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I call to order this twentieth meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance. The orders of the day are pursuant to the order of reference of Monday, April 19, 2010: Bill C-9, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on March 4, 2010, and other measures.
This is the clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-9. Colleagues, we have before us here this afternoon and evening 2,200 clauses, so we have a lot of clauses and work to do.
We did the briefing sessions with officials by part, and there are 24 parts to this bill. So that is how I will proceed, through the different parts of the bill, and then we'll do the schedules, the title, and such.
Clause 1 is the short title, but pursuant to Standing Order 75(1), this is postponed until after, for consideration at the end.
We will start with part 1. The way we will proceed is that I will identify which clauses that refers to, and then I will call for any discussion on any of the clauses within that part.
In part 1, we have clauses 2 to 36, amendments to the Income Tax Act and related acts and regulations.
Mr. Chair, as a gesture of solidarity with the Department of Finance officials, a department that I, myself, used to work in, I will not ask that all the clauses be read before we vote on them. Rest assured.
For part 1, I would ask for a recorded vote on clauses 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 22. Those are not the winning 6/49 numbers. For the other clauses in part 1, I would ask for a vote on division.
An hon. member: Clauses 15 to 22 or clauses 15 and 22?
Mr. Daniel Paillé: Clauses 15 and 22. So clauses 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15 and 22.
Just so I'm clear, if you're calling for one vote on clauses 2 through 36, we're in a bit of a quandary, because we do support most of those clauses, but we do not support clauses 19 and 22, and we'd like to have those broken out so that we can be on the record to oppose. In fact, we would ask for a recorded vote on those two clauses that we oppose.
My notes here ask me to ask the clerk for direction regarding HST/GST on financial services. Parts 55 to 95 we oppose, and I'd ask for a recorded vote on that cluster. They're all to deal with the HST/GST on financial services.
Is it possible to ask for a recorded vote on that group?
Okay, we'll group them together and ask for a recorded vote on clauses 98 to 103.
(Clauses 98 to 103 inclusive agreed to: yeas 6; nays 5)
The Chair: We have part 5, the customs tariff. This deals with clauses 104 to 1645. I would appreciate it if we didn't debate every clause, although the officials are willing to brief us on each one. These deal with all the tariff changes.
(Clauses 104 to 1645 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: We will now go to part 6, Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements Act. This deals with clauses 1646 to 1648.
(Clauses 1646 to 1648 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: On part 7, Expenditure Restraint Act, clause 1649.
(Clause 1649 agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 8, amendments relating to certain governmental bodies, clauses 1650 to 1785.
(Clauses 1650 to 1785 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 9, the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, clauses 1786 to 1827.
(Clauses 1786 to 1827 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Okay. We now move to part 10, agreement on social security between Canada and the Republic of Poland, retroactive coming into force, clauses 1828 to 1830.
(Clauses 1828 to 1830 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 11, the Export Development Act, clauses 1831 to 1833.
(Clauses 1831 to 1833 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 12, payment card networks, clauses 1834 to 1850.
(Clauses 1834 to 1850 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 13, the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada Act, clauses 1851 to 1861.
(Clauses 1851 to 1861 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 14, Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, clauses 1862 to 1884.
(Clauses 1862 to 1884 inclusive agreed to on division)
The Chair: Part 15, Canada Post Corporation Act, clause 1885.
Just very briefly, I think what's worth noting and should be pointed out, Mr. Chairman, especially given the importance of this particular clause and how vehemently the NDP stands in opposition to these particular clauses, is that even though we're in a minority Parliament, and even though the composition of committees is such that it's supposed to reflect the membership of the parties in Parliament—in other words, committees are constituted in such a way that the opposition in fact has the majority at committees, and a vote like this would not normally carry, if all of the opposition parties brought all of their members to the committee today....
Now, the NDP brought all the members they're allowed to have, which is one, which is me. The Bloc Québécois is in full attendance; they're represented by both of the committee members they're allowed to have. For some reason, the Liberals are lacking one member of the committee.
Many of the important votes that we've just seen pass in a tie, with the chair breaking the tie—which is a rare occasion.... In fact, committees are constituted in such a way that a neutral chair is not often put in the position of having to break a tie. It's the exception, not the rule; yet we have just seen the chair vote in favour of a number of articles that the three opposition parties combined are opposed to. In any normal setting, that would mean that those clauses would not succeed, but would fail.
I think it's worth noting and putting on the record that the majority of Parliament is opposed to these very clauses that have been passing—hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of clauses that have been passing in the budget implementation bill. People can draw their own conclusion on the dynamics that are at play here, especially in terms of this one last part, part 24, dealing with the Employment Insurance Act. We've let the public down. We've let down the people who voted to send us here to Parliament, by not showing up for work to vote against the very clauses they sent us here to vote against.
So I'd like to see a recorded vote on part 24, and I'd like it duly noted that the opposition is not here in full numbers and that this is why these appalling clauses are in fact being passed at the committee stage.
In fact, as the member would well know, bills are often brought before the House. We don't presuppose at committee whether a bill would pass or not; that's why we have standing votes in the House of Commons.
The member presupposes that the absence of a given member is in fact determining whether these clauses or this bill would succeed or fail. I'd suggest that it's not fair to project onto anyone whether something would pass or fail if the membership were in fact somewhat different. It may be changing the number of times that the chair is being asked to break ties, but I think it's unfair to suggest that the outcome of these votes would be any different.