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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 173

CONTENTS

Tuesday, May 9, 2017




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 173 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1000)  

[Translation]

Committees of the House

Official Languages 

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank Christine Holke, the clerk of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, and Lucie Lecomte, our analyst. I would also like to thank all of my committee colleagues, who are doing such excellent work. We work together so harmoniously. It is very special. I am grateful to my colleagues from Madawaska—Restigouche, Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix, Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, Sudbury, Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, Saint Boniface—Saint Vital, and Perth—Wellington.
    As chair of the Standing Committee on Official Languages, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the fifth report of the Standing Committee on Official Languages entitled “The Enumeration of Rights-Holders Under Section 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: Toward a Census that Supports the Charter”.
    Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[English]

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the ninth report of the Standing Committee on Health in relation to Bill S-211, An Act respecting National Sickle Cell Awareness Day. This follows the lead of the United Nations in recognizing the most common genetic disease in the world. The committee has studied the bill and has decided to report the bill back to the House with no amendment.
     I would like to thank the member of Parliament for Dartmouth—Cole Harbour and Senator Jane Cordy for sponsoring this bill and bringing it forth in such good order. I want to thank all the members of the Standing Committee on Health for their diligence and deliberation on this bill as we sought an answer.

Petitions

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions today.
    The first petition is on behalf of constituents who recognize that a joint federal-provincial environmental impact assessment concluded that the Site C dam project would severely undermine the rights of indigenous peoples, rights that are protected by Treaty 8, subsection 35(1) of the Canadian Constitution, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
    The petitioners also recognize that the Site C dam will not pass the Sparrow test, a legal litmus test for determining if a government justifiably violates first nations rights, because there is no demonstrable need for Site C power. Therefore, the undersigned residents of Canada call upon the Government of Canada to suspend all federal Site C project approvals and issuance of any further ones.
    The second petition, is on behalf of constituents who recognize that climate change is resulting in lower flow waters to the Cowichan River year after year and is posing a threat to fish and fish habitat, both of which fall under federal jurisdiction. It is necessary for sustaining its historical importance to the Cowichan peoples. Therefore, the people call upon the Government of Canada to immediately use federal funds for the raising of the Cowichan weir to a level necessary to ensure water flow sufficient to protect fish and fish habitat.

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am standing this morning to present a petition in regard to the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, which was created to ensure that the views of Canadians be heard when changes are considered to firearms policies, laws, and regulations in Canada, and that the committee, including firearms experts and representatives of the gun industry in Canada, advise the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness of those views when considering these items.
     The majority of the new members on the committee announced on March 3 have either publicly stated that they are in favour of stricter gun control or are in fact members of the Coalition for Gun Control. Only two members of this committee actually own a firearm or have a firearms background. Law-abiding target shooters, hunters, trappers, farmers, and collectors are calling on the government to increase their representation on the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee.

  (1005)  

Housing  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to present two petitions.
    The first is from residents throughout my riding on an issue that is well supported in the House. The government has announced a national housing strategy, but this petition calls for a national affordable housing program to be put in place along the lines of the resolution passed by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, looking to reform the tax system to increase benefits to developers in building purpose-built rental housing.

Agriculture  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition is on an issue that continues to concern Canadians about both domestic and global agricultural production, and that is the issue of allowing farmers to do what they have done for thousands of years, since the beginning of agriculture: the right to save their own seeds. The petitioners throughout my riding and a number of signatories from Thunder Bay call for international aid policies to support small family farmers and ensure that Canadian policies and programs are developed in consultation with small family farmers to help protect the right of those in the developing world to preserve, use, and freely exchange seeds.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

[S. O. 52]
    The Chair has notice of a request for an emergency debate from the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill.
    Mr. Speaker, I am seeking leave for adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing an important matter requiring urgent consideration pursuant to Standing Order 52. This is with regard to the dramatic increase in asylum seekers at our U.S.-Canada land border.
    Over recent months, we have seen a dramatic rise in people crossing the border illegally, and this has placed a strain on the RCMP, the CBSA, as well as provincial resources with regard to affordable housing, legal aid, and health care services. Recent reports have shown that, in 2017, we are on track to see a doubling of the number of asylum seekers in Canada. This would be an all-time record high.
    Canada is a very open and welcoming country, but we also want to make sure we have a plan in place to make sure that our borders are secure and that, for people coming to Canada seeking asylum, there is a broader plan in place with regard to resourcing. To date, we have not had a response from the government on this, and given that we are heading into the summer months and we will see an increase in this situation, which is becoming more and more urgent, I feel it is incumbent upon the House to debate this matter so that we can move on with coming up with a plan.

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the member for Calgary Nose Hill for raising this matter. However, I do not find that it meet the exigencies of the Standing Order.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

Bill C-44—Time Allocation  

    That in relation to Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures not more than one further sitting day shall be allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill; and
    That fifteen minutes before the expiry of the time provided for Government Orders on the day allotted to the consideration of the second reading stage of the said bill, any proceedings before the House shall be interrupted, if required for the purpose of this Order, and in turn every question necessary for the disposal of the said stage of the bill shall be put forthwith and successively without further debate or amendment.

  (1010)  

[Translation]

    Pursuant to Standing Order 67.1, there will now be a 30-minute question period. I invite hon. members who wish to ask questions to rise in their places so the Chair has some idea of the number of members who wish to participate in this question period.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, here we go again with another important debate being shut down. Members of Parliament who should be speaking on behalf of their constituents are being silenced by the Liberals. It is extremely frustrating, but it is also wrong.
    We have a budget implementation bill before us that is chock full of things that are going to cause a lot of problems for Canadians, never mind the increased fees for Canadians. We see that this infrastructure bank, which we should really call a Liberal bank, is going to be giving favours to billionaire friends of the Liberals, with no accountability. The taxpayer is going to be on the hook for this infrastructure bank. We also have the issue around the parliamentary budget officer being silenced.
    These are really important issues that our members of Parliament on this side would still like to speak to, and one day is not enough time. I ask the government if it would reconsider. We need more time to speak to this bill. The debate should not be shut down. This begs the question: Where is the openness? Where is the willingness to work together with opposition parties that the Liberals promised? We are not seeing it all.
    Madam Speaker, we do know that this bill has already had 39 members speak up and give their point of view. We know that includes 13 members from the Conservative Party and five New Democrats.
    We do know that members on the opposite side have brought up points that they would like us to continue to look at, points that require further study. In our view, that is something we should do. That is why we would like to get the bill to committee. We believe doing that affords us the opportunity to have those discussions in a way that will allow the bill to progress forward and make sure we can get on with the work of making sure our economy works for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I think I have the numbers straight. This is an omnibus bill, which consists of more than 300 pages. This is a bill for which we have had three days of debate, the government will say. However, it will not say that one of those days was a Wednesday, when of course we do not begin until later in the afternoon, and one was a Friday, when we had a grand total of one hour and 15 minutes of debate.
    This is the budget implementation bill. My hon. friend from the Conservatives has already pointed out that issues like the parliamentary budget officer, the infrastructure bank, and others are at issue, but so are myriad other issues, many of which have nothing to do with the budget.
    I wonder if the government could reconsider and allow us, as the opposition, to do our job for Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, again, for the member opposite, I appreciate and understand his comments. I would say that we have had 39 members in this House already speak about this bill. We do recognize that there is an important opportunity for us to continue discussions, if we can get this bill to committee.
    As mentioned, we know that there are very important things that we are trying to achieve through this budget bill, which would make a real difference for our economy. Moving forward on this will be important for Canadians. We are already seeing the impact of budget 2016 on our economy, with positive impacts on employment, positive impacts on our economy broadly.
    We want to continue to move forward with our plan to make a real difference. That is why we recognize that there has been debate already. We believe moving this bill to committee is the right thing to do at this stage, so we can hear further discussions and make sure we get this done in a way that is positive for Canadians.

  (1015)  

    Madam Speaker, I too would like to raise my concerns about the limited time we have to discuss the bill. It is 300 pages. There are some significant issues about the parliamentary budget officer, the infrastructure bank, and myriad other issues that need to be brought up. Only 39 members have spoken to the bill. It is absolutely outrageous to think that this is enough.
    There are 338 members in the House representing the ridings across this country, and it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to represent our constituents in a way that is relevant, that is transparent, and that holds the government to account. Shutting down debate on more than 300 pages of the bill is absolutely unbelievable. Canadians deserve better than that.
    I would like to ask the minister to please reconsider shutting down debate, because there are many Canadians who would really like to understand the content of the bill and the implications, because there are implications for each and every Canadian across the country. It is going to affect Canadians and their families. A lot of the money is back-ended. Things are not flowing. Infrastructure is not flowing, and I would like the minister to address this.
    Madam Speaker, I recognize that it is important that we hear from members in the House. We have had some discussion already. We have had some comments about things that require further study. We believe that sending the bill to committee is the way to get at those discussions. The measures in the bill are entirely related to our budget. They are focused on how we can make an important difference for Canadians.
     We believe that moving forward to get the bill to committee will allow us to get to that work. We know that the things we have done already in our term of office have started to have a real impact. We know that Canadians are impatient to see that continued positive impact on them and their families, the kind of things we are already seeing in terms of the positive impacts on employment, which are critically important, and the positive outcome in terms of what we are seeing in our economic growth possibilities.
     We know that 39 members have already spoken about this. We know that moving this to committee will allow us to consider the issues that have been brought up in a way that is constructive. We are anxious to get to that, because we want to work on behalf of Canadians.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would hope that the Minister of Finance is good at math, but I will simply point out to him that 39 members is 10% of the number of MPs who sit in the House.
    He was not here during the previous Parliament, but if he had been, I have to wonder how he would have reacted to the Harper government, which did exactly the same thing that he is doing, that is, limiting debate on a 300-page budget bill that amends about 30 pieces of legislation.
    How would he have reacted to the Conservative government doing exactly what he is doing right now?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank the member for her question.
    I know that having the opportunity to study our budget measures is very important. I also know that we have already heard from 39 members, as my colleague pointed out. I know that what matters now is having an opportunity to examine the points that have been identified. That is why we believe it is time to study these important matters at committee. That way, we can achieve our objective of improving the lives of Canadians as soon as possible.
    That is our goal. We think that enough time has been taken and it is now time for the committee to take over the study we have begun.

  (1020)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, this budget clearly expands on our government's ambitious plan. It continues help for the middle class, it has great support for veterans, and it strengthens our health care system. What I find particularly important is the increased family leave and the flexible benefits for parents. Being a father of two young children myself, the importance of this measure speaks volumes about where this government is heading and the compassion this government has for families and the middle class.
    I wonder if the Minister of Finance can comment on why it is important to get these measures, and the other key features in the implementation act, before a committee so we can make this the law of the land and families can benefit from the measures in Bill C-44 that will actually help Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the member for his question and speak to the comments he made. In the first instance, of course, there is an important role for the government to be empathetic to families and to recognize different family situations. However, I would like to also take this from an economic perspective.
     We see that one of the greatest challenges in our country is demographic change. We know that demographic change means that we will have challenges in terms of the percentage of the workforce that is actually working and creating the opportunity for our economy to be successful. As a result of that, we need to think about how we can get a higher level of workforce participation for segments of the population that may not be as engaged in the workforce. Therefore, we have taken measures in this budget to make sure that we have a high level of workforce participation in places where it is not as high as it could be. In fact, it has been a continuing theme of our government.
    A good example, and the one identified by the member, is women, in particular women between the ages of 25 and 54 . We have seen a flattening of workforce participation in that group. We know that by creating the kind of flexibility families need, we can help women to be more engaged in the workforce. That is an important effort in this budget. It will make a difference for families. It will make a difference for the long-term economy of our country. We need to move forward on this, because we know it is the right thing to do, and we know it will help our economy in the long run.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, just 39 members, or 12% of members, have had the chance to speak in the House to this important bill. That means that 88% of members will be muzzled by the current government and will not be able to speak to such an important bill. It makes no sense.
    Let us not forget that this is the party that promised to do away with omnibus bills. This bill is nearly 300 pages. It implements certain measures in the budget, but it also affects 30 statutes and creates two brand spanking new entities, two completely unacceptable things that have nothing to do with the budget.
    Judging by the answers we got yesterday, the Canada infrastructure bank is going to be just one more thing to please Liberal Party cronies. What is more, the government now wants to control the parliamentary budget officer. That is the worst thing that could happen. The Speaker of the Senate, who is appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada, will now have veto power over the annual work plan of the parliamentary budget officer. It is not right.
    I want to take advantage of the Minister of Finance's presence to ask him directly the questions I twice asked the government House leader, who answered on his behalf, unfortunately.
    How can such a dignified, honourable, and upstanding man stoop to doing such despicable things? This makes me think of the very popular song, Say it isn't so.
    Madam Speaker, I believe that the member asked at least three questions. I will try to answer them all.
    First, as I said, we believe that it is now time to debate our budget measures in committee. Thirty-nine people have had the opportunity to speak and I believe that we have heard some important comments. However, it is now time to study the measures in committee.
    Second, the infrastructure bank is very important to us. It will allow us to do more for Canadians and build more infrastructure across the country. As the government, it is important to be able to make very significant investments. Accordingly, we have decided to invest $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 10 years.
    Of this amount, $15 billion will be used as seed money for our infrastructure bank, which will allow us to attract investors and make more and bigger investments. That is very important. With more investment, we will create more job opportunities and a more efficient economy in the future.
    Lastly, the issue of the parliamentary budget officer is also very important. We want this office to be more effective and more independent, and that is the goal of our proposal.

  (1025)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the finance minister says he wishes the parliamentary budget officer to become more independent. I would say that the only continuing theme of the government is breaking election promises. I would remind the Liberals of what they said during the campaign. They said, “We will not interfere with the work of government watchdogs.... We will ensure that all the officers are properly funded and accountable only to Parliament, not the government of the day.” They also said they would ensure that the PBO “is truly independent, properly funded, and answerable only—and directly—to Parliament”.
     Among these 30 bills amended by this budget implementation bill is the shackling of the parliamentary budget officer.
    I would remind the government that it is not just the opposition that holds the government accountable with regard to spending. Every elected member is responsible for holding the government accountable.
    It was agreed in our committee some years back to make the parliamentary budget office reportable to Parliament, which the Liberals supported. It was a key measure to enable us to hold the government of the day accountable.
    Why is the government deciding now to break its word on its election promise? Why is it shacking the parliamentary budget officer?
    Madam Speaker, our goal is to make the parliamentary budget officer more effective and independent. We would like to strengthen the office so that it actually has the ability to do the work it needs to do.
     We have heard comments in this House. We are open to hearing those comments. That is the way we would like to move forward. We will take these comments into account as we move forward to committee. That is the way it should work.
    Our overriding intent is to make the parliamentary budget officer more effective and more independent. That is the reason we put the measures into the bill. To the extent that there are comments and ideas on how we can go further in that regard, we are open to listening to them. That is something we expect will happen at committee. That would be in line with how we would like to move forward.
    Madam Speaker, with respect to these debates about time allocation, I would have wished we could ask questions of the Government House Leader, because decisions about the way the government is proceeding and the increased use of time allocation is the House leader's area. The breakdown in relations between the House leaders of the largest three parties in this place is leading to an increased use of what I would call Harper tactics.
    Although this is not an omnibus budget bill with the weight of the egregious misuse of power we saw in Bill C-38 and Bill C-45 in 2012, this is nonetheless an omnibus budget bill, and unfortunately so. While there is a connection to the parliamentary budget officer, because “budget” is in the title, the creation of a stand-alone parliamentary budget officer as an independent officer of Parliament, as promised in the Liberal platform, is a subject of such importance that it would have been preferable to have that discussion separate from the passage of budgetary measures.
    Time allocation at this point has the effect of disadvantaging those members of Parliament who belong to parties with fewer than 12 members. Our constituents are equal. Our rights, in theory, are equal. It is disproportionately disadvantageous to members of smaller parties or independents when time allocation is used. In my view, it should be used extremely rarely. To say, as the Liberals now do, that they are using it less than Harper did is no excuse for adopting bad tactics and majority rule in a way that hurts the healthy functioning of this place.
    I would urge the government to reconsider and not apply time allocation. The Minister of Finance will tell us that it must be done, but it must not be done.

  (1030)  

    Madam Speaker, there were a few questions or comments in what she said. To start, we have talked about the fact that we believe it is time to move this bill to committee. We think that is an effective way for us to move forward to make sure that we can make a difference for Canadians.
    With respect to the parliamentary budget officer, we have also said that we believe our overriding goal is clear: we want this office to be effective and independent. We have also said that we are open to amendments, so as we move forward in committee, we are going to listen and hear potential improvements. That is something that we are open-minded to and will consider as we move forward.
    With respect to the size of the budget bill, we want to be clear that the measures in the bill are related to the budget. We are not trying to sneak things into the bill that are unrelated to the budget. We are not trying to do something that perhaps has been done in the past to get things through without due consideration. The budget bill in fact includes only measures that are related to the budget. We believe that is appropriate. That is what we committed to doing in our election campaign and that is exactly what we are delivering with this budget bill.
    Madam Speaker, I know that the minister does not excel at math, so I will do a little math for him. He said 39 members have spoken on this particular bill. When we subtract 39 from 338, it means 299 members of this House have not had a chance to speak on this particular bill.
    I also sit as the vice-chairman of the finance committee, so I would like to ask the minister if the government can assure us it will not bring closure to the finance committee as it did in the last budget. If it is going to bring closure to the House on the budget bill, let the finance committee do the work that the finance committee, as the minister says, does so well. Will he stand in this House today and assure the House that the government will not bring closure to the finance committee's work?
    Madam Speaker, if the hon. member chooses, I would happily go into a math competition with him at the time of his choosing, if that is in fact what he is challenging me on. I have no problems with that. I would suggest that maybe we could do more than addition and subtraction; we might want to use even more complicated tactics than that.
    With respect to his question, we have made it pretty clear that we are working on behalf of Canadians. We know it is important that members have the opportunity in this House to speak on their point of view. We have heard from 39 members. We do believe that moving the bill to committee is important. As the hon. member knows, I am not responsible for the finance committee, so I am not in any way able to dictate the terms under which that committee works. That is not my responsibility.
    What I can say is that we respect the importance of the finance committee. We know, as I have mentioned, that there have been some comments in particular with respect to the parliamentary budget officer. I have said clearly that we are open to amendments. If there are constructive ways in which we can improve on our goal of making sure that the parliamentary budget officer is effective and independent, that is something that we will be able to listen to. I look forward to that. With respect to the workings of the finance committee, I will leave that to the finance committee.

  (1035)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, someone who is wiser than I once said, “Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.”
    Bill C-44 is not just any bill. It is a bill that clips the wings of the parliamentary budget officer, makes it easier for foreigners to acquire Canadian companies, and creates an infrastructure bank that will cost taxpayers a lot of money, while making a big profit for the finance minister's friends on Bay Street.
    This bill also eliminates the public transit tax credits that helped ordinary Canadians. It raises taxes for wine producers and microbreweries.
    I cannot understand how the Minister of Finance can say that a day and a half of debate is enough for parliamentarians to do their work on a bill that amends no less than 30 laws. The Liberal government has a lot of nerve saying that.
    Why does the finance minister have such disdain and contempt for the rights of parliamentarians?
    Madam Speaker, as I said, we think it is very important to consider the items included in our budget. We have already heard from 39 members, which is a significant number.
    As the member said, we think that the budget contains important things for Canadians, things that will help to improve our situation and our economic growth. That is why we want to continue moving forward so that we can accomplish the things we want to accomplish.
    We think that it is time for the committee to examine the bill. That is the next step, and it is an important one. We think that now is the time to do that.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, on almost every one of his answers, the Minister of Finance has commented that they want to move the matter into the finance committee so these matters can be properly studied. The difficulty is that the finance committee has sent off letters to four, possibly five, committees asking them to review the issues pertaining to their particular committees.
    In the immigration committee, for example, there are a number of issues in the budget implementation bill that affect immigration. The immigration committee, through the majority of the Liberal voters, has said it does not want to study it, so the matter is not going to be studied in the immigration committee, and I do not believe it is going to be studied in the finance committee. Therefore, my question for the finance minister is this: why is the PMO, or whoever is giving instructions to the committees, saying that the committees will not review these matters?
    Madam Speaker, this morning we have had the opportunity to ask the same question on numerous occasions about the process that we are going through. We have heard from 39 members. We have heard 13 from the Conservative Party and five from the New Democratic Party. We know that there are going to be considerations at the finance committee level. We believe it will have the input to make those recommendations back to us. We believe it is time to move forward on this matter. We recognize that what we need to do in terms of our overall goal is to move forward on things that can make a real difference for our economy. That is our government's record. The record so far has shown that the things we have done are having the positive impact on our economy that we had hoped. It is clear.
    For those people who are not paying attention to the numbers, unemployment has gone down. We have gone from 7.1% to 6.5%. Growth has gone up. That is what we are seeing as the positive outcomes. We are looking forward to continuing to have that opportunity.
    Madam Speaker, could the Minister of Finance provide a brief comment with regard to the tax that has been applied to Uber? I want to bring it up because in Winnipeg the taxi industry has provided so much. They are great ambassadors for our city. There are all sorts of things they have to do as small businesses, one being to pay taxes. Perhaps he could provide some comment on why it was necessary to put on that particular tax.

  (1040)  

    Madam Speaker, in the case of ride-sharing services, it is important to have an even playing field. We want to make sure that when someone decides to get into a taxi or some sort of ride-sharing situation, they are on an equal playing field. Putting the GST in place for ride-sharing services was the right thing to do from a fairness standpoint. It keeps intact the integrity of our tax system and makes sure we have an appropriate way of dealing with the new economy.

[Translation]

     It is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith the question necessary to dispose of the motion now before the House.

[English]

     The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): In my opinion the nays have it.
    And five or more members having risen:
    The Assistant Deputy Speaker (Mrs. Carol Hughes): Call in the members.

  (1120)  

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

(Division No. 265)

YEAS

Members

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

Total: -- 173

NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Brown
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Eglinski
Falk
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Masse (Windsor West)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Rankin
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saganash
Sansoucy
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Strahl
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 123

PAIRED

Members

Foote
Moore

Total: -- 2

    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

Second Reading  

    The House resumed from May 5 consideration of the motion that Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    I wish to inform the House that, because of the proceedings on the time allocation motion, government orders will be extended by nine minutes.

[English]

    The hon. member for Saint Boniface—Saint Vital has six minutes remaining in his speech.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my riding had the honour of a visit from the Prime Minister for a highly anticipated announcement about day cares.

[English]

    About one month ago, my riding had the pleasure of welcoming the Prime Minister for a long-awaited announcement on child care. The purpose of the visit was to draw attention to our long-term funding commitment to child care. The $7 billion 10-year time frame will support and create more high-quality, affordable child care spaces across our great country.
    Over the next three years, these investments will increase the number of child care spaces for low and modest income families by supporting up to 40,000 new subsidized child care spaces. This is incredibly important for Manitoba, the province I represent, because more than 14,000 children are on waiting lists for licensed child care spaces.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    Parents who want to return to work need to have quality, affordable, safe day care options.

[English]

    While creating child care spaces is incredibly important, we need to ensure we have long-term funding, which is equally important. Our government has committed to be a long-term partner, with the provinces, by providing 10-year funding for the spaces created by our initial investment. This is a stable, responsible, and long-term investment by our government for middle-class families.

[Translation]

    I would also remind the House that early childhood was one of the priorities identified by official language minority communities during the Standing Committee on Official Languages' study.
    It is also a priority for indigenous communities across the country.

[English]

    I would also like to talk about the historic health care agreements reached between Ottawa and the provinces and territories, with the exception of Manitoba.
    Just as there are changes occurring in the workplace, the demands for our health care system are changing. Our government has clearly indicated a willingness to partner with the provinces to bring about transformational changes to meet the health care needs of Canadians.

[Translation]

    Our priority should always be the well-being of Canadians and making sure that the care available is equitable and universal.

[English]

    The question is how best to invest in the future.
     Across the country, governments are trying to find ways to adapt to our population's needs for today and tomorrow. Research has shown that receiving better in-home care provides greater benefit to one's overall well-being. That is why our government is investing in better home care and better mental health initiatives that will help families that need it most. There are $6 billion of new money over 10 years for better home care and $5 billion of new money over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. This is over and above a 3% annual increase for the provinces and territories that sign on for better medical services. These targeted investments will strengthen Canada's publicly funded universal health care system and address key health care priorities over the long term. It is what we have heard from Canadians.
    The final point I want to highlight is the very important measures we are taking to advance reconciliation with indigenous peoples. This is an issue of particular importance in Manitoba. I am extremely proud of the progress our government has made since the election. For example, as I speak, $58 million are currently being invested in 24 first nations in Manitoba to prevent and address long-term drinking water advisories and improve the capacity and reliability of water and waste water systems. Of these 24 projects currently occurring in Manitoba, one is in the feasibility stage, 10 are in the design stage, and 13 are at the construction stage. These are critical investments toward our goal of ending all long-term drinking water advisories in first nation communities across our country.
    In addition, budget 2017 builds on last year's historic investments for indigenous communities. We are investing over $3.4 billion over the next five years in first nations, Inuit, and Métis health infrastructure to strengthen indigenous communities, education and training, and measures to promote language and cultural revitalization.
    As a proud Métis, I am particularly happy to see that the Métis National Council and its five provincial federations, including the Manitoba Metis Federation, will receive $85 million over five years to help build governance capacity.

[Translation]

    As a proud Métis, I am very pleased with the $85 million in funding over five years for the Métis National Council and the five provincial federations, including the Manitoba Metis Federation, to support and strengthen their governance capacity.

