists, chiropractors, and I could name a lot of people who are professionals, who work hard in our communities, who serve their communities, who are small business owners, the Prime Minister thinks they are hiding money in the way they manage their money, and he is coming after them. He has done that in this budget. He is also warning in this budget that he is coming for more.
     We know the Liberals are squeezing farmers. They are even squeezing campground owners, who are small business owners. They are squeezing everyone who is a small business owner, because he thinks, as he said in the election, that small businesses are a way to shelter money and that somehow small business owners are cheating the system.

  (1025)  

    I think back to the guy I talked to this morning who works 15 hours a day, seven days a week. That is what small business owners do, and they take a risk to become small business owners. We should thank them, because they take a risk.
     They are not living off the government. They are not living off the taxpayer. They have taken a risk and invested their hard-earned dollars to create jobs and to invest in the community. Many of them give back to the community through charitable donations and community work. These are the people who are the backbone of our economy, small business owners, and that is who the government is targeting. Where are its priorities?

[Translation]

    Canada's Conservatives are here to be the voice of the taxpayer. Taxpayers are regular Canadians: moms and dads, workers and small business owners, seniors and students. All of them have been hit by Liberal tax hikes generated by reckless Liberal spending. Canada’s Conservatives will fight to keep money in everyone's pockets at every turn. However, this Prime Minister does not get that.

[English]

    I will end by saying that Canada's Conservatives are here to be the voice of the taxpayer. Taxpayers are regular Canadians: moms and dads, workers and small business owners, seniors and students. All of them have been hit by Liberal tax hikes generated by this Liberal reckless spending, and Canada's Conservatives will fight to keep more money in the pockets of taxpayers.
     Why? I think back to the fellow I talked to this morning and so many other people I have met across the country. They have worked hard, with early mornings, late nights, and long commutes. They have made sacrifices for their families. The Prime Minister does not seem to get that.
    We know that responsible governing today will make the decisions of tomorrow far less difficult. Now it is time for the Prime Minister to get serious. There is about to be far more competition from our southern neighbour, which is drastically cutting taxes and reducing red tape in an effort to spur job growth and draw business investment to its side of the border.
    For the second time, Canadians were hoping to see a plan from the Prime Minister's budget , and unfortunately, they have come away disappointed.
    With that, I move:
    That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following,
this House not approve the budgetary policy of the government as it: (a) includes a further deficit of at least $29 billion; (b) contains no plan to return the books to balance; (c) nickel-and-dimes Canadian taxpayers to death by hiking taxes on public transit users, Uber and ride-sharing, beer and wine, donated medicine, childcare, small business owners; and (d) demonstrates that the government's economic plan has failed to create the jobs it promised.

  (1030)  

    The amendment is in order. We will go to questions and comments. The parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, when the Conservative Party had the opportunity to actually support the middle-class tax cut, what did the Conservatives do? They voted against the tax break for Canada's middle class and those who are aspiring to be part of it. I find it difficult to believe the leader of the official opposition when she says she wants to see more money in the pockets of Canadians, when in fact, her colleagues voted against tax breaks for the middle class. Those tax breaks, those hundreds of millions of dollars, increased the disposable incomes of Canadians in every region of our country and supported our small businesses by providing more customers.
    Let me quote, if I may. It is a little bit lengthy. I might not have the time, but let me summarize by saying that I hope through the coming days to share with this House many quotes, which clearly illustrate that this government got it right by putting a priority on industry and on the middle class.
    Why will members across the way not support a progressive budget such as this that really makes a difference for Canada's middle class?
    Mr. Speaker, it is funny when I listen to the member opposite. I know he is a Liberal, but he sounds a lot like some of the people south of the border who use alternative facts.
    The truth is that in the last 10 years, the middle class grew by 30%. The supposed tax cut that the current government brought in helped the wealthiest part of the middle class, not lower-income people and middle-class Canadians. In fact, even with that supposed tax cut they gave, this is what happens.
    The Liberals talked a big talk during the election, but then they taxed everyone to death with the last two budgets. There is nothing left of that middle-class tax cut they supposedly gave people. That is the reality. In fact, people are now more in the hole. The Liberals just keep taking and taking.
    Why? We found out in the budget yesterday that it is because the Liberals grew the size of government by 12%. That is an unprecedented growth in the size of government.
    This is not who we should be focused on. We should be focused on regular working people who need a break, and they did not get a break from the government yesterday.

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I guess the hon. leader of the official opposition will agree with us that this is in fact a budget for members of the Rideau Club and those working hard to join it.

[Translation]

    Unfortunately, this is once again a Liberal budget of broken promises. The Liberals voted in favour of the motion to put an end to poverty among indigenous children. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordered the government to invest $155 million to address that issue, but there is nothing in the budget about it. The Liberals promised to close the tax loophole for stock options for CEOs, but there is nothing in the budget about that. They promised to lower the tax rate for SMEs, but there is nothing in the budget about that either. However, there are some surprises. There are unpleasant surprises for families and the middle class. For example, the Liberals have done away with the tax credit of $150 to $200 a year for people who take the bus to work.
    I would like to hear what the Leader of the Opposition thinks about this Liberal measure that is going to hurt families across Canada.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I agree with the hon. member's comment about a budget that is not for regular working people. I love that comment about this being for the elites and friends of the Liberal Party. This is what the budget is about.
    The member talked about bus passes. This is mean-spirited. Why would the Liberals take away a benefit for people who take the bus every day to school? This tax credit allowed people to get almost two months of free bus passes back on their tax return. Seniors use this. Students use this. Low-income Canadians use this.
    This is not a budget for regular working people, and it's not just about the people getting to work and back, but the people who want to work those 15 hours a day to actually own a small business one day. They want a return on their investment and they are thinking about taking that risk. How do we encourage them to take a risk? If there is a reward at the end of the day, if they work those 15 hours day, then they are going to get to build a business, to hire people, to actually keep some of their own money. What a wonderful opportunity for them and their community, but what are we doing? We are telling them they are tax cheats. That is what this budget does. We are coming after small business owners now.
    It is everything from campground owners to people who operate a family-owned farm. This is ridiculous. This has to end.
     We will be the voice of the taxpayers, and we will stand up for families and stand up for small businesses.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest to the speech from the hon. leader of the opposition, and she kept talking about not addressing the issues of working-class Canadians. In my riding, I heard a great deal about how important child care was. When the party opposite was in power, it chose not to invest in child care. We are looking at $7 billion in child care.
    I would ask the leader of the opposition how she considers not investing in child care something that is going to help middle-class families.
    Mr. Speaker, once again the government is not focusing on everyday working people, particularly low-income working people.
     What was the first thing the government did? It was to take away the universal child care benefit that every single family in this country relied on. It took away choice. It also took away the tax credit for child care, and yesterday in the budget the government took away a credit for employers who were willing to put their own money into child care in their own businesses. If I asked any parents I know, they would say that this is the ideal kind of child care. To have it on site, where they work, close to their own community, with employers willing to put some of their own money into it to make the work environment better for their employees is ideal child care. What a great incentive for child care, and those guys over there took it away.

  (1040)  

    Mr. Speaker, we heard last night as the speech was being read that another 1,000 energy workers were laid off in Alberta. I was with a stakeholder last night who was taking calls from a friend of his, one of those 1,000 people who had lost his job. He is a young father with two young kids. It was heartbreaking.
    In this budget the government is once again going out of its way to target the energy industry when it is down, to kick it again if it is investing money to look for new wells. These are the people who hire the middle class, and the government is kicking them again when they are down.
    The Leader of the Opposition has done a lot of work across the country. She is a strong Albertan and her heart is there. Could she talk about how the budget not only does not help the energy sector, but kicks it when it is down?
    Mr. Speaker, the member said it well. If there were over 100,000 people out of work in any other province in this country, there would have been something in the budget.
    There are over 100,000 people who are out of work and are on the EI rolls, but there are thousands of contractors who do not even appear in those reports. There are over 100,000 people who are out of work, running out of EI, going on welfare, having to go to food banks, and there is nothing in this budget for them.
    As the member for Chilliwack—Hope said, the government is also getting rid of a particular expense credit for those who drill new wells and explore in the oil and gas sector. Again, this is mean-spirited. The government is kicking a province when it is down. It is kicking an industry while it is down, and there is nothing to help that industry.
    Imagine if the aerospace sector had 100,000 people out of work. Imagine if the automotive sector had 100,000 people out of work, with no hope and no light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing in this budget to even recognize that this is happening, and this job crisis continues.
    Who suffers the most in this province? It is young people. There is no hope for these young people in Alberta, and there is nothing in this budget to help Albertans.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, New Democrats are very disappointed by the meagreness of the Liberal budget.
    I can just imagine the Minister of Finance meeting with the Liberal caucus to say something like, “Last year, we took some small measures to make us look progressive and to give us some lines we can use and some talking points for interviews, measures that will have a small impact here and there, but do not worry. This year, we will not be doing anything. We are going to take a break with this year's budget. Nothing much will happen. We will wait until it is better for us to take action. We will wait until 2019.”
    When we look at this year's budget and at how and when the measures and investments proposed by the Liberal government will happen, we see that nothing much is planned for 2017 and 2018. When we look at the column for 2017, we see nothing but zeros. Zero for this and zero for that. In the column for 2018, a few numbers start to appear. Small efforts will be made here and there.
    I am not sure why, but when we look at the 2019 column, we suddenly see a whole host of things. That is when there will be investments. However, do not hold your breath for the next two years because there will be nothing. The Liberals are all about optics. They issue a press release to bamboozle us with impressive numbers that are in fact meaningless right now because they are such a way off in the future.
    It is easy to promise things that will not come to fruition for 8, 10, or 12 years. I can make promises for 2023 as well if you like. The reality is that five or six budgets will be adopted by then. So much can change by then. Things might go in all sorts of directions.
    The reality is that people are suffering and need help right now. The reality is that 4.5 million people in Canada are living below the poverty line as we speak. Of those 4.5 million people, 990,000 are children. The Liberal government is telling them to wait because that money will come if they are re-elected in 2019. That is unacceptable to us as progressives and social democrats. The government cannot be asleep at the switch like this for two years while families, the middle class, and workers struggle to make ends meet.
    The Minister of Finance cannot tell the Liberal caucus that they will just sit back and only invest when it is advantageous for them. That shows contempt for the people who get up every morning at six o'clock to take their children to school and then go to work by car or bus to try to pay their bills, while their buying power diminishes, their wages stagnate, and personal debt rates reach unprecedented levels.
    Not so long ago, we learned that the household debt-to-income ratio had reached 167%. That is unprecedented. People are being paid less, whereas food, rent, and houses are becoming more expensive. Furthermore, increases in productivity never really benefit employees, only the owners, whose profits keep growing.

  (1045)  

    What happens then? People go into debt. They run up their credit card, their second credit card, and their line of credit.
    What is the government offering these people and these families in its budget? Nothing.
    The message we want to send the Liberal government is that we cannot wait. We do not have the luxury of time. The government does, since the election is two and a half years away, but people in our communities do not. They have to pay their bills right now.
    That is why the NDP believes that yesterday's budget is a missed opportunity. It completely misses the mark. It does not meet the urgent needs of the people. It meets the needs of the Liberal Party and its friends, who will have the advantage, and who will continue to benefit from unfair and unjust measures. In fact, the budget is good for the rich, the millionaires, the privileged, and those who run major corporations; they get to keep their tax breaks, which the Liberals promised to abolish or address. The reality is that they are keeping them.

[English]

    It is the big budget of nothingness. It is a big budget of nothing, or “wait and see, it's coming.” When is it coming? Maybe it will come for the next federal election. However, for the next two years we will have peanuts, or almost nothing, from the Liberals. It is quite easy to put big numbers in a press release, to say they are spreading billions of dollars in innovation, housing, public transit, and all of that, but what is in the budget for 2017? It is a column of zeros, and in 2018, it is the same thing.
    Then, suddenly, when we look closely at the budget for 2019, wow, it is wonderful. There are hundreds of millions of dollars for investing in our communities, just in time for the next federal election. I can imagine the finance minister talking to the Liberal caucus, saying not to expect too much from this budget because they are taking a break. They are taking a break because the election is just two and a half years away. They will keep the money for that time.
    It is a little ludicrous for the Liberals to show shiny objects to the population, saying they will invest billions of dollars, when actually it is supposed to come only in 2022, 2023, or 2024. There will be five or six other budgets before that. It is quite ridiculous to make people think they will get help and real investment in their communities right now, when actually nothing will happen. It is wait and see.
    People cannot wait. People do not have the luxury of waiting two years for the interests of the Liberal Party. There are 4.5 million people in our country who are living in poverty. Some 990,000 children are living in poverty. The majority of children in first nation communities are living in poverty. They do not have the luxury of waiting. They need our support, and the Liberal government is failing its responsibility and the promises it made to Canadians to invest in infrastructure, housing, innovation, and public transit. However, all the measures and the rules that benefit the millionaires and the CEOs are still there. They will still put in their pockets huge gifts that are paid for by the hard-working Canadians and taxpayers of our country.
    This budget missed the target. That is why the NDP will oppose it. As I said earlier, when we look at it, it is clearly a budget in favour of the members of the Rideau Club and those who are working hard to join it, but not for average and ordinary Canadians.

  (1050)  

    Let me give some examples of that. The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal said three times to the federal government that it has to invest $155 million to close the gap for children in first nation communities. The federal government is challenging that in court. Shame.
    At the same time, it has voted in favour of a motion in the House of Commons to give that money for children in first nation communities, but what do we see in the budget? We see nothing, zero. We should have expected at least $155 million, but there is nothing. It is a broken promise from the Liberal government.
    However, what we still have is the tax loophole for stock options for the CEOs of this country. It is still there, and it is costing us $800 million per year to give that to the richest of our society. That fiscal measure, the 87% benefit goes to 1% of the population, and if we look at two-thirds of that fiscal measure, we see that more or less $600 million benefits 75 people in this country. That is two-thirds of that fiscal measure that the Liberals have promised to abolish, but it is still there.
    To govern is to make choices. The Liberals could have made the choice to help children of first nations. They have chosen to keep the measure to help CEOs and the one per cent of the richest of our society. This is not the kind of choice that a progressive or social democrat would make.

  (1055)  

[Translation]

    Here are some very straightforward examples of the shameful, appalling choices the Liberals made in their budget, choices that fly in the face of their election promises.
     Number one, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal told the Liberal government to invest $155 million in the well-being of first nations children. That is significant. Most of the first nations children in our communities live in poverty, and the tribunal says that $155 million is the minimum needed, yet the government is challenging that in court. There is nothing in the budget for first nations children. What about the $155 million? It is not there. Instead, the government kept the tax break for stock options for corporate CEOs. That is still there, even though the Liberals promised to close that particular tax loophole.
    In recent weeks, the NDP has been asking the Liberals to keep that promise. Why? Because it is costing our society $800 million. Who benefits? Eighty-seven per cent of the money invested, or rather, given away, with this tax break goes to 1% of the population, the richest 1%.
    If we take a closer look at this loophole, we see that two-thirds of the cost of this measure benefits 75 people, this while four million people live in poverty and children on reserves need help. The Liberals are not helping them; instead, they are choosing to maintain a measure that benefits their millionaire friends and the ultra-rich elites.
    To govern is to make choices. The Liberals had the choice of helping first nations children or keeping measures that benefit the ultra-rich.
    Well, the Liberals once again wanted to hang on to the measures that benefit the rich. The mask is off, and we are discovering the Liberal Party's true colours.
    I have another simple example: what could be better to help people get around our communities than public transportation? It helps our economy, it helps families, and it is good for the environment because it reduces greenhouse gases. Is there anything in this year's budget for public transit? No, nothing. Zero. Nada.
    Incidentally, the Prime Minister had promised Montreal $775 million to extend the blue line in that city's subway system. The budget does not even mention the Montreal subway system, let alone its blue line. There is nothing. The only measure related to public transit—hold on to your hats—has to do with a tax credit that gave people who take the bus an extra $150 or $200 at the end of the year. This reduced people's taxes a bit and encouraged them to use public transit. What bright idea did the Liberals have? They decided to eliminate that. It no longer exists, even though it really helped families and middle-class Canadians.
    Other tax measures remain, however. For example, 100% of workers' wages are taxable. The tax rate is 25%, 30%, or 35%. They do not have a choice. They get their pay every two weeks and they receive their pay stub, which shows that they paid taxes. However, only 50%, not 100%, of the capital gains that investors derive from selling shares are taxable. The Liberals could have changed this, addressed this injustice, and brought more money into the government coffers in order to really invest and help people. What did the Liberals do? They kept this tax break for the wealthiest Canadians, which costs about $1 billion every year, but they had the bright idea of abolishing a tax credit for people who take the bus in the morning and who could have benefited from a transit credit at the end of the year. I do not know who, on the Liberal side, thinks that this is how we can fight inequality and bring about tax fairness.
    The other scandalous thing is that there is absolutely nothing in the Liberal budget to help those looking for work to get employment insurance benefits. People who work pay for that insurance, but six out of ten of those who are unlucky enough to lose their job and have to start looking for another, do not qualify for EI benefits. Does the Liberal budget include anything to improve access to EI? It does not. Did the government change the number of hours to qualify for employment insurance? It did not. Did it extend the benefit period by five weeks in regions prone to seasonal employment in order to cover the spring gap left by the economic climate? It did not.
    What we do find in this budget are extremely low tax rates for corporations, that will continue to pay only 15%. Their tax rates have dropped by half over the past 15 years, which is costing us $12 billion a year. That is a lot of money. The other thing that is still in the budget is the subsidies for the oil and gas companies.
    What is in the budget for affordable housing? There is a $10-million allocation for next year. One per cent of what was promised is being invested next year. I think $10 million might get us three buildings: one in Vancouver, one in Toronto, and one in Montreal. In other words, peanuts.
    I move, seconded by the hon. member for London—Fanshawe:

  (1100)  

    That the amendment be amended by deleting all the words after the word “as it” and substituting the following:
“(a) maintains the stock option loopholes for wealthy CEOs and refuses to ask large corporations to pay their fair share; and
(b) fails to allocate any of the funding needed to end racial discrimination in the provision of Indigenous child welfare services.”.
    The amendment to the amendment is in order.
    The hon. member for Laval—Les Îles.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague opposite. I listened carefully to his speech and I would like to ask him what he thinks of this government and the budget.
    We lowered the unemployment rate from 7.1% to 6.7%. We also created 250,000 full-time jobs for Canadians. Our priority is to invest in industry and innovation to make Canada a leader in innovation.
    Would he care to comment on that?

  (1105)  

    Mr. Speaker, when I was young, we used to say that culture is like jam; the less one has, the more one spreads it out.
    Interestingly enough, the federal budget suggests that the less money we have, the more the government spreads it out over time. There is no money for today, but things will be great in eight to 10 years. It is exactly the same thing. That is how the Liberals are doing things, and they are hoping that people will not notice. That is exactly what is happening with affordable housing, innovation, and infrastructure. The Liberals are late in keeping all of their promises.
    With regard to job creation, 40% of jobs for young people between the ages of 18 to 34 are precarious. Job numbers only hide the fact that the jobs we create are getting weaker. There is nothing in the Liberal budget to address this issue.
    Many part-time and contract workers face much uncertainty. Every month, 800,000 people use food banks. Who are these people? In the past, they were people on social assistance and poor seniors. Now, we are seeing an increasing number of the working poor: part-time or minimum-wage workers who have a hard time making rent and buying clothes and school supplies for their kids. They cannot afford groceries, so they have to ask for help.
    What does the Liberal budget have to offer these people? Nothing. The Liberals have expressed support for a $15 minimum wage. It sure would have been nice if they had been consistent and come up with some way to support low-income workers.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, much has been made about the investment in public transit. I want to refer to pages 119 and 120 of the budget and read a couple of sentences:
    Through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund, Budget 2016 focused on making immediate investments of $3.4 billion over three years, to upgrade and improve public transit systems across Canada.
    To support the next phase of ambitious public transit projects, the Government will invest $20.1 billion over 11 years through bilateral agreements with provinces....
    In my own area, the federal government has invested over $250 million to fund the light rapid transit system in Waterloo region. While this sounds great and I am supportive of public transit, I wonder if my colleague could explain why he thinks the Liberal government would have ended the public rider transit tax credit for people who use it. We are building massive infrastructure projects, and we should be encouraging people to use those assets, and yet, at the same time, the government is actually discouraging them from getting out of their cars and on to the public transit system.
    I wonder if my colleague has any comments on that.
    Mr. Speaker, we have the same concerns. A lot of people in my community, in Montreal, Laval, and Longueuil, are using public transit. For some seniors, it is the only tax deduction they can use, and it has helped them with $150 or $200 at the end of the year. I do not know why, but the Liberals are attacking them. We should encourage people to take the bus to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, the Liberals are saying there is nothing for those people, but they will continue to help the CEOs and the richest 1% in this country. By the way, public infrastructure, little by little, will be privatized and will serve private companies which will make profits with the taxpayer money. Maybe I will have the chance to discuss this point in response to another question.
    Mr. Speaker, the member made reference to three points, and it is important that I provide some comment before I end with a question.
    The member talked about tax fairness. It is important to remind the member that when there was a special tax put on Canada's wealthiest 1%, the New Democrats voted against it. When it comes to the issue of poverty, the government brought forward a very ambitious increase for the Canada child benefit that would lift tens of thousands, going into the hundreds of thousands, of children out of poverty. The NDP voted against it. The member also spent a great deal of his time talking about corporate tax cuts. I was an MLA for a number of years and throughout those years, what I saw was an NDP government give corporate tax cuts in seven budgets.
     Does the member believe there is a need for the New Democrats to be consistent with what they say?

