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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 271

CONTENTS

Monday, March 19, 2018




House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148 
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NUMBER 271 
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1st SESSION 
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42nd PARLIAMENT 

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Latin American Heritage Month Act

     moved that Bill S-218, an act respecting Latin American heritage month, be read the second time and referred to a committee.
     He said: Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak in support of Bill S-218. However, as much as I am honoured to sponsor this proposed legislation, which recognizes the many significant contributions to Canada's social, economic, and political fabric by Canada's Latin American community, I do so with a measure of sadness, because this legislation was conceived and lovingly fashioned by our late colleague, the hon. Senator Tobias Enverga. Before I address the specifics of the legislation and the overwhelming logic behind it, I would like to speak to Senator Enverga's memory.
    Senator Tobias Enverga, known to his friends as “Jun”, was the first Canadian of Filipino descent to be appointed to the Senate. Born in the Philippines, he represented Ontario in the upper house after his appointment in 2012. His was a proud and very positive voice not only for the Filipino community, but also for a host of others in the greater Toronto area and across the country.
    Senator Enverga was a passionate champion of multiculturalism. He believed that Canada's wonderful, ever-developing diversity to be our country's greatest strength. He was respected by Senate and House colleagues alike for his kindness, his warm sense of humour, and his unparalleled work ethic. He was a tireless advocate for people with disabilities. He served as a Catholic School Board trustee in Toronto and became known in the Toronto region for launching the Philippine Canadian Charitable Foundation. He was co-chair of the Canada-Philippines Interparliamentary Group and inaugurated the annual Filipino Independence Day flag raising on Parliament Hill.
     During his years in the Senate, Tobias was a member of several standing committees and participated in a variety of important studies on issues ranging from first nations northern housing to maritime search and rescue operations. As well, he was an executive member of the ParlAmericas group and invested his energy in forging closer ties with parliamentarians throughout Latin America, helping them to strengthen democracy and governance through political dialogue and parliamentary co-operation. It was Senator Enverga's work with ParlAmericas that moved him to propose the bill that is before the House today.
    Senator Enverga died Thursday, November 16, while on parliamentary business in Colombia. Despite his tragic and untimely passing, Senator Enverga's Latin American heritage month bill does live on. It was passed in the other place a couple of weeks later, and it was sent to us in this House.
    When Senator Enverga first spoke to Bill S-218, he reminded colleagues that he came to Canada as an immigrant, one of many in the upper chamber fortunate to have been welcomed to Canada. He referred to the spectrum of celebrations held across Canada by communities of various national, ethnic, and linguistic origins. He highlighted the two decades-plus annual celebration of Black History Month, recognized by the House in 1995 and by the Senate 13 years later. He explained that the designation of Black History Month has done much to educate and to familiarize Canadians with the stories and the history of an important demographic too often absent in school curricula previously. He mentioned as well Asian Heritage Month, passed and proclaimed in 2002 and marked annually ever since, when non-Asian Canadians learn of and experience the sounds, entertainment, and tastes of Asia, and the contribution that Asian Canadians have brought to Canadian society. Senator Enverga argued that those are just two wonderful examples of designated heritage months to which he believed a Latin American heritage month should be added.
    Some of my colleagues in the House may remember that Senator Enverga introduced a bill in the 41st Parliament, Bill S-228, to create a Hispanic heritage month, matching such designation by the Province of Ontario and by the City of Toronto. That bill died in the election of 2015. Senator Enverga, after consultation with the members of the public, reconsidered the reintroduction of that legislation and decided to change the focus in the bill to Latin America as a geographic and linguistic community which would add not only the lusophone and francophone communities but also those of indigenous peoples of the Latin American region.
    This was not a snap decision. Senator Enverga pondered long and deeply the issues of self-identification of the diverse Latin American community in Canada. He became convinced that a Latin American heritage month would better enhance our understanding of the complexities involved. He also believed it would respect the spirit of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act of 1988.
    Latin America is of our hemisphere. The region is generally understood to consist of the entire continent of South America, all of Central America, Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean, whose people speak a Romance language or have a Romance language among their various national official languages. For the purposes of this bill, Senator Enverga envisaged the widest possible interpretation so that Bill S-218 would cover those who identify as Spanish and Portuguese speakers from South America and Central America, as well as those whose heritage is of the francophone and Hispanic Caribbean Islands.
    Using that broad and very inclusive measure, we can see that Canadians of Latin American origin can be found far and wide across our great country from coast to coast to coast. In the absence of absolute census numbers covering that broad and somewhat imprecise measure, we might estimate a probable demographic well above half a million men, women, and children.
    What we do know is that the Latin American community is one of the fastest-growing cultural groups in Canada today. Statistics Canada reports that between 1996 and 2001, the number of individuals reporting Latin American origins rose by 32%, at a time when the overall Canadian population grew by only 4%. Again, in terms of actual numbers, demographers can only estimate that between 600,000 and perhaps 1.2 million Latin Americans, again from the broadest possible measure, live among us.
     These numbers are particularly interesting given that there was only a very small Latin American population in Canada before the 1960s. It was in the 1960s and 1970s that Canada recorded the first significant migration of Latin Americans. Their motivation sadly in too many cases was to escape social and economic turmoil, dictatorships, and conflict. Most recently, another wave is fleeing Venezuela's corrupt and repressive regimes under first, Hugo Chavez, and now, the brutal Nicolas Maduro. These Latin Americans represented significant loss to the countries that they left, but they have been a boon to Canada. Their education, their skills, and their adaptability have been of great benefit to Canada's labour market, to our economy, and to our culture.
    The top three South American countries with the highest populations living in Canada, according to census statistics, are Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador. The three countries from South America with the smallest populations now living in Canada are Puerto Rico, Panama, and Costa Rica. Most Canadians of Latin American origin live in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, or Alberta, with almost half making their homes in Ontario.
     Canada's Latin American population is young. Statistics Canada tells us that almost 50% of those with Latin American origins living in Canada are under the age of 25. Seniors make up less than 5% of those reporting Latin American origins, compared with 12% of all other Canadians.
    Virtually all Canadians of Latin American origin are functional in one of Canada's two official languages. They are slightly more likely than the rest of our population to have university degrees. Also, Statistics Canada tells us that working-age adults of Latin American origins are somewhat more likely to be employed than the rest of Canada's adult population, fully 64% of adults of Latin American origin.
    Latin America as a region is considered the fourth-largest source of immigration to Canada. However, in sharp contrast to the United States, the demographic is not measured or appreciated nearly as much as are their counterparts in the U.S.