  (1130)  

[English]

    This is another important recognition of the Métis nation in Canada and another step toward reconciliation.
    That is a brief recap of budget 2017. It responds to many of the top issues we have heard, which have been raised by my constituents during many meetings over many months. However, there is much more I can go on about.
    There are $90 million over five years to enhance and preserve indigenous languages. There are infrastructure dollars. There are $16 billion over four years to support clean tech, as well as dollars for Lake Winnipeg.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is from the Prairies, and one of the changes in the budget was the elimination of grain tickets. In the farming industry, the availability of that type of program for expenses and revenue over two years in agriculture is a very temperamental thing with Mother Nature, as farmers found out again this winter. It was a great tool for farmers to use, but this budget would remove it. Although the government says farmers can consult, it gave a rationale for taking it out. It says farmers can consult, but the government has already given its rationale that the Canadian Wheat Board does not exist any more. When I talk to farmers, they say this has nothing to with marketing their grain and averaging their income and expenses.
    The hon. member may want to respond, as he is from the Prairies, on the grain ticket issue in the budget.
    I can tell you, Madam Speaker, that the agricultural industry is incredibly important for Manitoba and Canada. That is why we believe it is equally important to innovate, modernize, and do things in a better way. We have budgeted over $1 billion over four years to support clean technology in agriculture to address the very issues that the hon. member speaks of. In agriculture, energy, mining, forestry, and fishing, we are committed to modernize, look at innovations, and improve our systems in budget 2017.
    Madam Speaker, in budget 2017, the government promised greater access to mental health, wellness, and suicide prevention services for indigenous young people. It did this without designating the actual program investments that are desperately needed in their communities. These are encouraging words to read in a federal budget, but they are meaningless for the young people who are without the community supports that are only possible with actual program investments.
    Where will the funding come from for mental health counselling for youth, traditional healing programs, culture, recreation, and language programs? Important for the people in my riding of Courtenay—Alberni, when will these investments find their way to remote and isolated communities? I know the member cares deeply about this issue. I know that this is a high priority for the Nuu-chah-nulth people in my riding.
    Perhaps the member could speak to how this will get to communities. This is urgent and a high priority for the people in my riding.
    Madam Speaker, I agree with the hon. member. There is nothing more important than our relationship with indigenous peoples. Mental health is clearly a priority in the budget. We have tabled extra dollars, new dollars, not repurposed dollars, for mental health with the provinces that sign on. No government in recent memory has invested in indigenous communities the way this government has over the last two years. That is simply a fact. There were $9 billion in new money last year, over $5 billion in new money this year, and that is over and above what is in the line items in the departments. It is not a sleight of hand that governments often do, calling it new money but taking it from somewhere else. These are new dollars.
    In my province, there are $58 million being spent, as I speak, on water treatment systems and clean water for indigenous communities, and that is not enough. We know there is more work to do. We have to do a better job, and we are committed to doing it.

  (1135)  

    Madam Speaker, on March 22, our government delivered its second budget and today I rise to talk about the ways in which budget 2017 is meeting the needs of my riding of Sudbury and, indeed, all of northern Ontario.
    Budget 2017 continues on our government's plan to strengthen the middle class, the heart of Canada's and Sudbury's economies, and makes responsible investments. These will provide Canadians and Sudburians with good, well-paying jobs and opportunities in our new innovative economy. Budget 2017 makes smart investments to help adult workers retrain and upgrade their skills, adapt to changes in the new economy, and help young people get the skills and work experience they need to start their careers.

[Translation]

    Budget 2017 invests in seniors and in youth.
    We are investing in social housing, as well as making investments to support our veterans and first nations. These kinds of investments are needed for communities like Sudbury, which has achieved some measure of success.

[English]

    For starters, budget 2017 provides a further $25 million in core funding for FedNor, the federal economic development agency for northern Ontario, over the next five years. The increase will boost FedNor's base budget to $46 million a year, reversing years of budget cuts.
    Last fall, I worked with my colleague, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North, to draft a growth strategy for northern Ontario. One of the things we heard loud and clear was that northerners want a budget increase for FedNor. They want to reverse years of Conservative government cutbacks. The recommendation to increase FedNor's budget was also supported by our northern Ontario caucus.

[Translation]

    I was very pleased to see that our recommendation was taken into account in the budget and that our growth plan for northern Ontario is moving forward.

[English]

    This is just the start of the good news, because there is a lot more for northern Ontario.
    We are very pleased that budget 2017 is advancing Canada's efforts to build a clean economy. It is investing almost $22 billion in green infrastructure, including initiatives that will support the implementation of a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. Sudburians understand that a strong economy and a clean environment go hand in hand.
    As I have said in this chamber many times before, my riding of Sudbury is an established global leader in the innovation of mining and of mining technology.

[Translation]

    Sudbury has built quite a reputation. We are leaders in the mining sector. Our methods are more effective and proven than those anywhere else in the world.

[English]

    Sudbury companies have been providing clean tech solutions to mining challenges for a generation, and now we are marketing these clean tech solutions all over the world. Today, Sudbury's mining and clean tech cluster consists of more than 300 companies. They employ almost 14,000 skilled workers and experts. Sudbury alone generates approximately $4 billion in revenue each year.
    Increasingly, these mining supply and services companies are testing international waters. They are making inroads in the United States, Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Russia. The Sudbury companies behind these projects are using innovation to drive economic and environmental benefits. They are using innovation to create jobs and help strengthen this vital economic engine for Canada. They strengthen Canada's middle class in the process.

[Translation]

    I want to share something that makes me even prouder: our government believes in the potential and power of green technologies, which create jobs and fuel innovation.

[English]

    The global market for clean technologies is already more than $1 trillion per year and it is growing. It is creating well-paying, secure jobs for Canadians. Clean technology has contributed to the fight against climate change and it makes our economy more sustainable. I am proud that our government understands this potential.
    This is why our recent budget makes significant investments in clean technology, including $200 million in support of clean technology research in Canada's natural resources sector, $12 million for a clean growth hub that will improve access to federal resources in labs for Canadian entrepreneurs and innovators, and more than $14 million to track our progress so we can report to Canadians. Canadian companies are capturing their share of the emerging global market for mining innovation in clean technology, and we support their efforts. We support them from waste management to biofuels to greener solutions for the oil and gas industry.
    This is just the beginning of what budget 2017 means for Sudbury and northern Ontario.
    Almost 10% of Sudbury's population is indigenous. There are several dozen first nations communities in northern Ontario, including some of the most remote communities in Canada. Budget 2017 includes a $4-billion investment into on-reserve infrastructure. This much needed investment will provide housing, health centres, and water treatment systems to communities that need them the most. As well, first nations people living off reserve will have access to a $225-million investment over the next 11 years. These investments will go toward needed repairs, renewals, rental subsidies, and new construction. These are important investments being made in first nations communities across northern Ontario.
    Already this year, I have had the privilege of announcing $10 million for seniors' health and children's welfare for first nations people in northern Ontario. On top of that, on behalf of the Minister of Health, I was pleased to announced a $1-million investment to support the work of two top researchers in the Health Sciences North Research Institute at Laurentian University.

  (1140)  

[Translation]

    Their work will focus on finding new ways to address two serious challenges, specifically aging and dementia in first nations, Inuit, and Métis populations.

[English]

    As well, I was proud to stand with the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to announce an investment of more than $9 million to help first nations in northern Ontario raise their children in healthy and safe environments.
    Our government will invest more than $11 billion under its new national housing strategy. These investments cover initiatives designed to build, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing. They will ensure that Canadians have adequate and affordable housing to meet their needs. This includes $225 million to improve housing conditions for indigenous peoples, as I have just said.
    Through budget 2017, our government is advancing reconciliation as well with the indigenous peoples. It is advancing reconciliation through investments in infrastructure and first nations and Inuit health, through actions to strengthen indigenous communities, funding to support education and training, and measures to promote language and culture.

[Translation]

    What I heard most often when I was going door to door before the 2015 election is that Sudburians wanted their federal government to start investing in social housing again. Our government heard that message. Our government has taken the necessary steps and is showing leadership on this.

[English]

    In fact, housing is the largest single commitment in budget 2017. Our government's commitment is to rebuild, renew, and repair Canada's stock of affordable housing, and we will do that. Those initiatives include responses to indigenous housing crises on and off reserve. It is also promising more money for the provinces and municipal partners to spend on their own housing priorities.
    Our government will create a new pooled investment fund that would pool resources among many housing partners, including the private sector. The fund would also expand an existing lending facility for municipalities and for the construction of new affordable housing.
    One of the first things I did as an MP was to meet a number of housing service providers in Sudbury. I was shocked to learn that the Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation alone has a backlog of deferred maintenance of more than $10 million. The corporation also has an ambitious energy management plan. The plan would retrofit most of the properties to make them more sustainable, energy efficient, and comfortable. A $3-million investment would pay itself back in 20 years. These are exactly the kinds of projects our government needs to be investing in, and I want to help get these off the ground in Sudbury.
    There is so much more in budget 2017 to support middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join the middle class.
    There is help for unemployed people to access the training and employment support they need. Budget 2017 boosts the federal support by almost $3 billion over the next six years.

[Translation]

    For the people of Sudbury looking for work, this means more chances to update their skills, gain experience, or get help to start their businesses. It also means more support, such as job counselling, for planning their career.

[English]

    In addition, we are identifying skills gaps with employers and exploring new and innovative approaches to skills development with the provinces. Adult students can face challenges in pursuing learning. Part-time students from Sudbury, as well as adult students with dependent children, will be eligible for Canada student grants. This means more non-repayable assistance for adult learners and workers. It will help them manage the high cost of post-secondary education. It will help them in balancing the financial pressures of raising a family.
    As a tax lawyer, I understand the importance of a fair and equitable tax system. Our government has committed to undertake a wide-ranging review of tax expenditures. The review's objective is to eliminate poorly targeted and inefficient tax measures. The review will allow our government to identify opportunities to reduce tax benefits that unfairly benefit the wealthiest Canadians.
    Under budget 2017, we are making changes to simplify the tax system by making existing tax relief for individuals and families more effective and accessible. For example, since our new Canada child benefit was implemented, more than 7,400 families in Sudbury alone have benefited from increased payments.

  (1145)  

[Translation]

    It is quite the investment for families in Sudbury.

[English]

    The other side of the taxation coin is collections. When some choose not to pay their fair share of taxes, it places an unfair burden on the tax system, and on other Canadians.
    Those are only some of the measures that are in the budget. I will take any questions on it, because I am so proud of the budget, which is investing in Sudburians and Canadians across Canada.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague mentioned many times how proud he is of the budget.
    He mentioned child care. While there were billions announced in the budget, 70% of the new money will not be spent until after 2022. There is only $10 million for the entire country this year for affordable housing. Also, nearly $4 billion of the $5 billion is not going to be spent until after 2022. In fact, there is no new funding in 2017-18 for early learning and child care, homelessness, home care, housing, research, northern housing, and indigenous programs.
    I wonder if he could explain why he is so proud of the budget.
    Madam Speaker, what I am very proud of is these are long-term investments. This is not short term. We are not looking at the next few years. We are looking over 10 years. These are long-term investments that families need. When we invest in housing, we cannot just do it over a number of years. It takes a long time to implement, to make sure the money gets on the ground, and it is done well.
    With respect to families, I have been hearing from them at the doors, right now, that the child tax benefit is life-changing for them.
    That is why I am so proud of these investments. Again, these are not short term. They are long-term investments in Canadians.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about first nations and investments in indigenous peoples. The government said that the most important relationship is working nation-to-nation with indigenous people. It also promised to stop fighting indigenous people in court.
    The member said that he is getting funding in his riding, and I appreciate hearing that. I will tell the House what it is like in my riding. The Huu-ay-aht were awarded $13.8 million through the special claims tribunal decision for breaches of duty Canada committed between 1948 to 1969. Instead of going with the decision made by the special claims tribunal, the government decided to appeal that decision. The Nuu-chah-nulth have been fighting in the courts for a decade over their right to catch and sell fish, a right that we already know they have. The government has lost repeatedly. The case was thrown out by the Supreme Court twice.
    The Conservatives' strategy was that of appeal and delay. The Liberal government is taking that same approach in dealing with indigenous peoples. Is this the reconciliation the member is talking about?
    Maybe the member could talk about how much the government has budgeted to fight indigenous people in court, because I would like to know what those costs are.
    Madam Speaker, talking about reconciliation, we have invested record amounts with our first nations. It is a long-term relationship that we need to build back. There is no doubt that our past relationship is not something to be proud of, but it is important for us to build the relationship back again. It will not happen overnight. It is a long-term investment. It is a strong change that we need to make happen together. That is why in northern Ontario we have received investments first-hand. These investments are a start not an end. They are a start to reconciliation.
    Madam Speaker, housing is a pressing issue in my riding of Scarborough Centre. Affordable housing is increasingly limited and in poor shape. It is our job to make sure we do not pass this infrastructure debt on to our future generations.
    Could the hon. member tell me how budget 2017 will help to resolve this issue?
    Madam Speaker, one of the first things I did when I was elected in 2015 was to take stock of where we were with respect to the housing issue in Sudbury and northern Ontario. This issue is across the board. It is not just a northern Ontario thing, not just a Toronto thing. It is an issue across Canada. That is why I was so proud to see, in the last budget, historic investments in housing. However, again, it cannot happen overnight. It is just not a one-time hit. We need to invest over a long period of time, say over the next 10 years. People need to be assured that there is stable funding for housing to make a difference in the middle class and those working hard to join it.
    I hear my colleague loud and clear. These investments are important. They will make a big difference in my riding and across Canada.

  (1150)  

    Madam Speaker, I really do appreciate the opportunity to participate today. I consider myself fortunate because I am going to be one of probably some 50 members of this House who are going to be able to stand and speak to the budget, because of the government invoking closure. That means that some 289 members are not going to get a chance to speak on behalf of their constituents on this budget. We certainly feel in the opposition that it is unfair. After the Liberals campaigned on openness, transparency, not using closure, and not bringing forward omnibus bills, we see where all of those promises have gotten us.
    I want to take a few minutes to address a few of the issues in the budget. After the Minister of Finance delivered the budget, I was asked by the media in Calgary for my comments. I said it was a Seinfeld budget, a budget about nothing. Yesterday, the finance committee had Department of Finance officials before it to start to go through the budget division by division. One of the things that became quickly apparent was that I was wrong. It is not a budget about nothing; it is a budget about tax increases and the removal and rescinding of a number of tax incentives that exist.
    I want to focus, on behalf of the constituents of Calgary Signal Hill, on some of the taxation measures in this budget document. I know there are other issues that, if one had more time, one could certainly debate. I know some of my colleagues have already debated the division around removing the independence of the parliamentary budget officer. I know we are going to have a debate around the infrastructure bank, so I will leave those to other speakers.
    I want to talk about some tax measures and the removal of a tax credit, which is really unfortunate. First, let me talk about the rescinding of the transit pass credit that the Conservative government brought in a number of years ago. The government likes to talk about the middle class and those who are attempting to join it. If there ever was a tax relief that appealed to either the middle class or those hoping to join the middle class, it was this tax credit on the transit pass. It is only $250 for the average user of a transit pass across the country, but that is not that one per cent on whom the government keeps saying it is increasing the taxes. That is a direct tax on Canada's working people and those who use public transit. I know that the bureaucrats have told the minister that this is just a nuisance for them to administer. We have to assume that the government is going to take the advice of the bureaucrats and not listen to working Canadians, who every day try to get to work on our transit systems, and not give them that tax credit. I think it is deplorable, quite frankly.
    The second tax measure that is not in this budget bill, but was raised by the minister and is going to be taking place, is the reduction in the petroleum drilling incentives grant that has been in existence for a number of years. I was told yesterday at the finance committee that there will probably be some future consultations and it will appear in the fall budget bill. I would like to be part of those consultations today.
    I represent a riding in Alberta that has taken the hit of the downturn in oil prices globally. Recently, with the uptick in oil prices, we have had an opportunity for a number of companies that are in the exploration business to resume drilling activities, which is putting Albertans back to work. With the removal of this drilling incentive, many of those drilling companies are going to do one of two things: they are going to take that drilling rig and park it back in the yard, or they are going to take it across the border and drill in the United States where the incentives and the bottom line are much better.

  (1155)  

    The government can talk all it wants about creating jobs, but if it wants to create jobs in Alberta, removing this incentive is not a way to do it. If the government is listening and it is not part of the budget bill, I would strongly encourage the government to back off on this initiative before bringing forward its budget bill in the fall.
    I know that a number of members have commented on and have raised this issue, having heard from their constituents regarding the increase in what is described as sin tax by governments, the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes. It is hard to argue against an increase in sin taxes; however, what the government needs to take into account is the spinoff effect of the increase in alcohol taxes.
    The Canadian restaurant association has been very public about saying that it was blindsided by this, and it is going to significantly impact small businesses in this country. Again, I am an Alberta representative, and we have an Alberta government that has been hammering the same industry with increases in sin taxes and minimum wage, and a carbon tax. Now the federal government loads on additional taxes. Small businesses involved in the restaurant industry, not to mention those in the wine and beer industry, are clearly going to feel the impact of this.
    During their campaign, the Liberals promised to reduce small business taxes. In fact, they did that to match what the other parties were saying, and then once they formed government, they reneged on that promise. Now they are hitting small businesses with this additional tax.
    Those are just three areas, because I have limited time. I want to focus a little on one other chilling aspect of the budget document. In committee yesterday we were going through the budget implementation bill. There is an important division to which I would draw all members' attention: part 4, division 2, under the title “Public Debt”, “Enactment of Borrowing Authority Act”. What this particular division does is allow the government to go out and borrow up to a maximum. This particular bill, and it is right here in the bill, allows the government to borrow up to $1.3 trillion. We are talking trillions here.
    That covers the current debt, which is almost $700 billion today. It covers some $275 billion in debt that crown corporations have incurred. Then there is a bunch of provisions in there, the differential of some $300 billion for future debt and also for a contingency fund.
    Let us just take a minute and talk about our debt situation. The member for Louis-Saint-Laurent has asked the Minister of Finance on numerous occasions—I think it is up to 25 or 30 times—when we are going to balance the budget. He refuses to answer that question. We have to assume that he is refusing to answer the question because his finance officials were correct when, the day before Christmas, they released a document that said we will not balance the budget until 2055.
    What does that mean to Canadians? First of all, it means that we currently pay $25 billion a year in interest payments alone, and that is only going to go up. What does that mean to an individual Canadian? It means that each Canadian owes $17,563, and it means that, in the 10 minutes that I have been speaking, our debt has gone up by another $0.5 million. That is the seriousness of this particular strategy of the federal government.
    I could go on for quite some time, but while I am up, I also want to put my stake in the ground, as the member for Bow River has done. Within the budget, the federal government has said it is going to consult on the proposed tax changes for the farming community. If this is the consultation process, let us be on the record to say that, clearly, this is not something that the federal government should be doing. I hope that when it comes forward in the fall, common sense will prevail and this is one that it will back off on, along with the petroleum drilling incentive that it is planning to cancel.

  (1200)  

    I will sum up with one—
    The member will be able to sum up during questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about jobs in the natural resources industry, and I would like to put a challenge to him. In a year and a half, this government was able to not only put in place a process that would take both the environment and economics into consideration in the development of pipelines, but we were also successful at getting pipelines to tidewater. Something the Harper government failed to do in over 10 years we were able to do in a year and a half.
    The member made reference to the small business tax, along with small businesses. I would be interested in his thoughts on that. Liberals and the minister have recognized that small business is the backbone of Canada's economy, and one thing we did through a middle-class tax cut was put hundreds of millions of dollars into the pockets of Canadians, thereby allowing a higher amount of disposal income. That means more consumer spending in small businesses.
    Would he not agree that by putting more money into the pockets of Canadians, we are in fact supporting Canada's small businesses?
    Mr. Speaker, I challenge the member to come to Alberta during the summer break. I will take him to Bruderheim and ask him to show me where those two pipelines actually start. There is no shovel in the ground.
    The federal government has given approval, which was already given by the National Energy Board, and it cancelled the one that was ready for construction that the Conservative government had approved, called “northern gateway”.
    Be careful what you ask for, Mr. MP.
    I would remind hon. members to direct their commentary to the Chair. We try to avoid going into the second person mode in the House. Members should try to be mindful of that.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Cowichan—Malahat—Langford.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the member comparing this bill to a Seinfeld show. That can also be used to describe the government's legislative agenda for the spring so far. The government said we have had several days to debate this bill and completely ignored the fact that two of those days were a Wednesday and a Friday, for a grand total of an hour and 15 minutes on that one particular day.
    I think the government is looking at the fact that we are in May and is getting quite worried, which why we are operating under the yoke of time allocation. This is all by the government's own doing. Liberals played games in the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs by not agreeing with the opposition and their entire legislative agenda for this term has been a train wreck, but it is all their own doing.
    Would the member agree with me and maybe provide further illustrations of the Liberals' wrecked legislative agenda?
    Mr. Speaker, I could not agree more, and it scares me when I agree 100% with the member from the island, but I totally agree.
    I think there is one factor at work here. I think the government wants to get this legislation passed and get out of here as quickly as it can, because it knows it is under attack and that the Ethics Commissioner is about to release her report on the Prime Minister's ill-fated Christmas vacation. The government is using closure, and I believe it will use it again in the finance committee, because when the member for Gatineau sat on the finance committee in the last go-round, he put forward a closure motion, so at the next finance committee meeting, I am expecting the member for Vaughan—Woodbridge to bring forward a closure motion.

  (1205)  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully and would like the member to perhaps elaborate on the nature of the government's election campaign, in which it promised a one-time stimulatory deficit to fund real infrastructure. It won the election on that promise and on the promise to quickly return to a balanced budget. It completely abandoned these promises and has given us a structural deficit that will last until 2055. It is outrageous.
    Mr. Speaker, what is even more outrageous is that most of those infrastructure dollars that have been budgeted are sitting there. They are not actually being deployed into communities. I cannot name one project in southwest Calgary that has been funded by the government that is under way. What is happening right now is that monies that the Conservative government allocated for things like the ring road are being used and the projects are actually taking place, and the Liberals are taking the credit.
    Mr. Speaker, it is my distinct pleasure to rise in this House to speak to budget 2017 and to talk about the positive impacts it will have in my riding of Brampton West.
    Before I begin, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Finance for putting forward a budget that continues to help middle-class families and those working hard to join it. It builds on our ambitious last budget, and I have seen first-hand the impacts it has had on families in Brampton West and right across Canada.
    One of the first things we did as a government was to lower taxes on our middle class and raise taxes for the top 1%.
    Our Canada child benefit has helped thousands of families in my riding of Brampton West. I hear this constantly from my constituents, who have benefited from this policy. It has helped them enrol their children in summer camps or even put food on their table. This is real change.
    Budget 2017 is the next step in our government's ambitious plan to make smart investments that will create jobs, grow our economy, and provide more opportunities for middle-class Canadians. I will focus on three aspects of the budget that are very important to my riding of Brampton West: health care, especially mental health and a caregiver tax credit; housing; and, finally, our youth.
    I would like to speak about a particular family I met in my constituency office a few months ago, the Dhillon family. They were going through a very pressing time. They were extremely stressed, knowing that Mr. Dhillon's aging mother needed constant care. They told me that Mr. Dhillon had to quit his job so he could provide support to his mother in her deteriorating state. The cost of one income-earner not being able to work was great. We are seeing a similar situation today with families all across Canada.
    Providing support to families in this situation is crucial. As a registered nurse and as the member of Parliament for Brampton West, I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes these extremely important challenges and takes action. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $6 billion over 10 years to provide Canadians with improved access to home, community, and palliative care services, as well as more support for caregivers. This means that more people will get the care they need in their homes and that more families will be getting more support from their government.
    Right now Canadians who are caring for loved ones face a caregiver credit system that is very complex and difficult for families to navigate, so we have simplified it by introducing the Canada caregiver credit. This new non-refundable credit would provide greater support to those in need and would 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 and will support families struggling to take care of their loved ones. I know how significant this investment is for families like the Dhillon family in my community.
    Another reality that is far too true in our community and our country is the lack of support systems for mental health. I had the opportunity to participate on a ride-along with a Peel police officer in Brampton West last summer. During the one-night shift, we did about 15 calls, and 11 of those calls were related to mental health. That is a sad reality in our communities.
    While great strides have been made to improve our understanding of mental illness and its impact on people's lives, wait times to see a mental health specialist in certain regions of our country can range up to 18 months. That is just completely unacceptable. That is why I am extremely proud of budget 2017, which will invest $5 billion over 10 years to support mental health initiatives. These investments will have a significant impact in Brampton West and all across Canada. Improved access to mental health supports will result in improved health outcomes and shorter wait times for hundreds of thousands of Canadians.
    We know this is just a start, and I would like to thank my colleague, the hon. Minister of Health, for the leadership she has shown on these very important issues.
    I would like to now address how budget 2017 will improve access for Canadians to housing that is safe and affordable. It is an issue I hear about almost constantly in my constituency office. The rising cost of housing in Brampton results in many people not having access to adequate housing.