  (1110)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is rather funny to be lectured on consistency by a Liberal.
    I would like to remind the House why the NDP voted against their so-called middle-class tax cut. I have to laugh at that, because the Liberals have a rather odd definition of middle class. People who earn less than $45,000 did not get anything from the Liberal government. People who earn less than $23 an hour will get no help from the Liberals. On the contrary, under their plan, people who earn between $90,000 and $210,000 a year got a tax cut worth $270 a year. The median income in Canada is $31,500 a year. People who earn $30,000, people who earn the median salary, in other words the majority of workers, did not get anything from the Liberals.
    The Liberals like to brag about investing in innovation for the jobs of tomorrow. Why is it, then, that the Liberals are cutting $750 million this year from a fund devoted to creating an economy with reduced greenhouse gas and carbon emissions, and another $500 million next year? The Liberal budget will slash $1.2 billion from a fund that could have helped create good jobs working on new technologies and renewable energy. I do not understand that.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, before I get to my question, I just want to make a quick comment to salute the hard-working Conservative and NDP MPs on the procedure and House affairs committee, who at this very moment are beating back a dictatorial and unilateral Liberal attempt to change the Standing Orders. We have gone from sunny ways to the Sun King. We have a Prime Minister who has gone from a respect of Parliament to “l'état, c'est moi”.
    Now I will get to the question. I want to ask my friend about the correlation between the low corporate tax rates that we have seen exist for about a decade now and the continuing failure of successive governments to do anything about the federal minimum wage, and take some leadership. It seems to me that we are allowing corporations to accumulate massive profits, but we are not forcing them to pay their workers a livable wage. I would like to hear my friend's comments on whether we are subsidizing these corporations with corporate welfare and we are doing nothing for the hard-working men and women, who often need social assistance while working, which costs taxpayers even more.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question.
    I completely understand his indignation over how utterly unfair it is that individuals in our society carry most of the weight and bear most of the tax burden while corporations keep getting annual gifts from successive Liberal and Conservative governments.
    In 2002, when corporations made profits they paid 28% in taxes. Today, they pay 15%. That is almost half. Did the middle class, workers, get their tax rate cut in half? No. We have seen an increase in precarious employment, an increase in poor quality jobs, a sort of “walmartization” of our labour market.
    In the meantime, as hon. members know, year after year corporations have received roughly $600 billion in cash that is basically dead money. It has not been reinvested because the corporations were not required to report on the gifts they were given. They have not created jobs, have not stimulated our economy, and have not increased our productivity.
    This Liberal plan is a failure and that is why we want to change course.

  (1115)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, at the outset, I would like to note that I will be splitting my time with the member for Brampton East.
    We have a youth council in my riding of Beaches—East York, chaired by two intelligent young women, Faiza and Noor. We meet once a month to talk about policy issues, about issues I should raise in Ottawa. They are helping our office host a drug policy town hall on April 19. When we last met, these young Canadians highlighted two particular issues.
    The first issue was the boil water advisories on first nation reserves. There is a consensus that 150 years after Confederation, in a modern country such as ours, it is unacceptable for so many indigenous Canadians to be without access to a safe water supply.
    In last year's budget, we committed $8.4 billion, over five years, to indigenous communities across Canada. This year's budget proposes an additional $3.4 billion, over five years, beginning next year. These investments are focused on better on-reserve housing; education, including new schools; health and, yes, clean water.
    Yesterday, ourfinance minister noted that 18 long-term drinking water advisories had been lifted in first nation communities, with 71 still to go. Budget 2017 notes that we are on track to eliminate more than 60% of the remaining advisories within three years, and all by March 2021.
    The second issue raised was youth employment. The theme is a common one. Young Canadians cannot get work experience without a job and cannot get a job without work experience. The question is principally one of skills and experience, not direct job creation but creating the conditions for job creation.
    In budget 2017, we are focused on building those skills for young Canadians, with an additional $400 million over three years for the youth employment strategy, an ambitious goal, providing 10,000 co-op placements, an emphasis on digital skills and coding education for young Canadians, and more opportunities for STEM learning activities for Canadian youth. In the words of our finance minister, “We will help students get the skills and work experience they need to kick-start their careers.”
    As an aside, it is important to note that we are investing in skills training beyond youth as well.
    Speaking to the budget more broadly, our finance minister described it as both ambitious and responsible. It builds on the ambitious agenda set forth in our election platform, in the throne speech, in budget 2016, and it does so in a responsible way.
     Building on our infrastructure plans in budget 2016 and the fall economic statement, this year's budget reiterates our commitment to investing in public transit and lays out a foundation for a national housing strategy and a national child care and early learning framework.
    On child care and early learning, this budget provides $7 billion over 10 years, starting in 2018-19. It will help create more quality, affordable child care spaces across the country. That is over $500 million each year, 2018-19 and 2019-20. As a young parent, and hello to my wife and my seven-month-old Mackinlay back home, we have also made changes to help parents by making EI parental benefits more flexible. I have no idea how anyone manages to raise children in the city of Toronto without the help of parents or family. I am lucky to have parents to help with Mackinlay.
    Our proposed changes will allow parents to choose to receive EI parental benefits over an extended period of up to 18 months and meet the platform commitment to do just that. EI parental benefits will continue to be available at the existing rate of 55% over a period of up to 12 months. However, if parents wish, they can take it up to 18 months at a lower benefit rate of 33% of average weekly earnings.
    On housing, budget 2016 provided $2.2 billion over two years to give more Canadians access to more affordable housing. To build on these efforts, budget 2017 proposes to invest more than $11 billion over 11 years in a variety of initiatives to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, to ensure Canadians have the affordable housing to meet their needs.
    Mayor Tory has said that the 2017 budget improvements to the city's transit and housing infrastructure will ensure a stronger Toronto and that many of the funding commitments will help city council to build up a stronger and fairer Toronto. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has said that this budget's allocation-based transit plan puts cities in the driver's seat like never before and it creates a real opportunity to address the housing crises.
    I have spoken before in the House of different kinds of deficits. For example, there are paper deficits and there are infrastructure deficits. When one considers how spending is allocated in budget 2017, it is important to remember that in many cases, including infrastructure spending, inaction costs more than action over the long term. Investments now are not only a matter of social progress; they are also a matter of fiscal prudence. The significant costs of inaction underlines much of budget 2017, from housing to tackling climate change to the new bilateral health agreements, and focus on home care.

  (1120)  

    On climate change, budget 2017 proposes to increase financing support for Canada's clean technology sector by making available more equity financing, working capital, and project financing to promising clean technology firms. Nearly $1.4 billion in new financing on a cash basis will be made available to Canada's clean technology sector.
    As I represent a waterfront riding, I note that budget 2017 clearly states that supporting clean freshwater is an utmost priority and commits $70 million to protect our freshwater resources, to focus efforts on reducing toxic chemicals to improve water quality, biodiversity conservation, and sustainable use.
    Environmental Defence has cheered measures on climate, including new energy efficiency standards for buildings. Budget 2017 would also modify the tax treatment for successful oil and gas test drilling to better reflect the reality of today's exploration technology and the principle that polluters should pay their fair share.
    The government has also come to a number of bilateral health agreements with the provinces. In doing so, we seek to address the mental health funding gap; $6 billion over 10 years for home care and $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. I would note, without going into detail, significant efforts to consolidate caregiving benefits will make a real difference to those looking after their elderly parents and family members.
    This year's budget, building as it does on budget 2016, ambitiously seeks to build our country's critical infrastructure and our ability to meet the added challenges of climate change, an aging population, and an economy that continues to become more knowledge based. It does so in a responsible way.
     The finance minister has referenced the fiscal anchor and our responsibility to ensure a continued decline in net debt to GDP. Our fiscal health will continue to improve, alongside the critical investments I have mentioned.
    We remain committed to tax fairness. In addition to the budget allocation in 2016 to the CRA, we are investing an additional $520 million over five years to tackle tax evasion and improve tax compliance.
    We have also made significant efforts to simplify the tax code.
     I have had a number of constituents already raise concerns about the public transit tax credit. I would note, though, that with these tax credits, including the public transit tax credit, there is no evidence that it encourages additional participation. There is a low participation rate. I have used this tax credit. One has to save one's metro passes and file the requisite paperwork. For $200 or $250, it is a significant amount of effort for relatively low payoff. We are better off providing those targeted investments at the outset to make transit more affordable for everyone. It will increase participation if we did so.
    We do not talk about data collection enough. In this budget, we talk about data collection with respect to housing and health. Specifically, with the health care system, there is an investment of $53 million over five years to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. In the city of Toronto, for housing in particular, affordable housing is quickly growing out of reach for those my age and younger. Statistics are very important for us to identify the problem and tackle it properly. The budget promises to give Statistics Canada almost $40 million over five years to develop and implement a housing statistics framework.
    On data collection more broadly, it is largely about measuring success. Of course, we measure success against specific goals. This includes economic growth generally, but also the creation of economic opportunities on a more equitable basis, including by gender. To that end, a full chapter in budget 2017 applies a gender-based analysis to federal spending. This is an important step. It will help inform future budgets and spending. My youth council has highlighted gender equality, and this is one step to greater equality. Equal Voice lauded budget 2017 for its gender lens, noting it changed the way a government makes spending decisions.
    There are other lenses to apply. I know my youth council is also interested in seeing a generational analysis applied to federal spending. We have done a lot for young Canadians in the budget, and we will continue to do a lot for them. A generational analysis will help us to measure how we are doing in relation to other age groups. It has been advocated by an organization called Generation Squeeze. I look forward to working with the parliamentary budget office to make it a reality.

  (1125)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member talked about how the 2017 budget reiterated the government's commitment. It reiterates the whole 2016 budget, because there is not really a lot of additional money in there.
    The member talked about the gender lens. As the chair for the status of women committee, I am extremely pleased to see a gender-based analysis having been done, and to see good words in there. However, there are four pages, from pages 217 to 221, on pay equity and the problem of the wage gap, but there are zero dollars and zero actions to address that.
    If we look at other areas, like violence against women and girls, $100 million over five years may sound like a lot. However, when we break that down by riding, we find out that is $60,000, and one in four women are experiencing violence.
    There is a lot of talk in the budget. If I look at the innovation spending, we will get a 10% increase in innovation spending. How will we get a quantum leap in innovation performance with that level of spending?
    I wonder if this budget is really a lot of words and very little substance. Could the member comment?
    Mr. Speaker, I honestly did not expect to stand to address a Conservative question demanding more spending, but I am happy to address it. At the outset of my speech, I indicated that $3.4 billion of new money would flow to first nations.
    The idea of budget 2017 is to focus specifically on and clarify where some spending allocations set out in budget 2016 will go. Therefore, when I said a national housing strategy, when I talked about child care, these were larger allocations set out in budget 2016, which we are now properly allocating to specific initiatives.
    On the gender-based analysis, I would note that this is not the end of the story. We will continue this conversation in further budgets.
    I would also note, having spoken to folks at the Parliamentary Budget Office, that they are keen to assess our efforts to bring a gender-based lens to the budget, and they will be doing the same.
    I am happy to work across the aisle with the member to improve efforts on pay equity and narrow the wage gap, because it is absolutely unacceptable.
    Mr. Speaker, I certainly would agree with the hon. member that it makes way more sense to make investments upfront with respect to the environment, because over time it will cost more, particularly when we deal with water and when we withdraw it for safe drinking water. What is deeply disappointing is the paltry amount the government has given.
     Day after day we hear the environment minister say that she is balancing environmental protection with economic development. We are happy to see there will be some money eventually for the development of clean technology, but a paltry amount for her department. One of the main things Canadians were calling for worldwide yesterday, on international Water Day, was the protection of water. There is a small amount of money, far less than used to be given, for the protection of water. Where is the money for the Inland Waters Directorate? Where is the money for the action on the UNESCO report demanding action to protect the Peace-Athabasca Delta?
    Mr. Speaker, first, I outlined some funds flowing for clean water protection. I did not mention the other. There are two aspects in our budget that speak to clean water specifically. I recognize it is in the tens of millions of dollars, not the billions of dollars. There is significant funding for clean technologies, though. Also, one thing I did not get into, because I have done so many times in the House previously, was carbon pricing.
     When we look at our overall strategy on the environment, everything adds up when we talk about the pan-Canadian strategy, when we talk about fuel standards, when we talk about carbon pricing, and when we talk about clean water. I represent a waterfront riding. As a 32-year-old, I care a great deal about ensuring there is a clean environment for me and my son. I agree we should do more on this file.
    Resuming debate, The hon. member for Brampton—
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this opportunity to speak. I want to—
    I did not catch the first of what the hon. member for Foothills said. Is he rising on a point of order?
    No, Mr. Speaker, I am rising to speak to the budget this morning.
    That is not actually on my list at this point.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I know you recognized the member for Brampton East. However, I did hear the member for Foothills speak. Therefore, I move:
That the member for Foothills be now heard.
     All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Deputy Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Deputy Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Deputy Speaker: Call in the members.

  (1210)  

[Translation]

    (The House divided on the motion, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 234)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Anderson
Angus
Arnold
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Block
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Duvall
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Motz
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Poilievre
Quach
Rankin
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Sansoucy
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stetski
Strahl
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 107

NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alleslev
Amos
Arseneault
Arya
Badawey
Bagnell
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boulerice
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Choquette
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dusseault
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Trudel
Vandal
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 175

PAIRED

Members

Anandasangaree
Moore

Total: -- 2

    I declare the motion lost.

[English]

Privilege

Alleged Actions of Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Chamber  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I am rising today on a question of privilege about the ability for me to do my job as opposition House leader. I will explain it and then ask if you would at least review the tape from yesterday. You will recall that there was a vote that occurred just before the budget with regard to going to orders of the day. As soon as I and my opposition colleagues triggered that vote, the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, and you can review the tape, came running toward me in a very aggressive way.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Hon. Candice Bergen: Mr. Speaker, why are the Liberals laughing? Look at the tape. She was clearly upset that the vote was triggered. She has the absolute prerogative to be upset, but she does not have the prerogative to run across the aisle and physically come at me because I am doing my job.
    I am going to ask you to review the tape, Mr. Speaker, and that you would please ask the Prime Minister's cabinet to not try to shut us down.
    Mr. Speaker, I also witnessed this incident. We have seen it happen in the House before where members have crossed the aisle and it has caused great angst for the speaker. We have even seen that done by other members of cabinet. When this happens, Mr. Speaker, it falls to you as the guardian of this chamber. We have seen that the Liberal cabinet is increasingly upset when opposition members are simply trying to do their jobs. Threatening and intimidating another member of Parliament is completely unacceptable.
    I hope that you will review the tape and come back to the House as soon as possible to rule that a violation of the opposition House leader's privileges have, indeed, occurred.
    Mr. Speaker, I do admit that yesterday during that vote I did cross the floor and point out to the opposition House leader that the premier of Yukon and Grand Chief Peter Johnston were in the gallery, right over them, and were particularly disappointed that the debate on a very important bill, Bill C-17, did not take place because of the games that were being played in the House. I—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. There are no points of order during a question of privilege. Once she has the floor again, the minister will finish, and then I will hear from someone else.
    Mr. Speaker, I apologize if my tone was too strong, but I do believe that the opposition House leader needed to know that the premier and the grand chief were here waiting for that debate.
    Mr. Speaker, this is not a question of opinion on how things should go. The minister just admitted that she actually engaged in an intimidation tactic to try to get the opposition House leader to acquiesce to her command. In her admission that she, in her superior position, felt that somehow my colleague should not be able to undertake her role as a member of Parliament is, in fact, proof positive that this was a breach of my colleague's privilege.
    I certainly hope, Mr. Speaker, that you take the minister's blatant admission that somehow, because she felt she was inconvenienced during the day, she has the right to interfere with my colleague's democratic elected right to stand up and oppose the government and that you rule in favour of my colleague that, in fact, her privilege was violated.

  (1215)  

    I thank the hon. opposition House leader for her question of privilege and the other members who intervened on this subject. I will review the tape to try to determine whether or not there is a prima facie breach of privilege.

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

[The Budget]
    The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approve in general the budgetary policy of the government, and of the amendment and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise in this House to speak to the government's second budget, entitled “Building the Middle Class”.
    My constituents elected me to serve as part of a government that will help the middle class and those working hard to join it. To be able to represent these priorities of the residents of Brampton East in this House is a privilege.
    I am lucky to be a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, which has kept me quite busy thus far. Recently the finance committee concluded a study on tax fairness for all Canadians. It studied tax evasion and tax avoidance. The committee's report contains 14 recommendation for the government on topics such as conducting a review of the voluntary disclosures program and requiring all tax advisers to register their tax products with the CRA.
    I am proud to share that in response to the finance committee's recommendations, the government affirmed its support for all 14 recommendations. Additionally, the government shared the work that has already been done or is currently being undertaken to ensure all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes to our great nation.
    Paying our fair share of taxes is an essential part of financing measures that enhance all Canadians' quality of life. When certain individuals and companies find ways to cheat the system, it is the middle class that usually picks up the tab. That is totally unacceptable and counterproductive to our country's goals. That is why making the tax system more fair is an ongoing priority of our government.
    In support of this objective, budget 2017 proposes to invest additional resources to combat tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. Budget 2017 also proposes legislative changes to the tax rules. These changes would close tax loopholes that result in unfair tax advantages for some at the expense of others, invest additional resources to crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance, make existing tax relief for individuals and families more effective and acceptable, eliminate ineffective and inefficient tax measures, and provide greater consistency in the operation of tax rules.
     Going forward, we will continue to eliminate poorly targeted and inefficient tax measures and make our tax system more fair and efficient. The government is committed to taking these steps because we know and understand that fairness is essential to ensuring Canadians have confidence in their tax system.
    Last year in budget 2016, our government committed to undertake a wide-ranging review of increasingly complex tax expenditures that now exist. This review of federal tax expenditures has highlighted a number of issues regarding tax planning strategies using private corporations, which can result in high-income individuals getting unfair tax advantages. A variety of tax reduction strategies are available to these individuals that are not available to other Canadians. An example of such a strategy is the use of private corporations to reduce taxes through sprinkling income to family members.
    Budget 2017 sends a strong signal that the government is taking action to ensure that high-income individuals cannot use strategies involving private corporations to gain unfair tax advantages. The government will release a paper in the coming months setting out the nature of these issues as well as proposed policy responses. In addressing these issues, the government will ensure that corporations that contribute to job creation and economic growth by actively investing in their businesses continue to benefit from a highly competitive tax regime.
    A fair tax system requires constant attention. Ongoing legislative adjustments are needed to ensure that rules are functioning as intended, and they do not result in some taxpayers paying less than their fair share, for example, through complicated tax planning arrangements.
    To ensure the tax system operates as fairly and effectively as possible moving forward, the government will continue to study, identify, and address tax loopholes and tax planning schemes. Tax evasion and avoidance is unfair to the vast majority of Canadian individuals and businesses that play by the rules.

  (1220)  

     The measures in budget 2017 will build on previous investments to support the Canada Revenue Agency in its continued efforts to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance. To do this, the CRA is increasing its verification activities, hiring additional auditors and specialists with a focus on the underground economy, developing robust business intelligence infrastructure and risk assessment systems, and improving the quality of investigative work that targets criminal tax evaders.
    Budget 2017 will invest an additional $523 million over five years to support these efforts. As CRA has a proven track record of meeting expectations from targeted tax compliance, budget 2017 accounts for the expected additional revenue of $2.5 billion over five years from these measures that crack down on tax evasion and combat tax avoidance.
    We know that in a globalized world it is not enough to simply concentrate our efforts here at home. We need to have an international focus as well. To this end, Canada is part of a coordinated international effort to address what is known as base erosion and profit sharing or BEPS. BEPS refers to tax planning arrangements used by multinational enterprises to unfairly minimize their taxes. Canada has implemented, or is in the process of implementing, agreed international standards under the BEPS project.
    This includes recently enacted legislation which requires large multinational enterprises to provide information about the international distribution of their activities. This information will enable tax authorities to better assess tax avoidance risks. We will continue to work with our international partners to ensure a coherent and consistent response in fighting tax avoidance through BEPS.
    Over the past year, we have worked to build a fairer tax system that benefits the middle class. Our review of tax measures identified opportunities that make existing tax measures more effective, equitable, and accessible to all Canadians. Specifically, budget 2017 proposes to simplify and improve existing tax measures for caregivers, persons with disabilities, and students.
    Right now, Canadians who are caring for loved ones face a caregiver credit system that is complex and difficult for families to navigate, so we have simplified it by introducing the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit will provide greater support to those who need it the most and will apply to caregivers whether or not they live with the family member who is receiving the care. This measure will provide $310 million in additional tax relief over the 2016-17 to 2021-22 period and will support families struggling to take care of loved ones.
    Canada is a country founded on the belief that with hard work comes success and that with success comes a responsibility to help others. Canadians share the understanding that success as a nation is only as great as the success of our most vulnerable. They know that challenging the barriers that persist is a necessary part of moving our country forward.
    Budget 2017 takes the next step in the government's long-term economic plan, understanding that in the face of unprecedented change, a confident Canadian middle class will always be the beating heart of our country and the engine of our economy.
    Mr. Speaker, the member's enthusiastic speech addressed some of the minutiae of the budget, but seemed to miss the main point of the budget which is that we have racked up a huge deficit, $23 billion last year and $28 billion in the year to come. The whole point of that was to create well-paying jobs and to try to grow the economy. However, the budget 2017 figures clearly show that GDP growth is less than before we spent all of that money.
    We are a year and a half into the government's mandate and really no progress has been made on many of the government's promises. The Liberals have not been able to get the infrastructure money going out the door quickly enough, so construction jobs in our country are down by 16%. They have not been able to create well-paying jobs for youth and they are telling them to get used to precarious employment. I could go on. There is no electoral reform, no home mail delivery, no action on pay equity.
    The point is that the 2016 budget with all of its spending accomplished nothing. Would the member agree that the 2017 budget with even less spending will achieve less?