  (1110)  

    That is where Senator Enverga's bill, Bill S-218, stands not only to deepen our appreciation and celebration of our Latin American community, but to more precisely measure the actual numbers and its regional contributions to our economy and culture.
    Canada's Latin American population is a vibrant and multicultural community, composed of a range of subgroupings. First-generation artists, musicians, writers, and athletes, as well as leaders in the science, health, and business sectors, have led second and third generations that are adding their talents and skills to the mix.
    I know that hon. members enjoy a party. There are any number of events across the country that celebrate the multi-dimensional Latin American community. One perfect example is Toronto's annual Salsa on St. Clair. Last year's party, on a closed-off midtown street, drew hundreds of thousands of people, attracting more musicians, dancers, families, and Latino aficionados than ever before to enjoy the sounds, sights, tastes, dances, and all the colour of the Americas.
    Senator Enverga's bill, Bill S-218, would designate the month of October each and every year as Latin American heritage month. Let me explain the logic of this designation. October is a very significant month across Latin America. It is the month that marks the end of the annual season of independence celebrations from Mexico to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.
    October 12 marks Dia de las Culturas, the day of the cultures, in Costa Rica; Dia de la Resistencia lndigena, the day of indigenous resistance, in Venezuela; Dia del Respeto a la Diversidad Cultural, the day of respect for cultural diversity, in Argentina; Dia de las Américas, the day of the Americas, in Uruguay; and the feast day of Our Lady of Aparecida, the appearance, and Dia das Crianças, children's day, in Brazil.
     Puerto Rico and Chile also wrap up their independence celebrations coming up to October, and many other countries, including Mexico, end October with the three-day celebration of Dia de Muertos, the Day of the Dead, a celebration of ancestors.
     Of course, we cannot forget the Hispanic influences in Senator Enverga's own country of origin. Canada's large and vibrant Filipino community, although fiercely proud of the independence won from Spain, which we celebrate every year in my riding of Thornhill, still observes All Saints' Day, the Day of the Dead, and many other cultural legacies of colonial days maintained among their newer national traditions.
    When Senator Enverga originally approached me to ask that I sponsor his bill in the House, he explained that, as a former minister of state for the Americas, I understood the wonderful mix and complexity of Canada's communities composed of those among us who originated from Latin America, and I would be able to put voice to the message that led to the passage of Bill S-218 in the other place.
     I hope that I have communicated the senator's worthy dream. I believe that declaring the month of October to be Latin American heritage month would fulfill a wonderful opportunity to celebrate another dimension of our uniquely Canadian multicultural society. I urge members of all parties in the House to support Bill S-218.