  (1210)  

    The wait time in order to get access to a subsidized unit within the Region of Peel is currently seven and a half years, which is one of the longest wait times in Ontario. I hear about seniors not being able to afford housing because they live on a fixed income. I hear about low-income families not being able to access social housing because of the long wait times, as I just stated.
    I need to reiterate that all Canadians need and deserve housing that is safe and affordable. Without it, Canadians feel less secure, making it harder to accomplish every other goal, from raising healthy children to pursuing education to getting good jobs and opportunities.
    Budget 2017 would make a historic investment of $11.2 billion over 11 years to build, renew, and repair Canada's affordable housing and to ensure that all Canadians have their housing needs met. This would include $5 billion that would go toward our new national housing fund to address housing issues in our cities, including co-op housing.
    An additional $2.1 billion over the next 11 years would go toward a homelessness prevention strategy, working with communities across the country to combat homelessness and to provide support to mitigate underlying issues that lead to homelessness.
    Finally I would like to turn toward an issue that is very close to my heart, our youth.
     I am very proud of our Brampton West youth council, which continues to advocate for issues that are important for the youth in my community. One of the issues that it has continued to raise is about uncertainty about the future, about lack of support to pay for college or university and then about finding good, well-paying jobs after their education.
    I am also very proud to report that Brampton will be home to a new Ryerson University campus soon. That is why investments in post-secondary education are essential to my community in Brampton West.
     Budget 2017 is investing in post-secondary education, making it more accessible and affordable, building the skills for tomorrow, and helping youth gain the work experience that they need to succeed.
    We are investing $12.5 million over six years for a pilot project to explore new ways to increase awareness for the Canada learning bond and to reduce barriers to access among low-income families.
    We are also investing $59.8 million over four years and $17 million per year ongoing to expand eligibility for Canada student loans and grants for students in part-time studies to help even more students qualify for student financial assistance.
    To build the skills of tomorrow, we are committing $10.8 million over five years for hands-on learning experiences to introduce diverse groups of young Canadians to the power and potential of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, as well as investing $50 million over two years for a program to provide coding and digital skills education to more young Canadians.
    To help youth gain work experience, there will be an investment of $395 million over three years in the youth employment strategy for additional employment and skills development opportunities for our youth. These investments will ensure that our youth are able to access every opportunity possible now and in the future. I am extremely proud of that.
    These are just some of the initiatives in budget 2017 that will have a significant impact in my community of Brampton West. I am very proud of our government, our finance minister, and our Prime Minister, who really listened to Canadians and put forward a budget that has taken steps to address the real challenges and issues that every Canadian faces every day.
    I am proud to support this budget on behalf of the constituents of Brampton West and I hope that my hon. colleagues from across the country will do the same.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am not sure the member was in the House this morning when the Minister of Finance was giving his rationale as to why the Liberals needed to invoke closure on the budget bill. One of his reasons was that Canadians are becoming impatient and want to see this budget take effect. I would have to say that Canadians are not impatient but are actually extremely apprehensive.
     The middle class and those working hard to join it know that they are facing greater debt because of the actions of the current government. They know that their Canada child benefit, which is supposedly more, is actually outweighed now by the loss of tax credits, the increase in taxes on small business, and the increase in fees. They know that the tax break for middle-income Canadians that was done on the backs of the wealthy 1%, which was supposed to be revenue-neutral, is costing taxpayers $1 billion annually. Therefore, they are very concerned about the budget. They are apprehensive, not impatient.
    There are the controls on the parliamentary budget officer, concerns about the infrastructure bank, commitments to DND that are now in the air so that we do not see where the money is, and now, $1.3 trillion in borrowing. How will this budget impact the apprehension of Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague asked many questions. I will try to summarize, as I did in my speech, all the significant steps our government is taking to address the real challenges Canadians are facing every day and how badly we need these changes implemented so that my constituents in Brampton West, and Canadians all across the country, can benefit.
     Again, I encourage all members in this House to vote in favour of our budget. That is what Canadians expect of us. That is what Canadians elected us to do. We will continue to work extremely hard for all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    However, I cannot understand why the Liberal government is imposing closure on an omnibus that is full of bad news for Canadians.
    I would like someone to explain the Liberals' change in strategy. During the election, they said it was the right time to borrow money to invest in our public infrastructure now that interest rates are so low. However, they never said they were going to use so much private sector money. They are essentially privatizing our infrastructure.
    Why are they giving private investors a 7% to 9% return on their investment when we were told they were going to borrow money at a 2% interest rate? It makes no sense.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, our goal is to support our municipal and provincial partners to support the infrastructure they need. We have put forward an ambitious plan. More than $180 billion would be invested in our infrastructure. It would include investing in housing, child-care spaces, public transit, and clean infrastructure.
     I was very proud to announce, with all my Brampton colleagues, an investment of over $30 million in the city of Brampton a few months ago. It has helped the city get more buses and build more shelters and has tremendously impacted the commuters and residents of Brampton West.
    Our government believes that we can do more for our municipal and provincial sectors by engaging the private sector, and that is exactly what we are doing.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am going to address my comments to the unacceptable use of time allocation in this debate and put to her, and hopefully to her caucus, the reality of the consequences. The citizens of my riding have rights equal to those of the citizens of Brampton West. Saanich—Gulf Islands citizens do not entertain second-class status. However, unfortunately, I have been informed that due to time allocation, I will not be allowed to speak to this bill. I will not have an opportunity at this moment to speak to this bill. We heard the Minister of Finance say that a number of Conservatives have spoken and a number of New Democrats have spoken. Can the hon. member find it in her heart to ask the members of her caucus to give up one of their speaking slots so that I might have a chance to comment on this bill?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for all the hard work she does on behalf of her constituents.
     I described and discussed the budget in my speech and the significant steps our government is taking to address the real challenges facing Canadians every single day. I encourage members to send this bill to committee. We can then hear from witnesses and let the committee do the important work it is mandated to do. I am not sure about the procedure, but there may be a possibility at third reading of the bill of having the hon. member speak.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss our government's plan to build a stronger middle class through what I see as a three-pillar approach. It is an approach that includes investments in infrastructure, a focus on innovation to ensure that our economy continues to unlock new possibilities, and the final pillar, continuing investments in lifelong learning and skills training for Canadians to help them succeed in an evolving 21st century job market.
    Budget 2017 would continue our government's bold vision for a more prosperous Canada and a brighter future for all Canadians, including the residents I have the privilege of serving in the riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge. Bill C-44, the budget implementation bill, would ensure that the plan laid out in budget 2017, a plan to strengthen the middle class and to help those working hard to join it, is fully implemented.
    Bill C-44 contains a number of measures I am particularly proud of and represents my core values of compassion, inclusiveness, and a desire to ensure a better future for my children.
    Measures in the budget include our government's commitment to provide stable, predictable, and longer-term funding for all provinces for home care and mental health care services over the next 10 years. In my province of Ontario, the home care and mental health care funding component would amount to a $4.2-billion investment over 10 years, which would improve access to home care, home-based palliative care, and community-based care.
    In addition, Bill C-44 would introduce a new Canada caregiver credit and would change the employment insurance caregiver benefit. The new Canada caregiver credit would simplify existing tax measures for caregivers by replacing the existing caregiver credit, the infirm dependent credit, and the family caregiver tax credit with a more inclusive and enhanced benefit. This new credit would be better targeted and would extend tax relief to some caregivers who may not have currently qualified due to the income level of their dependents. The fiscal impact of this measure over the next four years would be $310 million to Canadians in this situation.
    In addition, Bill C-44 would create a new employment insurance caregiver benefit. Presently, EI benefits are available to eligible caregivers in cases where a loved one is gravely ill and at significant risk of death or where a child is critically ill or injured. However, the existing provisions miss a lot of Canadians who provide informal care for seriously ill family members.
    I am very proud to say that budget 2017 would dedicate nearly $700 million over five years to create a new benefit to assist caregivers. This new credit would cover a broader range of situations where adult family members are providing care to an adult family member who requires significant support to recover from critical illness or injury.
    I wish to focus a majority of my remaining time and remarks on our government's historic plan for investments in infrastructure. It is a plan that would commit nearly $180 billion-plus in investments over the next 12 years. This significant investment would be guided by a firm principle that investing in Canada and Canadians from coast to coast to coast would create long-term economic growth, build inclusive communities, and support a low-carbon, green economy.
    Our government was elected on a platform that committed to making significant investments in infrastructure, a plan that included the development of an infrastructure bank. I am pleased to say that Bill C-44, the budget implementation act, would create the new Canadian infrastructure bank, which would oversee the investment of approximately $15 billion in infrastructure projects.
    In my humble view, a view shaped by my nearly 25 years in the global financial services sector, the creation of the Canada infrastructure bank would provide the ability to accelerate and expand investments in infrastructure in Canada from coast to coast to coast by leveraging private capital.
    Canada is blessed with a multitude of natural resources, but we are also blessed with significant human capital resources as well as financial institutions that manage literally tens of billions of dollars for Canadian pensioners from coast to coast to coast.
    In Ontario, firms such as the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, OPTrust, the Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, and OMERS collectively manage hundreds of billions of dollars for pensioners. These are globally respected firms that employ Canadians. They provide ongoing benefits for their retirees, be it teachers, hospital workers, janitors, or engineers, who in turn support our economy with their spending. These institutions would be ideal partners for the infrastructure bank in undertaking strategic investments to help strengthen and grow the Canadian economy.

  (1225)  

    I cannot understate the importance of the Canada infrastructure bank as a new and innovative financing tool to help public dollars go further and to help build infrastructure projects in Canadian communities.
    For Canada and all Canadians to succeed, we must be innovative. We must foster an economy that is flexible and adaptive and that responds to technological change and globalization, an economy that will lift literally millions out of poverty and not leave anyone behind. It is one of Canada's core national values, and our obligation as a government, to ensure that no Canadians are left behind and that they have the skills and tools necessary to thrive in the 21st century. The Canadian infrastructure bank would be a tool that would create good middle-class jobs and ensure a brighter future for all Canadians.
    Let me say again that our plan to invest nearly $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 12 years is historic.
    I would like to close by outlining some of our commitments contained in Bill C-44 and budget 2017. One is $29 billion for public transit to build new transit networks and service connections to get people to work and home again more quickly in the evenings to their families, or in my case, to my daughters' swimming lessons.
     This year, the city of Vaughan and my riding will see the benefits of our government's infrastructure investments with the Toronto-York Spadina subway extension set to begin operation. The TYSSE is already transforming the city of Vaughan with the development of a revitalized city centre that will eventually be home to approximately 30,000 to 40,000 new residents and nearly 20 million square feet of new office, commercial, and residential space.
    We would invest $26 billion in green infrastructure to ensure that all Canadians have access to safe water, clean air, and green communities. I am proud to state that we will ensure that all our children, including my two daughters, inherit a country cleaner and greener than we did.
     Budget 2017 would deliver a further $25 billion for social infrastructure that would provide safe, adequate, and affordable housing as well as access to high-quality and affordable child care spaces. Our recent historic announcements related to housing would ensure that we would see inclusive growth that would enable all Canadians to step up and contribute to a brighter future for their families.
    There would be $10 billion for trade and transportation corridors that would provide safe, sustainable, and efficient transportation systems and allow Canadian companies to access global markets, creating more high-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.
     Finally, our $2-billion investment in rural and northern communities would ensure that these communities would have the necessary resources, including broadband infrastructure, to help them succeed.
    I am proud of our government's commitment to invest in infrastructure and the future of this great country. It is the right thing to do.
    Bill C-44, the budget implementation bill, is the beginning of the implementation of budget 2017. It is the right legislation to ensure a stronger, more prosperous middle class, to ensure that those who are working hard to join it do so, and to ensure that all of our children, including my daughters, Natalia and Eliana, who are at school today, have a bright future ahead of them.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for talking about the budget implementation bill and in particular for talking about this new infrastructure bank.
    Coming from the financial industry, the member should be well versed in how this bank would operate. From the outside looking in, it appears as though this bank would best serve Liberal fundraisers and hedge fund organizers and would really be another opportunity to pad the pockets of Liberal elites.
    Why, instead of disbanding the Canada savings bonds program, would the Liberals not have chosen to build on that program, providing ordinary everyday Canadians, the middle class and those working hard to join it, instead of all the Liberals' billionaire friends, with an opportunity to invest their hard-earned dollars in Canada savings bonds, which could have funded this bank?
    With interest rates the way they are at the banks today, a Canada savings bond that would generate the kinds of returns their Liberal buddies are going to expect could have served hard-working Canadians very well.
    Mr. Speaker, before I became a member of Parliament and before I entered into financial services, I worked at McDonald’s as a kid. I worked at a pulp mill growing up in northern British Columbia, and I cleaned fish as a fish filleter in northern British Columbia. I know very well how hard Canadians work day in and day out, and I take great offence at this word “elite”. I am not an elite. I have worked very hard my entire life. My parents came here as immigrants, and we worked, whether it was cleaning or working at a fish plant, or whether it was my mother working as a dietician or my dad working at a pulp mill in northern British Columbia as a carpenter, a sheet metal worker, or a roofer. I take offence to that.
    The infrastructure bank would invest in projects from coast to coast to coast. That is the target. We would leverage private capital to ensure that this was done in a way that respected taxpayers' dollars and respected Canadians' rights, and we would do it with institutions in Canada. That would allow us to undertake projects and accelerate investments in infrastructure.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I was listening to my Liberal colleague who used the well-known expression “coast to coast to coast”. I would like members to think about the meaning of this expression, because people who live far away do not have the opportunity to speak in the House.
    Nevertheless, there is one means available to them, and that is delegation. Canadians elect members to speak for them in the House. The government, however, is saying that it does not want to listen to them. It is imposing closure on perhaps the most important bill that will be passed this year. Not only is the budget implementation bill an omnibus bill—even though we were promised there would be no more of those—but, on top of that, the Liberals are invoking closure.
    It is fine for them to say “from coast to coast to coast”, but democracy is important. I will join my colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands in asking the government to revisit its position and to listen to parliamentarians. It is not true that after listening to only 39 or 40 members the government can make an informed decision in the interest of Quebeckers and Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-44 undertakes historic investments in health care and mental health care across Canada from coast to coast to coast.
    A number of measures in the bill will help Canadians, whether it is the new Canada caregiver tax credit or improvements to EI. These measures will benefit all Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Our investment in infrastructure will remain ongoing.
    I have the privilege of sitting on the Standing Committee on Finance. We look forward to a healthy list of witnesses coming forward. We will study the bill and we will do so in a prudent manner.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today to speak to Bill C-44, the budget implementation legislation.
    It is important to acknowledge that time allocation has been moved by the government on this bill. When the Liberals were in this section of the House of Commons, they screamed from the highest rooftops that this was undemocratic. They are moving closure at a record pace, even more than was done under the Harper administration, and that is unfortunate.
    For the practical person who is watching the debate at home, this means some members will not have a chance to talk about how the budget will impact them, their ridings, and the country in general. Time allocation is done for expediency.
    Bill C-44 is being called an omnibus bill. The omnibus approach is a lazy style of governing. The government does not have to move legislation through the proper parliamentary process and procedure in order to get it done. In layman's terms, it basically means the government is putting all kinds of things into one giant box and then shoving them out the door versus going through things individually and ensuring legislation is done properly. Over 30 pieces of legislation would be affected by the bill. This is not like setting up a household budget. This is about making strategic decisions with respect to the rules of how legislation goes through the House of Commons.
     It is important for people to understand the necessary and proper planning process for certain legislation. Things will end up in the courts and will cost taxpayers more money. Things will not get the necessary review they need. Issues involving businesses, consumers, the environment will all be impacted by Bill C-44, because the Liberals are, quite frankly, lazy, and that is unfortunate.
    Since the Liberals took office, their record shows that committees have been underutilized. That is because very little legislation has come to the House. Plenty of people and organizations want to provide input, but this denies them that opportunity to change things.
    I want to talk about a couple of things in the budget bill that relates to issues on which I have been working. They are important not only to my constituents but to all taxpayers across the country.
    Manufacturing is one of the issues on which I want to focus. Manufacturing in the United States and other countries around the world is seen as a key sector for national interests. An argument has been made for the national security of a nation state to have solid manufacturing in that country.
    The Liberal government's approach to manufacturing has not been a healthy one. The Prime Minister went through southern Ontario. He singled out manufacturing in London, saying it was past what should be done and that we needed to find different ways. No one has ever argued against innovation and change. No one has ever argued against adding supplementary elements to our economy. However, we have always had to fight for manufacturing and we have seen great success from that fight. Our national coffers have been filed by the wealth from manufacturing over the last number of decades. To this day, manufacturing is over 10% of our GDP relating to what we can bring in as income.
    On top of that, we have revenue from taxation that comes in from employees who work in the manufacturing sector as well as the taxes that come in from benefits in other types of support systems, which help people to have a decent job, to send their kids to college or university, to invest in a small business, or to get additional training for the future.
    For nearly a decade, I have fought in this place for the automotive sector to be singled out for a specific manufacturing strategy, which has been done by most industrial states. The automotive sector is losing out in this budget by the mere fact that it is lumped in with other types of manufacturing or other types of initiatives, including agrifood. Both of these sectors deserve their own strategies.
    Agrifood is another sector that relates to national security when we look at food safety, food management and economic development by having stability. Agrifood deserves its own separate strategy.

  (1235)  

    Manufacturing and auto, in particular, is lumped in again as opposed to a separate auto innovation fund designed specifically to meet some of the exciting challenges and opportunities in the automotive industry.
    Before NAFTA, Canada was number two in the world in auto assembly and manufacturing. In fact, before we signed onto the free trade agreement with the United States, we had been very successful through a negotiated agreement called the Auto Pact. Assembly and manufacturing in Canada was at unprecedented levels because we tapped into the skill set of employees. We also exported automobiles to many parts of the world, but predominantly to the United States. We created quite a system of wealth, education, training, expertise, industrial development, and innovation that was critical.
    With NAFTA, our Auto Pact agreement was challenged, and we lost it. At that time, the Liberals did not even bother to take us to a secondary challenge at the WTO. The government abandoned it. It is quite shocking in the sense that almost every other country will always fight to the end for something. Not only did the Liberals sign an agreement that killed our dominance in that industry, but they simply gave up. We have a historical problem with the Liberal Party.
    The budget shifts away from a special $500 million fund. Then the auto parts manufacturing fund is being lumped together with other elements. To be fair, the government has increased the overall amount of money going into that fund, but it is very small compared to our competitors to the south, Mexico and other places in the world. However, it did go up somewhat. The problem is that the types of different qualifications of that fund have been opened up, instead of having a special designated fund with over $500 million for innovation, especially when we look at autonomous vehicles, hybrids and electric vehicles. Canada has not a had a greenfield, a brand new auto plant manufacturing development, in over 15 years, so there are significant challenges to begin with.
    With all those things put together, we have abandoned that type of approach. I will still champion and continue to fight for auto manufacturing jobs and benefits, especially right now. Canadians want that. Canadians want to work in a stable employment environment that has decent wages for the amount of effort, education, and training they put into it. They would have benefits so they could live their lives and ensure that if they had health issues, they would be paid. They would have a value-added industry with a connection to personal relationships, the fact that they could take pride in the work they did and contribute to the overall economy. They would have accountability. Last year, so many workers did not come home safely from their job. Some children were left without fathers and mothers because of industrial accidents. In the past, jobs in the auto sector had some accountability and a working relationship to improve those things.
    We have lost out on those types of opportunities because of a lack of industrial strategy. Canadians are asking for that. They want to be part of a greater communal effort to improve their quality of life and to raise the quality of life for the middle class. The budget fails in many respects because it has abandoned the strategies necessary to that.

  (1240)  

    When we look at the watering down that is taking place on this one specific element I have talked about in terms of the auto manufacturing issues, it is a missed opportunity given the industrial development and advances environmentally and economically in the industry, and because of that, I cannot support this budget.
    Mr. Speaker, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in the recent Ontario economic outlook report that was published in February, pointed out that the major concern for small, medium, and large businesses in Ontario is recruiting staff. The top seven concerns included infrastructure investments and training of the workforce, among other things. We have invested quite a bit of money in innovation, which is going to replace some of the industrial jobs that we have lost in the past, but we will invest more in innovation and advanced manufacturing in this country. What is the member's comment on that?

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a great example of what has taken place in terms of the challenges we face. The problems of the Ontario Liberal Wynne government and the federal government are quite specific when we look at training. In my area, there is manufacturing and tool and die mould-making. The policies of the Liberals and their lack of support to keep a middle class working and functioning includes the offloading of training and education expenses onto students and young people to such a level that when they go into the workplace or get training, be it college or university, it has resulted in students paying for their education well beyond what their career could gain them once they actually complete their education.
    It is a challenge to get workers into tool and die mould-making, which is actually getting a resurgence in my area, because the cost of their education is so high and burdensome that it intimidates them. Employers and the government need to do more to make sure students are not entirely burdened by this landslide of debt and prevented from actually entering the workforce.
    Mr. Speaker, my friend from Windsor West and his party also campaigned on a balanced budget in the last election. I recognize that his riding is much like mine. There are two automotive assembly plants, a medium-sized truck assembly plant, and a lot of suppliers in that whole field in my riding. Very recently, General Motors announced the layoff of 600 people from one of those plants.
    As his and my communities suffer under the Ontario Liberals and the high energy costs, I wonder if he, as I have, has wondered about all of the spending that the Liberals are so proud of. They have not talked about where the money is going to come from and which generations are going to end up paying for it. I wonder if he has any of those same concerns as we go forward. We need to take care of people today, but we also need to be concerned about the young people of tomorrow.
    Mr. Speaker, there is no question about the cost of borrowing. One has to look at why one is borrowing and what one is going to get in return. Similar to my constituents, the member's constituents will be very hard pressed to understand why some of these expenditures have taken place and at what cost. There are many policies of the Conservatives and Liberals with regard to manufacturing that I differ with. I believe in a sectoral strategy, which has been done in South Korea's automotive industry. We can look at what has been taking place in Germany, the United States, and Mexico. They have identified auto manufacturing as a specific strategy to actually set targets and numbers. Similarly, to reduce our debt, we have to set the targets, look at the benchmarks, and evaluate them. One of the key elements is to try to make sure there is going to be accountability for those things.
    I could go on all day about the infrastructure bank alone and ask for unanimous consent to do so, but the lack of accountability will be its Achilles' heel because we will not be able to see what the value for money will be at the end of the day.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand today to speak in support of budget 2017, specifically in relation to Canada's youth and our young generation.
     My riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills contains the renowned University of Toronto Mississauga campus. When we door-knocked and I met with constituents over the past year, one of the recurring themes that kept arising and continues to arise is the concern among our youth about their security in the future, their job prospects, and their career prosects. I am very happy that budget 2017 addresses all of this.
    Young Canadians will be the ones who drive the future growth of Canada's economy, yet too many struggle to complete the education they need to succeed now and in the future. Even young Canadians who do well in school can find it difficult to get the practical work experience they need to find and keep good, well-paying jobs after graduation. To help young Canadians succeed, budget 2017 proposes a number of measures that will help create good, well-paying jobs and support young Canadians as they transition into the workforce.
    Canadian youth have the talent and the drive to succeed in the labour market. To help them make the transition from school to work and get a strong start in their careers, the government invests in the youth employment strategy, a government-wide initiative to help support Canada's newest workers. Last year, the government announced new investments in the youth employment strategy and the Canada summer jobs program, which help to create short-term job opportunities for students between the ages of 15 and 30. This initiative specifically created hundreds of jobs for students in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills.
     These investments are supporting the creation of over 5,000 opportunities for young Canadians under the skills link stream, which helps vulnerable youth overcome barriers to employment; nearly 2,500 new green jobs that help young Canadians learn about their natural environment and contribute to economic growth in the environmental sectors; and additional job opportunities for young Canadians to work in the heritage sector through the young Canada works program. To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, budget 2017 proposes to provide an additional $395.5 million over three years starting in 2017-18 for the youth employment strategy. Combined with budget 2016 measures, these investments will help more than 33,000 vulnerable youth develop the skills they need to find work or to go back to school; create 15,000 new green jobs for young Canadians; and provide over 1,600 new employment opportunities for youth in the heritage sector.
    Budget 2017 presents youth with a new and ambitious approach to work-integrated learning. Co-operative education and work-integrated learning programs such as the ones offered by various universities in Canada are a proven way for students to get the work experience they need to build their resumés and build a network of professional contacts. To create new co-op placements and work-integrated learning opportunities for post-secondary students enrolled in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM for short, and business programs, budget 2016 provided $73 million over four years for job-creating partnerships between employers and interested post-secondary institutions. This investment is expected to create up to 8,700 new work-integrated learning placements over the next four years, making more opportunities available to young women and men interested in STEM.
    Young Canadians are curious, talented, entrepreneurial, and well educated. These are traits that make them well positioned to deliver the next great breakthrough in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In order to unlock this potential, young Canadians need to have equal access to the formative experiences that can spark new ideas and inspire careers in these important fields. This is especially true for those young Canadians who are traditionally under-represented in the STEM fields, including women and indigenous peoples.

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    The PromoScience program helps to introduce diverse groups of young Canadians to the power and potential of these exciting fields through hands-on learning experiences such as space camps and conservation projects. To support these efforts, budget 2017 proposes to invest $10.8 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to allow PromoScience to support more STEM learning activities for Canadian youth, in particular, under-represented groups.
    Teachers also play an important role in keeping students engaged in formal STEM learning and in developing the culture of innovation that Canada needs today and in the future. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $1.5 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to expand the prime minister's awards for teaching excellence, to include 17 new STEM-themed awards. These awards will recognize teaching excellence and allow for broad sharing of teaching practices at the national level.
    To help more Canadians learn about and celebrate extraordinary accomplishments in research excellence, budget 2017 also proposes to create a new prime minister's gold medal. This award would recognize scientific excellence and bring greater international acclaim to Canadian scientists and researchers.
    To create even more work-integrated learning opportunities for Canadian students, the government announced it would renew and expand federal funding for Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that builds partnerships between industry and educational institutions. Budget 2017 proposes to provide $221 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to achieve this goal and provide relevant work experience to Canadian students. This investment in Mitacs' work-integrated learning programs would help deliver 10,000 internships per year to post-secondary students.
    Meric Gertler, the president of the University of Toronto celebrated this investment and added, “The Government of Canada is to be commended for this investment in Canadian talent through Mitacs. It will provide career-building opportunities for graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, and top-quality expertise for businesses and other organizations. These are key factors in building our country’s capacity for innovation and in driving our long-term prosperity.”
    In addition, budget 2017 is set to renew investments in Pathways to Education Canada. Each year, too many young Canadians drop out of high school, often because they do not have access to the basic supports needed to succeed in school. To help these young students, the government provides support to Pathways to Education Canada, a charitable organization that helps youth in low-income communities across Canada complete high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education and employment.
    Budget 2017 proposes to renew the government's support for Pathways to Education Canada by providing $38 million over four years, starting in 2018-19. With this renewed funding, Pathways to Education Canada would provide more vulnerable youth with the supports they need to succeed in school, including tutoring, career mentoring, and financial help, such as scholarships and internships.
    Furthermore, budget 2017 provides solutions to reducing employment barriers for first nations youth living on reserve. First nations youth on reserve face unique challenges to enter the labour force. It is important that youth have the supports they need to access employment opportunities so they can begin careers that will benefit them over the course of their lifetimes. To help first nations youth acquire better pre-employment skills, access education and training, and overcome barriers to employment, budget 2017 proposes to invest $39.2 million in 2017-18 to provide case management services for youth living on reserve.
    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 and an empowered youth will always be the beating heart of our country and the engine of our economy.

  (1255)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her interesting and important speech.