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us look at the facts. Our government is not going to take any lessons from the Conservative Party of Canada on the economy. The Conservative Party had 10 years in government, and what did it have? Let us look at the facts. It had the lowest job growth under any prime minister who served for 10 years. It had the lowest economic growth of any prime minister who served for 10 years.
    Let us see what our government has done. We have created 220,000 jobs, mostly full-time jobs, in the last six months. We have decreased unemployment from 7.1% to 6.6%, and it has continued to decline. Our investments are working. We reduced taxes on the middle class. We increased taxes on the wealthiest one per cent of Canadians.
    I encourage the member opposite and the entire party to look at the facts and to go and knock on doors, because our investments in the middle class are working and are making the lives of Canadians better.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we asked the government several times, here in the House, for its definition of the middle class. We now realize that it refers to those earning $90,000 or more a year.
    We have also often heard that the definition of “middle class” includes those who work hard. Then why is there nothing in budget 2017 for all those working hard? There is nothing at all for the forestry workers. We have been asking the government for several months to protect our forestry industry by providing a loan guarantee program. There are more than 11,000 forestry jobs in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. That represents a lot of work and good jobs. In Quebec, this industry employs 60,000 people. They are mothers and fathers who are putting food on the table.
    If the middle class consists of people who work hard, why is there absolutely nothing in this budget for the forestry industry?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, what I never understood about the NDP is its ongoing rhetoric about the working class. Working-class families work in all different sectors, whether they be forestry, aerospace, taxi driving, or truck driving. Do members know what they are benefiting from? They are benefiting from the middle-class tax cut that we implemented last year. They are also benefiting from the Canada child benefit that we implemented last year. They would also benefit from the $7 billion that we would invest in 2017 in affordable child care spaces.
     Every time the NDP had an opportunity to help the working class, what did it do? Surprise, surprise, it voted against it. Why do the New Democrats not change their own track record, follow their rhetoric about helping the middle class and helping the working class, and support this government's work of ensuring that all Canadians across the country, if they work hard, are able to achieve success?
    Mr. Speaker, it is always an honour to stand in the House and debate the issues that governments and Canadians face, and that Canadians have to deal with.
    There was great anticipation about the budget around the country. People were looking forward to a second fiscal strategy put forward by a government that failed, most people would say, with the first one. When we look at the growth rate, the job numbers, and all those, certainly there was failure. There was a hope: I think an expectancy among Canadians that they would see something in the budget that would give them a degree of optimism and hope.
    We know some of the problems Canadians are facing. They are facing high household debt. Their hope was that perhaps there would be something in the budget that would help in that regard. We know they are facing skills and training deficiencies, and perhaps there would be something in that regard. We know that Canadians are not saving to the degree they should be, and perhaps there would be something in the budget that would help them. The day after the presentation of the budget, I think all of us would agree there is great disappointment out there. For Canadians, there is no increased hope, no increased optimism, and no increased drive because of things they find in the budget.
    What do we know about the budget? We know there is a $23 billion deficit from last year. It was originally projected to be higher, but because the Liberals were unable to get much of their money out of the door, it is a little lower. We know the budget is again written in red ink. It takes Canadians deeper and deeper into national debt. It will increase our debt service charges. It will increase revenues that will go only to service debt, which the government continues to pile up.
    Being involved somewhat in former budgets, I can say that we put in place strategies to bring us back to balanced budgets. When the world went into a global recession, Canada was the last to enter into that recession and we were the first to leave it. Why was that? It was because we had a strategy to come back to balanced budget. We understood the importance of keeping our economic house in order, of taking fiscal responsibility for our country. We understood that Canadians expected that of us.
    It seems that, even with this budget, Liberals do not seem to care if the federal books are balanced anytime soon. They have gone beyond “budgets will balance themselves”, a quote our Prime Minister gave Canadians, to a frame of mind that is not even concerned about the debts that are being amassed and left to our children and grandchildren to pay off.
    I want to be clear. In our 10 years in government, in the first two years we paid down national debt. We took surpluses and paid down just under $40 billion to our national debt. When the entire world went into the worst downturn and recession since the Great Depression, many countries were in massive trouble. We saw that their currency was failing, that their banks were failing, and that their whole plans were failing. We know about Greece and many of those countries, like Iceland and others. There were massive problems. However, Canadians knew they had people at the rudder who understood economies and knew what they had to do.
    Although we were opposed to debt and deficit spending, we realized that in the worst recession since the Great Depression we would invest to kick-start the economy, and we did, as every G7 country did. We make no apologies for that. The largest infrastructure spending, the largest infrastructure program in Canadian history, was brought forward by a Conservative government to kick-start the economy. Therefore, the question should be asked, and it is fair to ask because we will ask it of the Liberals. Did that strategy work? The answer is obviously an unequivocal yes. It did work.

  (1230)  

    We saw that Canada was the first to leave that recession. Out of all the G7 countries, Canada was the very first to leave that recession and come back to growth. We saw that those investments were in long-term infrastructure that would be around for decades, that would help grow economies, and it worked. We know that we came back to our surplus and balanced budget, as we had promised. In fact, some would say it was a year earlier than we had promised. We paid down that $40 billion and went on to watch our economy grow.
    I listen to questions being posed by Liberals here, and many of them are new, as the Liberals had 30 seats before and they have 160 now. The Liberals have a majority government, but many of them are first-time MPs. They say we ran up a big deficit; we ran up debt. The answer is yes, we did, but we had the plan to come back.
    The Liberals had a plan to come back. They spent, went into deficit and massive debt, but they had a plan to be back to a balanced budget in 2019. However, now our parliamentary budget officer is saying that it is going to be 2030 or 2035. It will be 30 years down the road before we see any kind of plan that can feasibly bring us back to balanced budgets.
    We cannot do that. We cannot fall into that trap. We cannot become a country that has that type of massive debt, and we must do what we can. I think in the next election, the very first main plank in coming back to balanced budgets will happen, and I am very optimistic going into that.
    On jobs, our focus as a government during the recession was how we would hold on to the jobs we had and how we would create new ones. We invested in innovation and skills development. We invested in making sure we had the best labour force in the world.
    However, we did something more than that. We said we had to make sure our tax regime was such that we could be competitive around the world, first of all. We need to sell our goods into a global market, and we have to be certain that we could be competitive. There is no use trying to have a job, make a gadget, and try to sell it if it was be so over-priced that nobody would be willing to buy it. Therefore, we made sure that our taxes kept going down. In fact, we lowered our taxes more than 160 times. We had the lowest tax rate among the G7 countries. Bloomberg said that we were the second-best place in the world to do business. That is why we came out of the recession early.
    We sat down with employers and business and asked what it would take to have them hold the jobs they had or create new ones. They were very clear. They said not to do things like raise payroll taxes or increase their level of taxation. Therefore, with what I thought was agreement of all parties, we said we would lower the small business tax rate from 12% to 11%, and we did, and then from 11% to 9% phased in over three or four years. We were committed to that. In fact, all parties were committed to that. However, right after the current Liberal government was elected, it made sure that was one promise it would not keep. The Liberals would say to our small business sector, “Why would we ever lower taxes?”
    We consulted with Canadians. We consulted with businesses. We hoped to save jobs and secure economic growth during that difficult time. This is why we incurred budgetary deficits. It is also why we created opportunities for young Canadians and saved jobs during an economic recession.
    There was a very fragile economic recovery that followed the recession around the world. Too many nations had a difficult time recovering from the recession. It was painfully slow. However, our government immediately pursued getting back to balanced budgets, showing Canadians and the world confidence in our dollar, showing Canadians and the world that we were getting our fiscal house in order, and our dollar reflected that.

  (1235)  

     Canadians understood that the difficult economic times were over. By 2015, we had brought forward a surplus in the federal budget. Canada was ready to confront another global crisis.
    Governments normally only go into deficit if there is a crisis confronting their nation. Governments with budgetary surpluses or balanced budgets have the ability to combat something new. I really fear that with the level of debt we are seeing the Liberal government piling on Canadians, we would not have the capacity to react effectively if there is another massive crisis or global downturn.
    In the last budget, the Liberal government said it would be investing in infrastructure. I think all Canadians know the story. During the election the Liberals promised that there would be an itsy-bitsy deficit of $10 billion. The Prime Minister said, “We can do a lot with $10 billion. It sounds big, but we can do a lot with $10 billion.” Then when he came to power, we found that the $10 billion had grown to nearly $30 billion. That was the concern then.
    That money was supposed to raise growth. It was also supposed to get the jobs market and the building sector going. It has been a failure all around. The government has had a hard time getting the money out, and the growth has not been there. In fact, there has been less growth. Growth is happening in the United States and all around the world, but it is certainly not happening very quickly here in Canada, in spite of all the measures that the Liberals took in their 2016 budget.
    Why would Canadians have hope in this budget? What is in the budget that they could find some hope in? Well, we can listen to the media. I am not one to encourage people to do that too often, but even the media recognize that the budget is probably one of the weakest budgets ever. I spoke to a former Liberal member of Parliament yesterday; he said that this is the most nondescript budget that he has ever seen. That was coming from the Liberals' own benches.
    Where should Canada be? Canada should be in its third year of budgetary surplus. This year the Government of Canada should have a surplus of tax dollars to spend without borrowing. The interest payments on Canada's national debt should be decreasing, but the budget book shows us that the interest Canada will have to pay is increasing. We know that when we service debt to the degree that the Liberals will have to service debt down the road, that money is not going to go anywhere else. That money is not going to social programs. That money is not going back into education or health care. The Liberals seem to feel that they will just print more money or that they will just go deeper into deficit.
    There are consequences to the actions we take. I warn the Liberal government that there are massive consequences to not having a plan to come back to balanced budgets. There are consequences to increasing deficits and national debt. This generation may not face those consequences, but for our children and grandchildren it will be difficult.
    The 42nd Parliament should be in a position now to pay down Canada's national debt. Instead, the Liberals are not spending money to create jobs or grow Canada's economy. They are actually adding to the national debt instead of paying it down. They are leaving their debt for future generations.
    The Liberal government has even failed to achieve the economic and employment objectives presented in its last year's budget. Budget 2017 needed to include no further tax hikes on Canadian families, businesses, seniors, or students, but instead needed immediate measures to encourage companies to hire young Canadians and to address the youth unemployment crisis. It should have included a credible plan to return to a balanced budget by 2019, as promised to Canadians. This budget has failed Canadians. The Liberals have failed Canadians with their second budget. There are no new job creation incentives. There are only more education opportunities.

  (1240)  

    Young students I know are coming out universities and colleges hoping for a job, but the government says, “We'll see if we can get you to take more education after that.”
    There is no plan to balance the budget.
    According to the parliamentary budget officer, budget 2016 did not meet employment targets because infrastructure investments were delayed, and there were many other reasons. The Liberals get an F. They get an A for announcements, always—Liberals are great at that—but when it comes to delivery, they are looking at a D or an F, because Canadians end up paying the costs.
    In Alberta, the new Building Canada funding that was promised to municipalities was withheld by the NDP provincial government. Five rural municipalities have been told to wait or have been left behind altogether. I will even give it to the Liberals in that I think when they sent that infrastructure money to the province, they expected the province would send it out to where the priorities were, but the provincial NDP party said, “No, we're putting it into our general revenues, and then we will pick the priorities sometime down the road.” I think even the Liberals would shake their heads at that one.
    No wonder there is no growth. No wonder there is no incentive. No wonder there are no kick-starts in Alberta. The province has the latitude to use the large majority of those infrastructure dollars as it sees fit, but the funds did not go where they were expected to go. It is a massive loss of opportunity for those municipalities, and in some cases the rural municipalities seem to be having the majority of the problems in that respect.
    The Liberals also failed to grow the economy with their budget. The economy grew by 1.4% in 2016, which is 0.5% lower than what they had anticipated and claimed it would be in their 2016 budget. They believed it would grow by over 1.8%. They would kick all this money into it and see this massive growth. The previous Conservative government had economic growth of 1.8%, so the Liberals thought they could at least count on that with these extra massive spending measures. When we were investing in infrastructure, the Liberals claimed that we were not investing enough, that we were not spending enough money. They spent a lot more and they realized a lot less growth in the economy. They got less bang for the buck. They had less success. They had lower results. That is the record of the Liberal government.
    What did the Liberals do with the $30 billion? What did they accomplish? Well, it is not in jobs and it is not in new revenues coming in.
    I want to conclude with two things.
    First, I want to talk a bit about our neighbours to the south, the United States. I want to talk about our relationship with them. I think the Liberals backed off on a lot of measures and I think they would have put it to Canadians even more than they have with this budget if it were not for the Trump administration and the knowledge that the U.S. is going to very quickly lower its corporate tax rate.
    When we came into power, we lowered our corporate tax rate from 22% to 15%. That created jobs. Our business sector said, “We will create jobs”, and it did, coming out of that recession. Now the Americans are talking about taking it down from 35% to 15%.
    We need to be very concerned about businesses making the trip back to the United States, businesses settling down again in the United States. We need to have a plan.
    When we lowered that tax rate, we saw head offices and companies, especially in manufacturing, coming into Ontario and across Canada. We need to be cautious. The Americans are here and they are going to compete, and we need to be certain that we are competing at an equal level. We cannot compete at an equal level if we continue to raise the tax burden on them. We cannot increase our manufacturing sector and our business sector if we increase EI and CPP and say, “Here are some extra taxes for you to pay.” Then there is the carbon tax and things like that.

  (1245)  

    The Americans are competitive. We had better be competitive. The Liberal government's budget nickels-and-dimes Canadians, but it really hits business.
    Mr. Speaker, I see my time is up. I thank you for the opportunity to speak, and I look forward to some questions.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened with interest and respect. I recognize the member opposite's focus is on one part of the debt, that being the government debt, the public debt. However, the infrastructure deficit in this country is close to $600 billion. It impacts competitiveness. It impacts the ability of businesses to get products to and from their market. It impacts the ability of people to get to and from work, and students to get to and from school to get training for the jobs they need.
    This budget makes unprecedented, historic investments in municipal infrastructure. We hear it from mayor after mayor across this country. In light of the fact that our other partners in government, at the local level in particular, are celebrating this budget, does the member opposite not recognize that the investments in infrastructure are what is producing the GDP growth in this country to a great extent, in spite of very tough headwinds coming out of the resource sector, and that this is critical to the future of this country? If we do not have the infrastructure, we cannot build an economy. We cannot balance the books without good infrastructure.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, infrastructure is very important. That is why we brought forward the Building Canada fund when we were in government. We brought forward a number of infrastructure programs that were the largest at that time.
    Yes, the Liberal government has piled on more infrastructure funding—or should I say announcements? The announcements have been made, but the funding is not happening. The announcements have been made, but the shovels are not in the ground. The announcements have been made, and remade in some cases, but people are not being hired to fill the jobs for that infrastructure.
    Do we have an infrastructure deficit in this country? I think we do. We have an aged and growing infrastructure deficit, unquestionably, but in all fairness, we have to make sure that it is not only the federal government that is providing for infrastructure; we have to make sure that we are also including the private sector in the infrastructure deficit. The private sector needs to be involved to add funding and provide efficiencies so that projects can be completed on time and on budget.
    I do not know if the current government has a plan on its infrastructure, other than being Santa Claus. I am not certain there is a strategy on how it wants to do it, unless it is a political one. However, I do not see a lot of money being put into a driving economy where there would be that growth that we need. My home province of Alberta is a prime example. Ontario has its manufacturing sector, but Alberta is a driving economy that needs to be kick-started again.
    We have problems with the provincial government there. We need something that will get people working again. There are over 100,000 oilfield workers out of work. That is totally unacceptable, yet we see infrastructure dollars going here, there, and everywhere. In fact, in the oil sector we see some of the incentives for exploratory drilling being taken away.
    In a downturn, we should incentivize jobs and job creation. However, the Liberals take them away. I am not going to go into this long list of the bad things that they have done in this budget, but I can say that when we are not including infrastructure dollars or helping create exploration in the oil sector, we cannot expect to get new jobs in that sector. Maybe that—
    Questions and comments. The hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Mr. Speaker, during the member's speech, he alluded to the fact that the Liberals are masters of the long promise. When we get past the flowery language and all the hope and optimism contained in that language and we look at the real numbers, a lot of this funding is back-ended and would be contingent on the Liberals being re-elected in 2019. We can see right now that the Liberals are building a budget today for the 2019 election, and we still have another two and a half years to go.
    My specific question for the hon. member is regarding a good program that was set up by the previous Conservative government, the eco-energy retrofit program. The Liberals love to talk about how the environment and the economy go hand in hand. It seems to me that if there was one program that lived up to that phrase, it was the eco-energy retrofit program, a program that, during its course of action, helped 640,000 Canadians. The number of dollars invested in it had incredible spinoff effects in local economies, in builders, and so on, and we reduced our energy consumption. It seems to me that if we are trying to get serious about protecting our environment and reducing our energy use and putting people to work, such a program would be a natural fit.
     I would like to hear the member's comments on having some hope sometime in the future of getting that program started and on how useful it was to Canadians.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member's question is a good one. It is twofold. First, he correctly observed that many of the promises in this budget are back-loaded. They are loaded down the road. We will see very little benefit in the very short to medium term, but we will see this investment in the long term.
    I was speaking to our member who is our defence critic, the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, and he said that for some of the defence spending, although the Liberals announced a big amount, when we look at the small print, it will be over 30 years. I have been here when we have done budgets, and if we did something over five years, members would say, “That is not for this year, that is over five years.”
    The Liberals have said two things. First, for much of their budget today, we would see benefits just before the next federal election. It was announced today, and it will be re-announced maybe in 2018 and again in 2019, just before the federal election. Again, the Liberals back-load these things. They make promises so far down the road that we may not be here 30 years down the road. That is the Liberal plan.
    On the program my friend from the New Democratic Party talked about, the eco-energy retrofit program, it was a program to encourage Canadians to have upgrades in their homes or other places, and the government would help with some of those costs. I had, and I am sure other members had too, constituents, seniors, who said that maybe they could get a new furnace or better windows and really save some money and save some energy. In my riding, they were more concerned about saving money in their pocketbooks than about the energy thing, but we all want to save where we can. When we start hitting people in the pocketbook, that is when they really are incentivized to do something.
     Again, we see nothing, really, in this budget. In fact, I heard one Liberal member say that the last budget was the economy budget and this one is not. I think we would all agree that there is very little here for anyone in this budget.
    Mr. Speaker, we have heard from farmers and ranchers in my riding, a rural riding in Alberta, about the impact the carbon tax will have on their farms and ranches. We are hearing between $10 and $15 per acre and $30,000 per family farm. I wonder if my colleague could talk about the impact this budget would have on farms and ranches in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it should not surprise anyone that the Liberal government's budget is not a budget that will help agriculture, and it will certainly not help farmers. In fact, it gives nothing new to agriculture or farmers except by taking something away that they have already.
    On page 28 of the Liberals' tax measures document, they talk about a consultation process they are now doing to take away the cash purchase tickets for grain. When a farmer delivers a listed grain, whether it is wheat, canola, barley, oats, rye, or anything, they can sometimes deliver it in the fall to beat the winter rush and not get a cheque but have it deferred to the new year. The government says that farmers may be avoiding some taxes by doing that.
    Farmers are delivering grain. They are not getting the money yet but are having the grain company hold the grain. We call it deferral. We need to discuss this, because if they paid it in the last year, they may have been in a high-tax year. Of course, the Liberal government is trying to grab every tax dollar it can. The Liberal government does not get it when it comes to agriculture.
    There was a slight mention in the budget of the Alberta beef farmer. That is what the minister said, and then he said nothing else about agriculture. Shame on the Liberals. Agriculture feeds our country, and the Liberals have abandoned it.

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today proudly to support this budget. I think it is everything one would expect of a good Liberal budget. In 2016, the budget looked at how we would help the middle class and those hoping to join it get more money in their pockets. The child benefit and the lowering of taxes for the middle class facilitated that. If we look at the data a year later, we find that there was an increase in spending on household items and in general retail spending. It achieved what it wanted to achieve.
    Budget 2017 is focusing on jobs, focusing on how people in the middle class can get good, solid, permanent, well-paying jobs and how industry and sectors that create jobs can actually create more of those permanent, well-paying jobs for people to get. This is a budget that builds on the last budget. This is a budget that says that here is how we move people into that place where they get such jobs.
    We know it is not enough just to say that we want to create new jobs. We know that government in itself does not create new jobs. However, we can create a climate. We can foster and give initiatives to businesses and industries to create jobs. We know that in Canada we have good education and good workers who are intelligent and understand the issues. We need to move into the new sectors of work, the global economy. We know that innovation is where we are going to get Canadian citizens to find jobs.
    In speaking to that, we also needed to look at a gendered budget. How do women fare in this new world of work? How are women going to get opportunities? We saw with infrastructure that only 2% of women work in infrastructure projects and construction. We know the reason they do not. They have told us over and over that this kind of work needs flexibility. It needs the ability to sometimes spend long hours working, and sometimes not working because of the weather. Therefore, being able to put $7 billion over 10 years into fostering not just child care but good learning and development for children for the next generation is the most important thing we can do in helping women get into the workforce and the well-paying permanent jobs we are talking about.
    By the way, l am just reminded that I am splitting my time with the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge.
    It is not only child care. It is looking at how we can help families adjust to the world of work so that they can be more flexible. It is allowing women who are pregnant to have another four weeks of maternity leave if they choose, and I add that everything is if they choose, and also ensuring that we move from 12 months to 18 months of parental leave that is flexible. Parents can decide who wants to stay at home and who wants to balance that world of paid work and that world of helping to raise their children. We have set a standard kind of formula for people to make a decision on how they do that.
    The second part of getting people to work is to create ways in which people can have access to skills training and post-secondary education. It is to facilitate a clear way of getting adults who are already in the workforce but only have part-time work and are not in that world of good-paying jobs to go back to university. We are suggesting student grants that would let people who are working part-time get access to that kind of training.
    We also know that EI has been changed so that if people are working in particular jobs, but they are not long well-paid jobs, they may be able to get training at the same time they are working on that older job.
    We are also looking at how student loans can become a flat-rate student loan system. In the old days, people could not qualify if they owned a home or if they were working part time. We are now saying that if people own a home and are working part time and have children, they can have access to an expanded flat-rate student loan program. This is about getting people into the workforce.
    Now we have to talk about how to get those jobs created. Helping industry and businesses move into this new world of work is something we are going to do.