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I too would like to recognize and pay respect to Senator Tobias Enverga for introducing this bill, and I would like to thank the member for sponsoring it. It is incredibly important.
    In his speech, Senator Enverga recognized the importance of Asian Heritage Month and Black History Month, looking at the rich colour, vibrancy, and culture of those groups, and now he has introduced Latin American heritage month, which includes the Caribbean, where I am from. As mentioned, I came here in the 1970s, so I can attest to a lot of the things my hon. colleague talked about.
    As it is the fastest growing group in Canada, I am wondering if my hon. colleague could speak to how important it is for Canadians across the country to learn about and understand multiculturalism, and the intersectionality, heritage, and history of this group in our Canadian context.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for telling us about her fond remembrance of Senator Enverga.
    The heritage months that have been recognized by the Parliament of Canada, by the upper house and this House, have at their heart, I believe, the unspoken intent of intercultural recognition, acceptance, and the celebration of Canada's wonderful diversity. They provide an occasion, on an annual basis, for subsequent generations to maintain that memory when there may be a tendency, in this case for those of Latin American heritage, to lose some contact with their language and culture.
    We passed a bill just recently for Jewish Heritage Month. Canadians of Latin American origin, like those of black origin or Asian origin, do celebrate and maintain all of the best of their individual cultures and languages, as well as share them to enable all Canadians to join in the celebrations, in this case celebrations that would take place during the month of October.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, the Latin American community has contributed greatly to Canada, not just as immigrants, but also as temporary foreign workers. Many temporary foreign workers, particularly those who are seasonal workers, do not qualify for benefits they pay into, for example employment insurance.
    To really honour the community and its contributions to Canada, would the member agree that we should align our government policies to ensure that those who pay into those programs qualify for the benefits and, more to the point, that if they are good enough to work, they are good enough to stay?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for a question that regularly comes to the surface at a time when temporary foreign workers from Central America and South America come north to Canada to assist in the harvesting of crops or to work in the meat-packing industry in western Canada. Too often, they are discriminated against by the uninformed in the communities where they are temporarily employed. Sometimes they live in less than appropriate or comfortable housing conditions.
    On any number of occasions in the last 15 years, the House of Commons has considered granting broader rights and benefits to those who, as my colleague just said, are good enough to come to Canada to work but, in too many cases, have not received the subsequent benefits they should have received or the opportunity to perhaps make their residency in Canada permanent, which Latin American students, for example, can now accomplish much more easily than in the past.
    Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise today in the House to speak to Bill S-218, an act respecting Latin American heritage month, which would recognize the contributions of Latin American communities to Canada and establish October of each year as Latin American heritage month.
    As the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage with responsibility for multiculturalism, I am pleased to inform the House that the government supports the bill. In so doing, let me start by paying tribute to the late Senator Tobias Enverga, the author of this bill, a strong senator, a great Filipino Canadian, and a champion of multiculturalism.

[Translation]

     Canadians of Latin American origin have been part of the Canadian mosaic for decades. This bill recognizes the richness of these Latin American communities and their significant contributions to the social, economic, and political fabric of Canada.
    Given the strong and growing presence of individuals of Latin American ancestry, this bill is a meaningful way to remember those contributions, educate the public, and encourage all Canadians to celebrate Latin American culture and traditions.

[English]