  (1300)  

[English]

    My colleague emphasized youth and the young generation. We agree it is important to invest in them. However, we do not share the same attitude of the government because, when it borrows money, the bill will be paid by the next generation. If it cannot pay its bills today, it will be our children and grandchildren, many of whom are not born yet, who will have to pay for its misjudgement. I would like the member on this side to explain how the government can be so concerned about youth when it will be handing them a bill for its bad administration, with huge deficits, three times what was expected. She was elected under the oath of a $10 billion deficit, and now we are talking about $30 billion. She was elected on a zero deficit by 2019, and we are now talking about a zero deficit by 2055. How can she deal with that?
    Mr. Speaker, our government believes that Canadians are strong, and we need to provide them with the foundation to help continue to build our country. Budget 2017 is an investment into our future. It is an investment into the Canadian people and our middle class. When we empower our youth, when we empower our middle class, we will help our nation prosper.
    Mr. Speaker, through you, I would like to put a question to the member. I appreciate her putting the emphasis on the value of education. However, what is a great disappointment to aboriginal children in this country is that the government has taken the position that it does not have to respond to the directives of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. It is astounding that it would take that position. It is greatly disappointing for all of the children in Canada who stood up to say that aboriginal children should have the same right of access to quality education as other children in this country.
    The government has decided, yet again in this year's budget, not to ensure the same equal access to services and education for aboriginal children as other children in the country have. What is the member's response to that? Does she agree with her government that it does not have to comply with the determination of the Canadian Human Rights Commission?
    Mr. Speaker, our government has made it very clear that we stand for the rights of aboriginal people in our country, and we will do what it takes to make sure that equal access is provided. Therefore, budget 2017 makes major investments into aboriginal youth to ensure that their education is preserved and that they are also able to prosper and become part of a working economy here in Canada. We look forward to working with all members in this House to continue to work for all people of Canada, including our aboriginal communities.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like the member to go further into the discussion about the investments that our government is making, the investments in education, investments in STEM, which she mentioned, and the investments in child care and support, which will help get people of all genders working on behalf of Canadians and their own prosperity, as well as the prosperity of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for giving me the opportunity to continue to comment on this important topic.
    As the census results came in for 2016, I found that there were approximately 3,000 more women than men in my riding of Mississauga—Erin Mills. Therefore, I am very happy with the great initiatives that this government has taken ensuring further equality in our workforce, making investments with respect to STEM, and ensuring that our diversity of opinion is also reflected in the great work that is done by Canadians in this important field of STEM.
    Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, I am pleased to take this opportunity to thank the voters of my riding for giving me the responsibility to represent their interests in the political affairs of our nation. While my constituents are pleased with the calibre of representation they receive from their federal member of Parliament in Ottawa, their worst fears are being realized by an arrogant Prime Minister who is totally out of touch with the concerns of average, everyday Canadians.
    What Parliament has before it today with Bill C-44 is more than 300 pages of out-of-control spending to implement another deficit budget that promises to mortgage the future our children, their children, and the generation after that. For a government that claims to be implementing its election promises, I have yet to be shown where the promise of budget deficits until maybe 2055 was told to voters. The worst parts of this budget are the huge deficit and that it continues to fail veterans. The Liberal Party talked a mean game when it preached to have empathy for veterans.
    Unfortunately, the biggest failure of the government, after cutting $12 billion from the defence budget, was not insisting on the resignation of the Minister of National Defence. The minister has disgraced his office, his comrades, and his position. This is a deplorable situation. He lacks the courage to even provide a real explanation for his repeated need to embellish the truth, and he lacks the courage to do the right thing and fall on his sword, which is what honourable soldiers would do if they found themselves in the situation of the Minister of National Defence, which is entirely of his own making.
    The Prime Minister has, with his deficit budget, betrayed soldiers and veterans like Warrant Officer Roger Perreault. Unlike the Minister of National Defence, for whom stolen valour was his way to curry favour with his boss Gerald Butts, who is the architect of the Green Energy Act in Ontario and who provides the talking points for the Prime Minister, Warrant Officer Perreault is a Canadian hero. He was critically injured serving his country in Afghanistan.
    On February 8, I posed a question to the government on behalf of Warrant Officer Roger Perreault, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces, regarding his eligibility for the critical injury benefit. Unlike the current defence minister who prefers to embellish his service record, Officer Perreault was an Afghanistan veteran who, in the process of serving his country honourably, was critically injured by a roadside bomb. He is being denied the critical injury benefit, being told that at age 46 his injuries are the result of his body wearing out. It is unbelievable. Rejected by the Liberal government for the critical injury benefit in March 2016, he appealed that decision, only to be denied his next appeal.
    Veterans are not interested in hearing how many new bureaucrats have been hired or that empty offices are being opened in a government-held riding. Veterans want action. What happened to the election promise to draw, from all circumstances of a veteran's case and all the evidence presented to the government, every reasonable inference in favour of the applicant? Warrant Officer Perreault and other Afghanistan veterans are the real Canadian heroes. Let us start treating them like heroes.
    Budget 2016 marked the beginning of a second Liberal era of darkness for Canada's women and men in the Canadian Armed Forces. The decision to relocate or re-profile—which is Liberalspeak for cut—$8.5 billion in defence allocations in budget 2017, in addition to the previous cuts, confirms the worst fears of our women and men in uniform. Canada's veterans are being told that they should just wait, that tomorrow and the next budget will fix everything. It is the tomorrow budget, but tomorrow never comes. It is a false economy to plan on denying veterans benefits with the expectation that the veterans will eventually give up fighting for what they are entitled to receive.
    In addition to the treatment of veterans, this budget fails Canadians by what it hides from Canadians. What is not explained to Canadians with this budget, and so much of what the government is doing behind the backs of Canadians, is the real impact of plunging this country into a series of massive deficits in pursuit of agenda 2030: the radical UN climate agenda that is bankrupting individual Canadians and causing massive financial hardship.
    Canadians are asking where the line item is in this budget bill to compensate for losses, damages, and the destruction of private property due to environmental policies that have not been properly costed, including a proper cost-benefit analysis.

  (1305)  

    Canadians are being misinformed that radical environmental policies are necessary to save Canada and the world, with no explanation of cost or whether many of these policies are really necessary or just another tax grab, like the Liberal carbon tax.
    Residents in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke are only now finding out about plan 2014, after reading about it from American media sources, which has forced some media in Canada to report about it. Plan 2014 was an agreement signed by the dying Obama U.S. administration after the recent American U.S. election but ratified before the new president had taken office. It was signed on December 8, 2016, the day the lame duck U.S. vice-president, Joe Biden, showed up in Ottawa for a visit shrouded in secrecy and speculation as to the true nature of his trip.
    Plan 2014 was never brought before Parliament. There was no discussion or debate regarding the cost, including who would pay for the losses. The plan contains no promises or built-in provisions for more federal or state aid to deal with problems it might cause. This treatment is quite different from the treatment given by the Liberal government and the finance minister to nations in Africa, who are given billions of Canadian dollars, taxpayers' dollars, to fight climate change in their countries. The official readout for Biden's Ottawa visit stated “combating global climate change” and other things.
    The plan 2014 agreement changes a regulating system that had been in place on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River since 1958. Plan 2014, which is designed to more closely mimic the lakes' natural ups and down, adds muskrats, fish, and other wildlife to the list of interests regulators must now consider when they decide how much water to release.
    The new regulation blocks the flow of water through the Moses-Saunders dam located on the St. Lawrence River between Cornwall, Ontario, and Massena, New York. By blocking the flow of the St. Lawrence, the entire Great Lakes watershed has now backed up. One of its many goals is to create 64,000 acres of wetland to fight climate change. Another goal is to increase hydroelectric power.
     The mismanagement of the electricity sector in Ontario is well documented. The Province of Ontario has been politically interfering with the water dams that produce electricity to pay for its failed energy policy by holding back too much water in the reservoirs. With too much water in the reservoirs, there was no place to accumulate the winter melt and any additional rains from the late spring. This is backed up in the Ottawa River watershed and into the St. Lawrence, flooding Montreal as well as the Ottawa Valley and the Great Lakes.
    The combination of Ontario's failed electrical policies and the decision by the government of the Ottawa Liberals to change a 59-year-old water agreement between Canada and the U.S. has created a manmade crisis. We had a late spring, and we have the perfect storm of incompetence.
    Climate change gets blamed for everything these days, including the deficit budget. The Liberal government in Ottawa has adopted the practice of the Liberal Party in Toronto in blaming every bad policy as necessary to fight manmade global warming. Taxpayers have every right to be skeptical.
    Flooding in my riding of Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke is beyond crisis, as residents watch their front yards turned into wetlands. On behalf of the flooded residents, I contacted the Minister of National Defence, who was too busy sandbagging calls for his resignation to respond to the cries for help to fill sandbags to hold back the rising waters. There is no doubt that, had the Liberals responded to my call for help back on April 21 with a flooding crisis, the damage and destruction could have been reduced.
    The bill to the federal and provincial Liberal governments, who share blame for this crisis, will be substantial. Will municipalities be expected to borrow from the Liberals' infrastructure bank, which is referred to in this legislation, to rebuild the destruction of the infrastructure, taxpayers borrowing their own tax-paid dollars and then paying $9 billion in interest payments?
    Bill C-44 is filled with distorted incentive, blame avoidance, credit taking, ideological policy, finger pointing, and the competitive and duplicative provision of programs in popular spending areas. It is time to send budget 2017 back to the drawing board.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am always intrigued when the member opposite delivers a speech. I reflect on the days when she was in government and had to criticize something, so she criticized the provincial government because it was Liberal. If it is not Conservative, it is bad, bad, bad. I think that is the message the member gets across better than any Conservative, New Democrat, or Bloc member. If there is a dark side to anything in life, the member has a way of pulling it out.
    I have a challenge for the member. I have listened to many of her speeches. Is there anything at all that she believes is remotely positive in this budget from her perspective? Canadians as a whole understand, appreciate, and support this government's budget, but it seems she may be the only one in the country who might not have a positive thing to say about the budget or maybe even life in general. I wonder if she could say something positive about it.

  (1315)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to thank the member opposite, my biggest fan in the House, for his elocution. In any case, I always look forward to his being in the audience to make sure I can draw further attention to the important points that I make.
    With respect to the provincial government, that was a warning to the people who were about to go to Ottawa, because the actual architect of the green energy act is now the key adviser to the Prime Minister, and he is driving this country into the hole just the same way he drove Ontario into the hole.
    This is not just my opinion on this budget. I talked to constituents and asked for feedback. They gave me the five worst things about the budget. Number one is it betrays veterans. Number two is electronic T4s, because they do not have any faith in the government's being able to stop hacking. Next was student loans for non-citizens, then raising the takeover review threshold, and then the infrastructure bank, where we pay interest on borrowing dollars that taxpayers already put into that bank.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, there are many sawmills in my riding. We are talking about the budget, but, unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to speak about it because the government moved a time allocation motion.
    A very important issue was not addressed in the budget, even though we have been asking the government to prepare for it for over a year and a half. The sawmills in my riding are on the verge of a crisis. They may even have to shut down because of the surtax, the countervailing duties, currently being imposed. This will have a negative impact on workers. The government keeps boasting that it is working for the well-being of the middle class, but what are we supposed to tell these people when the government did not include anything in the budget in preparation for this crisis?
    There is a major crisis with regard to supercalendered paper, for example, which is very heavily taxed. Two plants, one in Dolbeau-Mistassini and one in Kénogami, will have to close their doors in the coming year. This is a federal tax and, if the federal government does not assume its responsibilities, then thousands of people in my community are going to lose their jobs.
    I would like to know what my colleague thinks about the government's inaction in this budget.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, when it was apparent that there was not going to be a deal in time and that the countervailing duties were about to come down, my office received a call saying we would get help for all our unemployed forestry workers. That is not the answer we wanted.
    In eastern Ontario, parts of Quebec, and parts of northern Ontario, our chief production is white pine and red cedar. Those products should never have been put into the softwood lumber agreement in the first place. Softwood lumber was for construction lumber. White pine and eastern red cedar are specialty woods. They were thrown into the agreement, and now here we are, asking again to have exclusions for these species.
     I want to thank the hon. member for providing me with the opportunity to talk about this important industry. At the end of the day, the Province of Ontario keeps on shrinking the footprint of areas where forestry workers can actually harvest forests. We have the model of sustainable forestry for the world—for every one tree harvested, three are planted in return—but the federal government is not interested. It said from the outset that it wanted to change from being a resource economy to a Google economy.
    In any case, the Liberals do not care about forestry workers, and that is the bottom line.
    Mr. Speaker, it is always a privilege and an honour to rise in this House, especially when we get an opportunity to speak to budget 2017, Building a Strong Middle Class.
    Our government has been hard at work ensuring that Canadians in the middle class and those working hard to join it have the policies that put Canadians first, but today I want to speak about things that in a changing economy can have a real impact on the lives of Canadians and how our budget is going to help Canadians thrive over the long term. Our success as a country will be determined by our ability to prepare for and adapt to these changes to grow and strengthen the middle class and those working hard to join it.
     As a large country that relies on trade for its economic success, Canada needs to ensure that people and products can move quickly and safely, whether from home to work or from harvest to warehouse. The success of many companies depends on high-quality transportation infrastructure to get goods to market.
    Here are some names in the agrifood sector in Brampton that members may recognize: the Coca-Cola bottling group, Maple Lodge Farms, Loblaws Companies, Italpasta, Sun Rich Fresh Foods, Maple Leaf Canada, Bacardi Canada, and Frito-Lay Canada.
    As announced in the 2016 fall economic update, this government will invest $10.1 billion over 11 years in trade and transportation products. This investment will build stronger and more efficient transportation corridors to international markets and help Canadian businesses to compete, grow, and create more jobs for Canada's middle class. As part of the $10.1-billion investment, we will launch a new national trade corridors fund to prioritize investments that address congestion and bottlenecks along vital corridors and around transportation hubs and ports that provide access to world markets. Building on Transport Canada's gateways model, this fund is expected to target congestion and inefficiencies at marine ports as well as along the busiest rail and highway corridors to ensure that small- and medium-sized businesses in Brampton can produce in Brampton but have access to markets all around the world.
    An additional $5 billion or more would be provided through the Canada infrastructure bank to address trade and transportation priorities. In addition to identifying priority investments that would help streamline transportation along Canada's major trade corridors, the fund would look for ways to improve the flow of supplies to northern communities, which is important, and unlock economic development in Canada's three territories and create more well-paying middle-class jobs.
    As elsewhere in this country, there are countless people in Brampton who drive trucks to and from our southern neighbour to support their families. Their livelihoods depend on a transportation sector, a booming economy, and a strong trade relationship with the U.S.
    Expanding Canada's trade links requires an important discussion around our economic success. Strong trade relationships create more opportunities for middle-class Canadians to succeed and prosper. According to the Brampton Board of Trade, Brampton sees roughly $6.7 billion in goods sold to the U.S. Over 420 Brampton companies export to the U.S. and consider the U.S. to be their most important trading market, responsible for over 34% of their sales. That is why the government is engaging with the United States, with which we share one of the most successful economic relationships in the world, highlighting the fact that our strong interconnected trade relationship is balanced and beneficial to millions of middle-class families on both sides of the border.
    We are also prioritizing trade and investment with key markets in fast-growing areas such as Asia, including with China, India, and Japan, to deepen Canada's ties with this continent and create jobs here at home. Succeeding in the global economy of tomorrow requires openness to the world and strategic partnerships. A key example is the March 22 announcement by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that it has accepted Canada's application for membership.

  (1320)  

    Membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will help enable high-quality infrastructure and other development projects that would have benefits for people in the region, as well as for Canadians, by supporting inclusive sustainable economic growth in Asia and beyond. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $256 million over five years to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
    When it comes to the engines that power our economy in Canada, Canada's agriculture and agrifood sector accounts for more than 6% of Canada's GDP and employs one out of every eight Canadian. The industry is strong, and in recent years farm revenues, annual exports, and farm incomes have reached record highs, but there is room for improvement, driven in part by the innovative potential of value-added products as the middle class grows in Asia and demand for food rises. Budget 2017 introduces a series of measures to help our agricultural producers and processors excel.
    For over 15 years, federal, provincial, and territorial governments have relied on agricultural policy frameworks to promote a collaborative approach to agricultural programming that encourages investment, adaptation, and sustainable growth in the sector. These frameworks have provided the foundation for government agricultural programs and services.
    The current agricultural policy framework is set to expire in March 2018. We are committed to working with provinces and territories to develop a new policy framework that supports sustainable growth, innovation, and competitiveness, and helps the sector to adapt to a technology-driven reality.
    As part of the development of the next framework, which will be launched in 2018, we will consider the ways in which innovation in agriculture can help strengthen the sector as a whole and create more well-paying jobs for middle-class Canadians.
     Brampton is part of the Ontario food cluster, the second-largest food processing cluster in North America. Ontario is home to more than half of Canada's food processing companies. Just a short drive from my neck of the woods, the Ontario food terminal is the largest wholesale fruit and produce distribution centre in Canada and the third-largest in North America, distributing an average of 5.4 million pounds per day.
    As part of the innovation corridor, companies in Brampton, like Embassy Flavours, Zadi Foods, Hans Dairy, and KFI lncorporated would have the ability to rely on an innovative agrifood sector, a strong trade relationship, and dependable transit infrastructure. They rely on their governments for this.
    That is why our government is taking a multi-faceted approach in budget 2017 to harness change for our benefit. When the middle class is strong and when people feel optimistic and confident about the future, Canadians can and will succeed. When middle-class Canadians believe their hard work can translate to a better life for themselves and their children and grandchildren, they become an unstoppable force.
    We know that better is possible and we know the best way to deliver more prosperity to the greatest number of middle-class Canadians is by making smart investments in people and in the economy. The tools that are needed to help Canadians succeed and prosper over the long term are included in budget 2017.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague mentioned the Asian infrastructure bank. Interestingly enough, the Obama administration and the former Conservative governments decided not to join the bank because it was not in the best interests of taxpayers. It is $1.3 billion that taxpayers are on the hook for, when direct funding through CETA guarantees Canadian involvement.
    I am wondering, with $35 billion for the latest Liberal infrastructure bank and with the taxpayers at risk, why does he think this is a good idea?
    Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague started off by saying that the previous Harper government decided not to join the Asia infrastructure bank. However, as she knows, on October 19, 2015, there was an election, and Canadians across the country overwhelmingly voted for change. What real change brought, as opposed to the last 10 years of the lowest growth in the country and lowest job growth in the country, was the highest increase in jobs. We have the lowest unemployment rate in the last eight years because of our investments in the economy.
    The Canada child benefit that we implemented has been game-changing for families in Brampton East and all across the country, so we are going to continue to invest in middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it. Our infrastructure investments are paying off by reducing the unemployment rate in our country, which is at 6.5%. We will continue to work hard to ensure that all Canadians looking for a job have a great one to go to.

  (1330)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague has a lot to say about the infrastructure bank. In my riding, the Bagotville airport needs to be renovated and expanded because we want to bring in more tourists.
    We want UNESCO designation for the fjord, and we hope the committee will support that. That designation is a global seal of approval. Expanding the Bagotville airport is critical to developing our tourism industry.
    In the last election, the government campaigned hard on the infrastructure bank idea and went on and on about a huge infrastructure boom, but sadly that will not help Promotion Saguenay, nor will it get the Bagotville airport expanded. We will not be getting any help from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions either.
    What does my colleague have to say to Promotion Saguenay about the fact that it will not be getting any help from the government or from the federal government program because there is no such help for it?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our government has made record investments in infrastructure. The Canada investment bank will make a further investment of $35 billion over 11 years.
    The NDP's rhetoric has always been about helping Canadians to prosper, about helping middle-class families get jobs that provide food on the table and clothes on their backs. The member opposite talked about infrastructure funding for her airport. I would encourage the member and her party to support our budget, because it invests in infrastructure at a record pace. We will continue to do this. We know that investing in Canadians and in the Canadian economy allows all Canadians to succeed.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his speech, reflecting the position of cabinet and those working hard to join it.
    The member gave a reasonably good speech but better is always possible. It would have been good to hear about why the government supported the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. The government can invest in infrastructure without giving the Chinese government complete control over where those dollars go. When it comes to accountability, when it comes to human rights, the way in which a bank based out of Beijing operates will be different. The previous American administration chose not to participate in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank precisely because of these concerns.
    Why can the Liberal government not make infrastructure investments that do not involve the Chinese government calling the shots?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague and I generally do not agree on anything, and that trend continues today. He is a very nice gentleman and I wish him nothing but the best under the future leadership that is about to occur.
    When it comes to infrastructure, we will not take lessons from a party that had 10 years in government to help build roads, airports, and transportation hubs in our country. We will ensure we invest in a globalized economy so countries know Canada is ready for their investments, that Canada is willing to ensure Canadians and hard-working small businesses have access to world markets.
    When it comes to infrastructure, it is so important for us to ensure that the small manufacturers in Brampton have an opportunity to get access to world markets. That happens with sound, fiscally responsible infrastructure investment.

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, I want to start by saying that it is not in my nature to admit defeat at the outset, but this sure feels like an impossible task. I have 10 minutes to do an in-depth, detailed analysis of Bill C-44.
    I will start with the title: an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017—so far, so good—and other measures. Obviously, those measures are not listed. I think a list of the measures that are not mentioned would be three or four pages long. This bill is 290 pages long and amends 30 separate acts.
    Let no one think this is an omnibus bill. That was how the Conservatives did things. The Liberals will probably come up with some other name for it, but it is all the same thing.
    Worse yet, if we in the NDP wanted to pool our resources together and tackle this budgetary measure, Bill C-44, together as a team, we would not be able to. Time allocation has been invoked, which means that many members of the House, who were elected to be the voice of their constituents in Ottawa, will not be heard yet again because apparently the Liberals have heard enough from us.
    I am sorry, but we are light years away from a democratic measure and a democratic discussion or exchange worthy of this place. I will have to pick and choose from the items in this budget that I want to address.
    When my speaking time is up, then I will give the floor to one of the few people who will have a chance to speak in the few hours remaining in this debate.
    This bill contains not a single tax measure that would restore some semblance of balance among the citizens of this country. There has been a lot of talk about the middle class. The Liberals mention it in practically every paragraph. Strangely enough, those who are part of it are the ones who will be most affected. I have an example that illustrates my point quite well. I could go off on a long diatribe about how there is nothing in this budget to help people who, unfortunately, by a quirk of fate, lose their jobs at some point in their career and must relocate. The budget does absolutely nothing to establish fairer eligibility standards.
    Over on this side of the House, we have often advocated for a single eligibility threshold of 360 hours. There is nothing on this in the budget. At present, six out of ten workers who pay premiums are not eligible for benefits when they need them. Let me remind the House that the government is not putting one red cent into EI.
    The Liberals are very skilled at window dressing, and there really is something in the budget for employment insurance, in particular parental benefits. It is a well-intentioned measure that, in the end, does not amount to much. To create a better work-life balance, I suppose, and to allow parents who choose to do so to stay home longer after their children are born, they are now being told that parental leave will be flexible and can be extended. However, the amount of benefits they will get will not increase.
    A parent can use their credit, if I can call it that, for up to 18 months and receive benefits equal to 33% of their salary. The parent can also choose to take 12 months off and receive 55% of their salary. Obviously, living on 55% of their income already requires substantial changes to their lifestyle in order to make ends meet every month. However, it is for a good cause, namely having a new child in the family and spending the first months, even the first year, with their child. That is important. That person is also prepared to make a certain number of sacrifices and adapt to the situation.

  (1335)  

    However, can middle-class people really afford to take 18 months of leave with 33% of their income? Once again, the government will claim over and over to have helped the middle class when the only ones who will actually be in a position to benefit from the measure are those who are wealthy enough to live off 33% of their income. This measure sounds good in theory, but in practice it is aimed at a completely different group.
    I would like to draw members' attention to something else: the budget watchdog. It may not be the nicest expression, but it is definitely an accurate one. I am talking about the parliamentary budget officer. If there is one resource that is absolutely essential for all members of the House in order to fully grasp the measures that are put before us and to introduce effective checks and balances, it is the work of the parliamentary budget officer, who, in theory, is completely independent.
    The parliamentary budget officer will now have to have his work plan approved by the Speaker of the Senate or the Speaker of the House. In theory, both are independent, but in reality, that is certainly debatable. According to the parliamentary budget officer's research, in the 17 countries with such an office, no such approval is required and political interference is not allowed. Once again, the Liberals have come up with a proposal that is novel, but not noteworthy.
    The Liberals want to prevent the parliamentary budget officer from being a watchdog, as I mentioned earlier. For example, if this bill had already been passed, we would not have known that the Liberals' tax plan benefits the wealthy, nor would we have uncovered the real cost of the F-35s. Furthermore, individual members will no longer be able to ask the parliamentary budget officer to conduct research, which I feel is a disaster. As we know, sometimes there are important items that concern a riding or a very specific region, but not all of Canada, and which require study as though they were of general interest. I have some examples from my own riding, but I will not expand on them because my time is quickly running out.
    To conclude on this point, I would like to quote Jean-Denis Fréchette, the parliamentary budget officer, who said: “I think this bill is problematic. I think it is weaker than the existing legislation.” He is more polite than I am, but that is understandable, given his position.
    Regarding prior approval for the parliamentary budget officer's work plan, he said that he:
...can easily imagine that a Speaker might not approve a future parliamentary budget officer's decision to assess the fiscal impact of a controversial spending initiative because it would affect the Speaker's party's chances of getting elected.
    Those are the parliamentary budget officer's words, not mine. He added that it was difficult to understand how the measure could really work in the interest of greater transparency and get us the results we need.
    In the short time I have left I would like to talk about the cuts to international aid. We know that Canada is probably on track to achieve its worst record in international aid. The Minister of Finance announced not too long ago that organizations working in this area would just have to learn to do more with less. That is an old refrain that we have been hearing for ages, and apparently, it will not stop under this Liberal administration.
    With respect to tax credits, there is an absolute abyss between what is in here for the middle class and what is in here for the wealthy. Instead of keeping the public transit tax credit, which helps everyone, the Liberals are getting rid of it, but big corporate CEOs get to keep their tax breaks. On the one hand, we have a legal loophole worth about $800 million per year, and on the other, we have a tax credit that truly is for middle-class people because they use public transit a whole lot more than CEOs do.

  (1340)  

    They are getting rid of a tax credit that cost about $200 million. If that is not a double standard, I do not know what it is.
     Here is what Mark Hancock had to say about Bill C-44: “If you’re an infrastructure bankroller or a billionaire tax dodger, today is a good day. For working Canadians, not so much.”