  (1305)  

    We are talking about innovation in areas in which Canada already has a strong reputation in those sectors. We are focusing on five sectors. This is not the end of it. We are starting by focusing in areas.
    There is agri-food. This is good news for my province of British Columbia. We are looking at advanced manufacturing, which is good news for people in Ontario and in Quebec.
    We are also looking at clusters in biotech and health sciences. British Columbia biotech and health sciences are creating clusters and hubs of new innovation in health sciences. Of course, we are looking at pharmaceuticals and creating hubs for delivering that. We have Triumf in British Columbia. All these groups are going to benefit in creating these new kinds of jobs.
    There is also clean tech. The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development recently came to British Columbia. British Columbia has only about 13% of the Canadian population, but we are creating 33% of the high-tech jobs. Helping us to move forward into those areas, looking at innovation and clean technology, will not only benefit my province but every province.
    One thing that has always been a priority for British Columbia is housing. Housing prices are going beyond anyone being able to afford a home. By putting what I consider to be a good amount of money in these areas, the federal government is getting back in to national housing, working with provinces and territories, municipalities, NGOs, groups that create housing, the private sector, and other areas where housing is being created. However, we know we cannot do everything in one, two, or even three years. What the minister heard when he did his consultation on national housing, was that we should focus on the most vulnerable.
    The budget will do exactly what the minister heard. It focuses on seniors, on mental health and addictions, veterans, and housing for aboriginal people. We have a huge urban aboriginal population in the city of Vancouver. The west also has a huge urban aboriginal population, as well as on reserve, that need access to good housing.
     We are also back again to this gendered budget, in which we say that a lot of women fleeing violence are going to be on that list of priorities.
    We also recognize that we cannot make good public policy unless we have good data. We are putting $40 million in to Statistics Canada to develop to a housing statistic framework to look at how we get data and not just perception, perception that says foreign buyers are driving the prices up, etc. We need good data to find out who is doing what, where, when, and what is needed, how mortgages are affecting first-time buyers.
     Then we are looking at that full spectrum of housing by putting in extra money. We are expanding the homelessness framework, with $2.1 billion. We are looking at the full spectrum of needs, from homelessness to SROs, which are single room occupancies, to affordable rental housing, which at the moment is where the bottleneck occurs. Being able to help young people and first-time buyers to buy a little starter home, working with CMHC and core housing is the kind of spectrum and partnerships we are building in creating housing.
    How does housing help? Housing is a human right, the ability for a family to have a safe place to bring up their kids, an ability for those kids when they grow up to get a good education and skills training. We are looking at that whole continuum of how we help Canadians achieve the kinds of opportunities they need to fulfill their potential, to get work, to find good jobs, to spend money, which helps the economy. We are looking at how businesses in this new world of work actually get that work to the people.
    I am so proud of the budget. On transit and getting people to and from work, the Broadway line that will be built in my riding and extended into Vancouver Quadra is great news. Our mayor has already issued a press release saying how pleased he is with some things in the budget, which will fulfill the needs of the people in Vancouver, and the needs of other mayors and people in British Columbia.

  (1310)  

    This budget not only serves British Columbia well, it not only serves the city of Vancouver well, it serves the whole country well. I am proud of this good, well-thought-out, comprehensive Liberal budget.
    Mr. Speaker, I am sure it will come as a surprise, but I really agree with the first part and the last part of what my colleague said. She said that this was the kind of Liberal budget she was proud of and would expect, the kind of Liberal budget that would produce higher taxes, bigger deficits, all the while nothing to show for it.
    My concern is with the middle of the speech where she talked about the early learning and child care program. She used the phrase, “if they choose”. I wonder if my colleague recognizes that there are hundreds of families in the country, even if they chose institutional child care, would not be able to access it. People in northern and remote rural villages are not able to access this kind of child care, yet they are obligated to pay for it.
    On page 234 of the budget, it states, “More accessible and less costly child care will help all children get a better start in life”. Really? The Liberal government is saying that the better start in life for all Canadian children is institutionalized child care. What about the moms or dads or the grandpas and grandmas who choose to care for their children or grandchildren? Are they getting less than good child care or early learning experience? Does my colleague agree this is the only way to give children better care?
    Mr. Speaker, the term “selective hearing” is an interesting one, and that is a prime example of selective hearing. I did not say that child care was available for those who chose to take it. I said expanded maternity leave and expanded parental leave for those who chose to take it. I did not say child care was the choice. However, we always know that child care is a choice.
    My colleague talked about increased taxes. This Liberal budget did not increase taxes. The Liberal budget showed that in 2016, by decreasing taxes for the middle class, we put an increased amount of money in their pockets. Retail spending and spending for household appliances increased. Spending fosters work. Spending expands business. That showed it worked.
    Finally, on the issue of early childhood development and learning, the member should read Fraser Mustard, and every book that has been written about the early brain and the childhood development of the early brain in early learning.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to my colleague's speech.
    I would like to make a comment about day care. One of our campaign proposals had to do with day care because there is a desperate need for action in that area. In Quebec, we are lucky to have a good child care system, but elsewhere in Canada, families have to pay a lot of money to send their children to day care.
    Right now, the government is offering mere peanuts to meet families' child care needs, and these measures will not take effect for another year. Once again, we can see that the government is planing its budget in preparation for 2019. There are no practical measures for 2017 and 2018.
    I would like to draw a parallel with SMEs. My riding of Jonquière is home to many small businesses, and they had high expectations. The Liberals campaigned on the promise to lower the tax rate for SMEs. That should therefore be part of the budget in order to help our small businesses.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I go back to what I originally said, that this was a good Liberal budget.
    Liberals do not tend to say they will do everything in one year, damn the consequences and spend as much money as they want. We have to look at the balancing of budgets, bringing down deficits, while at the same time increasing the ability of businesses and others to spend more money so we are building the economy while waiting over a period of time so we can get to do the things we want to do.
    I draw the attention of the House to past Liberal budgets under the Right Hon. Jean Chrétien. Every year, while we would say we would do this in certain years, we would add to the amount in the past because we would have gained that ability to bring down deficits and debt so we could say that we could now add to this.
    While the member says that $11 billion over 10 years is not enough money, it is a start. It puts down the marker that says we will do this and we will build on it. We will also have to work with provinces, and Quebec's best practice is always a good one at which to look. Nobody has said that we will reinvent the wheel.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure today to rise to speak to budget 2017. This budget is the next step in our government's focus to ensure a brighter future for all Canadians with what I call a three-pronged approach: a focus on innovation, infrastructure, and skills training. This budget deals with the global realities and certainties that Canada faces, but meets head on the exciting opportunities that we as a nation must grab hold of, and charts a course in which Canadians can be proud and confident.
    As someone who spent over two decades working in the global financial markets of New York City, London, and Toronto, I can state with expertise that budget 2017 is fiscally responsible and undertakes strategic investments that will strengthen and grow Canada's middle class, while taking the responsible approach to fiscal management, cemented in a stable and declining debt-to-GDP ratio. Canada's fiscal strength rests on its load-debt burden, and protecting this source of strength is of paramount importance.
    On a personal level, as a father of two young daughters, Natalia and Eliana, this budget is not just a plan for the future of this generation but of successive generations. I know budget 2017 will make a positive difference in the lives of the residents I have the privilege of serving in the dynamic and growing riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge.
    Earlier this year, I announced a multi-million dollar investment in a new inter-regional transit terminal in the city of Vaughan, which will connect with the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension project, due to be up and running in later 2017. This investment by our government, in partnership with the other levels of government, will benefit not only my community but all communities in York Region and the GTA. As I like to say, a better place to live, learn, and work.
    We have already begun to see the green shoots in the Canadian economy, including a labour market characterized by having the strongest job growth since 2012, spending by consumers supported by gains in disposable income and the Canada Child benefit, and a robust housing market, that are attributed to budget 2016. The transformational Canada child benefit will provide over $20 billion of direct tax-free payments to Canadian families this year.
     Strategic investments in infrastructure, the lowering of taxes for over nine million middle-class Canadians, and pursuing trade policies that saw Canada complete a progressive and standard-setting agreement with the European Union are all providing a solid foundation for a brighter economic future for all Canadians for years to come.
    Let us examine the specific measures in budget 2017 that focus on what I called our three-pronged approach: innovation, infrastructure, and skills training. In our fall 2016 economic statement, the government announced that it would invest $81 billion in infrastructure for the next 11 years. I am proud to announce that within budget 2017, we see those details. This will include nearly $21 billion to support social infrastructure in Canadian communities, including $7 billion over 10 years to support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across Canada.
    I wish to highlight this specific investment in Canadian families with a quote from Marni Flaherty, chair of the Canadian Child Care Federation, as follows:
    We are pleased that Canada’s federal government has taken this significant first step in committing to a multi-year funding plan. Moving forward, creating fundamental changes in how Canada supports the middle class – and all families – in accessing high quality and affordable child care will require increased funding, planning and coordination.
    Over $11 billion will be invested over 11 years for an inclusive national housing strategy. There will be $1.8 billion invested over 10 years for cultural and recreational infrastructure. An additional $10.1 billion will be invested in trade and transportation projects from coast to coast to coast. We need to get our goods and services to market to export and we need to break down bottlenecks.
    I applaud the strategic investment of $152 million to provide consistent and effective security screening of travellers and workers. Air Canada commented as follows:
    Air Canada today said it welcomes funding in the Federal Budget that will improve airport security screening processes at Canadian airports. This will benefit travellers by reducing wait times and should enhance the overall travel experience.
    Airports are key economic drivers with, for example, in Toronto, GTAA, a key economic cluster as the second-largest employment zone in the country.
     Canada also faces 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. Our plan on innovation and skills training meets this challenge and will position our citizens and companies to succeed not only at home but also on the global stage.

  (1320)  

    Budget 2017 contains a number of measures on innovation. We all know that Canada is positioned for innovation with the most highly skilled and educated workforce and one of the best places for openness in trade and investment.
     Briefly, there are three I wish to highlight, which will help companies scale up and identify those with the greatest potential. These measures include establishing Innovation Canada, a new single window at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada for business innovation programming to help coordinate and simplify innovation programs. Second, $950 million will be invested over five years to support business-led innovation superclusters that have the greatest potential to accelerate economic growth, and up to $400 million will be invested in the Business Development Bank for a new venture capital catalyst initiative.
    I am proud of our commitment and the compassion we demonstrated for Canadian families. Our commitment to Canadian families is steadfast. We understand that Canadians face a job market that requires lifelong learning, and we are there to help. As an old proverb states, if you give people a fish, you feed them for a day; but if you teach people to fish, you feed them for a lifetime.
    Our government will invest $2.7 billion over six years to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment supports they need to find and keep good jobs. Additionally, $225 million will be invested over four years to identify and fill skills gaps in the economy, to help Canadians be best prepared for the new economy.
    Our budget follows through on a promise to parents. Our budget will let parents, at their choice, extend their parental leave for up to 18 months versus the 12 months currently. This is important as it will provide enhanced flexibility to families, particularly in areas where there is a current shortage of child care spaces or where there is a prohibitive cost for child care spaces. As we all know, the gap between 12 months and 18 months in child care is great, because a lot of child care centres do not offer the service for kids between those ages, or younger.
    Additionally, there is a new employment insurance caregiving benefit of up to 15 weeks to cover situations where individuals are providing care to an adult family member. As well, expectant mothers will be allowed to claim EI maternity benefits of up to 12 weeks before their due date versus the current standard of eight weeks. Taken together, these measures are smart investments to assist Canadian families.
    A few other measures that I believe are noteworthy include an initiative for better data collection in the Canadian housing market, with a $39.9 million investment to establish a housing statistics framework to address housing data gaps identified by the federal, provincial, and municipal housing working group. Our government's actions to date on the housing market are to ensure a sound housing market for all Canadians. Better data collection will strengthen our ability to ensure that home ownership remains robust and that our housing market remains sound.
    Finally, a measure on which I hope to comment in the future is the introduction of the new Canada caregiver credit, which will vastly simplify the current system. It will replace the caregiver credit, the infirm dependent credit, and the family caregiver tax credit. With a single new tax credit, we will be better able to support those who need it the most. It will apply to caregivers, whether or not they live with their family member, and help families with caregiving responsibilities.
    It is this type of measure that reflects the values of this government, and it will make a real and positive difference in the lives of Canadian families. It makes me proud to be part of a government that introduced budget 2017 with those types of principles and values.
    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see the government taking action on child care, because we heard a lot of testimony as we studied the economic status of women in Canada, which said this is a key thing that needs to be done. However, I was concerned to see that only 40,000 spots were being created, which is about 120 per riding. It is really not that much, and it does not start until the 2018-19 year.
     Some of the other things that I liked philosophically, such as skills training for youth, etc., are also not starting until late in the mandate, and there are a lot of projections of things that go past the government's mandate.
     Why did the government decide to delay all of these initiatives that are really critical to creating jobs and getting women into the workforce?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will take a holistic approach and look at all the pieces we have put in place to support families across Canada. There is the introduction of the Canada child benefit, and the investment of funds for child care spaces across Canada. We need to sit down with our provincial counterparts and ensure that the money is being delivered for child care, which is very important. Also, there is our Canada summer jobs strategy for youth, and a number of programs we have put forward for innovation. These will all make a difference not only for our economy but, more importantly, for Canadian families.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, some of the things that are found in the Liberals' election platform are missing from their budget. It is as though they were forgotten along the way.
    I would like my colleague to answer the following three questions.
    First, why did the government not lower the tax rate for small and medium-sized businesses, as promised? Second, why did the government not close the tax loophole for stock options for CEOs, as promised? Finally, why did the Liberals not abide by the decision of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal and invest $155 million to help first nations children?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with regard to the tax loopholes or tax advantages that people or organizations may wish to gain, we have again committed substantial funds to the Canada Revenue Agency. I believe it is over $500 million, so we can ensure that all Canadians, all organizations, are paying their fair share of taxes. We will continue on that track and we are committed to that track.
    We also need to ensure that we have a competitive tax system. Reviewing tax expenditures and reviewing the tax code is something that we as a government should continuously be doing, and we are doing that. We need to ensure that entrepreneurs that take risks, that move forward, that put capital forward, and that put people to work are rewarded, but we also need to ensure that everyone is paying their fair share.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague covered off all of the issues that matter to many Canadians when it comes to building a strong nation. The foundation of a nation always goes back to families and children and what kind of support we provide for them.
    Over and above all of my colleague's great comments about the things we are doing, the housing issue is a critical one, because if people do not have a roof over their heads, it makes life very difficult. Many families in the Toronto area are truly struggling with this very issue.
    I would like to hear more comment on the housing strategy and the commitment of dollars for housing. What are those dollars meant to be for, specifically?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to say that our government is investing over $11 billion in a new housing strategy, which will assist those Canadians who need it the most: our seniors, disabled veterans, and low-income families. It is of paramount concern within the GTA that individuals have access to affordable housing, and our government is putting down a large investment to ensure this happens.
    We have also undertaken measures within the housing market to ensure that it remains stable and sound for Canadians. Houses are Canadians' biggest investment. They are their homes. We need to ensure that remains sound.
    I am very excited to announce those measures. I am proud to reiterate the message that we are undertaking, for the first time in a very long time, a national housing strategy from coast to coast to coast that will benefit Canadians who really need it the most.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure for me to rise in the House, but obviously I am very disappointed.
    I am very disappointed today to speak on this budget that, unfortunately, keeps going down the wrong path that the Liberal government wanted to take a year ago. The government has completely lost control of public spending. It is living beyond its means, it is leaving spiralling debt for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren who, unfortunately, will have to pay for the current government’s mismanagement.
     It was not surprising, three days ago, to see the Minister of Finance all happy and proud, as is the tradition, to be able to launch his budget with a photo session, what in the business is called a photo op, surrounded by a group of children. What is clear is that he was surrounded by those who are going to have to pay later for today’s mistakes. That is the defining mark of the current Minister of Finance's second budget.
    The government got elected, we sadly recall, almost two years ago on a formal commitment: to run very small deficits for three years of a maximum of $10 billion and to return to a balanced budget in 2019.
     Basically, this was not a good election promise. However, we are democrats. We respect public opinion. The people spoke in October 2015 and elected the Liberal Party, which promised to run very small deficits. Had they run very small deficits, we would not have been happy, but we would have at least respected those who kept their word.
     However, that is not the case here. Within months of getting elected, here we have them wallowing in a spending spree, completely breaking their election promise to run very small deficits. In the first year, we saw this government run a deficit that according to the books is $23 billion.
     Let us not be fooled: the reality is that this government took the $6 billion financial cushion, which was to provide the necessary flexibility for unforeseen circumstances, not to deal with emerging economic issues, but to deal with its mismanagement. The reality is that the first year of this government resulted in a $29-billion deficit. This is three times worse than expected.
    The government's latest budget does not deviate from that path: deficits, deficits, and more deficits. This year, $28.5 billion; next year, $27.4 billion; $23.4 billion in 2019-20; and $21.7 billion and $18.8 billion in the years after that. How very typical of this government: deficits in the tens and tens of billions of dollars.
    The Liberal plan was to balance the budget in 2019-20. That is what millions of Canadians voted for. Instead, the Liberal Party will be partying it up with a deficit approaching $24 billion. That is typical Liberal government, and we will not stand for it.
    When I say “we”, I do not mean just the Conservative Party, the party that balanced the books and left Canada on sound financial footing, the party that, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Stephen Harper and experienced ministers including John Flaherty and Joe Oliver, made sure that Canada emerged from the worst financial crisis this country has seen since the 1920s faster and in better shape than any other country.
    We left the house in order and a $2.9 billion surplus. When I raised this point a few days ago, the Prime Minister refused to answer my question and spouted a bunch of nonsense about how it was not true. It is. If he cannot see that, could he at least believe the parliamentary budget officer who, at the request of Senator Larry Smith, determined that our government left a $2.9 billion surplus? We were careful about that. We were careful with government finances.
    Should we be surprised by the Liberal government's lack of vision and finesse with respect to financial responsibility? Mr. Speaker, I do not know where you were and, honestly, I do not remember where I was on October 10. What I do know is that the Minister of Finance was in his office.

  (1330)  

    What did he have on his desk on October 10, 2016? He had a report signed by his own officials that concluded very clearly on page 14 that if Canada did not change course, the budget would not be balanced until 2055 and we would be $1.5 trillion in debt by 2050—incidentally, $1 trillion is $1,000 billion. In other words, the Liberals missed their mark by 36 years. Even worse, they have absolutely no plan to balance the budget.
    Mr. Speaker, in your personal life, if you exceed your budget and go into debt, year after year, do you think that one day someone might knock on your door and tell you to get your act together? I know you are an honourable man, but it could happen to anyone.
    How is it that the people who control a budget of $330 billion could lose sight of what all parents and Canadians know? That is what does not make sense. Even worse, the Minister of Finance was so proud to have that report on his desk, a report written by his own officials that said that if nothing changed, we would not return to a balanced budget until 2055, that he kept it all to himself for 10 whole weeks.
    If such a damning report were written about me, I too might want to stick it in a desk and pretend that it did not exist. The Minister of Finance's primary responsibility is to face facts and to face the 35 million Canadians who pay his salary. That proves he did not have a clear conscience. It is hard to have a clear conscience after getting elected on a promise to return to a balanced budget by 2019 only to have that turn into 2055.
    Worse yet, the government squandered an opportunity to turn things around with this budget. It chose to stay on the same path, the path to deficits, the path to debt, and the path to transferring debt to our children and grandchildren, who are going to pay the price for this mismanagement.
    The Conservative Party is not alone in crying foul. Yesterday, on RDI, a Radio-Canada/CBC station, René Vézina, an economist, said, “The fact remains that there is quite a bit of red ink. There is no end in sight.”
     It makes no sense, we need to know that much. What if the minister had told us that, well, we are spending quite a bit, but in seven, eight or nine years, we will be back to a balanced budget. That would not have been great, but at least there would have been a game plan, a vision, an action plan. We would know where we were going. This is not the case. There is no vision about the future of public finances, nothing. This is completely unacceptable.
     That is what led Mr. Vézina to say that this is nonsense. That is also what led Carl Vallée, spokesperson for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, to say that it does not make sense and that “the fact there is no sign of returning to a balanced budget soon is very troubling and certainly the most disappointing aspect of this budget”.
     This is the reality and that is why we have to be careful.
     What about Michel Girard, economist and analyst with Quebecor’s QMI, LCN and TVA? He said that this is a big spending budget, that “the federal debt is out of control” and that we are lucky we currently have low interest rates. However, sooner or later, interest rates are likely to rise and each percentage point increase means an extra $6 billion or $7 billion.
     François Pouliot of Les Affaires wrote that “the goal of any government should be to protect its credit rating for the future and to get on a better financial footing for the next generation”.
    That is exactly the opposite of what this government is doing. It makes no sense. There is a complete loss of control when it comes to taxpayers’ dollars.
     There are other worrisome aspects, such as tax increases that will be borne by taxpayers and the elimination of certain tax credits put in place by our government. First, the government decided to come up with the Friday and Saturday night tax. The government is now charging a new additional tax on alcohol, tobacco, and the like, so when a Canadian worker, who has worked hard all week, seeing half of his paycheque going to taxes, wants to have a cold beer with his friends on Friday night, he will have an extra tax to pay, thanks to this good government.