  (1345)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting to listen to New Democrats talk about this issue. They say there should be more of a tax on Canada's wealthiest, but the facts speak differently. When the Government of Canada said it believed in Canada's middle class and was going to give Canada's middle class a tax break, the NDP voted no. When it came to putting a special tax on Canada's wealthiest, the NDP said no. That is the reality. That is black and white. That is in legislation and in the budget. Now the member talks about why Canada's wealthiest should be given special treatment.
    Can the member explain to the House today why the NDP voted against the tax put on Canada's wealthiest one per cent?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when I heard the first part of my hon. colleague's question, I was moved because it seemed like the Liberals were listening to the NDP. It finally dawned on me, however, that they are willing to hear our proposals, but not really listen. There is a difference between hearing and listening and I would love for that gap to narrow.
    The measure to increase taxes on the wealthy was supposed to offset the tax cut for the middle class and those wishing to join it. Since its introduction, however, this measure alone has been costing us over $1 billion a year.
    In other words, the government took a few dollars from the rich, but not enough for them to notice, in order to give that money to the middle class and charge the deficit to their children's credit card.
    I think it is pretty clear why we voted the way we did. Let us not forget that the budget included a host of measures, not just one.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague referred to listening and hearing. My spouse reminds me often of that same listening and hearing skill.
    This morning the minister talked about less than 12% of members having spoken to this bill, but he also suggested that Liberals had listened to some of the ideas from some of the members. With only that small percentage that he heard from, if we had longer to speak on it, not closure, there would have been more ideas to listen to, if we had the opportunity. What is the member's response to the closure motion and some of the good ideas that the minister said he had already listened to, and other members not having a chance to suggest more good ideas?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question. I do not know his wife, but she seems like a wise woman. Unfortunately, like us and my colleague, she will not have the opportunity to be heard in the House.
    I thought that no one would ever manage to beat the Conservatives' record for the number of time allocation motions moved during the previous Parliament, but the way things are going, I think that the Liberals may once again outdo the Conservatives and prove to be even more disgraceful than the Harper government.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in this House today and highlight the many positive investments budget 2017 makes in northern Ontario and how these investments would benefit the people who live, work, and play in Thunder Bay—Rainy River.
    Our government is committed to moving forward on its plan to make a meaningful impact in the lives of northern Ontarians, and budget 2017 does just that. Under the previous government, significant cuts were made to FedNor, causing economic hardship across the region. With budget 2017, FedNor will receive a $25 million increase over five years to promote job creation and economic growth in northern Ontario.
    Along with my colleagues in the northern Ontario caucus, I am pleased with the dedication to strengthening our economy and recognizing the key role our region plays in Canada's economy as a whole.
    The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development also launched the prosperity and growth strategy for northern Ontario, a targeted approach to economic development through innovation. This strategy will focus on ways to build on the unique strengths and competitive advantages that northern Ontario has in mining, resources, and agriculture, among other sectors. The strategy will identify ways for these sectors to seize new opportunities in emerging industries, such as clean technology, and develop new businesses that will create the well-paying jobs of today and tomorrow for northern Ontarians.
     This regional strategy for northern Ontario is part of the Government of Canada's innovation and skills plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation that will create more well-paying jobs and grow the middle class. The goal of this plan is to encourage innovation and attract global investment in every region of the country. It will provide Canadians with the support they need, wherever they live and work, to continuously learn, enhance their skill set, and be equipped for the jobs of the future.
     On top of this, budget 2017 invests $2 billion into infrastructure projects in rural and remote communities. This will have a real impact on families in Ontario's north. No longer will FedNor serve as a catch-all for projects in Ontario's north. This shift will free up important FedNor dollars that can then be invested in innovation and economic development, which is why FedNor was initially created. This is an important change in how our government addresses the needs in northern Ontario.
     Growing our economy in northern Ontario also means investing in our people and making smart investments. Budget 2017 is assisting in transforming northern Ontario into a world-leading centre for innovation, creating more good, well-paying careers that will help strengthen and grow the middle class.
     We are taking measures to ensure that our forestry industry is innovating and growing new opportunities for expansion, such as the partnership between Resolute Forest Products, FPInnovations, and Lakehead University at Resolute's facility in Thunder Bay.
     Our government is also supporting early-stage mineral exploration through the extension of the mineral exploration tax credit. Budget 2017 will also create a new strategic innovation fund to attract, support, and grow Canadian businesses in areas such as agrifood, digital, clean tech, and advanced manufacturing.
     Northern Ontarians also know the importance of having access to reliable, fast Internet. Our government is working hard to ensure people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River and across the country have access to high-speed Internet. Through budget 2017 we are supporting the affordable access program for low-income families, and the expansion of high-speed broadband for rural communities.
     This is in addition to budget 2016's $500 million to support expansion of high-speed broadband for rural communities. This means that in the future families, individuals, and small business owners in Murillo, Kakabeka Falls, Barwick, Mine Centre, and across the riding will be able to enjoy the benefits of reliable and fast service that broadband provides.
    When I was knocking on doors in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, many community members also expressed concern over access to health care services. Through health funding agreements with Ontario, we are providing additional support so families can get the mental health care and home care they need. We are also improving access to pharmaceuticals to help lower the cost of prescription medication and make sure people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River can afford medications.
     Thanks to budget 2017, northern Ontarians will have better access to the health services they deserve. We are also working to create good, well-paying middle-class jobs.

  (1350)  

    Budget 2017 helps Canadians to get the skills they need through employment insurance without the fear of losing benefits.
     We are also supporting greater career flexibility for parents of young children with the creation of up to 40,000 new early learning and child care spaces over the next three years. These investments are about growing the economy in northern Ontario, supporting families, and investing in our future.
    I cannot speak to the positive benefits that budget 2017 has on my riding of Thunder Bay—Rainy River without noting the continued commitment this government has to renewing the relationship with Canada's indigenous peoples. Budget 2017 builds on the historic $8.4 billion investment in indigenous communities made by our government in budget 2016. We are improving access to primary care, mental health services, and home and palliative care, and providing greater support for maternal and child health for first nations and Inuit through an investment of $828.2 million over five years.
    Budget 2017 also invests in protecting, preserving, and revitalizing indigenous languages and culture. I am especially proud of the investments budget 2017 makes in improving access to post-secondary education for indigenous learners. Our government has committed $90 million to improving the programs, which would provide more indigenous learners with the resources necessary to achieve their academic goals.
    However, we did not stop there. Budget 2017 invested an additional $25 million over five years in Indspire, with an additional leveraging from the private sector of $15 million. Indspire is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to more than 12,000 indigenous learners, many of whom are ineligible to receive funding through other programs.
    We have also invested in the aboriginal skills and employment training strategy, ASETS, to help them meet the growing demand from indigenous peoples for skills development and job training. Budget 2017 also renews support for Pathways to Education, which helps vulnerable youth in Ontario complete high school and successfully transition to post-secondary education and employment.
    Not only do these investments in education mean more indigenous students will be attaining post-secondary success, but they also mean that our educational institutes in northern Ontario, such as Lakehead University, Confederation College, and Seven Generations Education Institute, will have more students to serve and our region will see more skilled workers enter the workforce. These investments demonstrate our government's commitment to closing the inexcusable educational gap that exists for indigenous Canadians and will mean a better future for all Canadians.
    The well-being of our veterans is also a very important issue in my riding. I have heard from a number of vets in my riding about the positive impact the reopening of our Veterans Affairs office has had on their lives since the previous government closed the office. The government is committed to ensuring that we deliver the programs and services our veterans need as they transition from military to civilian life. However, there is still more work to be done.
    Budget 2017 continues that work with support to ensure veterans receive the skills, training, and education they need to succeed; better support for the families of ill and injured veterans; and investments in mental health support for veterans at risk. This includes the creation of a centre of excellence for PTSD and related mental health conditions that disproportionately affect veterans and their families.
    These are just some of the ways in which budget 2017 is addressing the needs of people in Thunder Bay—Rainy River, and I am proud to be part of a government that is focused on building a better Canada for all Canadians.

  (1355)  

    The hon. member for Thunder Bay—Rainy River will have a five-minute period for questions and comments when the House next returns to debate on the question.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

Flooding

    Mr. Speaker, the terrible flooding in Quebec over the past few days is unprecedented. Thousands of people have been evacuated, impassable roads have been closed, homes are submerged in several feet of water, and fields are completely flooded. It is a truly devastating natural disaster.
    I want to acknowledge the courage of the flood victims and the solidarity of Quebeckers. The way a people deals with hardships like the one currently facing Quebec says a lot about them. We stand in solidarity. We may sometimes disagree, but we support one another when a tragedy such as this one, which is affecting thousands of people, occurs.
    On behalf of the Bloc Québécois, I want to tell the flood victims that our hearts go out to them. I thank all those who are doing such an extraordinary job of helping. It is very heartwarming.

[English]

Come From Away

    Mr. Speaker, on June 11, I hope everyone in the House will be watching the Tony Awards to cheer on Come From Away, the blockbuster musical now on Broadway that has been nominated for seven Tony Awards.
    This phenomenal hit was developed and produced in my riding of Oakville at Sheridan College. The idea for the musical originated with Michael Rubinoff, Sheridan's associate dean of visual and performing arts, and was developed through Sheridan's Canadian music theatre project.
    Only five Canadian musicals have made it to Broadway. Sheridan is the first post-secondary institution to have a Tony Award nomination for best musical to its name. I am proud of the hard work and dedication that the faculty and students of Sheridan have put toward making Come From Away the immense success it is today.
    I also stand with my colleagues from Newfoundland in honouring the generosity of the people of Gander who were there in a time of need.

  (1400)  

Mother's Day

    Mr. Speaker, today I rise to recognize a special constituent of mine named Mary. Mary was born at the end of World War II and raised in the small B.C. prairie town of Dawson Creek, the third child of a homesteader-farmer-accountant.
    She was taught early on the farm that hard work and taking care of the needy was just something one did, and soon was volunteering as a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader, and later working as a church secretary and a seniors' care home administrator and receptionist.
    Mary's faith in Jesus Christ inspires her to care for others, from those who show up at the church doorstep, to seniors needing a haircut and a friend, to hosting countless families in her home for dinner after church on Sundays.
    She now keeps busy going for walks with friends at the local walking track, and being there for her husband of 52 years and her two grown sons and four grandchildren.
    As we approach Mother's Day, I rise today to recognize a woman who taught me honesty, to work hard, integrity, and to never give up. I thank my mom for all that she does and has done for us. We love her.

St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church during Canada's 150th year. The church was built in 1917 by Ukrainian pioneers who dreamed of a safe and welcoming place of worship. Many of them arrived in Sault Ste. Marie to work at Algoma Steel and made the neighbourhood of Bayview their home.
    St. Mary's Ukrainian Catholic Church has a unique history. The church was started by 18 Ukrainian families, and is supported by local Polish, Croatian, Italian, French, and English residents. Father Jerry often boasts that volunteers have made and sold millions of perogies and cabbage rolls to the residents of Sault Ste. Marie to help the church grow, leading to the headline in our local media, “The church that perogies built”.
    As we celebrate its 100th anniversary, I am proud to say that its mantra of living in faith and community still holds strong today.

Air Force Day on the Hill

    Mr. Speaker, as the member of Parliament representing CFB Comox, it is my pleasure to honour our distinguished guests who are joining us to celebrate Air Force Day on the Hill.
    To those here and to those back home, I want to share my deep appreciation for the work they do. It is an honour to express my sincerest gratitude for their enduring commitment to our country. Whether they are in a foreign theatre standing up for our shared values or at home saving lives by carrying out important work such as search and rescue missions, I know Canadians stand proud. In the process they put their own lives at risk, the most significant dedication. While their reach is far greater than all of our ridings combined, they should know that wherever they fly, this House represents a collective acknowledgement of the work they do.
    Beyond kind words, the best way to truly thank them would be to invest. Let us make sure the Government of Canada is there to support them.
    Happy Air Force Day on the Hill.

[Translation]

Flooding

    Mr. Speaker, today I would like to express my heartfelt compassion for the people of my riding, Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation, and people in all the regions affected by flooding these past few weeks.
    My colleagues and I share their pain in this difficult time. I am so grateful to municipal officials, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, armed forces personnel, community support organizations, and especially the many volunteers for working tirelessly to help the disaster victims.
    My hope is that things get back to normal quickly. To those who have been directly or indirectly affected, I wish them all the best. Once again, Mother Nature proved that she is mighty, but our hard-working responders, volunteers, and army personnel are mightier. They have our unconditional support. Do not give up.

  (1405)  

[English]

Flag of Canada

    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian flag is a symbol of the unity of many peoples with different backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions; in one land, we share common liberties and values. In this, the Canadian flag is a symbol of the identity of our nation. Many Canadians have fought for our rights and these freedoms under the banner of our flag and there is no law in Canada against defacing our flag. This in and of itself is a mark of the freedom we enjoy.
    As we prepare to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary, our flag will be front and centre in the celebration of our nation, of our values, and of our pluralism. In this, I ask all Canadians to be respectful of our flag. When people wave a Canadian flag that has been altered or disgraced to advocate for one cause or another, they should ask themselves whether it helps or hinders their cause, given that there are many countries where the national flag is a symbol of oppression. If their heart even has a small inkling that this is wrong, I ask that they not do it. Instead I ask that they celebrate our nation, many people of many viewpoints and passions united under one flag, our Canadian flag, in the hope of continued freedom and peace.

Jewish Heritage Month

    Mr. Speaker, May is Jewish Heritage Month in Ontario, a month when we can all take great pride in celebrating the accomplishments of Jewish Canadians in communities big and small across the province, including in my own riding of York Centre. This month recognizes the important contribution of Jewish Canadians to the settlement, development, and growth of Ontario. Jewish Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember, celebrate, and educate future generations about the role that Jewish Canadians have played and continue to play in Ontario communities.
     May also marks the centennial anniversary of the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. In 1917, the first iteration of the United Jewish Appeal was founded and today it is the heart of the Jewish community in Toronto, overseeing or partnering with over 50 Jewish organizations and programs throughout the GTA. On the occasion of this centennial, I want to congratulate all the board members, professional staff, and volunteers who make UJA a fixture in the Jewish community.

[Translation]

Air Force Appreciation Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark Air Force Appreciation Day.

[English]

    As a former air force officer, a daughter of a major-general in the air force, and a wife of an air force fighter pilot, I can proudly say that the Royal Canadian Air Force is a core part of who I am.
    After starting in 1914 as the Canadian Aviation Corps and then becoming the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924, Canada's air forces have served honourably for 100 years.
    I want to thank those in the air force who protect our freedom both at home and abroad. It is an honour to serve one's country, and with that honour comes great responsibility.

[Translation]

    Our men and women in the air force understand this responsibility, and they sacrifice their lives in the service of Canada. I thank them for their strength, their loyalty, and their service to Canada.

[English]

    Per ardua ad astra: through adversity to the stars.

Hospice Palliative Care

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to stand today in support of National Hospice Palliative Care Week 2017.
    Hospice palliative care is about living well right to the end. Seventy per cent of Canadians have no access to such services, but we have the power to change that. My private member's bill on palliative care comes back to the House tonight for third reading. This bill has been supported by all parties in the House and I hope to have members' support again this evening.
    Bill C-277 would create a framework that would define the services to be covered, the training needed for different levels of care provision, the data and research needed, support for caregivers, as well as a comprehensive plan to get access for all Canadians to palliative care so that each of us can choose to live as well as we can for as long as we can.

Mental Health

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians from all walks of life recently participated in activities in support of Mental Health Week.
    As chair of the Liberal mental health caucus, I know that one in five Canadians copes with some form of mental illness. Among them are the elderly, indigenous people, youth, individuals in correctional institutions, and our veterans.
    Addressing mental health illness requires more than a week. It needs a full-time commitment from all levels of government, health care professionals, and our communities.
    That is why the federal government for its part is working to make a difference. Through budget 2017, the government has allocated $5 billion to support mental health initiatives throughout Canada. With a focus on youth, the funding will also help 500,000 young Canadians.
    I urge all members in the House to continue working in their communities to ensure that Canadians needing mental health support receive it and will be able to live productive and healthy lives.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Democratic Republic of Congo

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to the current crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
    Yesterday the UN estimated that there are 3.7 million displaced people in the DRC, with 100,000 added to that number just last week. Forty mass graves were found in Kasai, where two UN investigators were brutally killed in March. The postponement of the presidential election has led to an increase in violence and instability.
    I worked in Congo, where I met the late Étienne Tshisekedi, who, until the end of his days, showed the Congolese people that a peaceful transition of power is possible. I therefore call for the full application of the agreement reached on December 31, an end to the violence, and a transparent, free, and credible election process.

[English]

Anti-Semitism

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to bring to the attention of the House the 2016 audit of anti-Semitic incidents made public today. Sadly, this marks the 35th year of the audit, and it is clear that anti-Semitism remains a stain on the honour of Canada.
    The year 2016 was the worst year in recent history for anti-Semitism, with 1,728 incidents recorded, a dramatic 26% increase over 2015.
    Most troubling is that anti-Semitic culture has become widespread at university campuses. Last year, there were numerous anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi guest speakers invited to campuses, and university staff were suspended for several anti-Jewish social media posts. In one extreme case, the Jewish community at McGill University was told to cancel its Purim celebrations by a BDS activist.
    It is disheartening that university campuses, which are supposed to serve as forums for free speech and diversity of beliefs, have succumbed to the poisonous brew of hatred and anti-Semitism.
    I want to thank B'nai Brith Canada for this report. I call upon all members to heed its findings and work toward ending anti-Semitism in Canada.

Volunteerism

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak about volunteerism in Canada. It is extremely important to recognize the contributions of volunteers to their community, to their province, and to their country.
    Let us take a second to think of the activities we participated in over the last month. The number of volunteers who supported those activities is great.

[Translation]

    We have just gone through a period of flooding in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick, and volunteers came out and made a difference. Many youth volunteers also helped out. Some 66% of young people do volunteer work in their communities.

[English]

    In the last couple of weeks, I participated in two evening events recognizing volunteers in Sackville and Waverley. In both areas, over 20 organizations recognized 20 people in each one for their hard work.
    Today, I would like to recognize 13 million Canadians who contribute through volunteerism. They total two billion hours—
    The hon. member for Algoma—Manitoulin—Kapuskasing.

Robert Manuel

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to honour the life of Robert Manuel, a veteran of the Korean War, community activist, and long-time resident of Elliot Lake.
    Bob initiated recognition for Canadian Peacekeepers Day in Ontario, but is best known for his work to have Vimy Ridge Day acknowledged as a national heritage day in Canada. A week before his passing, he was master of ceremonies as Royal Canadian Legion Branch 561 marked the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge.
    Bob had an impressive string of volunteer contributions, whether with the Legion, Korean Veterans Association of Canada, the Navy League of Canada, Chamber of Commerce, The Terry Fox Foundation, and more. Bob always gave his all. His patriotism always shone through, and his neighbours will miss his unique display of the Canadian flag on Canada Day.
    I feel fortunate to have known and worked with Bob for over 20 years. He was a special person who was committed to his community. He will be deeply missed by his comrades and family.
    I ask all members to join me in honouring Corporal Bob Manuel.

  (1415)  

Human Rights

    Mr. Speaker, many hundreds of Falun Dafa supporters assembled in front of Parliament today for the millions in China who have suffered since Jiang Zemin launched a campaign of brutal, deadly persecution of Falun Gong practitioners 18 years ago.
    In February, Sun Qian, a Canadian citizen, was arrested and abused for her beliefs. She is only one of the latest victims.
    The Liberal government must balance its narrowly focused pursuit of trade and speak up publicly to condemn China's chronic denial of fundamental human rights. Canadians should work toward a day when human rights advocates are no longer considered enemies of the Chinese state, when Chinese television no longer broadcasts confessions obtained through blackmail and torture, when political prisoners are no longer subject to organ harvesting, a day when the tenets of Falun Dafa and Falun Gong can be spoken out loud in Tiananmen Square.
     Zhen, Shan, Ren: truthfulness, compassion, tolerance.

Flood Efforts

    Mr. Speaker, like so many Canadians, especially in Ontario and Quebec, I spent this past weekend in Constance Bay, in my riding of Kanata—Carleton, helping with flood efforts.
    While it is heartbreaking to see the loss of homes and property, it was so inspiring to see the enormous outpouring of compassion and generosity. At one point on Sunday, we had over 600 volunteers from right across the region eager to load some of the 128,000 sandbags deployed, prepare and deliver food and supplies, or donate the use of their vehicles. Liberals, New Democrats, Greens, Conservatives, all left politics behind, with a single goal in mind: to help their neighbours. We could all learn a lot from them.
    We stand with all the people affected, and we will offer all the support we can. For all the volunteers who once again demonstrated the very best of human kindness, I thank them so much.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[Translation]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, no one seems to know what the purpose of the Prime Minister's infrastructure bank is.
    He says it will be used to build new projects and attract private investment. However, the Liberals have shown that they are incapable of carrying out existing projects, and private investors are already investing in projects across the country. They do not need a government bank.
    Can the Prime Minister explain why he is moving ahead with this bogus project?
    Mr. Speaker, during the last election, we made a commitment to invest in the infrastructure that Canadians need. We created an investment plan of more than $180 billion, which will result in infrastructure investments right across the country over the next few years.
    However, we know that even these historic amounts will not meet all needs. That is why we consulted the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the provinces, unions, and various construction and engineering firms in order to develop a mechanism to respond to infrastructure needs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the infrastructure bank boondoggle is just another taxpayer-funded Liberal vanity project. I know the Liberals are excited to impress their friends on Bay Street and Wall Street, but it is one thing to buy them tickets to a Broadway show. It is quite another thing to buy them a $35 billion bank.
    Has the Prime Minister forgotten that his job is to serve regular working people?
    Mr. Speaker, after 10 years of underinvestment in investments in communities across the country, we were pleased to put forward a historic record amount of investment into infrastructure across the country.
    We understand that even the $180 billion we are going to be putting toward infrastructure in the coming years is not going to be enough to meet all the needs, which is why we are happy to be working with the FCM, unions, construction, and banks to look at how we can leverage dollars even further to build the kind of infrastructure that is going to help quality of life and economic growth for the middle class and those working hard to join it.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, with Liberal insiders, investment banks, $35 billion in tax money, and Liberal politicians who have control over how the bank is actually run, what could possibly go wrong?
    How can the Prime Minister not see this blatant conflict right in front of him?
    Mr. Speaker, provinces, territories, and municipalities have been asking for a federal government that is a partner to them on building infrastructure after 10 years of a government that was a terrible partner to Canadian municipalities and provinces.
    That is why we work with municipalities and provinces, with interest groups, with unions, and with a broad range of Canadians to figure out how we can meet the infrastructure needs of our communities, of our small businesses, and of our growing economy.
    We are going to deliver for Canadians what, unfortunately, 10 years of Stephen Harper was unable to.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has a troubling need to hand out tax dollars to people who do not want it or do not need it.
    His night out on Broadway with Ivanka Trump including buying tickets for executives from some of the biggest banks and law firms in North America. Now, these folks have a lot of money. In fact, they usually support the arts themselves. They could easily have paid for their own tickets, and maybe they would have if asked.
    Why did the Prime Minister think taxpayers needed to foot their bill?
    Mr. Speaker, the United States and Canada share deep ties that go back, through economy and history, and the opportunity to celebrate how we work together and deepen the relationship between our two countries was extremely timely, particularly showcasing Come From Away, which is a success story for the Canadian arts scene, but also to share the story of extraordinary Newfoundlanders who stepped up during a very dark time in our shared North American history.
    This is something worth celebrating, something worth highlighting, and a big part of demonstrating the strength of Canada-U.S. friendship.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, we have found out that the government ordered 14 full-sized cardboard cut-outs of the Prime Minister. Now, I would like to give him a chance to explain this, but I am worried his explanation might fall flat. He is not going to be able to just paper over this with his explanation.
    Instead of his one-dimensional answers, will the Prime Minister tell us this: should this idea not have just gone into the recycle bin?
    Mr. Speaker, we made a commitment to re-engage on the world stage, and since I spend so much time in the House of Commons—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. It is nice to see members in a good mood, of course, but let us listen to both the questions and the answers.
    The right hon. Prime Minister.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the differences between us and the previous government is we believe in giving our diplomatic missions the independence to make their own decisions and to make their own choices. That is something that matters on the world stage. We trust our diplomats to represent us well around the world and respect the choices they make.

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal platform says that the so-called infrastructure bank will “...provide loan guarantees...to provinces and municipalities to ensure that the projects are built.” It is funny there is nothing in here about corporations profiting from public infrastructure. They must have left that out by accident.
    The Liberals have so far refused to answer this question, but I am sure today the Prime Minister will be crystal clear: will Canadians face user fees or tolls so that rich private corporations can get their cut, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians need a broad range of infrastructure investments across the country in public transit, where they buy tickets; in delivering power lines, for which they pay fees; and in infrastructure, such as roads and bridges that are toll-free. In order to meet the needs of Canada's investments in infrastructure that Canadians and communities need, we are looking at many different ways, including historic investments of $180 billion over the coming years in infrastructure, but we have also looked at how we can push that money even further and create more infrastructure that is going to benefit Canadians.

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, that is from middle-class Prime Minister to middleman Prime Minister in one fell swoop.

[Translation]

    Imagine for a moment that the Conservatives were in power and that—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. I know that members like to comment once in a while, but they should instead listen and remain calm.
    The hon. member for Outremont.
    Mr. Speaker, let us then imagine that we learned that the federal government was holding secret meetings behind closed doors with private corporations to cook up a new plan to privatize infrastructure.
    Would the Liberals, and especially the member for Papineau, not have been the first to stand up and point out that this is a conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, as a government, we promised to spend a lot more time listening to what Canadians have to say, consulting them, and seeing how we can do a better job of giving communities and individuals what they need.
    That is why, in establishing the infrastructure bank, we did not just consult with financial institutions. We also consulted with unions, municipal governments, the provinces and territories, the World Bank, indigenous financial institutions, and the construction and engineering industries. We consulted a huge number of people in order to keep our promise to Canadians.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, today we learned more about the Prime Minister's little story, where he features as the sole architect of Mr. Trump's change of heart on NAFTA.
    Allegedly, Donald's son-in-law contacted the PMO to ask the Prime Minister to call his father-in-law to help him see reason, as though this were all handled among friends.
    Will the Prime Minister admit that this was nothing more than a public relations stunt by Donald Trump and that he, our Prime Minister, is just playing a bit part?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians expect us to stand up for the interests of Canadians at all times, and that is exactly what we are doing. We have had constructive dealings with the new administration, and we worked together on ironing out the more difficult issues as well as on resolving these issues and taking the opportunity to protect Canadian jobs and enhance productive relations between our two countries.
    That is exactly what I am doing, and we will continue to do the same with all our partners around the world.

[English]

Softwood Lumber

    Mr. Speaker, thank goodness for Jared Kushner, I guess.
    President Trump imposed massive tariffs on Canadian softwood, risking hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs. The Prime Minister apparently did not see any of this coming; he did nothing on this important file until this phone call from Trump's son-in-law.
    The next time the Donald gets cranky, is the Prime Minister just going to stand by the phone and wait for his directions from Jared?
    Mr. Speaker, in every single meeting I have ever had with an American president, I have brought up softwood lumber as one of the very first things that we want to address, including my very first meeting and phone call with Donald Trump. We continue to engage at the highest levels on this important issue because it is a matter of Canadian jobs, a matter of communities, a matter of prosperity, and it is a matter of fairness. That is why we will always defend Canada's interests.
    Mr. Speaker, that leadership is the problem. In one meeting with President Bush, former prime minister Harper fixed the issue for 10 years.

[Translation]

    We do not need that many meetings. Back then, none of the provinces needed to appoint representatives. It was the federal government's job, and the federal government took care of it.
    The provinces no longer have confidence in the feds. Yesterday, Alberta hired the former Canadian ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer, and whose job is he going to be doing? The federal government's. This is about leadership. When will they—

  (1430)  

    The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    Mr. Speaker, it is important to keep in mind that the agreement expired on the Conservative government's watch. The U.S. Department of Commerce's countervailing duties are punitive and unfair. We will go before the courts, and we will win, just as we have every time.
    We are working closely with the provinces and their representatives. We want a good deal, not just any deal.

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, here are the real facts: the agreement expired in October 2015, during the election campaign. The former minister had already begun discussions with our partners. We did not wait; we were already working on it.
    What the Liberals are confirming is that we live in a virtual world. So what if they promised a $10-billion deficit and now are running up a $20-billion or $25-billion deficit? They think the budget is going to balance itself. They are no longer talking about a return to a balanced budget. This government is not realistic, and it is offloading today's expenditures on future generations. When will they start thinking about our young people, rather than mortgaging their future?
    Mr. Speaker, our government's top priority is to make wise and responsible investments to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and prepare Canadians for the economy of today and tomorrow. There are encouraging signs that show that our plan is working. Over the last year, more than 250,000 new jobs were created, and the unemployment rate dropped from 7.1% to 6.5%.
    Our plan is working and we will continue moving forward.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Prime Minister believes that there should be one set of rules for him and his rich friends and another set of rules for the rest of us. Middle-class Canadians and those working hard to join it do not get free Broadway tickets paid for by taxpayers. Ordinary middle-class Canadians just get stuck with the bill.
    Why did the Prime Minister bill taxpayers $30,000 to buy Broadway tickets to impress his elite friends?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell you who were some of the government's guests at Come From Away. One of them was Claude Elliott, the mayor of Gander, who oversaw the set-up of the emergency operations. Another was Derm Flynn, the mayor of Appleton, who hosted passengers in his own home. Another was Diane Davis, a former teacher who organized her co-workers, students, and volunteers into housing nearly 800 people. I am proud of the work of these Canadians and I was proud to help showcase this.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is so out of touch with ordinary middle-class Canadians that he thinks $30,000 for Broadway show tickets is a great deal. His minister claims it is to honour the generosity of Newfoundlanders. However, average families in Newfoundland and Labrador are struggling to pay their bills. They cannot afford luxuries like Broadway tickets.
    Why is it that every time the Prime Minister needs to impress his fellow elites, he whips out the old taxpayer credit card to show everyone how big it is?
    Mr. Speaker, let me tell you about some of the other great Canadians whose work and generosity and greatness of spirit was honoured and recognized at that Come from Away showing. Beulah Cooper was there, whose generosity led her to be nicknamed “Florence Nightingale”. Oz Fudge is the municipal police officer who recreated Disney World for stranded terminally ill children, and Brian Mosher is a high school teacher who put together 12 live shows for local cable. I was proud to stand with these Canadians and see their greatness honoured.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, after the Prime Minister spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on his personal travel and $30,000 on Broadway tickets, worse yet, yesterday we found out the Prime Minister spent $2,000 on cardboard cut-outs of himself. What is next, a cardboard cut-out of the defence minister?
     The Prime Minister needs to get serious. He needs to cut the waste and he finally needs to get to work for Canadian families

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will tell you what getting serious means. Getting serious means working incredibly hard in a whole-of-government approach and an approach that has been bipartisan to reach out to our U.S. allies and neighbours and be sure they understand our Canadian values and the history of our close relationship. That is getting serious, and getting serious is honouring the great people of Newfoundland.
    Mr. Speaker, $2,000 of taxpayer money was spent for life-sized cardboard cut-outs of the Prime Minister. The laughable excuse given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the vanity project cited the need to champion the values that Canadians hold dear. Does anyone buy that these two-dimensional cut-outs somehow championed our values?
    Other than this laughable excuse of an answer, will the Prime Minister commit today to putting these cut-outs to good use and place them in his seat during question period five days a week, and maybe then Canadians will get answers to their questions?
    Mr. Speaker, our government is absolutely committed to working hard to advance the Canadian national interest and Canadian values around the world. We have focused in particular over the past few months on our relationship with the United States, with a huge effort involving, yes, our colleagues on the other side of the House in reaching out to our American partners and neighbours. Canadians know that this effort is absolutely essential, and I want to thank our diplomats for the hard, creative work they are doing to support us.

[Translation]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, I have two very simple questions for the Minister of National Defence.
    Did he decide against holding a public inquiry into the Afghan detainee situation knowing there would be conflict of interest because of his role as liaison and intelligence officer in Afghanistan? If this was not his decision, did he recuse himself from the discussions since he would have been an important witness during a possible inquiry?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada is proud of the work of the honourable men and women in uniform, as well as the civilians who served in Afghanistan. Throughout its military operations in Afghanistan, Canada committed to ensuring that every person detained by the Canadian Armed Forces was tried, transferred, or released in accordance with its legal obligations. Canada's policies and procedures on detainees have already undergone various reviews, including by the Federal Court of Canada and under CAF internal mechanisms.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve clear answers about this decision not to hold a public inquiry into the transfer of detainees.
    In the absence of a real answer to that question, let me ask the obvious follow-up. Did the Minister of National Defence inform the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of his role as an intelligence and liaison officer with local Afghan authorities, who were known torturers, when she inquired about his possible conflict of interest in quashing an inquiry into the transfer of Afghan detainees? If not, what alternative facts did he convey to the commissioner?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we agree that transparency was lacking on this file under the former government.
    As the hon. member knows, every opposition party under the previous government had the chance to go over 40,000 documents related to the issue. The NDP chose not to. Over the course of 10 years, the Afghan detainee issue received significant attention. No less than six investigations were held by the appropriate agencies, including one that is ongoing.
    We look forward to going over the findings of the investigations.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary got that wrong, completely. Veterans and Canadians are calling on the defence minister to resign for habitually using alternative facts. There is a motion before this House calling on the defence minister to step aside.
     Demonstrating complete disrespect for our brave men and women in uniform during the debate on this motion, the defence minister refused to acknowledge his wrongdoing. When will the defence minister do the right thing and resign?

  (1440)  

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence is a former reservist. He will always hold in high regard the service of Canadian Armed Forces members, both those he served with during his missions and those who served under other commanders or at other times.
    Today, it is the minister's responsibility to ensure that the members of the Canadian Armed Forces have all the equipment, training, and care they need to carry out their missions, abroad and in Canada. This policy will ensure that there is adequate funding for the Canadian Armed Forces for the next 20 years.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we thank the Minister of National Defence for his service as a veteran, but his service as a minister has been deplorable. The minister has taken away danger pay from our troops. He fabricated a capability gap for our fighter jets. He made misleading comments about our mission in Iraq, and he has embellished his service record.
    The defence minister just cannot keep the facts straight. This is a massive problem when he is tasked with our national security and entrusted with the care of our deployed armed forces around the world.
     How can the families of the brave men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces trust this defence minister with the lives of their loved ones when he so blatantly misleads Canadians?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we will make sure that our troops have all the necessary benefits to carry out their duties. This government was quick to retroactively address the inequity for the soldiers who lost their tax-free status in Operation Impact.
    Our government is working hard to review the compensation rules and find a long-term solution to fix the mess we inherited and to ensure a fair and equitable process for all.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like my colleague to listen carefully to my question so that he can give me the right answer.
    Yesterday, the Minister of National Defence did not respond to the questions about his integrity, so I am going to try again. The minister violated the Canadian Forces code of values and ethics.
    With regard to integrity, the code says that being a person of integrity calls for honesty, the avoidance of deception, and adherence to high ethical standards. That is exactly what the minister is not doing. It is important that leaders and commanders demonstrate integrity, because their example has an effect on their peers and subordinates.
    The minister no longer has any integrity. When will he resign?
     Mr. Speaker, yesterday in the House, the minister pointed out that his primary responsibility and that of our government is to to look after our troops and ensure that they have the support, training, and equipment needed to carry out the missions they are assigned. That has been the minister's objective for the past year and a half, and that is what he strives to do every day.
    One of the key elements of his mandate is to put together a new defence policy for Canada. We will ensure that this policy is adequately funded and rigorously costed for the next 20 years.
    Mr. Speaker, since becoming a Liberal, the Minister of National Defence has lost his way when it comes to the truth. He has become a master of “alternative facts”. This is a problem considering he is in charge of the Royal Military College of Canada in Kingston, whose motto is “Truth, Duty, Valour”.
    He is no longer in a position to set an example for recruits. If he still has a shred of dignity or honour, he must resign because he is the laughingstock of the Canadian Forces. This is too bad for him, but he has gone from hero to zero.
     Mr. Speaker, the minister of defence was given a substantial mandate, and he is following through on it. He will soon be unveiling a new defence policy that includes making sure military personnel have the right equipment and everything they need when they are deployed.
    Over the past year, we have been listening to Canadians across the country. We have done a thorough analysis to ensure that our approach meets the needs of our military personnel.

[English]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a state of emergency has been declared in the community of Grand Forks, British Columbia, because of flooding. The surrounding boundary region has also been put under emergency watch, and homes and farmland are being flooded by rising water levels. The situation stands to get worse by the end of this week.
    Can the Prime Minister reassure constituents in my riding that this government will provide the necessary resources and assistance if and when needed?
    Absolutely, Mr. Speaker. The government operations centre in my department is closely in touch with its counterparts in the Province of British Columbia. The situation is being monitored very carefully, and we have indicated to the Province of British Columbia that if it needs federal assistance, it will be provided, and we will give our answer instantly.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, on April 21, 2017, the Government of Quebec decided to transfer the herd of woodland caribou from Val-d'Or to the Zoo sauvage de Saint-Félicien, despite public opposition in the region and the petition to that effect signed by over 14,000 people. Neither the Quebec government nor the federal government consulted the Algonquin people on this case.
    What is the government doing for this endangered species? Has the Minister of Environment received a request from the Algonquin people to intervene in this matter?
     Mr. Speaker, we are committed to working with the provinces, territories, and indigenous peoples on the protection and recovery of Canada’s species at risk, including caribou, in a timely manner using conservation measures based on sound science and robust recovery plans.
    Provinces and territories have primary responsibility to manage lands and wildlife within caribou ranges. We are supporting their efforts to develop conservation measures based on the best scientific data—
    The hon. member for Davenport.

[English]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, a historic $180 billion has been committed to building much-needed infrastructure in communities right across Canada. Residents in my downtown Toronto riding of Davenport are looking forward to public transit projects, such as the relief line. They are also looking forward to more bike infrastructure, such as the further expansion of the West Toronto Railpath and the creation of the green line.
    Can the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities update this House on how the government's infrastructure plan is helping communities not only in Davenport but across Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Davenport for her hard work. Our government is making historic investments to build strong, sustainable, and inclusive communities from coast to coast to coast, including $25 billion in public transit over the next 11 years. This funding will support the next generation of public transit projects, including active transportation across Canada, and we look forward to signing agreements with our partners.
    Mr. Speaker, not only is there a significant conflict of interest with the Liberals' infrastructure bank, but chief economists are now questioning the bank's necessity. Taxpayers are on the hook for $35 billion and will be paying up to 12% in profits to the very same insiders who designed the program. The bank will only be required to report to Parliament twice over the next 10 years. That is twice in a decade.
    Did the Liberals shut down debate on this legislation today so they could avoid talking about this blatant conflict of interest?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands how critical infrastructure is to grow our economy and create jobs. That is why the municipal sector, the provincial sector, and the territorial sector are supporting our plan, including the creation of the infrastructure bank, to build more new infrastructure, which was neglected by the previous government for a decade. As far as reporting is concerned, the bank will report to this Parliament on an annual basis.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are up to their necks in conflicts of interest.
    The Prime Minister visits the Aga Khan on his private island and the Liberals have no problem with that. Fundraisers with lobbyists and ministers do not bother the Liberals.
    Now the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities is setting up an infrastructure bank with private investors behind closed doors. Again, the Liberals have no problem with that.
    When will the Liberals learn? Enough with their schemes and conflicts of interest.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the presentation made to institutional investors is publicly available. I hope the member gets to read it.
    As far as the bank is concerned, we consulted with various stakeholders. We consulted with the FCM. We consulted with the World Bank. We consulted with the IMF. We consulted with the provinces, trade unions, and businesses, because we understand that we want to have an institution that will deliver on the expectations of Canadians to build more infrastructure to grow our economy and create jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals say in their budget that there is roughly $2 trillion worldwide in private sector investment looking for infrastructure projects. If that is true, then why do they need $35 billion more from taxpayers? Division 18 of the budget tells us that it is for loan guarantees. That means the billionaires get all the profits off user fees while taxpayers get all the losses off revenue shortfalls and cost overruns.
    Why do the billionaires get all the profits while taxpayers take all the losses?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, the reason we are getting a lot of support from the municipalities and provinces for our infrastructure plan is that they have seen the impact when we do not build proper infrastructure. When we do not maintain the infrastructure we have, the economy hurts, jobs are not created, people are stuck in traffic, and people are spending more time being unproductive.
    That is why we want to build more infrastructure on top of the historic investments we are making to catch up with a decade of neglect, which the previous government did not pay attention to.
    Mr. Speaker, one has to wonder if the minister's comments here today were also vetted by the billionaires who want to set up this bank.
    According to documents obtained by The Globe and Mail, those billionaires who will profit off this taxpayer-funded bank are directing staff and officials in the minister's office on its design. Their instructions are simple: they get all the profits, and taxpayers get all the losses.
    Why is the government giving 35 billion tax dollars for a bank that is of billionaires, by billionaires, and for billionaires?
    Mr. Speaker, I am amazed by the lack of understanding on the part of the hon. member.
    Our infrastructure plan works in Canada. We support the municipalities to build infrastructure. We support provinces to build infrastructure. They are the ones who procure the infrastructure. They are the ones who decide how they are going to build the infrastructure. We have added an additional tool to support them in order to make sure they have the necessary tools to meet the expectations of their citizens, on whose behalf they are building that infrastructure.
    I would encourage that member to actually read--
    The hon. member for Vancouver East.

Citizenship and Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, stripping law-abiding former refugees of their permanent resident status simply because they travelled back to their country of origin is so wrong. Close to 300 people whose citizenship applications are on hold are faced with this. These are law-abiding people who have committed no crime, violated no immigration laws, and passed all requirements to become Canadian citizens, and they are being targeted for cessation.
    Will the government halt the proceedings for current cessation applications and repeal these absurd laws?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, Canada's refugee system is widely recognized as one of the most compassionate in the world.
    We acknowledge that there is room for improvement to further enhance refugee protection while ensuring that we preserve the integrity of Canada's asylum system. Our government consulted the stakeholders and looked at the current policies with a view to making improvements to the current asylum system.

International Development

    Mr. Speaker, the humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is the worst in the history of the United Nations: 100,000 people are in danger of losing their lives and millions are starving. With Canada's international aid headed toward an all-time low, the Minister of Finance is telling us that we need to do more with less. To make matters worse, the government is pilfering $300 million from its aid programs to help finance a bank controlled by the Minister of International Trade. In short, the government is doing nothing to help resolve the crisis.
    Is the minister going to come up with some money fast in order to save lives?
    Mr. Speaker, last week I was very proud to join the Prime Minister in announcing the creation of a new development finance institute. After thorough analysis, we decided to make the institute a subsidiary of Export Development Canada because the evidence shows that this will be the most effective and efficient mechanism. This will enable us to form new partnerships with the private sector.

[English]

Citizenship and Immigration

     Mr. Speaker, reports released yesterday show that Canada is on track to receive double the amount of asylum claims in 2017 that it did last year. Many of these claimants will enter Canada by illegally crossing the U.S.-Canada land border. This is a record high, and using 2013 as a benchmark, only 38% of these asylum claims will be accepted as valid.
    When will the Prime Minister finally act to stem the flow of illegal border-crossers, so that Canada's resources can be better directed to support the world's most vulnerable?

  (1455)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud of our government's commitment to welcoming those fleeing war, terror, and persecution. Our government committed to establishing a sound, fair, and compassionate asylum system. The Citizenship Commission recently introduced new measures, including shorter hearings for simple cases, in order to make the process more efficient and productive. These measures do not compromise the program's integrity.

[English]

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, it is now being reported that the government will not renew the lapsing measures of the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act before they sunset on August 1.
    Shippers are getting very nervous as they are being forced to negotiate contracts while the law is in flux. The Minister of Transport keeps telling them that legislation is coming, but shippers continue to be pushed down the line.
    Why are the interests of grain farmers so low on the Liberals' priority list?
    Mr. Speaker, our government understands the scope and importance of the grain sector and that a strong rail-based supply chain system is absolutely essential to all Canadian producers and shippers so they can remain competitive in domestic and international markets.
    Therefore, we carefully consider any actions required to further strengthen the safety, efficiency, and competitiveness of Canada's transportation service. Consultation and collaboration with stakeholders has been key to helping develop a solid agenda for transportation in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, last year the Minister of Transport and the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food stood in front of a microphone to tell Canadians how important an efficient and reliable grain transportation system was. That is why the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act was put in place in the first place, to make the system work for more than just the railways.
    Now the Liberals have deliberately delayed until important provisions for western Canadian grain farmers expire. Why did they not tell producers a year ago that their idea of efficient and reliable was giving the railways all the power, taking it away from the producers?
    Mr. Speaker, I will reiterate that we understand that this is very important to Canada's economy and to our grain farmers and to our shippers.
    In the past we had this adversarial relationship. Now what we are trying to do is get the people to the table, consult, collaborate, and come up with a solution that works for everyone. That is what we are going to do.

[Translation]

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, as we know, flooding has devastated communities in several Canadian regions, including my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles. I would like to thank all the volunteers and first responders who have offered to help during these past few days in order to ensure the safety of my constituents and the community.
    Could the Prime Minister inform the House of the most recent action taken by the government in response to this emergency?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for her work in the House and the assistance she has provided to the people in her community. Our thoughts are with all Canadians affected by the flooding and we thank the first responders and volunteers.
    Approximately 1,730 members of the armed forces have been deployed in Quebec and hundreds of thousands of sandbags have been distributed in Ontario. In addition to our support on the ground, we are pleased to announce that $1 million will be donated to the Canadian Red Cross to provide immediate assistance.

[English]

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals promised that cozying up to Iran would get results, even though the Iranian regime boasts about funding terrorist proxies, has a rogue ballistic missile system, and makes proclamations aimed at the destruction of Israel. That is even while Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour languishes in an Iranian prison. Now we learn the Liberals have sent diplomats to Iran perhaps to fulfill another misguided campaign promise to open an embassy our Conservative government closed because of the security risks to diplomats. Why?
    Mr. Speaker, the best way to advance human rights and consular issues in Iran is by talking directly with the regime. By raising these issues directly, we are holding Iran to account. That is what I did yesterday in my conversation with the foreign minister and what our officials will do this week.
    Let me be clear. We oppose Iran's support for terrorist organizations, its threats toward Israel, its ballistic missile program, and its support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria.

  (1500)  

Seniors

    Mr. Speaker, according to a CIBC report, caring for aging parents costs Canadians $33 billion a year in out-of-pocket expenses and time taken off work. Budget 2017's non-refundable caregiver tax credit does not help those who disproportionately shoulder the task of caregiving: women and those in lower income brackets. With a rapidly aging population, that figure of $33 billion is expected to grow. Why is the government turning a blind eye to the impact of our country's changing demographic?
    Mr. Speaker, I am delighted for this opportunity to express once again our pride in the very strong record that our government has in supporting seniors since last year's budget and since last month's budget. We have put into place measures that take hundreds of thousands of seniors out of vulnerability through the increase in the CPP. We are also investing significant resources in supporting the housing and the health care needs of our seniors. We are working very hard to make sure that all of our seniors live in a dignified and secure retirement.

Ferry Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, from Cap-aux-Meules, Quebec, to Souris, P.E.I., from Digby, Nova Scotia, to Saint John, New Brunswick, from Caribou, Nova Scotia, in my riding, to Wood Islands, P.E.I, federally funded ferry services in eastern Canada are crucial to the economic growth, business development, and tourism of local communities. For far too long, we have taken an inconsistent patchwork approach to funding these services.
    Can the parliamentary secretary please inform my constituents, and all Canadians, on how this government plans to invest in ferry transportation services and grow Atlantic Canadian communities?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Central Nova for his important question and for his advocacy.
    Our government understands that, from visiting friends and family to getting goods to market, middle-class Canadians in Atlantic Canada rely on safe and efficient ferry services. That is why, with our announcement last week seeking industry feedback, we are reinforcing our commitment to implement a long-term approach to provide high-quality and reliable service, give certainty to users and communities, and grow regional economies.

Interprovincial Trade

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I asked the Minister of Innovation if he would stand up for the Canadian economy and help free the beer. He claimed that alcohol was part of the Canadian free trade agreement. He misled the House. Beer, wine, and spirits are not part of the Canadian free trade agreement.
    The Liberals have a chance to be the architect of unleashing Canada's economy. They just need to act as an intervenor in the Supreme Court case into Canadian free trade.
     I will ask again. Will the Liberals stand up and help free the beer?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of our government in working with the provinces and territories and signing this really incredible deal with them to have a Canadian free trade agreement. Part of that Canadian free trade agreement is a working group to liberalize alcohol, so we were very clear. That is why we have the support of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, we have the support of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we have the support of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, and we have the support of Beer Canada, because we made sure that we put liberalizing alcohol as part of the Canadian free trade agreement.

[Translation]

Interests of Quebec

    Mr. Speaker, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal has reached the same conclusion that we have. No one in this government is standing up for the interests of Quebec. There is no one to stand up for Quebec's forestry industry, to oppose energy east, or to challenge federal intrusions into Quebec jurisdictions. No one.
    How can the Prime Minister explain that his Minister of Finance, who is all chummy with Bay Street, has more influence for Toronto than all 40 Quebec Liberal members combined have for all of Quebec?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.
     Our government's top priority is to make wise and responsible investments to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and prepare Canadians for the economy of today and tomorrow.
     Signs show that our plan is working. Let us look at job creation. Over the last year, more than 250,000 new jobs were created. As for the unemployment rate, since December 2015, it has dropped from 7.1% to 6.5%.

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, as the chair of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal said, nobody in the government is standing up for Quebec. As my colleague just said, that applies on pretty much every score.
    Is that going to change? Will the 40 Liberal MPs from Quebec stand up and make themselves heard, or is Toronto still the only place that really matters?
    Mr. Speaker, we are very proud of the fact that we have invested $1.1 billion in infrastructure in the past year and funded 224 projects. Those are historic numbers. The most important thing is for Quebec to get money from the investment bank.
    It being 3:05 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, May 8, 2017—
     The hon. member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie on a point of order.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. During question period, the Leader of the Opposition made reference to a particular document. It is a very large document, and I am not sure every member has yet had a chance to review it.
    I ask for unanimous consent to table, in both official languages, the document that was referred to.
    Order. I know the hon. member for Grande Prairie—Mackenzie is a stand-up guy and that he will not want to break the rules by using props in the future.

Government Orders

[Business of Supply]

[Translation]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Minister of National Defence   

    The House resumed from May 8 consideration of the motion.
    It being 3:07 p.m., pursuant to order made on Monday, May 8, 2017, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the motion of the member for Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman relating to the business of supply.
    Call in the members.

  (1515)  

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

(Division No. 266)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Aubin
Barlow
Barsalou-Duval
Beaulieu
Benzen
Bergen
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Block
Boucher
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Brown
Calkins
Cannings
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Eglinski
Falk
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Hoback
Jeneroux
Jolibois
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kusie
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Liepert
Lobb
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Miller (Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound)
Motz
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Raitt
Rankin
Rayes
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saganash
Sansoucy
Saroya
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Ste-Marie
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga

Total: -- 122

NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Chen
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Fortier
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardie
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lambropoulos
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
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
Ng
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Samson
Sangha
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Trudeau
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Whalen
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 171

PAIRED

Members

Foote
Moore

Total: -- 2

    I declare the motion lost.

[English]

    I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded division, Government Orders will be extended by eight minutes, which when added to the 30-minute extension from proceedings on the time allocation motion this morning makes a total of 38 minutes.

[Translation]

Private Members' Business

[Government Orders]
     The Chair would like to take a moment to provide some information to the House regarding the management of private members' business.
    As members know, after the order of precedence is replenished, the Chair reviews the new items so as to alert the House to bills which at first glance appear to infringe on the financial prerogative of the crown. This allows members the opportunity to intervene in a timely fashion to present their views about the need for those bills to be accompanied by a royal recommendation.

  (1520)  

[English]

    Accordingly, following the April 10, 2017 replenishment of the order of precedence with 15 new items, I wish to inform the House that there are two bills that give the Chair some concern as to the spending provisions they contemplate. They are Bill C-315, an act to amend the Parks Canada Agency Act (Conservation of National Historic Sites Account), standing in the name of the member for Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes, and Bill C-343, an act to establish the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Criminal Acts and to amend certain acts, standing in the name of the member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.
    Additionally, on an exceptional basis, I would like to raise concerns regarding Bill S-205, an act to amend the Canada Border Services Agency Act (Inspector General of the Canada Border Services Agency) and to make consequential amendments to other acts, and Bill S-229, an act respecting underground infrastructure safety. Both bills have been sent to the House of Commons for consideration. The Chair expects that in due course they will be given first reading in the House, as is usually the case with bills sent to the House by the other place.

[Translation]

    As members know, certain constitutional and procedural principles inform the Chair with respect to bills containing spending provisions that would require a royal recommendation, which are also known as “money bills”.
    A fundamental requirement for bills of this nature is that they must originate in the House of Commons. Standing Order 80(1) embodies this important principle, stating:
    All aids and supplies granted to the Sovereign by the Parliament of Canada are the sole gift of the House of Commons, and all bills for granting such aids and supplies ought to begin with the House, as it is the undoubted right of the House to direct, limit, and appoint in all such bills, the ends, purposes, considerations, conditions, limitations and qualifications of such grants, which are not alterable by the Senate.
    This stipulation explicitly prohibits “money bills” from originating in the Senate. In the past, if a bill requiring a royal recommendation was passed by the Senate and sent to the House, the Chair has seen fit to interrupt all further consideration of the bill.