  (1335)  

    On Saturday evening, hard-working fathers or mothers who want to enjoy a good meal with their spouse and go buy a nice bottle of wine will now have to pay more thanks to this government. That is because of the Friday and Saturday night tax that this government just imposed. I am not the one saying it, it is an economist. I did not come up with that phrase.
    It is not a good idea to raise taxes on alcohol and tobacco. According to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, this is a major tax increase for consumers. It is a way for the government to take money out of the pockets of those who are going to use these completely legal substances regardless.
    The government needs to be very careful about doing that.
    What is more, there are dozens of tax credits. If someone had told me two days ago that I was going to say what I am about to say, I would not have believed it possible because we are talking about the Liberals. However, the Liberals are indeed directly attacking people who use public transit. Who would have thought?
    This government goes on and on about how much it cares about the environment, unlike the big, bad Conservatives who could not care less. This government says it wants people to use public transit instead of cars. It has even said crazy things about the oil industry, but that is another story. Now it is eliminating the tax credit for transit riders, a tax credit created by the Conservative government.
    Who would have thunk it? The Liberals are doing away with a green policy implemented by the Conservatives. That makes no sense.
    Who is this move going to hurt? Cash-strapped students who have to scrimp and save. Seniors and people who cannot afford a car. People with modest incomes. People who want to be part of the solution, people with an environmental conscience who care about the planet and want their footprint to be as small as possible, who choose public transit over cars. Those are the people the Liberal government is hurting here. Those are the people the Conservative government protected. It was not a flashy measure, but it was a good one that should not have been axed.
    Again, it is not just us big, bad Conservatives saying that. Who else? Our friend Denis Coderre, mayor of Montreal, and former Liberal member and minister is saying the same thing. Denis Coderre is criticizing the Liberal government. I am sensing some scepticism across the way. Allow me to quote an article by Boris Proulx, updated on March 22, 2017, at 6:15 p.m. to be precise: “[Denis Coderre] is disappointed that the budget eliminates the tax credit for transit passes. He sees this as a contradictory measure from the Trudeau government.”
    That was Denis Coderre, former minister, former Liberal member in this place, and a good friend of the current Prime Minister, the hon. member for Papineau, as everyone knows. “How can the government fund mega projects in public transit and then stop encouraging Canadians from using it?”, the mayor asks.
    I have the same question for the governing party. They do not have to answer me if they do not want to, but let them at least answer their friend Denis Coderre who is questioning their unacceptable contradiction.
    The same goes for public transit users, who simply do not understand. On TVA yesterday, people in the street were asked what they thought of that measure. They said it makes no sense. Sure, that tax credit was not going to change the world, but still, it was a little extra incentive. It gave people a bit of breathing room, and they were excited about that. Now the Liberals have decided to punish people who use public transit. It is just ridiculous.
    I would point out that there were some other Liberals who were not too happy, either, namely the Quebec provincial government Liberals, under the leadership of the Hon. Philippe Couillard, the Premier of Quebec. We know that there is no link between the provincial Liberal Party and the federal Liberal Party, ever since Jean Lesage in 1965, but they are Liberals nonetheless. Yesterday, the Quebec minister of finance and the president of the Treasury Board were “extremely disappointed”. Here is exactly what senior ministers in the Couillard government said yesterday: “We are extremely disappointed and concerned that there's no clear signal in this budget.” There is nothing in this budget to address Quebec's needs. Pierre Moreau called out his federal counterparts:

  (1340)  

    I would have liked to hear the Quebec caucus speak up on matters relating to the province's major infrastructure projects.
    I am therefore once again asking my government friends from Quebec where they were when it was time to stand up for Quebec at the cabinet table. I have a lot of respect and regard for the member for Louis-Hébert, and he knows that. However, the president of the Quebec treasury board, the hon. Pierre Moreau, believes that the 40 federal MPs from Quebec were mostly silent, restrained, and sidelined during the preparation of the budget. I am therefore calling them to order.
    Many people who believed in what this government could do were disappointed by this budget. We, on the other hand, knew full well that the government's approach to managing public funds was wrongheaded.

  (1345)  

[English]

    Now let me talk about innovation.
    The current government is very proud of innovation. The Liberals say that this is the budget of innovation, and they talk a lot about innovation. The Globe and Mail reported that the Liberals used the word “innovation” more than 250 times in the budget. This is the key issue of this budget, is it not? The reality is that we are talking about $1 billion for the next five years. It is not bad, and we are not against it, but is it really an innovation budget that they are talking about? Not so much.
     More than that, I just want to say something for the members. Yesterday we were around the table with some colleagues working on that, and I had the privilege of sitting with great personalities, great people who served this country well for the past 10 years as ministers. Among them, close to me, was a former minister. She said, “Look at that. They are talking about innovation, but there is nothing new there. We did exactly the same a few years ago, when I was a minister.”
    The former Conservative government tabled a plan called “building Canada's innovation economy”. That is exactly what it was. We created that too, and we were not the first government to table that kind of issue, because every government has to address the issue of innovation. Year after year, in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, and the 1990s, all governments tabled innovation platforms. This is good. We did it, and the Liberals are doing it; fine, but is that worthy of being called brand new? Not at all.
    This is why I just want to say to the cabinet minister that we do agree on some issues, especially about innovation, because it is the reality of Canada and the reality of every country that governments have to address the issue of innovation instead of looking at others and doing what they do.
    However, the way to help businesses is to lower taxes. With the current government, there is no indication that it wants to address the reality of the Trump administration, which has said day after day that it is going to lower taxes in America. If we do not do that, our companies and businesses will not be able to respond appropriately to our most important partner and our most important competitor.

[Translation]

    However, I still want to be a good sport and recognize the good things that this government has done, particularly in this budget, such as the support for family caregivers. This is a sensitive issue that cuts across party lines, and our government made investments. When my colleague from Richmond Centre was in government, she made some good proposals in the area.
    We are pleased that the government has decided to implement these measures and to group them in a single program that will move things along. Well done. It is the right thing to do.
    Unfortunately, this government missed an historic opportunity to turn things around. It had a golden opportunity to admit that the plan it implemented one and a half years ago has not yielded the desired results. If it does not turn things around and take control of spending we are going to hit a wall and our children and grandchildren will be footing the bill. Unfortunately, this government failed on that account.

[English]

    The government had a golden occasion to say it would get back to controlling public spending, but unfortunately it failed. It has only created a budget that is a manufacturer of deficit. This is why we urge all the members here to reject this bad budget.
    Mr. Speaker, a major part of the member's speech was about innovation. Here is a direct quote by the president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, Dennis Darby, in regard to innovation:
     This is a budget that puts innovation where it belongs—as a driving force behind strategies for long-term growth in manufacturing and trade to build a better future for middle-class Canadians.
    Manufacturers are pleased to see government following through on our recommendation for an industry-led super cluster strategy that will focus efforts of the federal government to support advanced manufacturing and help Canadians companies to compete head-to-head in markets around the world.
    The difference between the Prime Minister and prime minister Harper is that we actually listened to what Canadians had to say. We understood what it took to advance our economy. We are a government that is investing in Canadians and our economy. That is what is going to make a difference for today's middle class and those who are aspiring to be a part of it. This budget is part two of the first budget, which puts Canada on a road that many countries around the globe are very envious of.
    Why does the Conservative Party continue to be out of touch with Canadians on what really matters? The creation of jobs and providing quality health care are the types of things that matter to Canadians. The Conservatives continue to want to be out of touch with reality and Canadians.

  (1350)  

    Before going to the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent, I want to remind the members that the protocol in the House is that usually one member speaks at a time. I am sure the hon. member for Winnipeg North appreciated the coaching he was getting from across the floor, but I do not believe it is necessary, and I am sure the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent will not need any coaching from the other side either.
    The hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent.
    Mr. Speaker, I know that I am a real example to respect the protocol in the House, especially with my colleagues.
    Let me take four words: building Canada's innovation economy. That was the program that our government tabled. We had that. We believe in innovation. We believe the success of the future of this country belongs to those who create wealth, who create jobs, and who create new technology. We believe in innovation. Let me talk about innovation in my province and the Quebec City area.

[Translation]

    The National Optics Institute, a technology innovator and economic development tool created in the 1980s under the Mulroney government, has always had the support of our government and is backed by the current government. We were expecting funding announcements. In Quebec, the National Optics Institute is asking for an additional $25 million. Where is it? There is nothing at all in the budget about this.
    For the Quebec City region, we find nothing for the port, the Institut nordique du Québec, the third road link, the bridge, BRT, or the National Optics Institute.
    I have to acknowledge that the member for Québec was right: Quebec City does not have a minister in cabinet.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech.
    We must be here in the House to make sure that the decisions we make improve the quality of life and living conditions of the people we represent. In yesterday’s budget, I really had trouble finding what will be an improvement for the people I represent.
    My colleague is very familiar with my concerns about poverty. The government talks a lot about the Canada child benefit, but we know that it is not the answer to everything. Taking a closer look at yesterday’s budget, I was extremely disappointed to see that, for example, when it comes to employment insurance, not one penny has been added for women to maternity or parental benefits. For example, preventive withdrawal is now going from 8 to 12 weeks. Yesterday, I figured that there is going to be an extra four weeks, but no, the total is still 50 weeks. They will be able to start it earlier, but it will end earlier. It is the same thing for parental benefits; they will be shared differently, but there will not be any more.
    We know that right now 60% of the people who pay into employment insurance each week do not have access to it. There is nothing to improve access to employment insurance.
     I did not see anything that would alleviate poverty or help small and medium-size businesses in the riding I represent.
     I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about that.

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a positive attitude, so I will play along. As I said, additional support for family caregivers is one of the good things in this budget. I would like to acknowledge that this is an issue that really matters to my colleague from Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot.
    However, she and I both know that there is absolutely nothing in the budget in the way of help for the most vulnerable members of our society. Worse still, the government eliminated tax credits that helped businesses be more generous to their employees.
    Also, on the subject of day care spaces, we had a plan to give businesses a tax credit for setting up workplace day cares, but the Liberal government got rid of that.
     The member for Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, who represents thousands of farmers, also knows that the government abolished the tax credit for insurance for farmers and people in the fishing industry. There is precious little in this budget for farmers.
    True, the government is going to do agriculture research. That is fine, and we are not against it, but there is nothing at all in this budget in the way of actual help for farmers in the field, so to speak. Plus, the government is eliminating a tax credit for insurance, which means that farmers will pay even more tax because of this big, mean government.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member for Louis-Saint-Laurent is one of our great orators in the Quebec caucus, possibly one of the greatest. He is not only a great orator, but he is also an excellent critic for finance. We all respect his intense knowledge about financial matters, and he touched on one aspect, which is the enormous debt that we have accumulated, to which the current government is not only adding but adding at an alarming rate. The fact is that today we have historically low interest rates. We know that these rates will not continue. As a matter of fact, they are manipulated. Therefore, I wonder if he could expound, and he did that to some degree, and give a really clear picture to this House, and especially to the Liberal government, of just how critical that is and what that would mean if the interest rate were to rise by one point, let alone two or three.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to accept those comments from my dignified colleague. The reality is that a debt is a bill that we will be sending to our children and our grandchildren. Today we have to pay for the debt that was created during the seventies. If we put aside the war, there was no deficit in Canada. However, the deficit was created by the Trudeau Liberals in the seventies, the old Trudeau, I would say. I am sorry to say it, but that is the history.
     Today we are talking about $30 billion that we have to spend to pay the debt. If there is a margin of 1%, we are talking about $7 billion more to pay just 1%. That is $7 billion less in the economy, less to help people, and less to give tax credits to people or businesses. It is less money that we can invest or that people will have in their hands to create wealth and jobs. Therefore, this is a very serious issue. When we do that, we are thinking first and foremost of our millennials. Those who are young today will have to pay for the bad administration of the current bad government.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Incident at U.K. Parliament

    Mr. Speaker, terror has struck once again.
    There are no words to express how disgusted and sickened we all feel every time terrorists strike. There are no words to express how angry we feel following these life-destroying acts of barbarism and cruelty. There are no words to express the profound sadness and sorrow we feel in the wake of such tragedies. We are so fed up, disgusted, and outraged, but also incredibly saddened. Terror will not win. Terror cannot win.
    Our thoughts are with the people of Great Britain, who today are still reeling from this terrible tragedy.
    The Bloc Québécois offers its sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims of the attack in London.

  (1400)  

[English]

Winter Festivals in Edmonton

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise today to talk about Edmonton's winter city initiative. Thanks to the City of Edmonton's winter city initiative, Edmontonians are finding creative ways to embrace the winter months with community-wide light-ups, sparkling ice castles, and winter festivals, such as Ice on Whyte, Bright Lights Festival, and Candy Cane Lane. There is always something to do in Edmonton, even in winter.

[Translation]

    Having lived most of my life in Alberta, I know one thing is certain.

[English]

    As sure as radiant blue skies will fill our summer, and as sure as the green and gold of Edmonton's river valley will announce the arrival of autumn, the winter winds will howl once again. The energetic, enthusiastic Edmonton response will be to spin that wicked winter weather into festival gold for all to enjoy.
    Thank you, winter festivals, for getting us through this past winter. We look forward to seeing you again soon, but not that soon.

Youth Programs in Central Alberta

    Mr. Speaker, the Red Deer Youth and Volunteer Centre has a new name. Youth HQ is a network of services available to youth in central Alberta, which includes Big Brothers Big Sisters of Red Deer, Boys and Girls Club of Red Deer, 49th Street Youth Shelter, and Camp Alexo.
    Youth HQ empowers youth in a safe environment where they can learn and grow. The mentorship programs offered deliver outcomes such as youth who are 45% less likely to use substances, are more active, and maintain healthier lifestyles; 80% of youth involved in mentorship programs have higher literacy rates and are more likely to graduate and pursue higher education.
    Since its opening in 1984, Camp Alexo has supported more than 22,000 youth who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to attend camp.
    Central Alberta is enriched by these programs, and I would like to acknowledge the founders for their vision and leadership and thank the staff, volunteers, and community partners who continue to build on their legacy.
    I ask all my colleagues to help me congratulate Youth HQ. Youth are the future, and Youth HQ is for them.

Retirement Congratulations

    Mr. Speaker, today, the parliamentary community bids a reluctant farewell to Normand Gagnon, coordinator of the parliamentary Press Gallery Secretariat.

[Translation]

    For 30 years now, Norm has been a key ally, a friend, and sometimes even a therapist to the hundreds of journalists who have covered Parliament Hill over the years. I would even go as far as saying that he has been a media adviser to us members. He first came to the Hill with CBC/Radio-Canada. Norm then joined the extended parliamentary family, and I wonder how many journalists, members, and House staff he has known throughout his career.

[English]

    However many people he has met, mentored, and befriended over the years, I know they all join with me in congratulating him on his retirement and wishing him all the best in the next chapter of his life.

[Translation]

    Thank you, Norm.

[English]

Appointment to Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission

    Mr. Speaker, today, I rise to recognize the achievements of a constituent of Saskatoon West, Mr. Michael San Miguel.
    Mr. San Miguel has been an active member of the Filipino community in Saskatoon and is the former president of the Filipino-Canadian Association. Mike has worked to build support for community initiatives to increase cultural awareness and diversity, youth engagement, neighbourhood safety, and access to affordable housing.
    In 2010, Mr. San Miguel was awarded a leadership award by the Saskatoon Community Foundation for his volunteer efforts. Seven years later, Mike has still not stopped giving back to Saskatoon.
    I am pleased today to congratulate Mike on his appointment to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
    Please join with me in recognizing Mr. Mike San Miguel for his many years of service to the people of Saskatoon. We are proud that he will continue to serve in his new capacity at the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.

[Translation]

Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017

    Mr. Speaker, from March 18 to 24, Team Canada will participate in the 2017 edition of the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Canada will be competing in six events: alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, floor hockey, snowshoeing, and speed skating.

[English]

    This is the largest Team Canada to ever go to a Special Olympics World Winter Games.

[Translation]

    Canadians across the country would like to thank all the members of Team Canada for their hard work and dedication and congratulate them for reaching the highest level in their sport.

[English]

    They reflect the transformative power of sport to foster more active individuals and inclusive communities.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

    On behalf of all Canadians, the Government of Canada would like to congratulate the athletes, coaches, and support crew members who will don the maple leaf as part of Team Canada.

[English]

Red Deer Rebels

    Mr. Speaker, today I am honoured to stand to congratulate our hometown Canadian major junior hockey team, the Red Deer Rebels, on solidifying a spot in the WHL playoffs again this year. Of course, last year Red Deer was host to one of the best Memorial Cup competitions ever. Hockey fans know how difficult it is to stay competitive year after year, so we are very proud to see that the Rebels have remained a top-tier team following the 2016 Memorial Cup appearance. The Sutter family and their entire leadership team deserve a tremendous amount of credit.
     I would also like to acknowledge one of my former students, Dave “Radar” Horning, who has been with the Rebels since 1995 and in the WHL since 1991. Radar will be marking his 25th season as a trainer for the Rebels this year.
    On behalf of the constituents of Red Deer—Mountain View, congratulations to Radar and to the entire Rebels team for their accomplishments, and good luck in the first round against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Go, Rebels, go.

Abbotsford Community Resources

    Mr. Speaker, Abbotsford Police cite that there have been about 50 significant violent gang-related incidents in Abbotsford since 2014, five of which were homicides.
    The Abbotsford Police have developed a sophisticated approach to tackling gang violence. There are also commendable front-line efforts to steer at-risk youth away from crime, including the Abbotsford Community Services' In It Together program and the Mission Community Services Society's My House project.
    Our government is pursuing a comprehensive approach by improving access to education, housing, and economic opportunities for young people while working with communities and law enforcement in British Columbia to ensure that they are receiving the necessary federal support to make it harder for criminals to acquire handguns and assault weapons. It is crucial that we continue to support our provincial and municipal partners.

[Translation]

Madawaska—Restigouche

    Mr. Speaker, this year, we are celebrating Canada's 150th birthday.
    I have the privilege of representing the beautiful and proud riding of Madawaska—Restigouche, which has become what it is today thanks to all of its founding communities: the Mi'kmaq, Maliseet, Acadians, Irish, Scottish, and British. Today, they are joined by immigrants from other places who are looking for a fresh start.
    Madawaska—Restigouche covers 12,000 square kilometres in northern New Brunswick. Officially, it has a population of roughly 62,000, which works out to five people per square kilometre. Despite the challenges it faces because of its rural nature, Madawaska—Restigouche is home to many innovative entrepreneurs and hard workers.

[English]

    This great country was built with the ingenuity and sweat of people in rural Canada. As we celebrate our 150th anniversary, let us remember our history and the debt of gratitude we owe to those who still, today, embody that pioneer spirit.

[Translation]

    Although rural Canadians live far from major centres, they are doing more than ever to contribute to our country's vitality.

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, if the government is interested in super catalystic venture capitalistic innovation projects, it might look no further than SunTech Tomato Greenhouses in my riding, which has actually learned how to produce tomatoes in Canada in the winter. In fact, it just installed LED lights over an acre of its greenhouses, costing a million dollars.
    Unfortunately, after the $40,000 one-month hydro bill, it had to turn the lights out for the rest of the winter. The carbon tax in that month cost $6,200. That is a lot of innovation that will go dark as a result of high taxes and high Liberal hydro fees that are being used to subsidize innovative Liberal friends.
    If the government wants more innovation, it should stop taxing innovators, or else it risks this whole thing turning into a gigantic cluster something.

Religious Tolerance

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to read some lines from a poem written by a young Muslim woman from Oakville, Amal Ahmed Albaz. It is about fighting discrimination. It is called Unmet Friends.
    

Fear happens when people fail to see,
That you're actually just like me.
We have to see each other for who we are,
We eat the same food, drive the same car.
We both have kids who drive us crazy,
We all have weekends when we're lazy.
We follow the same shows on our TV,
We like reading a book beneath a tree.
We dread shovelling when the snow hits hard,
We have barbecues in the backyard.
You see, you and I, we're a lot alike.
I may be Mohammed, you may be Mike.
Our lives are more similar than you think,
Our humanity is our common link.
We have the same pleasures and the same fears,
The same things make us happy, the same things bring us tears.
So no, I am not a security threat,
We're just friends who haven't met, at least not yet.

    I thank Amal.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Purple Day

    Mr. Speaker, every year on March 26, people around the world recognize Purple Day to raise awareness about epilepsy, a condition affecting 300,000 Canadians and 50 million people worldwide.

[English]

    I have watched people close to me struggle with epilepsy and recognize the immense importance that awareness and knowledge play in dispelling the myths and in supporting those with this condition.
    This Purple Day, let us send a message to all those affected by epilepsy that they are not alone. I invite all my colleagues to wear purple on March 26 and to continue the conversation to increase awareness and to support those struggling with epilepsy.
    For more information, I encourage everyone to go to www.epilepsy.ca to find out how they can help.

Standing Orders of the House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, simply put, the Prime Minister is waging war on democracy. He is using the budget as cover to force changes to the rules of the House. He wants to cancel Friday sittings, cut off debate in committees, eliminate discussions on committee reports, and severely limit debates in the House.
    The custom of this House is that before any major changes are made to the rules, they are agreed upon by all parties. This tradition must be honoured. Liberal MPs need to look at each other and ask themselves if this is the reason they came to Ottawa. I hope that during their caucus retreat they will stand up to the Prime Minister and tell him that what he is doing is wrong and is harmful to our democracy.
     Over the past 150 years, millions of Canadians have fought hard, and too many have died for our freedoms to be silenced. Today we fight for them.

William Rompkey

    Mr. Speaker, it is with deep sadness that I rise in the House today to honour a dear friend, a former member of Parliament, and a senator for Labrador for nearly four decades, Mr. William Rompkey, who died on Tuesday.
    Mr. Rompkey served tirelessly as the member of Parliament for Labrador for 23 years and as the first and only Labradorian in the Senate of Canada for 16 years. He was an educator, an author, and an elder statesman. Mr. Rompkey served with tremendous integrity, loyalty, and care for the people who sent him to this House.
    Mr. Rompkey's footprints remains forever in the lands of Labrador. He secured the first-ever investment for the first links of the Labrador highway. He secured investment for the first airports in remote north and south communities. He also invested in the changing times in the fishing industry and the mining industry.
    He was a close friend and mentor throughout my life, since my first travels with him as a young teenager.
    Today I would like to ask all colleagues in the House, as I know all Labradorians and Canadians would, to share with me in offering our condolences to his wife Carolyn, his children Hilary and Peter, and all of his friends.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last night I met with a number of veterans who are angry and frustrated. Sadly, not a single MP from the government side bothered to attend, and it was a message from our veterans the government needed to hear.
    Key issues included pensions for medically releasing veterans; the need for a transition that ensures that no CF member is released from the military until all benefits, pensions, and supports are in place; more support for families of veterans; and that Veterans Affairs use evidence of successes in allied countries to approve beneficial treatments here in Canada. We also heard that those with military sexual trauma are still fighting for access to benefits that other veterans receive.
    Enough is enough. We need the political will to make changes. What veterans are calling for is not expensive. It is common sense, and they have been asking for years. Tragically, the budget does not ensure that any of these simple requests will honoured.

  (1415)  

Jim Hillyer

    Mr. Speaker, a year ago today, this House was shaken and overcome with sadness by the sudden and untimely passing of Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner MP Jim Hillyer.
    Being a member of Parliament is what Jim dreamed of all his life. He proudly represented his riding and held fast to his convictions, relentlessly advocating on behalf of his constituents. People mattered to Jim. Having experienced highs and lows throughout his life, Jim understood the issues faced by regular, hard-working Canadians. He was a neighbour to all, open, honest, and humble. A man devoted to his faith and family, Jim drew his strength from God, his wife Livi, and their four children.
    I would encourage all members of this House to take some time today to reflect on the memory of our former colleague, Jim Hillyer.
    Well done, Jim. He served his family, southern Alberta, and this nation well.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, budget 2017 is a budget of opportunities for women in Canada. For the first time ever, it includes a comprehensive gender statement showing how this budget impacts women differently than men. In fact, over 60 measures in our budget have a differential impact on women and men. This information allows us to make better decisions that will help advance gender equality for all Canadians.
    Our government has taken more action than any other previous government to ensure that gender-based analysis is central to our decision-making. Building on our first budget, budget 2017 continues to invest in concrete actions to reduce gender inequality, including in housing, child care, and addressing gender-based violence.
    I am proud to be part of a government with an unshakable commitment to gender equality that follows its words with real action for Canadian women.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about what this budget means for a hard-working taxpayer. Let us call him Joe.
    Joe takes the bus to work every day, and at the end of the day, he likes to go to the pub with his buddies for a beer. He is a responsible guy, so he always uses Uber to get home. What does this budget do for Joe? First of all, it taxes his bus pass. It takes away his tax credit for his bus pass. It taxes the beer he has at the pub. It even slaps a tax on his Uber ride.
    What exactly does the Prime Minister have against people like Joe?
    Mr. Speaker, we built our agenda, our plan, based on Joe. What we have done for Joe is we have reduced his taxes. If Joe is a single guy, we have reduced his taxes by $330. If Joe has a family, he has more money for his family because of our Canada child benefit. Most importantly for Joe, our investments in transit mean he is going to get to and from home more rapidly. What Joe knows is that he is going to have, over the long term, the ability to have a great job, an exciting job, because we are going to invest in Canada.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister's budget raises taxes on people like Joe, whether it is for beer, wine, or spirits, but that is really ironic, because that same budget contains the tab for $1,700 worth of drinks and snacks during the Prime Minister's three-hour flight to a private island getaway over the holidays.
    What message does the Prime Minister think he is sending to a taxpayer like Joe when he raises Joe's taxes while helping himself to free drinks on the house?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the Minister of Finance has shared so well, it was this government that lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians by increasing taxes for the 1% of wealthiest Canadians. It was this government that introduced the Canada child benefit to give more money to his family and the children who need it the most to ensure that they get the most.
    When it comes to the travel that the member opposite is referring to, one of the first things we did after taking office was to ask the Clerk of the Privy Council to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and their guests as well.
    Mr. Speaker, nobody is questioning the Prime Minister's need for security and no one has questioned his right to take a vacation. Everyone knows when the Prime Minister does things, it costs a lot of money.
    What taxpayers are questioning is why, when he knows that everything he does costs taxpayers money, he chose a vacation to a remote exclusive island. He knew that this would be very expensive for taxpayers. Why did he do it?
    Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we did after taking office was to ask the Clerk of the Privy Council to develop guidelines surrounding reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our taking office, no such policy existed.
    This government is working hard for middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join them. This government has had unprecedented levels of public consultations to ensure that we can respond to the very real challenges that Canadians are facing. This government will continue to work hard for all Canadians.

Standing Orders of the House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, we have seen the Prime Minister's arrogant attitude with how he spends tax dollars, but now this behaviour is starting to creep into the House of Commons. He has proposed a plan to limit his attendance in question period to once a week, which in fact, is actually only one hour a week, and give all of his colleagues Fridays off.
     I just want to remind the Prime Minister that while he was campaigning he said, “Sunlight is the world's best disinfectant.” My question is, what dirt is he trying to hide?
    Mr. Speaker, allow me to set the record straight. The discussion paper talks about the better use of our time as members of Parliament. On Friday our schedule here is only half a day, so let us talk about moving those hours to other days of the week. We talk about working hard just like Canadians do. Hard-working Canadians in most offices in Canada start their day at 9 a.m. or even earlier. Why can the House of Commons not consider that?
    Let us talk about doing that so that we can be back in our ridings to not only serve Canadians but to be able to engage with them and listen to their concerns, listen to their constructive feedback, so we can better serve them in this place.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is trying to rush through permanent changes to the rules of the House of Commons. These changes will undermine the opposition's ability to hold the Prime Minister to account and will allow him to be here only once a week.
    In the House, we represent the views of our constituents and all Canadians. It is an honour and a privilege to be here, not an inconvenience.
    Will the Prime Minister stop avoiding accountability and immediately abandon his plan to change the rules?
    We have proposed a number of ideas in a discussion paper in order to modernize Parliament. Some of these ideas have been misinterpreted. Let us be clear: the Liberals are not recommending that the Prime Minister come to question period only once a week. We are trying to encourage a debate on how to improve accountability in the House. Let there be no mistake: our Prime Minister will be more accountable, not less accountable.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, sunny ways are indeed gone. They have been replaced by an attempt to unilaterally and quietly ram through changes to the rules that govern our democracy. This is nothing less than a massive government power grab, which is only meant to help the Prime Minister avoid accountability.
    Is there anyone on the Liberal benches with the courage to stand up and tell the Prime Minister that this is not why they came to Ottawa?
    Mr. Speaker, the discussion paper that I shared with members of Parliament as well as Canadians was to encourage us to have a conversation, a discussion. What I have recognized is that there are many misconceptions in regard to the discussion paper.
     I will share information in regard to Friday sittings. We know that on Fridays the House of Commons sits for only half a day. We are saying why not reallocate that time to other days. The House of Commons starts at 10 a.m. on some days. Most Canadians start their day at 9 a.m. or earlier. Why can the House of Commons not do that? Let us have that important conversation.

  (1425)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the same Liberals who regularly attacked Stephen Harper for his use of the gag are now flat out resorting to the guillotine to shut down debate.
    Amending the rules that govern how our democracy works should never be done by just one party, no matter the party.
    Thus, will the Liberal government commit, here and now, to not changing the rules unilaterally, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. Our government recognizes that the work members do here in the House and in their ridings is important.
    During the election campaign, we vowed to modernize Parliament and turn it into a 21st-century workplace.
    Our objective has always been to ensure that Parliament is relevant to Canadians and that the House is accountable, predictable, efficient, and transparent.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, the budget has clearly laid bare the Liberal government’s choices.
     While, exactly two weeks ago, the Liberals voted to close the tax loophole for CEOs, they did not do so in their budget. No, instead they scrapped the public transit tax credit and cut $1.25 billion from the fund to combat climate change.
     Here is a simple question: why have the Liberals chosen to protect wealthy CEOs instead of the environment?
    Mr. Speaker, our plan is clear. We strengthened the middle class by reducing their taxes while asking the wealthiest Canadians to pay a little more. That continues to be our focus, because we know it is very important to have a fair tax system. We will continue with our plan.
    We found expenditures that must be reviewed so we can ensure that our system continues to be fair. There will be consultations in the coming weeks and months to explain our programs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, closing the CEO stock option tax loophole would have generated $725 million every year, and as a bonus it would have helped the Liberals keep one of their promises. What a concept that is. Instead, what the Liberals are doing is they are refusing to give $155 million to finally end discrimination against first nations children.
    The question is simple, and please can the Liberals deliver the response for once without their pre-written talking points. Why protect rich CEOs instead of protecting first nations children?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud to continue on our plan to make a real difference for our country over the long term. What we started with was dealing with middle-class anxiety. What we talked about yesterday was a second chapter in our plan: how we can create great long-term jobs in sectors where Canada can be globally competitive. We are going to do this in a way that will ensure that Canadians can go for great opportunities in the future, and we will ensure that we deal with the most vulnerable as we can.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I had the honour of being seated next to a finance minister who reluctantly ran a deficit to stimulate the Canadian economy while it was going through the worst economic crisis since the Second World War. He did so reluctantly.
    This week, the minister talked about success in business. I am very happy for him and his success. If he had run a deficit in his business the way he is doing here in government, that would have been disgraceful.
    The government is doing away with the public transit tax credit. It portrays itself as all green and environmental. Why did it get rid of that credit? They say it was small and underutilized, but that seems like one more reason to keep it around.
    Mr. Speaker, our predecessors did not make the investments they should have, which resulted in excessively slow growth. Now we have to invest in Canadian families and infrastructure to boost our growth rate. This is very important to our fiscal position. These investments will put Canada in a better position in the future.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, the one comment I would like to make, once again, has to do with how Canada's regions have been abandoned, especially our forestry regions. The Quebec National Assembly reminded us of this today.
    The agricultural sector is going to have to fight with six high-tech sectors for additional funding for its own development, even though all Canadians eat every day, and food security is extremely important. In my view, the choices this government is making go against the well-being of our society.
    Does the Prime Minister want to punish farmers and all Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, we decided that it was very important to make decisions in sectors where Canada has a comparative advantage.
    One sector that is very important to us is the agri-food sector. We decided that we should be a global leader in this sector. That is why we decided to focus on that sector and to ensure that people have the training needed to lead the way.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the children and grandchildren of Joe, because the grandchildren of Joe will have to pay for the bad administration of that Liberal government, which uses deficits and makes debt. This is totally unacceptable.

[Translation]

    That party got elected on talk of small $10-billion deficits and a return to balanced budgets in 2019. The reality is that the deficits are three times greater than expected and there is no plan to return to balanced budgets.
    I have a very simple question for the minister. I know that the minister and I speak the same language and I would like him to understand me. In what year will Canada return to a balanced budget? In what year?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, let us think about children and grandchildren for a moment. As we worry about children and grandchildren, what we think about is this: How can our country be a world leader? How can we be successful? What we can do is be optimistic and make investments in the future growth of this country. That is exactly what we are going to do. We are focused on places where our country has a comparative advantage. We are focused on how we can give our children and our grandchildren the education, training, and skills to be successful. That will lead to a higher rate of growth. That will lead to good economic outcomes.
    Mr. Speaker, do not get me wrong, Joe sounds like a great guy, but I want to ask about Peter. Last night, Canadians watched Peter Mansbridge flat out ask the finance minister why he refuses to come clean on when the Liberals will finally balance the budget. As always, the finance minister refused to answer his simple question of “when?”
    Why has the term “balanced budget” become a dirty word to the government and to the finance minister, and when will Peter and Joe and all of us see a balanced budget here in this country?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Humility and tranquillity. I'm pretty sure I had a full head of hair yesterday morning.
    The hon. Minister of Finance.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to talk about what Sally and Joanne and Mary-Ann will see in the future. I want to talk about the fact that what we are doing is taking the very best balance sheet among the G7 countries, the lowest net debt to GDP, and we are making investments that an optimistic country needs to make.
    Unfortunately, the people before us were focused on austerity. We are focused on growth. We are looking at how we can make investments to make a difference. That growth is what is going to make sure that our country stays successful over the long run.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what the Conservative government was focused on. That was on balancing the budget. For Canada's beleaguered energy workers, yesterday's budget was a kick in the teeth. While our biggest competitor, the United States, is cutting red tape and taxes and making its energy sector more attractive to job creators, the Liberals are jacking up taxes and punishing oil and gas exploration. It is almost as though they want to phase out the energy sector.
    Our energy sector employs those middle-class Canadians that the government pretends to care about. Why did the Liberals go out of their way in this budget to kick energy workers in the teeth when they are already down?

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government has gone out of its way to approve three pipelines. Those are decisions that will put energy workers in Alberta and Saskatchewan to work. What this government could accomplish in one year, that government could not accomplish in 10 years. That is what we have been doing, because we care about putting energy workers to work.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal budget was nothing but bad news for the Canadian Armed Forces. The Liberals have cut another $8.5 billion, which means they have cut a total of $12 billion in just two years. Major investments have been punted down the road for two decades, and there is not enough money to buy the equipment our forces need. This is worse than the Liberals' decade of darkness. Today they are dragging our troops back into the Dark Ages.
    When will the minister start serving the brave men and women in uniform instead of being a patsy to the Prime Minister?
    Mr. Speaker, every single day when I come to the Department of National Defence, it is about serving our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces.
    We are committed to making sure that the Canadian Armed Forces have all the tools necessary to do their work. We have planned increases that we are committed to. This is about flowing the money and making sure that the money is there for the projects that we have committed to in the years that it is required. We have an defence policy that is going to be coming out shortly, and I look forward to launching that and showing to all Canadians our commitment to the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, this Liberal budget is full of bluster and bafflegab. A few gems include innovation through superclusters, or this one about offsetting derivative positions in straddle transactions, or even better, capping stock options for the super-rich—oh, wait; that did not make it into the budget. That was in the Liberal platform.
    This is nothing but a backloaded, bafflegab, better-luck-next-time budget. Way back on page 150 is a $1.2 billion cut to fighting climate change. To all those Canadians who believed the Liberals in Paris were serious about fighting climate change, how can they betray their commitment to them now?
    Mr. Speaker, let me just clarify to the member opposite that we are absolutely committed to tackling climate change, and if he looks at the budget, he will see the numbers are there. We are putting in place the measures that are necessary to do our made-in-Canada plan on climate change. We put in money to enhance opportunities in clean tech.
    However, let me quote others. Clean Energy Canada said, “We're pleased that the new federal budget makes smart investments for clean energy and climate action in Canada.” Équiterre said that today's budget puts in place the necessary resources to implement the new climate plan. Climate Action Network said, “Today's budget provides the financial backing we need to begin the serious work of implementing Canada's climate framework....”
    We are getting it right. We are taking action on climate change, and I hope the member will support us.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, quite frankly, the Liberal budget just sounds like a Seinfeld show. It is about nothing.

[Translation]

    The Liberals had a choice. They could have eliminated the tax loophole that is costing us $800 million a year and benefits only the wealthiest 1%, but no, they decided not to keep that promise. Instead of going after and taking down their millionaire friends, who did they go after? They went after people who take the bus in the morning.
    Why are the Liberals getting rid of this tax credit that helps families and promotes public transit while maintaining the gifts for their millionaire friends?
    Mr. Speaker, in budget 2017 we propose to help make communities healthier and more inclusive, invest in faster and more efficient public transit, and build more cultural and recreational centres and affordable housing.
    Our government is investing more than $180 billion in neighbourhoods and modern and resilient communities, and these projects are well under way with more than 1,400 projects approved totalling over $15 billion.
    In my riding, 6,000 families are better off thanks to this budget. Millions of families throughout Canada are better off. That makes me very proud.

  (1440)  

Standing Orders of the House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals want to give the Prime Minister four days off a week, prevent members from doing their job in committees, and limit the speaking time of all members. Motion No. 6 was nothing compared to this attempt by the Prime Minister to take total and permanent control of Parliament.
    The Leader of the Government in the House of Commons claims she wants to discuss this, but at the same time has ordered her MPs to pass these changes in committee in a backroom on Parliament Hill.
    When will the Prime Minister put his house in order? When will he finally show some respect for Parliament?
     Mr. Speaker, once again allow me to set the record straight for Canadians.
    The discussion paper talks about a better use of members' time. On Fridays, we are only required to be here for half an hour. It would be realistic to move those hours to other days of the week. Most offices in Canada start their workday at 9 a.m. The House of Commons could as well.
    The goal behind this option is to enable us to be in our ridings on Fridays so that we can meet with our constituents.
    It is the responsibility of all members to exercise self-restraint, and I am asking the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix to do so.
    The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    Mr. Speaker, I, too, would like to set the record straight.
    Contrary to what the Liberals think, Parliament belongs to Canadians. They elected all of us to represent them. Contrary to what the Prime Minister thinks, not everyone likes him. Most Canadians do not approve of the deficits he is running. Most Canadians find his insatiable appetite for spending taxpayers' money unacceptable.
    Why does the Prime Minister want to silence Canadians who do not think like him? Why does he want to muzzle the opposition members and his own backbenchers?
    We will not let him do that.
    Mr. Speaker, I am taking part in a discussion that includes all members and all Canadians because we want to work with them and we want them to participate in this discussion.
     Our government knows that the work members do here in the House and in their ridings is important. During the election campaign, we vowed to modernize Parliament and turn it into a 21st-century workplace. Our objective has always been to ensure that Parliament is relevant to Canadians and that the House is accountable, effective, and transparent.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that he would not interfere in the work of committees, but that is exactly what he is doing. The Prime Minister's staff, over the last number of days, have been at the procedure and House affairs committee, telling the Liberal backbenchers to block the opposition's simple and reasonable request that we have collaboration and consensus on changes to the rules. Will the Prime Minister back off and let the Liberal members do their job, as he promised that he would do?
    Mr. Speaker, it is this government that actually increased funding to committees so that they could do the important work that they need to do. We actually believe in the committee process because it is the committee that can actually study legislation and study ideas way better than we do in this place, and that is exactly what we have asked the committee to do.
    With respect to the discussion paper, I have asked the committee to broaden the scope of the study they already have in place in regard to the Standing Orders. I believe it is a meaningful conversation that all members need to have. I encourage all members, as well as all Canadians, to participate.
    Mr. Speaker, the House leader is in on this charade too, and the Liberal members even know it. They know this is not a discussion paper. They know this is an edict from the Prime Minister's Office. The House leader just said that she asked the committee; she is asking it to do her dirty work.
    My question is for the Liberal members of Parliament. I know there are some hard-working people with integrity on that side. Will any of them stand up, show some independence, and say no to the Prime Minister and no to the House leader, who has completely botched this for all of you?
    I must remind all members to direct their comments to the Chair.
    The hon. government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that this place needs to be modernized. We need to have this conversation. We need to have this discussion. Every single member of Parliament has a role and responsibility. I recognize that members on both sides of this place have responsibilities, and we want to ensure that we have important conversations.
    Within this place, members of Parliament have the opportunity to hold the government to account. We believe that within the ridings, constituents have the ability to hold their members of Parliament to account, and that is why I believe that important work is done here in the House as well as in the ridings.

  (1445)  

    Since when does a cabinet minister or House leader give orders to a committee anyway, Mr. Speaker?
    The government House leader is ignoring the long-held tradition of getting all-party agreement for an overhaul of the way that democracy works in this place. If the House leader's argument that the government of such a warm and loving Prime Minister could not possibly harm our democracy with the power grab now under way, I wonder if she might speculate with us what the majority government of a prime minister like, say, Kevin O'Leary would do with all that power?
    Mr. Speaker, it is exactly these hypotheticals and these speculations that the committee has the ability to deal with. That is why we are saying let us have this conversation, let us have this discussion. It is because these are important concerns that Canadians are facing, and we are saying let us have this discussion. That is why I had introduced a discussion paper.
    I know the committee members sat late once again yesterday. I did visit the members of the committee to thank them for their work. I believe that they are having a meaningful conversation and I think it is important that they continue that conversation. My door will remain open so that we can all work better together.
    Mr. Speaker, this goes well beyond an innocent discussion paper. The government House leader should not insult our intelligence by claiming otherwise.
    However, if she is serious about that, if she is really truly sincere that her motives are pure, will she now stand in her place and tell this House that she accepts that her government has no mandate to change the rules of democracy over the united objections of the opposition? If she will not, then it is pretty clear that her protests of innocence are even more shallow than they sound.
    Mr. Speaker, I really do believe that we can have more meaningful conversation and debate in this place. I believe that when it comes to challenging the integrity of individuals, that is for the member to choose to do. I believe that is not needed in the conversation that I would like to have, and that is why I am saying let us have a conversation, let us have a discussion.
    The member knows very well, as I told him last night, that I actually appreciate a lot of the work that he does. I hope that we can continue working better together, because I believe this place needs to be modernized. It is a commitment we made to Canadians in the electoral campaign. It is something on which Canadians agree that all members in this place need to work better together.

[Translation]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the Minister of Finance presented the government’s plan. It is an ambitious, visionary plan that makes middle-class families the priority, both in Bourassa and elsewhere in Canada.
    Can the Minister of Finance tell us why he only chose certain sectors of the economy in his budget?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very important to be an optimistic country and to make investments in the future, but we also need to know in which particular sectors we have a comparative advantage. That is exactly what we have done.
    We decided to be the world leader in very important sectors where there will be high-quality jobs in the future. We chose six sectors that are key to our children’s and grandchildren’s future. We will consider ways of providing the necessary training for the good jobs of the future.

[English]

Standing Orders of the House of Commons

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I noted that the government's attempt to give itself carte blanche to unilaterally rewrite the Standing Orders is opposite to the practices of most recent Liberal and Conservative administrations, but the tradition goes back much further.
     On December 28, 1867, our first set of Standing Orders was adopted by unanimous consent. Consensus for major changes to the Standing Orders was good enough for prime ministers from Sir. John A. to Stephen Harper.
     Will the current Prime Minister not acknowledge that consensus is still the right approach even though it is 2017?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government and Prime Minister really does believe we can work better in this place. Just today, I have Sarah, who is my University of Toronto women in House program person, who is shadowing me on the Hill. She has seen a lot of the stuff that has taken place here. She has asked me some tough questions with regard to some of the stuff that went on yesterday and today.
     It is important that we have this meaningful conversation. I am sure she, too, will be reading the discussion paper and be a part of it. I know many members have women following them today so one day they too can occupy even more seats in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are trying to force changes to how the House operates through the procedures and House affairs committee without all-party support. This is wrong. I feel bad for the talented and principled backbench members opposite who are also uncomfortable with this.
    Why is the Liberal backbench willing to watch the Liberal front bench betray years of tradition of the House and integrity of their party?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have shared many times in the House, yes, a discussion paper was released to all members of Parliament, and it was also released to Canadians, so we could have a meaningful conversation, a substantial discussion on Standing Orders and how we govern in this place. It is unfortunate that a lot of the ideas within the paper have been misrepresented. This is why I encourage all people to be part of the conversation so we can find a made-in-Canada solution for Parliament and the House of Commons.