[English]

    The Chair has specific concerns about the unusual manner in which Bill S-205 and Bill S-229 are structured. Essentially, they appear to contain spending provisions that would require a royal recommendation, but they both conclude with coming into force provisions that suggest otherwise.
    Receiving such bills from the Senate is exceptional and rare. Indeed it may well be the first time the House is seized with such legislative measures. Parenthetically, Bill C-343, which I referenced earlier, contains a similar provision.
    If, following an anticipated first reading of Bill S-205 and Bill S-229, the Chair determines that the bills are contrary to our usual rules and practices regarding money bills, I would be obligated to disallow them to be further considered in the House. Specifically, it would be incumbent on me to order them removed from the Order Paper and any consideration of them ended. This is distinct from the process for bills first introduced in the House that require a royal recommendation, which are allowed to continue to the end of third reading before the Chair interrupts their consideration. Such would be the case for Bill C-315 and Bill C-343, should the Chair conclude that they do indeed require a royal recommendation.

[Translation]

     In view of these considerations, I would encourage hon. members who would like to make arguments regarding the concerns about these bills that I have raised today, or any of the other bills now on the order of precedence, to do so at the earliest opportunity.
    I thank hon. members for their attention.

  (1525)  

Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1

[Government Orders]
     The House resumed consideration of the motion that Bill C-44, An Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 22, 2017 and other measures, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, in Animal Farm, which is an allegory for dictatorship, George Orwell said that all of the animals were equal but that some were more equal than others. It is the same thing in the House of Commons. All Canadians and the members who represent them are equal, but some of them are more equal than others.
    I therefore find myself relegated to 34th place in the speaking order with only 10 minutes to speak about a mammoth bill that is 308 pages long. This will be the only opportunity the Bloc Québécois has to speak since the government has imposed a gag order. My colleague from the Green Party wanted to speak, but she will not be allowed to do so. All of this is because the rules were designed to serve a two-party system that has not existed for a long time. Under the circumstances, I will not be able to address all the issues.
    As always, before the budget was tabled, the Bloc Québécois held consultations to identify Quebec's needs. I met with about 50 groups, including unions, students, municipal officials, environmental groups, community organizations, and people from the business community in both urban and rural areas. We clearly identified Quebec's expectations.
    I informed the minister and his parliamentary secretary of these expectations two months ago today. As always, they were very pleased and interested, and as always they did not take any of this into account. Under the Liberals, consultations do not accomplish much. We saw this with electoral reform as well. When we moved from the Conservatives to the Liberals, we traded “shut up” for “keep talking”.
    Just look at the health and education transfers. If there is one thing that everyone agreed on during our tour it was that we must preserve our public services. With the aging population, health care costs are rising and Quebec is under pressure. Starting this year, the transfers will no longer track the rising costs. In the end, it is clear that this will no longer balance. We are heading for permanent austerity where our most essential health or education services will be at risk of imploding.
    However, the government chose not to listen. Quebec's health network currently costs roughly $90 million a day. Bill C-44 provides $69 million in funding for that network, or less than the cost of one day of operation. We are on our own for the rest of the year. Lucky thing it is not a leap year. Obviously we will not be voting in favour of this bill.
     In addition, when it comes to infrastructure, the government pats itself on the back and announces huge amounts. In its “sunny” press releases, life is beautiful and the future is bright. In real life, things are not as much fun.
     The federal government owns only 2% of public infrastructure. It is no expert at this. Cities, municipalities, and the government of Quebec are the experts. The only federal infrastructure program that might be effective is a program that transfers the money to the ones who are the experts and know how to manage it. The gas tax model works well that way. However, that is not what the government is doing.
    Last year, the government announced more than $13 billion. It wrote lovely press releases and smiley face tweets. Life is beautiful. Earlier this year, however, the cat was let out of the bag. The parliamentary budget officer, the same one the government has muzzled with Bill C-44, informed us that only a third of the money had been spent.
     Since Ottawa wants to stick its nose in everywhere and approve the projects one by one, everything has been frozen. Two-thirds of the money has stayed in Ottawa, and things are twice as bad and twice as slow in Quebec as elsewhere. Quebec has received only 12% of the money. What point is there in announcing amounts like that? That is half of what we were entitled to.
     I would have expected the budget this year to resolve this situation, but no. With Bill C-44, the government is continuing its ineffective approach, and, even worse, it is adding fuel to the fire with its infrastructure privatization bank. That is another good reason to vote against this bill.
     In their platform, the Liberals said that the government was going to offer municipalities its line of credit so they could borrow money at better rates. There is a little catch, however: their financial guarantee is being offered to the bankers. Bill C-44 is nothing but a tool for privatizing infrastructure. It is a goldmine for the Toronto financiers.
    If the infrastructure projects show a loss, they are going to be able to draw on the guarantee of $80 billion of public funds. If they make a profit, they are the ones who will pocket it. In every case, whether we are talking about money from taxes paid by taxpayers, money that comes from tolls, or both, the money will land on Bay Street.
     Bill C-44 socializes losses and privatizes profits and sends them to Toronto. When the government takes from the poor and gives to the financiers of Bay Street, we are not talking about Robin Hood; we are talking about the sheriff of Nottingham. No, we will not vote for that.
     Bill C-44 disappoints me, particularly because there is so much about Quebec that is attractive. We are at the forefront of the green economy. The technological engine of Canada is in Quebec. We embody creativity. We represent the future.

  (1530)  

    Ottawa is holding us back. As recently as yesterday, this is what the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal had to say: “When it comes to the major strategic and economic issues, who is the voice of Quebec in Ottawa? For the moment, no one”. That was not the Bloc Québécois speaking; it was the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal.
     We will not vote for that. In fact, I wonder how the 40 Liberal members from Quebec, the 40 ghosts, will be able to justify their decision to support it. I doubt that a sunny press release and a smiley face will suffice this time.
     Let us talk about the green economy for a moment. What does the budget offer in this regard? The government is cutting the $2 billion announced last year for “decarbonizing” the economy, including $750 million of it this year. What does the carbon tax in Bill C-44 look like? It is just as absent as the 40 Liberal members from Quebec.
     When the government does something, it is to prevent Quebec from benefiting from its competitive advantages. An example is Muskrat Falls, which is now competing with us, and is a monumental $10-billion fiasco. It is a joke that is not even remotely funny, in addition to being very expensive.
     When I say that Quebec is the technological engine of Canada, I am not exaggerating. Depending on the year, between 40% and 45% of Canada’s technology exports come from Quebec. At the forefront, of course, is the aeronautics industry. With the C Series, Quebec has joined the very select club of airliner manufacturers. This is a large project that is so ambitious that the development costs almost put the company into bankruptcy. When we needed Ottawa, it was missing in action. When it decided to do something, it came up with a pittance, and, even worse, it found a way to put two-thirds of its money into a project for Toronto. When Quebec is good at something, Ottawa tries to develop the same thing somewhere else in Canada, with our money.
     In 1995, in the middle of the referendum campaign, Bombardier CEO Laurent Beaudoin wrote to his employees to tell them to vote no to Quebec independence. At the time, he said that Quebec was too small and a world-class company like Bombardier needed Canada’s support to expand. Times have changed considerably. We built the C Series ourselves, with no federal government help. In Ottawa, Quebec simply no longer exists. We therefore got to work and we succeeded, when we had only half a government to count on. Imagine what we could do with a real one.
     However, there is not just aerospace. Canada has an economy of American subsidiaries. It is no surprise to see Bill C-44 raise the threshold for foreign investment review to $1 billion, since it wants more subsidiaries. Protecting head offices is not a Canadian priority. There is little innovation done by subsidiaries.
     Whereas Canada has one of the least innovative economies in the OECD, Quebec innovates, invents, develops and creates. Our R and D intensity is almost twice that of the rest of Canada. There are lots of start-ups, with 2,500 young technology companies operating on the island of Montréal alone. Video games, information technology—there is plenty of creativity in Quebec. One might call it our modern version of the Mr. Fixit spirit.
     There is also the whole field of artificial intelligence. The greatest genius in the Americas in this field is located in Montréal. Since he has trained many young people, a whole ecosystem of innovation is developing in this sector of the future. The big players like Google and Microsoft have realized that things are happening in Quebec, and so have opened offices there.
     We are preparing to join the major leagues. We are close to being able to compete with Silicon Valley, so what does Ottawa do? It announces a pan-Canadian strategy to ensure that artificial intelligence develops elsewhere in Canada.
     When the Ontario automotive industry was in need of a huge hand up in 2009, Ottawa did not develop a pan-Canadian super-strategy to bring back the industry in Quebec. It sent all the money to Ontario. However, when it comes to Quebec, things are done differently. When we want to develop our industries, Ottawa treats us like crybabies and talks to us about equalization. We do not want charity, we just want development.
     The industries of the future are in Quebec, not in oil or in subsidiaries that do not innovate. For us, the future is in Quebec, not in Bill C-44. In fact, I am more convinced than ever that our future quite simply is not in Canada.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am saddened by the member's speech. As someone whose family heritage originates in the province of Quebec, I believe Canadians, as a whole, love the province of Quebec and treat it as an equal among the different provinces.
     The province of Quebec has so much to offer our country. The member made reference to the aerospace industry. Manitoba also has an aerospace industry. I have talked to people in Quebec about health care. The Minister of Health has been able to achieve a health care accord, working with the province of Quebec. Canadians want that. Whether they are in Manitoba, B.C., Quebec, or Atlantic Canada, they want a national health care program.
    Does the member recognize the value of a national health care program? I believe everyone across Canada supports that.

  (1535)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his intervention, his comment, and his question.
    Let me be clear that Quebec loves the rest of Canada. There is no question of animosity; it is just that Canada makes its policies, Quebec makes its own, and they are never in step with each other. As people sometimes say, the gears grind. They do not work. Policies created there are defeated here, and we need a hand up because all the flexibility is here and we do not get the money.
     My colleague was talking about health. I recall the Quebec minister of health and social services saying that the Canadian health minister had a predatory approach and the same was true for the accord.
     As for the additional transfers for this year, they do not even pay for a single day. At 4 p.m. on January 1, they were exhausted. That is not enough, and we are most disappointed with all that. The government was supposed to reverse the Conservatives’ budget cuts.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his speech. He rightly pointed out that Quebec has received only 12% of the infrastructure money. However, the level of expectation is high, for the government continues to promise billions and billions of dollars. Today we again heard the $180-billion figure.
     I represent a riding where the largest city is the 18th largest in Quebec, and the 19th largest has 10 times fewer inhabitants. These rural municipalities will never see that federal infrastructure money, especially with an infrastructure bank designed to be profitable.
     I would like to hear what my colleague thinks of these 1,000 Quebec municipalities that will never see a trace of the federal money.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for her question and her intervention. We are in agreement; the municipalities will have a hard time seeing any of that money.
     The party now in power was critical at the time of the slowness of the previous government’s negotiations with Quebec and the municipalities regarding the transfer of money. It said that it would use the gas tax model, a model that works, to transfer the money that the government must return to Quebec and the municipalities to finance infrastructure.
     Once it came to power, that did not happen. The parliamentary budget officer, who will be muzzled under the current bill, says that two-thirds of the funds have not been provided. What is more, the infrastructure bank, which was supposed to help the municipalities, has now been turned into a gift for the government’s friends and the big corporations. This is the worst of scenarios in the worst of all possible worlds.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague from Joliette. I will try to keep my questions very brief.
     I have a question about the Board of Internal Economy. In the bill, for the first time, there is an amendment to make its meetings open to the public.
     As my colleague has said, however, we are members who have rights. I am in total agreement with the effort to open the meetings, since we are in the same position as the members of the public.
    Madam Speaker, I thank my Green Party colleague from Saanich—Gulf Islands for her question and her intervention.
     I am in complete agreement with her. It makes no sense. Ours is essentially a two-party system, even though there are several parties in the House. Consequently third parties are at a disadvantage. This has to change. I hope that the members across the way are listening to us on this subject.

  (1540)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am delighted to speak for Yukon and to the budget bill.
    When the government came into power, we changed the northern strategy, the Arctic strategy, to put the emphasis on people. We believe that if there are strong, healthy people in the north, we will have strong sovereignty in the north, good resource development, and environmental protection. I was delighted that the budgets of 2016 and 2017 reflected this emphasis on the people.
    I will just talk about some of the items in those budgets that made northerners very happy.
    First, the large increase in the northern allowance in the 2016 budget helped to cover the high cost of living in the north. Sometimes a jug of milk in the high Arctic can cost three, four, or five times what it does down south, as an example. All sorts of things cost more, so this big increase in the northern allowance was very welcome to help keep talented people in the north and to help people who have lived there for generations afford a good lifestyle, raise their families, and provide good clothing and food for their children.
    What helped with that immensely, of course, was the Canada child benefit. There was a big increase, especially for low-income families with children. We can imagine the incredible task of a single mother in the north, with these high costs, trying to raise her children. This non-taxable child benefit has gone a long way and has been a big help in the north.
    It is the same for all categories of people. There is the OAS supplement, which helps the poorest of seniors. There is the increase in student grants for low-income students and the doubling of student jobs for the summer. These measures all help people, especially people who need it the most, in the north.
    In my riding of Yukon, the two biggest private sectors are mining and tourism. Mining, of course, has been the biggest contributor to our gross domestic product since the great Klondike gold rush, the greatest gold rush in the world. It is very important.
     In recent years, mineral exploration has been very important to our economy. We worked hard to encourage the Minister of Natural Resources, who was a very strong advocate, to extend the mineral exploration tax credit for another year. This is a 15% tax credit. A lot of the mining activity in the Yukon at the moment is exploration, and probably a vast majority of it would not occur without this tax credit. This is instrumental and a huge help to the people of the Yukon.
    The second-biggest sector is tourism. Sometimes it is the biggest employer, for the number of people in the Yukon. It is a bigger part of our gross domestic product than it is in any other province or territory. When there were cuts in recent years, it hurt us more than anyone else.
    We were delighted to hear the recent announcement of $2 million for marketing and television ads for Yukon tourism as well as $1 million for the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association, because a lot of people who come to the north really want the authentic experience of first nations tourism products and services. The Department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, in budget 2017, would be given $8.6 million for indigenous tourism activities.
    The prime marketing agency for Canada, Destination Canada, got an increase last year, a desperately needed increase after many years of cuts, of $37.5 million to help market Canada around the world. We are delighted that this increase would be made permanent in budget 2017.
    We have a curious situation in the Yukon, where we have jobs available without people, and we have people without jobs. The reason is that people need training. There are jobs available, but people are not trained to take some of those jobs. We were very happy to see that budget 2017 included $14.7 million for the three territories for basic adult education. Whenever a person gets out of high school or college and needs more education to get into the trades or the professions, this money is instrumental. We are delighted that it has been carried on.

  (1545)  

    There would also be $90 million to help indigenous students in post-secondary education and $50 million more for the ASETS program, which is skills development for first nation people across Canada.
    Another item that is instrumental in the north and in my riding is housing. I was an early member of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition. For years, affordable housing has been one of our highest priorities, so we are very delighted that budget 2017 would have $11.2 billion for a national housing strategy. On top of that, Yukon specifically would get $24 million.
    Also important to the workforce, particularly to get women into the workforce, are more child care spaces, and we are very happy with the $7 billion nationally to help create more child care spaces.
    Like everywhere else, we have had a number of Canada 150 projects going on this year, which are very exciting. I have also announced a number of seniors projects, which were very well received.
    There would be $25.6 million for the territorial health investment fund to help us with the unique challenges of health in the north, and $89.9 million for indigenous languages, which, again, are very important in my riding. There would also be extra money for mental health for indigenous people.
    I just made an announcement about indigenous youth and sport and the aboriginal games.
    The Yukon government also gets a transfer from the federal government, and this would be the biggest transfer in history, with a $24.9-million increase over last year. There would be an increase of $.8 million in the Canada health transfer and of $.3 million in the Canada social transfer over last year.
    We are also delighted to get the new judge we asked for. We have only two federal Supreme Court judges. One is taken up with a major murder case. The other has the routine proceedings every week. A lot of civil cases were backlogged, so we are delighted that this is in the budget.
    The increases for Parks Canada are also very important in my riding. Green technology support is very important across the country to help the transition to renewables.
    I was in Washington a few weeks ago with the leader speaking at a conference of northern leaders from across North America, Alaska, the three Canadian territories, and Greenland. The two things needed for development were more infrastructure and more affordable energy.
    The municipalities and territorial governments were delighted about the large transfers for infrastructure. Unfortunately, I do not have enough time left to go through it all in detail. There is the trade and transportation corridor, $10 billion for the Building Canada fund, all sorts of projects for water, waste water, recreation, roads, bridges, and transit. We already have some buses from the transit fund.
    There is social infrastructure, green infrastructure, and Internet infrastructure. Northern and rural infrastructure would get $2 billion. I cannot remember a time in history when any government has put that much emphasis on Canada's rural north and come up with a fund of $2 billion for infrastructure. The north is eligible for all these other infrastructure funds. It is on a plus basis, not on a per capita basis, where we get almost nothing. We are delighted that we get a base amount.
    There is money for first nations to get infrastructure to protect them from climate change. It is very forward thinking.
    The other area I mentioned from the conference is affordable energy for the north. We are delighted that there would be $21.4 million to get northern indigenous communities off diesel, as many of them are on diesel, and $400 million for an Arctic energy fund.
    All these items are great for the economy of the north, the environment of the north, and most importantly, the people of the north, because when there are strong, healthy, engaged people who have their culture supported, we are going to have a strong northern part of Canada, which is important for all of us.

  (1550)  

    Madam Speaker, when I look at the 2017-18 budget, I see it as a continuation of our first budget, which delivered so much to Canadians. The first things that come to mind are the increases in the GIS and the Canada child benefit. Many of those programs are from last year, and now we have constituents receiving the benefits this year, as we are speaking today.
     Infrastructure is a big one. We believe in building Canada through our infrastructure. What are my colleague's thoughts on just how important it is that we continue to invest in Canada's infrastructure?
    Madam Speaker, investing in infrastructure is particularly important for the north, but also for all Canadians. I think members can imagine, if they have not had the personal experience, what it is like to be without a job. They go home and tell their kids that they have to move, because they cannot pay the rent, or they have to sell the house. The kids say, “Where are we going to live?” The parents say, “We don't know.” Perhaps the other kids are going on a skating trip or to a swimming pool, and the parents cannot afford to give them the money, or it is Kraft Dinner again tonight. There cannot be much in life that is harder than not having a job to support one's family.
     Economists have explained that one of the best government investments to create jobs is through infrastructure, in the north in particular. Where southern Canada has had infrastructure for over a century, such as ports and roads, in the north, a lot of our communities have no access by road. People can imagine the cost of food if it has to go in by boat and air. It is incredibly costly. That is why the trade corridor is so important. Our wealth of resources cannot get out if there are no roads or infrastructure, so it is very important.
    Madam Speaker, we are debating Bill C-44, and I am very curious. When the Conservatives were in power, they introduced undemocratic omnibus bills that lacked the respect of Parliament. The NDP and the Liberals, when in opposition, strongly criticized the previous government for this. Does the member not find it odd that now that his party is in power, he is supporting this type of thing right here in this chamber?
    Madam Speaker, I am delighted that the member has asked that question, because it gives me a chance to explain what Canadians may have heard but do not understand. We promised that we would stop the abuse of omnibus bills, of putting in a whole bunch of things that had very little or no relation to the budget, such as the dramatic changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act, as an example of what was done. Of course, any budget implementation bill, as members can see from the study done by the Library of Parliament, has to refer to a number of other bills, because obviously, the budget refers to different laws, different departments, and different agencies. The budget implementation bill naturally has to refer to those. The abuse we want to avoid, and I am sure the member wants to avoid, because we are onside on this, is using omnibus bills inappropriately to do things that are not related to the budget to get those items through Parliament without the scrutiny that would normally come with a bill that addressed something independently.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to quote the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons who said last Monday:
...it is with regret that I inform my colleagues that under these circumstances, the government will need to use time allocation more often to implement the ambitious agenda we were elected to deliver. This will be done every time with full transparency.
    Today we have the first gag order since the government's new transparent approach. The government has a monopoly on the truth, and we all we can do is sit down and shut up. The Liberals' new way of seeing things more or less amounts to that.
    My colleague who just finished his speech chairs a very important committee and has watched as his own government has tried to muzzle the opposition and take away its traditional rights, including the right to hold the government to account on behalf of Canadians. Our role as opposition members is to find the little chinks in the Liberals' armour. It is very easy, because there are so many of them.
     We are here today to talk about Bill C-44, which is supposed to implement the measures in the Liberal government’s budget. I would like to thank my colleague from Louis-Saint-Laurent, who is working very hard to hold the Liberal government and the Minister of Finance accountable to Parliament. That is his role, and that is what we do every day with every good intention. Most importantly, it is our duty to meet that enormous challenge.
    This government has promised a lot of things and, for the most part, has done the opposite. The promise that everyone is going to remember, not just next year or in five or ten years but also in 40 years, is the promise of small deficits. This government got elected by promising to run very small deficits and to return to balanced budgets in 2019. However, instead of very small deficits, what we have are enormous deficits. That is what our children are going to remember: the enormous deficits bequeathed to them by the Liberal Party and the colleagues of the Minister of Finance who approve of this trend of putting our children into debt.
    This government promised twice to be transparent. Then it tried, on at least two occasions, to change the procedures for its benefit. In addition, it promised not to introduce mammoth bills or omnibus bills, when the one we are discussing today, Bill C-44, is truly one. Lastly, it promised not to politicize the public service. However, the parliamentary budget officer himself says that the Liberal government is doing the opposite by trying precisely to politicize his office.
    Welcome to the era of transparency and sunny ways. Unfortunately, that is not what is happening. What does this government, in its infinite arrogance, take Canadians for?
     Bill C-44, which we are debating today, is supposed to implement the budget measures introduced in Parliament on March 22. In fact, it is a mammoth bill that amends some 30 statutes.
     If it is passed in its present form, this budget is going to cost taxpayers dearly. The Liberal government will be dipping even deeper into the pockets of Canadians; it is going to eliminate existing measures to control user fees for federal services, as well as tax credits; it is going to tax ride-sharing services; and it is going to tax Canadians’ leisure activities even more by putting a new tax on alcohol and tobacco.
     Another thing, which is not in the budget but has not been denied, is that they want to sell the airports to pay the enormous interest charges on the government’s credit cards.
     What then are the government’s real priorities? At a time when the job situation is deteriorating, full-time jobs are being replaced by part-time jobs. In addition, they want to enact legislation to legalize marijuana.

  (1555)  

    The government is standing still instead of standing up to the U.S. administration, which is attacking our forestry industry and our farmers. The provinces are clamouring for judicial appointments, but is there anything in Bill C-44 that meets their needs? Quebec has asked for 14 judges. Just recently, it got four. Hurrah! Now they are just 10 short.
    Dannick Lessard is a constituent of mine who was a victim of the shortage of judges in Quebec. He recently published an open letter in the papers. He says that he is not only a victim of crime, but also a victim of the justice system and the Jordan decision. Let me quickly review the facts.
    In October 2012, Mr. Lessard was shot by a man armed with two 10 mm pistols. He was hit nine times, suffering irreversible physical and psychological injury. In his letter, he wrote, “That act of unspeakable violence turned my life upside down.”
    On Friday, April 21, 2017, a stay of proceedings was ordered under the Jordan decision for the trial that was to be held in September 2017 of a man charged with the first degree murder of Pierre-Paul Fortier as well as the attempted murder of Mr. Lessard. This ruling is part of a new trend in the wake of the Jordan decision. He said, “This ruling effectively ends any chance that my case will be heard and that justice will be served.”
    He asks the following:
    Is it reasonable that my alleged attacker does not have to face justice for such a violent and gratuitous crime? Is it reasonable for me to live the rest of my days with the scars from my attack?
    He adds, “As a consequence of the Jordan decision, victims and the public have lost confidence in the Canadian justice system.”
    What was in Bill C-44 to provide for the additional judges needed in Quebec to ensure that the Jordan decision is not overused? Absolutely nothing.
    There are numerous important issues in this bill. One of them concerns the parliamentary budget officer. Last week, at a news briefing, Mr. Fréchette stated, “Last week, an information session at the Privy Council was requested. I left the meeting feeling furious and sceptical.” Meanwhile, the Liberals are trying to make us believe that they want to give the parliamentary budget officer greater autonomy. What they want is better control over him.
     The parliamentary budget officer will have to submit his work plan to the speakers of both chambers, the House of Commons and the Senate. Does allowing the Speaker of the House to approve a parliamentary budget officer’s work plan not amount to politicizing the Speaker’s role? How is this process going to be possible? Will the Speaker of the House have to make political decisions? Bill C-44 is really a backdoor way for the Liberals to take control of the House, in spite of everything they say. I will conclude by saying that implementing this provision runs the risk of reducing the independence and perceived political impartiality of the office of the parliamentary budget officer.
     When a budget is implemented, whether in Quebec or British Columbia or the Atlantic provinces, we rightly expect that the budget will contain measures to help our constituents. When it comes to my own riding, Lac-Mégantic, I have unfortunately seen nothing in either the last budget or Bill C 44 concerning the bypass track in Lac-Mégantic.
     I have seen nothing on the use of mine tailings. Are we going to allow the cities of Thedford Mines and Asbestos to stay alive and to exploit the immense potential of the tailings? Are we finally going to see concrete measures to give all municipalities high-speed Internet access and wireless communication?
     For all these reasons, I am obviously going to urge my colleagues to vote against Bill C-44, which simply exacerbates the Liberals’ strong tendency to bequeath enormous deficits to Canadians.

  (1600)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the member is fairly consistent with his critique of government budgets, both past and current. The Conservative Party consistently talks about their concern over deficits. The member knows very well what I am talking about. Conservative after Conservative will stand up and talk about that.
    I would like to remind members across the way that when Stephen Harper inherited government, he inherited a multi-billion-dollar surplus. The member across the way knows that as well as I do. He then turned that multi-billion-dollar surplus into a deficit, even prior to the recession getting under way. Stephen Harper never did achieve a balanced budget. The Conservatives might like to believe otherwise, but we know that he did not.
    My question is very simple. Why should this government take advice on deficits when Stephen Harper had an accumulated debt of over $150 billion and was never really able to prove that he had a balanced budget?