Privy Council Office

    Mr. Speaker, on Monday, the government House leader tried to defend the Prime Minister's use of the Privy Council Office to help him on a trip to Alberta for the Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner by-election. She claimed it was to help prepare the PM for government business, but that is complete nonsense. The trip had only one purpose: for the Prime Minister to appear at Liberal Party campaign events. There was no government business.
    Why does the Prime Minister believe it is okay to use public servants to campaign for the Liberal Party?
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is prepared in advance of all events and is afforded the same support as previous prime ministers. Irrespective of his schedule or planned events, the Prime Minister must always be in a position to carry out official duties.
    As has been the case for previous prime ministers, the Prime Minister is always in contact with his office and is routinely provided with briefing materials during all travel, domestically and internationally, and whether on personal or government business. The Prime Minister is the prime minister after all.
    Mr. Speaker, documents show that in October, the Privy Council Office was directed by the Prime Minister to produce a regional backgrounder on Medicine Hat during the by-election. The Prime Minister had no government events in Medicine Hat. He was only there to campaign. The PCO was also ordered to provide tech support and uploaded a video from the campaign stop with the PM and the Liberal candidate.
    In light of the actions of the Prime Minister in Medicine Hat, today, when the Prime Minister is campaigning in Markham—Thornhill, will PCO staff be ordered to campaign with him yet again?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have just shared, the Prime Minister is prepared in advance of all events and is afforded the same support as previous prime ministers. Irrespective of his schedule or planned event, the Prime Minister must always be in a position to carry out official government duties.
     As has been the case for previous prime ministers, the Prime Minister is always in contact with his office and is routinely provided briefing materials during all travel, domestically and internationally, and whether on personal or government business.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, budget 2017 was an opportunity to meet the needs of Canadian seniors, but the Liberal government told them to keep waiting. The Canadian Medical Association said, “Budget 2017 fails Canada's seniors”. CARP said, “financial security for seniors not on the agenda”.
    Divide and conquer deals with the provinces are not the solution. We need a national seniors strategy. Why did yesterday's budget leave Canadian seniors wanting and waiting?
    Mr. Speaker, I am thankful for this question because it gives me an opportunity to talk about the fantastic news in our budget yesterday, as it relates to health, and that includes the health of seniors. We were able to announce additional investments in the order of $11 billion that would go to home care, including palliative care, that would go to mental health, and that includes seniors' needs, like dementia, so we would be able to support them. It included things like $11 billion for housing that would include social housing to support seniors.
    There was so much good news in the budget. I look forward to working with colleagues to put that work into place.

  (1455)  

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, while the government's gender budget sounded good, the budget lacks real action for women: not a penny to legislate equal pay for work of equal value; not a cent for child care this year; zero new money for shelters for women fleeing violence; nothing to make birth control more affordable; and only a fraction of what is needed for a strategy to end violence against women. Once again, women are being asked to wait.
     If gender equality really matters to the government, why were women shortchanged again?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege to rise in the House on this traditional territory the day after a feminist budget was tabled in the House, with the first-ever gender statement acknowledging that our policies and our actions in the House affect women and men and people of different genders differently. One hundred million dollars was committed for the gender-based violence strategy, the first Canada has ever had; $7 billion for child care; $11 billion for affordable housing.
    We have many priorities and much work to do. This was a great budget for women and girls everywhere and—
    The hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière.

[Translation]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, while this Prime Minister is being paid to dig us deeper into debt and to go sunbathing with his family on the taxpayers’ dime, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is out in the cold launching the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Like the Prime Minister, she is favouring her Liberal cronies.
    Can the Prime Minister, who has once again increased the tax burden of Canadians, justify spending $127,000 on a vacation paid for by taxpayers, who will be paying back his deficit for decades to come?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the vision we have put in place for the Canada 150 celebrations. Four themes will be celebrated throughout the year: young people, the environment, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, and diversity and inclusiveness. We will make sure that in funding the celebrations and various projects across the country, there will be an equitable regional distribution.
     Of course, I hope all Canadians across the country and of all political stripes will join in the celebrations.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has lost touch with average Canadians. I can imagine it is easy to miss the challenges that everyday Canadians are facing when he is busy jet-setting to billionaire island, but $127,000. Even the most out-of-touch Hollywood celebrity would blush at this type of spending, and 17 hundred bucks to feed a family of five on a three hour flight.
    Why does the Prime Minister think taxpayers should be on the hook for this type of extravagance?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians elected our government on a plan to grow the economy and strengthen the middle class. We are delivering on that commitment. Over the last seven months, almost 250,000 jobs were created, the majority of which were full-time jobs. This is the most job growth we have seen in over a decade. This is evidence that our plan is working.
    Yesterday, we continued to build off those investments, good work we are doing for Canadians. One of the first things we did after taking office was to ask the Clerk of the Privy Council Office to develop guidelines surrounding the reimbursement of travel by sitting prime ministers, their families, and guests. Prior to our government taking office, no such policy existed.
    Mr. Speaker, it is the first time the PCO has needed private island guidelines.
    The Prime Minister has increased taxes on Canadians who use Uber or public transit to get to work, because the Prime Minister has made it very clear he needs the extra cash to pay for his caviar and champagne when he travels to private islands. The Prime Minister is so out of touch that he is raising taxes on struggling Canadians to fund his lavish lifestyle, and Canadians are getting fed up.
    Will the Prime Minister actually stand and answer questions of behalf of struggling Canadians or will he just sit there with a smug look on his face, while he daydreams about his next vacation?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, this government and Prime Minister held unprecedented levels of public consultation so we could actually respond to the very real challenges they face.
     It was this government that lowered taxes on middle-class Canadians by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of Canadians.
     It was this government that introduced the Canada child benefit to give more money to families with children who needed it the most so they could actually do what they needed to do for their families.
    What was consistent throughout it all? The Conservatives voted against it every time.

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, one thing is clear to all of us in the House. Canadians are ambitious and seek new opportunities every day. Whether they are looking to start their own businesses, to export to new markets or to scale up their operations, they need our support.
    While we have been working hard to open doors and create opportunities for Canadians, it is clear that the global economy continues to change.
    What new commitments has the government made in budget 2017 to help Canadian businesses flourish in this changing economy?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Newmarket—Aurora for his work on trade and his interest in innovation.
    It is a great budget for Newmarket—Aurora in terms of innovation. Through our innovation and skills plan, we will create jobs, we will help our companies and our economy and citizens thrive in a rapidly changing world.
    That same innovation and skills plan also aims to help 10,000 more young Canadians to get the skills and training they need in today's economy through work integrated learning and co-ops.
    There are $1.26 billion in a strategic innovation fund that will create a one-stop shop and a more efficient and coordinated way for us innovate.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, Manitoba saw the largest weekend influx of illegal migrants entering the province from the U.S. so far this year. Dozens continue to pour into border communities like Emerson, and the numbers are only growing.
     To make matters worse, the Prime Minister's reckless tweets have led many to believe that entering Canada through the proper channels is just a suggestion.
     Will the Prime Minister stand up for the rule of law, stand up for our border communities and condemn this illegal activity, or will he continue to encourage it?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman can be absolutely assured that every Canadian law is being enforced by the RCMP and by the CBSA. As well, we are honouring all of our obligations under international law.
    The hon. gentleman should know that when people cross the border in irregular fashion, they are apprehended, they are identified, they are fingerprinted. Their biographical and biometric information is collected. That is checked against every Canadian database and the appropriate international databases for immigration or criminal activity. If it is warranted, suspects are detained.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, not only is there nothing in the budget for the dairy industry, but also there is still no news on granting tariff quotas under CETA.
    We now hear talk about a proposal to resolve the softwood lumber issue by sacrificing our supply management system. That is completely unacceptable. The Liberals already hurt our industry during the negotiations and have yet to come up with fair and equitable compensation. My question is simple:
    Can the government confirm today that it will not sacrifice our supply management system or our forestry industry?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague is well aware that we support supply management. She is well aware that I announced $350 million for the dairy sector, $250 million for the farmers, $100 million for the processors.
    Along with it, yesterday's budget announced $70 million for agricultural science and innovation, $950 million for super clusters, $200 million for clean technology.
    This government supports supply management and the agricultural sector.

[Translation]

Workforce Development

    Mr. Speaker, technological change has shown us that we must continue to encourage innovation in our country. In order to provide tangible help to those who are worried about being left behind, the government has already stressed the importance of giving Canadian workers the tools they need to succeed in the new economy.

[English]

    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour explain to the House what this government is doing to make sure that Canadians can get the training they need to find and keep good, well-paying jobs?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday's budget would invest $2.7 billion to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians get the skills they need for their next and better job, and $470 million for adult workers so they can go back to school, upgrade their skills, and upgrade their credentials. We would make changes to the EI system so that, when Canadians take self-funded training, they do not lose their EI benefits. This would help Canadian workers—
    The hon. member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, in Alberta there has long been significant government support for people with autism. Other Canadian families have not had the same experience, some mortgaging their homes to get help they desperately need. In 2015, our government appointed a dozen world-leading Canadians to develop a Canadian autism partnership. After two years' work, they presented the health minister with a strong plan and a relatively modest budget ask. As the government continues to spend with such reckless abandon, can the minister please explain why the Liberals decided to take a hard line toward Canadians with autism?
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier this afternoon, this budget was the best news on health that we have seen in a decade, with fantastic news in so many areas; not only the new investments that I referred to earlier, but we have a growing Canada health transfer that would give to the provinces more than $200 billion over the next five years. As we work with the provinces and territories in delivering health care, they would be able to do advanced care for Canadians of all particular needs. We also have new money for early learning and child care in the order of $7 billion that would be of great assistance to families affected by—
    The hon. member for Pierre-Boucher—Les Patriotes—Verchères.

[Translation]

Workforce Development

    Mr. Speaker, ever since Quebec managed to pry labour matters from the hands of the Canadian government, we have created the best labour market training system in North America.
    However, once again, Ottawa is going back on its word. The government cannot be counted on. After the Harper government, which tried to make us fit into the Canadian mould, now it is the Liberals who are reneging on the labour market agreement, which was so hard to reach.
    Why is it that whenever something is working well, Ottawa has to stick its nose in and tear everything down?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to working with all the provinces. I know that with the Province of Quebec we have spoken with the minister responsible for education, and the provincial government is very pleased with the investments that have been made by this government. We will continue to invest in all Canadians so that they are given the skills they need to work in tomorrow's economy, as well as to develop well-paying jobs for today.

[Translation]

The Budget

    Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers are not happy that an agreement that was working very well is being scrapped.
    The Quebec National Assembly has just unanimously passed a motion expressing its great disappointment with budget 2017. There is nothing for forestry, for transportation, or for cheese producers, and nothing is done about tax havens. When Ottawa calls the shots, Quebec will always be left wanting.
    Instead of swallowing this nonsense and acting like doormats, for goodness sake, would the 40 Liberal members from Quebec stop undermining the interests of Quebeckers?
    Mr. Speaker, we know that the measures in our budget are very important for all of Canada, including Quebec. It is very important to invest in affordable housing and in our health care system, in Quebec and across the country.
    We will continue with our program to improve the level of economic growth. It is important to create jobs. At present, the unemployment rate is lower than when we came to power. It is currently 6.6%, and it was 7.1% at the outset. Our program—
    Order, please.

[English]

Presence in Gallery

    I would like to draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of the 2017 Indspire Award recipients: P. Jerry Asp, Jan Kahehti:io Longboat, B. Doreen Spence, Nathan Matthew, Tekasi:tsia'kwa Cook Barreiro, Kimberley R. Murray, Cece Hodgson McCauley, Duncan McCue, Heather Kashman, Thomas Dymond, Maatalii Okalik, Josh Butcher, and the Honourable Senator Murray Sinclair.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

  (1510)  

Privilege

Alleged Actions of Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Chamber  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, in relation to the question of privilege, I want to add my two cents to the question of privilege raised by my hon. colleague the House leader of the official opposition, and I will conclude my remarks by asking for unanimous consent for a motion.
    There is no doubt that the minister's actions were inappropriate, but more to the point, they were entirely misplaced. The lack of respect in dealing with the bill in question firmly rests on the shoulders of the government House leader, not the Conservatives. The government made the decision to try to shoehorn the debate on Bill C-17 into the tiny 30-minute window before the budget. It was not the opposition that did that. Perhaps the minister should just march on down the front bench and channel her anger where it actually belongs. She should demand that the government House leader call it for debate this afternoon or maybe even for all day tomorrow.
    I would like to ask for unanimous consent for the following motion: that the order of the day for tomorrow, Friday, March 23, 2017, shall be Bill C-17, an act to amend the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act. Let us just get on with it.
    I would like to thank the member for Victoria for his intervention in relation to the question of privilege.
    Does the hon. member have unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. It is a well-known rule that committees are meant to be masters of their own domain, and we have all been told that the motion to the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs that was presented by the hon. member for Coast of Bays—Central—Notre Dame is not being coordinated by the government. However, in question period today, the government House leader said, “I have asked the committee to expand the scope of the study”, and she went on from there.
    I would ask you, Mr. Speaker, to enforce the well-known rule on committee independence and tell the government House leader to stay out of it before she makes matters even worse.
    This would appear to be a matter of debate.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Committees of the House

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities.  

    It being 3:14 p.m., pursuant to order made on Friday, March 10, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion to concur in the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities concerning the extension of time to consider Bill C-243.
    Call in the members.
    Before the taking of the vote:

  (1540)  

Incident at U.K. Parliament

    Order. There have been discussions among representatives of all the parties in the House, and I understand that there is consent to observe a moment of silence for the victims of the attack at the Parliament of the United Kingdom. I invite hon. members to rise.
    [A moment of silence observed]
    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 235)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Alleslev
Allison
Ambrose
Amos
Anderson
Arnold
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Ayoub
Bagnell
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Baylis
Beaulieu
Beech
Bennett
Benson
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carr
Carrie
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cormier
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Deltell
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Eglinski
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Falk
Fast
Fergus
Fillmore
Finley
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Gourde
Graham
Grewal
Harder
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Hoback
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Jeneroux
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Kelly
Kent
Khalid
Khera
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Lebel
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leitch
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Liepert
Lightbound
Lobb
Lockhart
Longfield
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKenzie
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maguire
Malcolmson
Maloney
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Motz
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
O'Toole
Ouellette
Paradis
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poilievre
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Rankin
Ratansi
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Rioux
Ritz
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Saroya
Scarpaleggia
Scheer
Schiefke
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Sheehan
Shields
Shipley
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sopuck
Sorbara
Sorenson
Spengemann
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tilson
Tootoo
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Viersen
Virani
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wong
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Yurdiga
Zahid
Zimmer

Total: -- 292

NAYS

Nil

PAIRED

Members

Anandasangaree
Moore

Total: -- 2

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities  

    I declare the motion carried.

PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS

[Private Members' Business]

[English]

Income Tax Act

    The House resumed from March 9 consideration of the motion that Bill C-323, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act (rehabilitation of historic property), be read the second time and referred to a committee.
    Pursuant to an order made on Friday, March 10, 2017, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion at the second reading stage of Bill C-323 under private members' business.

  (1545)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 236)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Aldag
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Ashton
Bagnell
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benson
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boucher
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carrie
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cullen
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Eglinski
Ehsassi
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Falk
Fast
Finley
Fisher
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Gerretsen
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hardie
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Jordan
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Ludwig
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Malcolmson
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McKay
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Mendès
Motz
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nault
Nicholson
Nuttall
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Poilievre
Quach
Rankin
Ratansi
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Rota
Sansoucy
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Schulte
Serré
Shields
Shipley
Simms
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vaughan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 150

NAYS

Members

Alleslev
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
El-Khoury
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fonseca
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fuhr
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Longfield
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendicino
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Sgro
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 140

PAIRED

Members

Anandasangaree
Moore

Total: -- 2

    I declare the motion carried. Accordingly, the bill stands referred to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development.

    (Bill read the second time and referred to a committee)

  (1550)  

[Translation]

Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination

    The House resumed from March 21 consideration of the motion.
    Pursuant to order made on Friday, March 10, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on Motion No. 103, under private members' business, in the name of the member for Mississauga—Erin Mills.
    The question is on the motion.

  (1600)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 237)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alleslev
Amos
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Ayoub
Bagnell
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Benson
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Cannings
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Chen
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Cormier
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubourg
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Duvall
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Freeland
Fry
Fuhr
Garrison
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morrissey
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Rankin
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Sangha
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Simms
Sorbara
Spengemann
Stanton
Stetski
Stewart
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 201

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Calkins
Carrie
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Motz
Nater
Nicholson
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Poilievre
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Ste-Marie
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 91

PAIRED

Members

Anandasangaree
Moore

Total: -- 2

    I declare the motion carried.

[English]

Privilege

Access to House of Commons  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I rise to comment on the questions of privilege raised yesterday by the hon. members for Beauce and Milton. As you know, both hon. members were delayed by security from coming to the House and as a result missed a vote.
    On December 1, 2004, the Speaker found sufficient grounds to find a prima facie matter of privilege on a similar matter where members' free movement within the parliamentary precinct was interfered with during the visit to Parliament of the president of the United States.
    Stemming from that incident, the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs stated in its 21st report:
     The denial of access to Members of the House—even if temporary—is unacceptable, and constitutes a contempt of the House. Members must not be impeded or interfered with while on their way to the Chamber, or when going about their parliamentary business. To permit this would interfere with the operation of the House of Commons, and undermine the pre-eminent right of the House to the service of its Members.
    On September 14, 2014, regarding the member for Acadie—Bathurst, the Speaker found a prima facie question of privilege and ruled:
     The denial of access by members to the precinct is a serious matter, particularly on a day when votes are taking place.
    On May 12, 2015, the Speaker found that a prima facie question of privilege existed after the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley and the member for Toronto—Danforth complained that, while attempting to access the parliamentary precinct through the East Block entrance in order to attend a vote in the House, the shuttle bus they were on was stopped temporarily by an RCMP officer. While acknowledging the need to keep Parliament secure, the members insisted this physical obstruction constituted a denial of reasonable timely access to the parliamentary precinct, thereby impeding these members from performing their parliamentary duties.
    In 2012, there was a question of privilege raised by the member for Winnipeg Centre, regarding difficulties experienced by certain members in gaining access to the parliamentary precinct during the visit to Canada by the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. On March 15, 2012, the Speaker ruled that this constituted a prima facie question of privilege.
    In view of the strong body of jurisprudence I have presented today, I trust that you will find there are sufficient grounds for a prima facie matter of privilege.
    In conclusion, yesterday two members of the opposition were denied the right to vote. This is a very serious matter, particularly at a time when the government is attempting to ram through reforms that will cripple the opposition's ability to hold the government to account. I look forward to learning more details of this matter, and if necessary, l will return to the House to add further submissions based on those details.
    I thank the member for Perth—Wellington.
    I see the hon. member for Hamilton Centre rising on the same question of privilege.
    Mr. Speaker, as members know, we have dealt with this issue on a number of occasions, and the most recent was not that long ago. While I was not a party to the incident that is on the floor now, I had been involved in discussions at PROC and the issuance of those reports.
     I know how seriously you take this, Mr. Speaker, but you also know how seriously we took this at PROC. In fact, I cannot quote exactly, but I made the comment that I would not be very surprised, given my experience in this place, if no matter how much assurance we got, somehow we would find ourselves right back here again. It seems as if that has happened.
    I do not want to go on at any great length, but as members know, there are times when we know that there will not be regular procedures here, regardless of what they are. Over and over again, we had the assurances from the people responsible that one of the first things they would do is always ensure that the constitutional right of members of Parliament to have access to the House, especially when there is a vote, would be paramount, yet time and time again, we find ourselves right back here again. In the incident case, the security argument can be made, but our problem is that we keep saying that, if this is planned ahead of time, and we are told they do plan, then we would not have these incidents.
    I will not go on, except that I want to shore up the arguments of the hon. member and add my voice and support to having this matter go to PROC where, yes, once again we will go through this, and we will keep doing it until we finally have the 100% guaranteed access that the Constitution provides for every member of the House.

  (1605)  

    I thank the hon. member for Hamilton Centre for his intervention. I appreciate his determination to be persistent on this important matter.
    I will be coming back to the House with my ruling on the question of privilege.
    I believe the hon. opposition House leader will be rising on the usual Thursday question.

Business of the House

[Business of the House]
    Mr. Speaker, I am normally very quick and direct in asking my Thursday question, but I will just say today that, with everything that has gone on, the big issue that the opposition is facing in terms of how we want to be able to speak and be part of some of the discussions that are going on at committee does relate to what is going on in the House and in the future of the House. It is almost at the point where I wonder if it is worth my asking the question, because I wonder if the government House leader truly does want to know what the opposition thinks.
    I will just leave that there and ask the House leader if she could please tell us what business the government has for the rest of this week and the week we return.
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said in this House time and time again, of course, I want to work with all members of Parliament. I know that we each have a role to play. I want to work better together, and that is why I will continue to communicate.
     I appreciate the opportunity to answer the hon. member's Thursday question.

[Translation]

    This afternoon, we will continue with the budget debate. Tomorrow, we will begin third reading of Bill C-22, an act to establish the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians and to make consequential amendments to certain acts.
    Next week, members will be working in their ridings.

[English]

    We will continue with the budget debate on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
    I wish everyone a good constituency week, next week.

Privilege

Alleged Actions of Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Chamber  

[Privilege]
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to add my comments to the question of privilege raised by the opposition House leader earlier today.
    Caught on video was the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs' attempt to intimidate the opposition House leader. This outburst was intended to prevent the opposition House leader from doing her job.
    The House leader of the official opposition moved a motion that put into the spotlight of the nation waiting to hear the presentation on budget 2017 the fact that the government was attempting to use the budget presentation as a shield to hide its underhanded attempt to change the rules of this House, changes that would cripple the opposition's ability to hold the government to account, give backbenchers an extra day off a week, and require the Prime Minister to only show up in the House once a week. She was successful in exposing the government's skulduggery, and I understand why the minister would be angry.
    It should be noted that responding to threats is the first matter of parliamentary privilege dealt with in Canada. Page 198 of the second edition of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada tells us of an incident in 1758, where the Nova Scotia House of Assembly proceeded against someone who made threats against a member.
    In a ruling on September 19, 1973, by Speaker Lamoureux, at page 6709 of Debates, stated that he had:
...no hesitation in reaffirming the principle that parliamentary privilege includes the right of a member to discharge his responsibilities as a member of the House free from threats or attempts at intimidation.
    Mr. Speaker Bosley, on May 16, 1986, at page 13362 of Debates, ruled that the threat or attempt at intimidation cannot be hypothetical but must be real or have occurred.
    On March 24, 1994, at page 2705 of Debates, Speaker Parent stated:
    Threats of blackmail or intimidation of a member of Parliament should never be taken lightly. When such occurs, the very essence of free speech is undermined. Without the guarantee of freedom of speech, no member of Parliament can do his duty as is expected.
    I can go on and on, but the point is that, just because a government is given a majority, it does not mean that cabinet ministers have the authority to intimidate members of the opposition. The Liberal backbenchers should grow a backbone and understand that cabinet is subordinate to this House and there are more of us than them. We could actually do something about their dismissive view of Parliament.
    Liberal prime ministers are notorious for describing members of Parliament in quaint ways: Pierre Trudeau with his “nobodies” slur and Jean Chrétien with his insult about terracotta soldiers. Almost immediately after the slogan “sunny ways” was out of the box, the passing of Parliament's role into the shadow of the Prime Minister's agenda began. We had Motion No. 6 last—

  (1610)  

    Order. My hon. friend from Flamborough—Glanbrook is getting into matters of debate rather than the question of privilege. I have the impression that he may have finished, and I thank him very much for his intervention.

Government Orders

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.
    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 29 minutes.

[Translation]

    Resuming debate on the subamendment, the hon. member for Don Valley East.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for Winnipeg Centre.
    I would like to take the time today to talk about the government's budget 2017, and specifically, the historic investments in infrastructure.
    In budget 2016, we invested the first tranche of funds for infrastructure to support the repair of our aging pipes and roads, the building and refurbishing of affordable housing, the upgrading of public transit, and the improvement of indigenous communities. With the fall economic statement, we built on these efforts by targeting public transit, green and social infrastructure, as well as projects in northern and rural communities, and ones that facilitate trade.
    The total federal investment in infrastructure now tops $180 billion over 12 years. These infrastructure investments will help ensure a cleaner environment for our children and grandchildren, while serving as a driver of economic growth.
    The 2016 infrastructure investments are already making a difference in communities across Canada. In my riding of Don Valley East, we have benefited in the areas of repairs to the housing stock, bike lanes, and walking trails. With budget 2017, we plan to do even more.
    We plan to invest in faster, more efficient public transit systems that will help people get to work on time, and at the end of the long day, back home faster to their families. In my riding, and in many urban ridings, constituents tell us that this is very important to them. That is what constituents told us in our budget consultation processes. They want better infrastructure. They said that commuting times were taking away from their productivity.
    In our consultations, we heard as well about cleaner sources of energy. Therefore, our budget proposes to help build communities that are cleaner and less reliant on sources of energy that pollute the air, harm the environment, and compromise our health. Constituents who suffer from asthma and other breathing issues are thankful that our government is so keen on cleaning the environment.
    Hard-working Canadians also need decent, affordable places to live. I am glad our government listened to the people and is investing $11.2 billion in this area.
     In the area of a clean growth economy, I would like to expound on some things. Canadians understand that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. The government agrees. That is why our government is further investing $21.9 billion in green infrastructure. This is on top of the $5 billion it invested in the previous budget.
    The investment of $21.9 billion in green infrastructure will support the implementation of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. We will support projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean water, safely manage waste water, help communities prepare for challenges that result from climate change, and help build a cleaner, better connected electricity system. This is welcome news to my young constituents who are focusing their sights on jobs of the future.

  (1615)  

    I would also like to talk about how social infrastructure can help transform communities and help overcome social economic barriers to a truly inclusive society. From early learning and child care for our children in their first years, to home care that supports us in our final years, social infrastructure helps Canadians at every stage of their lives. Building on an initial investment of $3.4 billion over five years announced one year ago, the government will invest $21.9 billion over 11 years to support social infrastructure in Canadian communities, including early learning and child care, affordable housing, cultural and recreation infrastructure, and home care.
    In my riding of Don Valley East, there are many families who have to choose between one parent working or both parents working. If both parents are working, they have to look for affordable child care. Child care spaces are expensive or unavailable. It is a question of supply and demand. I am very proud that budget 2017 provides $7 billion over 10 years toward the creation of child care spaces. This will greatly help not only my constituents, but Canadians who are aiming to join the middle class. The investment of $7 billion is over and above the investment we made in 2016.
    The government will work in co-operation with provinces, territories, and indigenous partners to provide help to families most in need. A portion of the investment will be dedicated to improve access to culturally appropriate early learning and child care programs for indigenous children both on and off reserve.
    Finally, safe, affordable housing is a cornerstone of sustainable, inclusive communities and a prerequisite to middle-class prosperity, yet too many Canadian households struggle to find affordable housing. To address this challenge, budget 2016 invested $2.2 billion over two years, starting in 2016-17, in the affordable housing sector. We also provided funding for low-cost loans and new financing tools to encourage municipalities, housing developers, and not-for-profit housing providers to develop more affordable rental housing units, and we launched nationwide consultation on a new, inclusive national housing strategy to help guide the way forward.
    Thanks to the overwhelming participation of provinces, territories, indigenous and other community stakeholders, and the public over the past several months, we will now commit more than $11.2 billion over 11 years to a variety of initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing. This investment is a blessing for the constituents in my riding. We have seen the affordable housing stocks shrink. We have seen it is in dire need of repair and renewal. Many Canadians in urban centres know how difficult it is to buy or rent properties.
    Our strategy will provide a road map for governments and housing providers across the country. As housing needs vary greatly by community, the government is committed to working with the provinces and territories to ensure that the unique needs of communities all across Canada can be met.
    The unprecedented investment in infrastructure that we are making in budget 2017 is about more than improving public transit and repairing aging roads and sewer systems. It is also about building better communities by providing Canadians with cleaner water to drink and cleaner air to breathe. By increasing access to child care, affordable housing, and other key social infrastructure, our budget will strengthen and grow the middle class.
    Our 2016 investments have already created good, well-paying jobs to the tune of 250,000 jobs. This ensures that we have a burgeoning middle class.
    The trajectory is positive. If we wish to be economic engines, we need to have an inclusive growth strategy. That is what budget 2017 is doing.

  (1620)  

    Mr. Speaker, in terms of the infrastructure spending that has been announced, one of the things that really concerns me is that out of the more than $80 billion over 10 years, only $2 billion is for rural communities. I have a lot of rural communities within my riding of Sarnia—Lambton, and they are really struggling to keep up with all their infrastructure.
    I wonder if the member would comment on what the government's reasoning was on disproportionately giving rural communities only $2 billion out of that $81 billion.
    Mr. Speaker, as far as I can see in the summary of the budget, there is $20 billion plus that is being invested in this budget, and that investment is because the Federation of Canadian Municipalities talked to the federal government and insisted that the provinces and the municipalities decide how these funds will be distributed. We are talking to them, consulting with them, and it is important that this money, with the help of all the MPs, go to the right place and benefit all the communities.
    Mr. Speaker, an important thing that I did in my copy of the budget document, which I think all Liberals should do to sort of help speak truth to this budget, is I drew a line just before the next election, because any of the promises that fall in the fourth, fifth, sixth, or 11th year out from this budget are not worth the paper they are written on. The Liberals do this constantly. They put up some large figure and say they will invest x billions of dollars in something, and it is all back-loaded. Of the money that the Liberals just talked about in their budget, and which my friend referred to, 85% falls after the next election, as if somehow the Liberals could promise money five, six, or seven years out.
    My friend talked about child care. This is an important thing. During the last campaign, the Liberals were very critical of the NDP plan because they said we rolled it out too slowly, even though our plan is ten times more generous than the first year the Liberals get to spend money on child care. I have the budget document here. If I look through the budget and look at spending on supporting families through early learning and child care, that is their money. In 2016-17, the Liberal budget says zero, and for 2017-18, the Liberal budget says zero.
     If this is so important—and it is; we know affordable child care for families is critical not just for families, but also for the health of our economy—budgets are about choices. The Liberal Minister of Finance and the Liberal government made the choice to spend zero dollars allowing Canadians to access affordable, safe child care for their families.
     Why pretend at this? Why back-load this? Why put the hope out there to all those Canadians, to all those single working moms, and I was raised by one, that somehow there is something coming when there is not? Maybe there will be in two years. We will see in next year's budget the number three years from now is actually real, but with the vast majority of child care money spent after the next election, one could only take away the conclusion that this is all about politics and not about families. Why spend zero dollars this year and zero dollars next year when it comes to helping families access child care? It is a simple, straightforward question.

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, as an accountant, I do not know how the member opposite is calculating the figures, but if one looks at the $3,600 per child that was given to families, the child care spaces are above and beyond the Canada child care benefit, which has lifted 317,000 kids out of poverty.
    Coming back to child care spaces, I was part of the Paul Martin government, and I remember clearly that when the budget was presented and 250,000 child care spaces were given, members of the NDP got into bed with the Conservatives and rejected that budget. Now, 10 years later, they have zero to show for it.
    Mr. Speaker, as we gather here to debate the merits of the 2017 budget, let us recognize that we are here on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people. It is a meeting place of first nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples. It is also the national capital of all Canadians.
    This budget is about investing, not just in traditional budget items like bridges and roads, but in people, because they have become la raison d'être. They are the most important thing in this budget.
    As I was rereading the throne speech from December 4, 2015, I read the words of Governor General David Johnston, which state:
    First and foremost, the government believes that all Canadians should have a real and fair chance to succeed. Central to that success is a strong and growing middle class.
    We can see that this budget goes a long way to deliver on that ideal. It makes a great difference in the lives of many people. For instance, we are significantly boosting federal support to provinces and territories by $2.7 billion over six years to help more unemployed and underemployed Canadians access the training and employment services and supports they need to find and keep good jobs.
    We are also investing $225 million over four years to identify and fill skill gaps in the economy to help Canadians be best prepared for the new economy.
    Also, there is the Canada caregiver credit, which is a new credit that will provide better support to those who need it the most, and will be given to caregivers whether they live with their family members or not. It will help families with caregiving responsibilities. This new Canada caregiver credit will provide tax relief on an amount of $6,883 in 2017 in respect of expenses for care of dependent relatives with infirmities, including persons with disabilities.
    The forces of inertia, of immobilization, of standing still, of 10 years of darkness characterize what happened in the past decade of the ancien régime. It may give voice to an opposition, but as the Governor General has said on December 4, 2015:
    Let us not forget...that Canadians have been clear and unambiguous in their desire for real change. Canadians want their government to do different things, and to do things differently.
    Budget 2017 proposes to increase financial support for Canada's clean technology sector by making available more financing to clean technology firms. Nearly $1.4 billion in new financing, on a cash basis, will be made available to help Canada's clean technology firms grow and expand.
    Budget 2017 also proposes to invest $400 million over five years, starting in 2017, to support projects that develop and demonstrate new clean technologies, that promote sustainable development, including those that address environmental issues, such as climate change, air quality, clean water, and clean soil.
    Budget 2017 also proposes to adopt clean technology in Canada's natural resources sectors, with $200 million over four years, starting in 2017, going to Natural Resources Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
    This is not all. In housing, budget 2017 proposes to invest more than $11.2 billion over 11 years in a variety of initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, and help ensure that Canadians have affordable housing that meets their goals.
     I think about the 1,500 homeless people who I find in my riding. They are asking for housing not just in the suburbs, but in their neighbourhood where they can receive supports so they can be successful as well, where they do not have to end up in a prison or the emergency wards taking up valuable resources, but where they can find the resources that society should provide them and they can be housed and healthy as well.
    This is what our plan and our budget propose to do.
    Our Governor General goes on to state:
    Because it is both the right thing to do and a certain path to economic growth, the government will undertake to renew, nation-to-nation, the relationship between Canada and indigenous peoples, one based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.

  (1630)  

    This is perhaps one of the greatest budgets we have ever seen for indigenous peoples, and perhaps for all Canadians, $828.2 million over five years to improve health outcomes for first nations, Inuit people, and communities, including mental health services. The opposition should be excited about this.
     In education, we have invested $165 million over five years to support post-secondary education and skills training for indigenous peoples. We have also increased funding to the post-secondary student support program by $90 million over two years beginning in 2017. There will be $25 million over five years to Indspire. This will fund bursaries and scholarships for 12,000 Métis, Inuit, and first nations youth in our country, ensuring they can get the education so they can build communities, their families, and a life they deserve.
     It is not even done. There will be $18.9 million over the next five years and $5.5 million every four years thereafter to support indigenous youth and sport programs. When we have crises in many of our communities among our youth, we need to ensure they are healthy. To be healthy, they need to do sports. We need to ensure they are active, that they have good mental health. We know from empirical studies that if we are active, our mental health is often better.
    That is not all. There will be $225 million over the next 11 years to improve housing for first nations, Métis, and Inuit people who live off reserve; $4 billion over 10 years on social and green infrastructure funding to build and improve infrastructure in first nations and inuit communities; $21.4 million over four years to support the development of renewable energy projects in indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel for electricity and heating, by continuing the northern responsible energy approach to community heat and electricity programs. That is good for the environment because diesel is not a clean fuel. We need to ensure people have access to clean technology.
     There will be $83.8 million over five years to integrate traditional indigenous knowledge of our elders, to build better understanding of climate change, and inform adaptation actions and to enhance indigenous community resilience through infrastructure planning and emergency management. In communities where even the risk of flooding has not been truly evaluated, we will ensure we can evaluate it so if there is flooding or environmental change, we can do it in a good way.
    There will be $26.4 million over five years, starting in 2017, to support indigenous collaboration on climate change and $18 million over five years to implement a climate change and health adaptation program for first nations and Inuit communities, including support for surveillance and monitoring activities, risk assessment, laboratory diagnostics, as well as health profession education and public awareness campaigns.
    One of the things I love so much about the budget is the fact that we are starting to talk about culture. Culture is so important to me as a traditional indigenous person. There will be $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve, protect, and promote indigenous languages and cultures. That warms my heart. When I go to my sun dance, I can look my brothers and sisters in the eye and tell them that this Canada will represent them and will ensure they have a place in our country.
    There will be $25 million over five years to launch a pilot indigenous guardians program, a program which I supported in the finance committee and ensured was in our pre-budget report.
     There will be $250 million over five years to renew and expand Pacific and Atlantic integrated commercial fisheries initiatives and to augment indigenous collaborative management programming.
     There will be $8.6 million over four years to develop the indigenous tourism industry. So many of our young people do not have the education they need, but they often have skills. It might not be a diploma, but perhaps they know to do a very good powwow dance. They can entertain people, but they never get paid for it.
    There are so many things we can do.
     I remember a story about a man I met just last weekend at a powwow, Gordon Kent. He has been homeless for many years, and it was very hard for him. It would have been easier if he had received these supports earlier on. He would have been able to get off of the streets and his drug addictions. I met him at the powwow where he was dancing, where he was trying to rehabilitate himself and become a better person. The thing he wants to do most of all is to ensure that our young people do not follow the path that he chose, that they can choose the good path right when they are young, so they can look to him sometimes to see what not to follow, but what they should do later on in life. This budget is truly for Gordon. Hopefully, we will be successful for many more of our young people.
    Tapwe akwa khitwam hi hi

  (1635)  

    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 Kootenay—Columbia, The Environment; the hon. member for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, Ethics; the hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière, Ethics.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.
    Mr. Speaker, I was interested in the member's perspective on the budget.
    The one line item I did not see in the budget was $155 million that the court ordered be paid for indigenous children's welfare. Will the government be honouring that order?
    Mr. Speaker, when I speak to the minister, I know she is very concerned about the child welfare system. Right now the system is completely broken, but throwing more money at it will not make the system better. Often it is not a question of more money. For instance, we could put more money into the system, but there is the great chance we would take more children from their parents because we would provide incentives for doing that. There would be more incentives and more money to take those children.
    Currently in Manitoba, 11,000 kids are in care of the state. I have been pushing for a total reform of this entire system. I have members of my staff working on this. I have cases on child and family services. We all care about this, but we will have to sit down as indigenous peoples and have a deep and profound conversation about how we raise our children, how we look after them, who is supposed to look after them.
    Our children in many communities have become a natural resource, our greatest natural resource, but not in the good way we often use in the House. They have become a natural resource in the sense that they are a product passed from person to person who can generate money. I do not want to imply that foster families are not doing a good job, because there are many great foster families.
    We really need to be thoughtful and considerate about the direction in which we move. I hope one day we will have the funding that goes along with it, but we have to really reform the system beforehand.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to follow up on this line of questioning with my friend. Just so we understand this, the Liberals yesterday were in court fighting the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on what it had ruled on twice was a racist policy in Canada perpetrated by the federal government in that a first nations child would get less money than a non-first nations child for support.
    Thirty-five per cent to 40% of the people I represent in northern British Columbia are first nations. Many of those first nations and communities have been working on the reforms about which my friend has talked. One of the things they consistently tell me is that as they work to incorporate their children in culture, in the community, there is a lack of funds coming from Ottawa, and we know exactly how much that is. Cindy Blackstock has been an incredible champion on this.
    I am confounded that the Liberal Party, the government right now, has said that it believes in the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. It has rejected the tribunal's orders multiple times and is today spending money on lawyers in court fighting to make child welfare equal for all Canadian children, regardless of race.
    This court order is very specific. It says that the government's policy on first nations children's welfare is racist and wrong. It is $155 million. Meanwhile the Liberals are blowing $80 million on a stock option loophole for CEOs. I just do not understand how this can be a decision point. Of course we want the reform, but to say that the money is not important, that a racist policy must be undone is wrong. The Liberals had the opportunity to undo it and make it right, and they chose not to. Why?

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, in January and February I had the opportunity to visit 41 first nation communities throughout Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where I not only skied but also walked over 900 kilometres. On that trip I had the opportunity to have discussions with chiefs, council members, elders, youth, and people who were running child and family services systems. I discovered that in fact there are things that are being built in communities, such as water treatment plants and new schools. There are things that are happening, such as more educational opportunities and economic development.
    When I was talking with the CFS workers, agencies, and authorities, I discovered that money is flowing and they have seen a funding increase, but obviously we are at the start of a conversation about this. I wish we could snap our fingers and fix all the wrongs of the past, but unfortunately that is just not going to be the case.
    The member suggested that we are blowing an opportunity. However, the way budgets are often looked at is that people will criticize us if we spend money on certain people. For example, I do not consider spending, or blowing, $89.9 million over the next three years to preserve, protect, and promote indigenous languages and cultures as giving money away or as something that is not good for the Canadian state.
    This is actually part and parcel. We cannot isolate things by themselves. We have to take a holistic view, which is an indigenous view. It is the ideal of the one in a unified sense. When we consider the spending, it must be taken as a unified whole, and what we do here has an impact over there.

[Translation]

    Resuming debate. The hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today on the subject of the budget, and the things I like about it and the things I do not like about it.
    I will start with the things that I like. I always like to—
    Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I clearly heard you say that it would be the member for Mégantic—L'Érable. I love hearing from my hon. colleague for Sarnia—Lambton as well, but I am a bit confused.
    Therefore, I move that the member for Mégantic—L'Érable now be heard.

  (1645)  

     I thank the hon. member for his intervention. I did note that the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable had not started his remarks prior to the point of order.
    In this particular case, the hon. member for Central Okanagan—Similkameen—Nicola had proposed that the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable should have the opportunity to speak. Indeed, the hon. member was recognized to speak, but a different hon. member rose and took the spot.
    The issue around a member now being heard would not be applicable in a case like this. Had the hon. member indicated that another member be recognized to speak, other than the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable, perhaps the outcome would have been different. In this case, the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable was recognized; he chose not to rise in his place, and another member of the same party took that spot. In this case, the motion is not applicable.

[Translation]

    I see that the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable would like to add something on this point of order.
    Actually, Mr. Speaker, I rose to speak. Since my colleague also rose and began talking, there was some confusion. I had risen, but then sat down again to yield the floor to my colleague, who seems to have a thrilling speech prepared. However, I think it would be appropriate for me to sit back down, given that I have yielded the floor to my colleague.
    I appreciate the comments of the hon. member for Mégantic—L'Érable. In that case, the decision remains the same and we will resume debate.
    The hon. member for Sarnia—Lambton.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I said, I want to have the opportunity to comment on the things I like and do not like about the budget. I will start with the things I like.
    I was very pleased to see $11 billion for home and palliative care and mental health care. I was really pleased to hear the Minister of Health comment on that again today. With my private member's bill on palliative care coming forward, I am happy to see money in the budget that would be used in that direction.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Mégantic—L'Érable.
    Let us start with some of the things in the budget that concern me.
    First, the whole point of the budget and the Liberal campaign promises was to run a deficit to grow the economy, to get infrastructure money in place and create jobs, and so we saw a $23 billion deficit last year.
    However, the infrastructure money, according to the parliamentary budget officer, was not flowing at a very good rate, so we really did not get the growth in GDP we expected. In fact, if we look at budget 2017, it is projecting a deficit next year of $28 billion, and still the growth rate for GDP that is projected is not above what it was before we talked about spending all this money. We are spending a huge amount of money and going into a huge deficit, and it is really not producing the results we intended.
    That gives me great concern. Once we start with a structural deficit—and it appears to me that the deficit is intended to run on and on, because I think I heard the member for Saint Laurent say 2055, and it was not contradicted—we get into paying interest on it every year. It will start off with $10 billion of interest that could be used for other things, such as paying down the debt, and then it becom