  (1605)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, my esteemed colleague is used to parliamentary sparring and theatrics. He is trying to change the subject.
     He has referred to deficits. Canada got through the last global crisis in better shape than the other G7 countries. We managed to do that while preserving jobs. What we were focused on, during all those years when we saved the Canadian economy, was getting back to balanced budgets. Mr. Harper left behind a balanced budget. In the Liberals’ minds, it seems, there are no difficult situations and there are no problems. With the Liberals, we can have perpetual deficits. That is what we are criticizing them for.
     When will we see a return to balanced budgets, so that our children are able to enjoy life, too, instead of paying the Liberals’ debts?
    Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague. Like him, I will be voting against the bill.
    My colleague is right in describing this bill as an omnibus bill because it amends 30 laws. Almost one-third of the bill refers to things that were not even mentioned in the budget.
    The infrastructure bank warrants its own legislation and debate in the House, as does the issue of the parliamentary budget officer. In our democracy, the parliamentary budget officer plays a vital role, and his jurisdiction depends on him being neutral and independent.
    Does my colleague agree with me that the changes the Liberal government is making to the position of the parliamentary budget officer will reduce our ability, as parliamentarians, to hold the government to account?
    Madam Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague that the government is once again trying to sneakily get out of its obligation to be accountable to Canadians and to members of Parliament, particularly in the case of the parliamentary budget officer.
    What the Liberals are doing is quite simple. The parliamentary budget officer will have to submit a work plan. He will no longer be able to accommodate the requests of parliamentarians when a crisis arises or when there are things we want to know, for example, the cost of a war. The parliamentary budget officer will no longer be able to respond to parliamentarians' requests. He will have to follow the work plan that he had to submit to the speakers of both chambers. That means that we are losing half of our independence to the Senate and the other half to the Speaker of the House, who will now play a political role. That is unacceptable.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I am very happy to represent my riding and have a voice for the people of Labrador in the House of Commons.
     Every weekend, I travel back to my riding. It is a very large geographic region of 295,000 square kilometres, which is hard to imagine. Getting around my riding on a weekend is no small task. No matter where I go within my riding, people will say that they are seeing the improvements they have not seen for a very long time. Those improvements are not just in their communities, but in their families and the regions of which they are a part. Those changes are helping to build and strengthen the communities in rural and remote northern regions across Canada. My area just happens to be one of those regions.
    When I look at budget 2017, the things that really pop out to me are those that directly affect ordinary Canadians who have long waited for programs and investment. I want to talk about a few of those today.
    With respect to the national housing strategy, budget 2017 will invest more than $11 billion in a range of initiatives designed to help build, renew, and repair Canada's affordable housing and meet the needs that have been inadequately met and have been unaffordable for many Canadians for a long time. This is being done simply because Canadians have been asking for it.
    Why would the members not support this initiative? For years and years, those who have needed affordable and accessible housing, both in our cities and rural areas, on reserve and off, have not been able to get the investments they wanted. Why would anyone want to vote against that today? They have been waiting for a very long time.
    In my riding last year, we invested in Inuit-specific housing in the northern region. It was the first time ever in history that any government recognized the real need for Inuit housing across the north. We invested in those communities and ensured that the investment went to the Inuit housing corporations so they could manage their own affairs, as was the case in my riding with the Nunatsiavut government. Those are the kinds of new, innovative ways the government is doing things.
    The other thing we did in this budget, which many have been requesting for a long time, is extend employment insurance to allow for a caregiver benefit. Many caregivers will be eligible for up to 15 weeks of employment insurance when they have to temporarily take time off of work to care for critically ill or injured family members. That is so important.
     I remember when a lady from my riding came to me when her child was sick. Her child had to go from Labrador to the hospital in St. John's. The lady had to leave her job, which did not offer her medical benefits and no income once she left. She needed to be with her child for that 10 to 12 weeks, but there was no income program for her
    . This will allow parents who have sick children and need to leave their jobs, without any medical insurance, or benefits or any other income, to tap into the employment insurance program during that period. That has been critical for many Canadians, and they have asked for this.
    The other thing is medical care. Issues about medical care are raised quite often in the House, particularly mental health services.

  (1610)  

    This year our government negotiated with all the provinces and territories to look at a new health accord that would include, and give priority to, mental health services and elderly care. As a result of that, the government is investing over $800 million in the next five years just to improve mental health services in first nation and Inuit communities. This is a new investment of money in communities that need it the most.
    Why members would not support these investments for mental health services going into first nation and Inuit communities that need it so desperately does not make any sense. They are the same people who, every day, stand in the House and say that we should invest more in mental health services for first nations. That is exactly what we are doing, and we are asking for the support of the House to ensure those investments get to the people who need them the most.
    I also want to talk about filling employment gaps across the country. The federal government is able to provide for skilled and advanced training, as well as on-the-job work initiatives for many Canadians trying to enter the workforce, trying to find employment. This year we gave a very significant boost in federal support to the provinces and territories by investing $2.7 billion over the next six years to help unemployed and underemployed Canadians access training and employment opportunities so they could get good jobs.
    There are major initiatives in my riding, like the Muskrat Falls energy development project, mining operations in Voisey's Bay and the expansion of Voisey's Bay, and the expansion of the Iron Ore Company of Canada in Labrador west. All these companies need skilled individuals to work in their operations. In order for them to get the skills, the Government of Canada is prepared to ensure training dollars are available for them to access, that we will help them find the employment they need, and ensure they get the training and skills they need for those jobs. That is what we should be doing as a government and because of that, I hope people in ridings like mine will take advantage of these opportunities to get the training and skills they need to get long-term, sustainable employment in these resource sectors or any sector in which they might choose to engage.
    The other program we announced in this budget is, again, a program that Canadians have requested for a long time. Their voices have been ignored to date because it is a difficult issue, but we have taken it on as a government. This year we propose to invest $6 billion over the next 10 years to improve home, community, and palliative care services for Canadians, as well as more support for informal caregivers. This means more people who want to stay at home can get the care and support they need. It means more families will have more support when it comes to family members who need palliative care or that kind of assistance. This government understands and is listening to people across the country and in ridings like mine in Labrador when we make those kinds of investments.
    There are so many things I could talk about today, but I want to highlight a couple.
     First, our government invested in infrastructure projects across Canada. One of those projects was in my riding in Labrador, the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. Last year we partnered with the provincial government to invest over $60 million in the Trans-Labrador Highway, and we will continue with our commitment in that project.
    We will also continue with our commitment to other infrastructure projects across Canada, including Labrador, like small craft harbours, women's shelters and centres, cultural centres for people in communities, and clean water for communities that need it. We are a government that is not only consulting with Canadians, but we are listening to them as well.

  (1615)  

    When we look at the budget before the House of Commons today, it reflects the needs of Canadians in the middle class, lower class, and others across the country. It is meeting the needs of what we need to grow, be healthy, and strong as a country.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about $11 billion for affordable housing in the budget. In fact, the budget shows only about $10 million for affordable housing in this current fiscal year, 2017-18. Indeed, almost all of the promised $11 billion is after 2019—in other words, after the next election. The government cannot even really commit to what might happen at that point in the future.
    If affordable housing is really such a priority for the government, why is it not investing in affordable housing now while it has the opportunity and the authority to do so?

  (1620)  

    Madam Speaker, I want to clarify that the investments we are making right now in communities to serve those who need proper housing is being done out of pure need, need that had been neglected for a long time.
     Our housing is reaching all sectors of society. We are looking at urban housing initiatives that we know are needed in many of our cities across the country. We are looking at the rural housing needs, especially across the northern region. We are looking at housing needs on reserves. As a result of this, the government is launching a national housing strategy. Over the life of that strategy, $11 billion will be invested in a range of initiatives. Some of it will go into renewing older properties and making them affordable. A lot of it will be going into building new properties to ensure Canadians have adequate and affordable housing no matter where they live in the country.
    Madam Speaker, as we are talking about housing, in Vancouver, the homelessness rate has increased 30% since the last homelessness count. The City of Vancouver has advised us that the money the Liberal government committed to and announced for 2016 has yet to flow into the community for real projects. Consequently, all the promises in the world have resulted in no housing on the ground.
    I have a constituent who makes $30,000 a year and is fighting for child support. She has applied for low-income housing in British Columbia. She has been on a wait list forever, literally waiting and waiting, and there is no housing available. Her child turned 18 in April. As a result of that, she has lost her $450 child tax credit, which, according to her, is not “play money”. It is essential money. Her child is still in high school.
    What can the parliamentary secretary and her government do to help my constituent? Should her child, who is still in high school, not be eligible to continue to receive that $450 child tax credit?
    Madam Speaker, I do not know the specific case or circumstances of which my colleague speaks, but I do know this. We have invested substantially in our children. Under our new child tax benefit, we have been able to lift many children out of poverty. We have been able to ensure that families have the kind of supports they need to ensure their children do not go to school hungry, but with all their needs fulfilled. We are making tremendous efforts toward that.
    As a government, we have done more to invest in affordable housing than any government over the last decade. That money may not have flowed as quickly as we would have all liked to see it flow, but that money is targeted. It is going to affordable housing. It is going to help the people who need it most. The sooner we can get it there, the better we will all be.
    Madam Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak to Bill C-44, the first budget implementation bill. There are a number of measures in the bill that will affect my constituents, in some cases dramatically, so I am glad to have a chance to represent the views of the great people of Souris—Moose Mountain.
    Most of my colleagues here today returned to Ottawa just a week ago after spending two weeks in their constituencies. I always appreciate and cherish the time I get to spend in my riding, speaking to my constituents and getting their feedback on how they think things are going in Ottawa. Unfortunately, my constituents were less than impressed with the Liberals' 2017 budget, which does nothing to help rural Canadians and could end up hurting them in the long run.
    It is not breaking news that the Liberals are completely out of touch with the wants and needs of rural Canadians. Just two weeks ago, the Prime Minister was in a small corner of my riding, touring a farm and talking about the carbon tax. My constituents do not want a carbon tax, and they are sick and tired of hearing platitudes and buzzwords from the Liberals. We all know that the Prime Minister's visit to my riding was nothing but a photo op, and that becomes clear when we look at the content of Bill C-44. If the Liberals truly care about western Canada, and specifically those who reside outside of urban centres, they would actually take action and make it a priority to help those who need it.
    As I have said before in the House, there are a lot of farms in my riding. They vary in size, and there is a wide variety of produce that is grown down in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan. Something the Liberals seem to forget is that farmers are small business owners. They employ locals. With the drop in oil and gas prices over the last couple of years, these jobs are badly needed. Farmers need to know that their government is supporting them, yet budget 2017 contained almost nothing for them.
    What Bill C-44 does contain is a provision that would scrap the income tax exemption for insurers of farming and fishing property. This would likely result in higher insurance premiums for my constituents and would decrease interest in private insurance plans.
    This is the last thing that farmers in my riding need. They have enough to manage as it is, given that farming can be a fickle and delicate business when it comes to dealing with weather, pests, and other unpredictable variables. Now their insurance premiums could increase, taking money away from areas where it could be better utilized within the business, not to mention the threat of a carbon tax.
    Not only does the Liberal budget increase the costs for farmers, it also does nothing to support them. There were no details regarding the next agricultural policy framework, so Canadian farmers have been left in the dark. Our farmers feed Canada and the world, and they expect their government to support them, not just show up for a photo op in front of a combine or play with a GPS, thinking it is a video game.
    While I could likely stand here and talk about the importance of farmers and agriculture all day, I would also like to touch on what the budget contains with respect to veterans.
    As some may know, I hold the title of vice-chair of the Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs. It is a role I am proud to have, and over my time on this committee, I have learned a lot about the challenges our veterans face.
    The very first study the committee undertook, right after the election of 2015, was on service delivery to veterans. During that study, the committee heard from a wide range of witnesses from all over the veterans community. Many of these witnesses were veterans themselves, and I appreciate their willingness to appear in front of a bunch of politicians to talk about difficult issues relating to their service to Canada.
    One of the recurring themes we heard from veterans, medical professionals, bureaucrats, caregivers, and others was the difficulty in transitioning from military to civilian life upon discharge. When a soldier is discharged, and especially those who are medically released, they lose the identity they had for so many years. They were used to being part of a family and having that unfailing support available to them at all times, and suddenly, upon discharge, that family is gone.
    This is not just the case for the veterans themselves, but also for their family members, who have established a community of support with other military spouses, children, etc. It is a life-altering change, and while the Liberals have made many promises to help our veterans and their families, the 2017 budget does nothing to help these people today.
    Another issue that came up time and time again in the veterans affairs committee was that we commission and train our soldiers to go into battle, but we do not decommission them upon their leaving the Canadian Armed Forces. While Bill C-44 does take steps to create a new education and training benefit for veterans, this does not help them with the loss of identity and purpose that many experience once they return from deployment and are discharged.

  (1625)  

    Soldiers in the Canadian Forces do not need to make doctor or dentist appointments. That is provided for them. They do not need to fill out paperwork or forms or parse through a convoluted list of benefits that they may not be entitled to, as that is done by someone else on the base. All of this ends once a soldier is discharged and his or her care is moved from DND to Veterans Affairs. An education and training benefit is all well and good, but that is something that is of use further down the road, once a veteran has established himself or herself into civilian life.
    Furthermore, there should be no time limit for veterans to figure out whether they wish to use the benefit. Often illnesses like PTSD do not fully manifest until years after veterans are released from the Canadian Forces, and the veterans should have the option to take as much time as they need to pursue education and training following their release from the military.
    What our veterans need are solid, available, and effective transition services. This is something that was suggested by the defence ombudsman, yet Bill C-44 would do nothing to enact these recommendations.
    For example, one recommendation was that the Canadian Armed Forces retain medically releasing members until such time as all benefits and services from the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans Affairs Canada, and the Service Income Security Insurance Plan, or SISIP, have been confirmed and put in place. Another recommendation from the ombudsman was that the Canadian Armed Forces establish a concierge service for all medically releasing members that would provide a single point of contact to assist members and their families in all administrative matters regarding the member's transition. These are common sense measures that the Liberals chose not to implement.
    Given the size of this omnibus bill, it is shameful that they could not do more to ensure that our veterans and their families have the services and benefits that they need and deserve.
    The Conservative Party has always stood up for our veterans, and we on this side of the House believe that our veterans deserve programs and benefits designed to meet their ever-evolving needs, both in the immediate future and sustained over the long term. The Liberals need to do more and they need to do better.
     Canadians, including those in rural Canada, are counting on their government to provide them with the support they need in order to thrive here in this wonderful country. Instead, they are getting nickelled and dimed at every possible turn.
    The Liberals' spending is reckless and out of control. With a $25.8 billion deficit, the budget will not be balanced until 2055. I do not want my children, my grandchildren, and my great-grandchildren to be paying the price of the current government's callousness when it comes to managing public funds. The 2017 budget and Bill C-44 would not grow the economy or create jobs, but they would hike taxes on beer and wine, child care, and small business owners.
    The Liberals need to wake up and realize that Canadians deserve better than this. Canadians need their government to recognize the priorities of ordinary hard-working Canadians and their families, and not just the elite. The Conservative Party will continue to stand up for these Canadians, be the voice of the taxpayer, and hold the Liberals to account for their reckless spending and their lack of touch with reality.

  (1630)  

    Madam Speaker, I will not spend too much time addressing the rather spurious statement from my friend across the way about the Conservatives' support for veterans, given the massive lack of investment and reduction in services for veterans by the previous government of the past decade.
     I want to go back to earlier in the member's speech, when he talked about rural issues. I think this budget would help rural areas. I am from a rural riding about half the size of his, and the biggest issue we have in our riding is Internet access. I wonder if the member has similar problems in his riding. Our government has already put in $2.5 billion for Internet through the $500-million connect to innovate program and a $2-billion rural infrastructure program, which has Internet as an eligible component. I think it is really important that the Internet has been called “infrastructure” for the first time.
    I wonder if the member has any comments on that in particular?
    Madam Speaker, I have had the pleasure of working with my hon. colleague on the veterans affairs committee and I am sad to see he is gone, but I know he has a new role and I wish him well in that new role.
    One of the things in this budget with regard to rural Canada is we hear all this talk about rural transit. Rural transit would do nothing for my constituents. If my constituent in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, needs to get to downtown Regina, he or she needs to know and have access to all the aspects. While people may not have transportation, they do have access to the Internet, but that does not help them get to see their doctors. It does not help them get to that doctor in Weyburn and it does not help them get to see that oncologist in Regina.
    The present government is promising to put money into green infrastructure. The Liberals are not going to put a green infrastructure transit line from Maryfield, Saskatchewan, to downtown Regina.
    Madam Speaker, I particularly appreciated the member's comments around veterans.
    In that same vein, a number of retirees have raised issues with me. With this set of omnibus bills, we do not see the government bringing in legislation that would improve financial security for those retirees, something that the Liberals promised, but they are doing quite the opposite with Bill C-27. This bill would allow crown corporations and federal private sector employers to back out of defined benefit pension commitments. This is impacting a lot of people in a negative way.
    One of my constituents asked me to voice his concern and his outrage and his disbelief at the government tabling Bill C-27. Forced into retirement because of declining health, he paid into a defined benefit pension for 34 years, but he is going to see a penalty as a result of the Liberal government's actions.
    Does the member think it is right for the Liberals to promise retirees that they would enhance their financial security, yet do exactly the very opposite when they formed government?

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, there are a number of things that I have found with the Liberal government and its promises, particularly when we talk about the Canada pension plan and that aspect of protecting Canadians.
    The Liberals promised that they would be giving Canadians security with this Canada pension plan, but it will not benefit Canadians. It is going to cost them more money, thereby adding to their expenses. We are going to end up losing jobs because of this, which is not going to help the economy. I contributed to that program for many years in my previous career as a chiropractor. I had to put double the amount of money in. Even with making a significantly good income, I will not max out on the amount that was promised.
    I do not see how the promises that the present government is offering are going to work, either on your issue or on other issues.
    It is not my issue. I would ask members to ensure that they address their questions and comments to the Chair.

[Translation]

    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 Elmwood—Transcona, Ethics; the hon. member for Regina—Lewvan, Public Services and Procurement; the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, Human Rights.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, the world is changing. Climate change poses serious environmental challenges. A growing number of Canadians, particularly our youth, fear they will never be able to enter the housing market. Growing concerns over the job market have Canadians anxious. These uncertainties mean new challenges for Canadians, but they also represent a source of opportunity to showcase Canadian creativity and innovation, economically, socially, and environmentally.
    This is why I rise today in support of the government's proposed budget 2017, because this budget will prepare Canadians for the future, addressing economic, environmental, and social development for our country.
    This budget looks to secure and improve upon the gains made in budget 2016, “Growing the Middle Class”. Canada has an economy that is strong, flexible, and full of potential. Canadians reflect this as entrepreneurs and as innovators who can adapt to changing markets as people concerned for our natural heritage and through our concern for each other.
    This budget puts Canada on track to build a strong, innovative, and green economy, and improve our social support networks focusing on mental health and housing.
     Budget 2017 provides Canadians and Canadian businesses with the tools necessary to continue the economic growth we are experiencing under our government. After many years of flat economic results, last year our economy grew by 1.4%. This year the OECD is predicting growth of 2.4%.
    Accurate labour market data is essential in order to continue our growth trajectory. Budget 2017 commits $225 million over four years, and $75 million per year afterward, to support improved labour market information, skills development programs, and measurement of results in Canada. Knowing where our business is experiencing shortages and filling those gaps is essential as our economy grows and as people are now retiring from the workforce in greater numbers.
     Knowing exactly what skills are in demand allows us to target the gaps in our economy. This also means addressing the needs of those struggling to join the middle class.
    As it stands, Canadians on EI cannot access training programs. Preventing unemployed Canadians from accessing training programs is simply unacceptable. This is why the government is not only reversing this backward policy, but is investing an additional $900 million in training over six years. We need to prevent Canadians from needing EI in the first place, which is why we must address the serious problem of youth unemployment. Budget 2017 builds on budget 2016 to allow part-time students to apply for Canada student loan grants. This has increased grants by 50%. To further expand employment opportunities for young Canadians, budget 2017 also proposes an additional $395 million over three years for the youth employment strategy.
    Investing in Canadians is a crucial step to building the economy of the 21st century, but governments must also strategically invest in industries where we can be a global leader. Clusters are dense areas of business activity that contain large and small companies, post-secondary institutions, and specialized talent and infrastructure. Budget 2017 commits to strategic investments in agricultural innovation, advanced manufacturing, clean energy, biosciences, and digital technology.
     These actions will grow the economy and promote the livelihood of middle-class Canadians. Guelph can and will play a major role in these areas. This budget is almost written for Guelphites.

  (1640)  

    The environment is also a cornerstone of this budget. As this government has repeated many times, the economy and the environment go hand in hand. This is why budget 2017 proposes establishing centres for climate services. These centres will improve access to climate science and regional climate resilience centres. The centres will work with local, provincial, territorial, and indigenous partners. This will make it easier for governments, communities, and decision-makers, businesses and organizations to access data and information on climate science.
    Investing in green public transit is also crucial. Budget 2017 commits $17 million to develop and implement heavy-duty vehicle retrofits. This plan also includes a carbon pricing program to incentivize innovation and efficiency. This move will reward creative and innovative businesses and raise much needed revenue for the provinces to spend. These investments will help Canada reach its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and ensure a safer, cleaner world for all Canadians.
    This budget addresses systemic social problems which have often been ignored. Since forming government, we have lifted 18 long-term drinking water advisories in first nations in our first year. We are committed to eliminating all boil water advisories, working on solutions with our indigenous communities, researchers, training providers, and businesses. The benefit of our approach is that it is based on long-term planning initiated by first nations leaders, which is why budget 2017 follows through on the promises made in budget 2016 to commit $1.8 billion over five years. Of this, $275 million in targeted funding has already been allocated and 201 projects have already begun.
    First nations communities are leading the development of these initiatives, informing the government and partners of what their communities need and want. We will get this done, and we will get it done right. The will is there, the capacity is growing, and people are truly committed to finding long-term solutions based on a new trust.
    Addressing the mental health crisis among indigenous groups is also a priority for this government. The effects of depression and suicide, as well as other systemic health issues in indigenous communities, are widespread and unacceptable. Budget 2017 proposes to invest $828 million over the next five years to address the immediate health priorities of first nations and Inuit peoples.
    Two areas of social concern addressed in this budget are health care and affordable housing. We are also investing $7 billion over 10 years to create 40,000 child care spaces. Mental health is an increasing concern for all Canadians and budget 2017 proposes to invest $11 billion over 10 years to support better home care and mental health initiatives. Budget 2017 also proposes to create a centre of excellence on PTSD and related mental health conditions. The government has committed $17.5 million over four years and $9.2 million every year after. As the health minister has said, there is no health without mental health. Addressing the unique nature of mental health issues is long overdue.
    Adequate and affordable housing is a general concern for all Canadians. That is why we are investing $11 billion in the national housing strategy, to develop a stock of affordable rental housing and other housing to improve the quality of life for Canadian residents. The CMHC will make upfront contributions to providers of affordable housing.

  (1645)  

    Budget 2017 offers genuine and innovative solutions to the challenges that face Canadians. Through strategic investments in the economy, the environment, and social programs, this budget follows through on the ambitious mandate Canadians gave the government in 2015.
    Madam Speaker, one of the concerns I have is the infrastructure piece with respect to water for indigenous communities. I looked at the infrastructure piece and talked about it for two or three years and throughout the campaign. With respect to the budget, it is one thing to build infrastructure but there is a critical piece that I am looking for. Coming from a municipal background, I can say that it may be easy to build those things, but it is the 24-7 trained staff that we have to have in place. If we did not have them in the municipalities, we got into trouble. That is where many smaller municipalities are.
    I cannot see that piece here, the education and training for people in those rural communities to maintain some $200 million of infrastructure. If we do not have it, it will just be gone in a few years. Maybe the member could respond to that critical piece of training and good jobs.
    Madam Speaker, the hon. member from out west has made an astute observation. I flew up to Dryden, Ontario, in January of this year to look at the training centre that is being established there. We know there is no point in spending money on infrastructure if there is nobody there to operate it, and operate it effectively. Part of our budget is focused on skills development and training within the first nations, as well as infrastructure investment. Hand in hand, those two investments will help us get to the clean water that our first nations brothers and sisters deserve.
    Madam Speaker, the member talked about the importance of housing. There is no question about that, as in every community there is a great need. The government has talked a lot about it, but on the ground we have yet to see action. I know that in the city of Vancouver, the money has not flowed, even from the 2016 announcement. We have a crisis on our hands, with people who are in dire need of affordable housing. We have co-ops that need assistance as well. Units have already been lost because of the government's lack of action in this regard. That is affordable housing that we cannot afford to lose.
    With respect to this national affordable housing program that the government likes to brag about, when will the money actually be spent on the ground to build real units, real affordable housing, for the people who need it now?

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her passion and commitment to helping people get into affordable housing.
    As the federal government, when we are working to establish housing priorities and housing trajectories, we are also working across Canada with the provinces and territories to get housing investments into their budgets. In our first year of being in government, we worked with the provinces and territories to get their budgets to match money coming from the federal government. We are now at that stage and starting to roll out projects, which have to go through a bidding process and a municipal approval process. We are working with all three orders of government. It does take time, but we are on the right track, and we will see progress.
    Madam Speaker, may I first congratulate my colleague from Guelph for his excellent speech. I would also mention that I have seen the work he has done in his riding in previous months, and I know how committed he is to working toward the development of his community and how dedicated he is to working for the welfare of his constituents. I would like to invite him to give more examples of how the investments that our government is making in communities, families, and workers will make a difference in the lives of the families and communities in his riding.
    Madam Speaker, I am honoured to answer the minister. We are looking at the social impacts through the Canada child benefit, which was introduced last time, which was one of the most significant steps a government has ever taken in Canada. Now we are following up with $11 billion, which has not been invested since the 1970s, to get us on track to create affordable housing projects in our communities, thanks to the leadership and vision of the minister and the people who work with him.
    Madam Speaker, it is another year, another budget, and another set of broken promises rolled up into Bill C-44, the budget implementation act.
    There is, I suppose, a certain irony that the government, which claims to be opposed to omnibus bills, would bring in this massive document that touches on so many areas, rather than separate legislation for its new ventures, such as the infrastructure bank. The government hopes that by burying the legislation in these hundreds of pages, it can avoid any detailed scrutiny.
    We have to give the Liberals credit for one thing. They are treating Canadians equally, raising everyone's taxes. That is not surprising when we consider the reckless spending by the government. In the 2015 election, the Liberals made a promise to Canadians that they would run a small or modest deficit, perhaps about $10 billion a year in the first year, and then they should be able to balance the budget after their first term. We know now that those were empty promises. I leave it to Canadian people to decide if they were lies or just incompetence.