    Formal recognition of Latin American heritage month is significant because it aligns with what all of us know, that in Canada our diversity is indeed our strength, and that as a country we are strengthened in many ways by our shared experiences, by the diversity that inspires both Canada and the world, and by the way in which we treat one another.
    Official recognition is also consistent with other similar commemorations that reinforce the importance of cultural communities to Canada's identity. A few examples have already been mentioned today. We previously supported the establishment of February as Black History Month, and May as Asian Heritage Month. A new Latin American heritage month in October would complement these other celebrations and recognize the contributions of this important group in Canada.
    In 1971, Pierre Trudeau declared multiculturalism as an official policy in this country, the first of its kind anywhere in the world. In 1982, upon the patriation of our Constitution and the enactment of the charter, section 27 was enacted, which includes references to “the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians” and the important role this plays in protecting the rights of every citizen.
    Recognizing the past and current contributions of Latin Americans who immigrated to Canada and have contributed to this country is in keeping with our country's commitment to an inclusive, multicultural society.
    Let me reinforce the fact that our multicultural heritage is a reflection of our commitment to equality and the fundamental freedoms that are grounded in human rights. In 1988, Canada became the first nation to proclaim a Multiculturalism Act. We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of that legislation this year.
    This law requires that we promote the multicultural heritage of Canadians. It also requires that we work to ensure that all Canadians are equal in our economic, social, cultural, and political life. However, our government has taken this approach one step further. Formal recognition of Latin American heritage month would directly support Canada's approach to multiculturalism, an approach that seeks to recognize and promote the cultural and racial diversity of Canada, one that acknowledges the freedom of all members of Canadian society to preserve, enhance, and share their cultural heritage.
    In going one step further, we have addressed this issue in budget 2018. In the most recent budget, we announced nearly $50 million in new funding to support programming that empowers communities to combat racism and discrimination: $23 million has been dedicated to multiculturalism; in addition, $19 million has been dedicated to the black community, and $6 million to the collection and dissemination of data on racialized persons. These funds will allow us to craft a new national anti-racism approach and give meaning to the official language contained in the Multiculturalism Act.
     Let me return to Bill S-218, the Latin American heritage month bill before us today. The question that immediately comes to mind is, why October? Each year, during the month of October, peoples of Hispanic origin around the world pay tribute to their shared culture through celebrations such as Hispanic day, the day of the cultures, the day of indigenous resistance, and the commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month in North America. The latter celebrates the presence of Hispanics in North America, starting with the arrival of Christopher Columbus on October 12, 1492.
     October is also recognized as Hispanic Heritage Month in the city of Toronto, the province of Ontario, and in the United States. Bill S-218 underscores the importance of this community to our entire country and builds awareness at the national level.
    I would like to say a few words about Latin Americans and who they are exactly. They are my constituents in Parkdale—High Park, who hail from all parts of the Americas in which Spanish or Portuguese is the main language. They are the folks in Toronto who run Salsa on St. Clair, the Argentinian community at Folklorama in Winnipeg, and the Peruvian community at Folkfest in Saskatoon. “Hispanic” is a narrower term, which is defined as “of or connected with Spain or Spanish-speaking countries”.

  (1125)  

[Translation]

    When Senator Enverga introduced this bill in the Senate, he explained that he had consulted members of the community and the public and had considered more inclusive and neutral wording. As a result, the bill refers to the geographic linguistic community of Latin America, which includes Portuguese- and French-speaking communities, as well as the indigenous peoples of the region, as opposed to the common but narrower reference to people of Hispanic heritage alone.
     Bill S-218 defines Latin America broadly as a group of nations that includes Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as Puerto Rico, the French West Indies, and other islands.

[English]

    As pointed out by Senator Enverga, many if not all Latin American countries also have a shared colonial history, stemming from the time when Spain and Portugal were world powers.
    The first wave of Latin American immigration to Canada occurred between 1970 and 1973 with the arrival of approximately 68,000 immigrants. Today, Canadians of Latin American origin represent one of the largest non-European ethnic groups in Canada. As referenced earlier in today's debate, they are a constantly growing population, who represent more than 544,000 Canadian individuals and counting.
    The majority of Latin Americans in Canada are Catholics, representing more than 60% of the Latin American community. Latin Americans are a diverse group within a diverse nation that we now all call home.
    As a government, we are proud to support Bill S-218, which promotes and upholds our diversity and strengthens our multicultural and pluralistic society. At our root, we firmly believe we will only succeed as a nation when we move from simply tolerating differences to truly celebrating differences. Bill S-218 is an important step in allowing us to do just that. I urge my fellow parliamentarians to honour the memory of the late Senator Enverga and support this bill.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House today to speak in favour of Bill S-218, an act respecting Latin American heritage month. This bill would enshrine October of every year as Latin American heritage month, in recognition of social, economic, and political contributions that the Latin American community has made to Canada.
    Before I speak further to this bill, I would like to recognize that this bill is before us today due to the tireless work of Senator Enverga, whom we were all saddened to lose in November of last year. Senator Enverga was the first Filipino Canadian appointed to the Senate, and he was deeply respected for his advocacy work for persons with disabilities and Canada's multiculturalism. The bill before us today is an example of his dedication to honouring a diverse Canada, and it is a pleasure to continue that work in this House.
    Close to 40,000 people in the Lower Mainland have Latin American heritage. The community is vibrant and diverse, and every year there are plenty of wonderful events and activities highlighting and celebrating their culture. This year, from June 27 to July 8, Vancouver will celebrate Latin American Week. Carnaval del Sol, a free family-friendly festival, is always one of the biggest attractions. This year will be the 10th annual Carnaval del Sol, and will feature close to 400 performers showcasing singers, dancers, bands, and incredible food. Latin American Week will give people the opportunity to attend cooking classes, dancing classes, a fashion show, and plenty of arts and crafts displays highlighting the diversity of Vancouver's Latin American community. From August 23 to September 2, Vancouver will have its 16th annual Latin American Film Festival showcasing contemporary Latin American and Latin Canadian filmmaking. I encourage all Canadians to check similar events in their communities or in communities nearby, as festivals and events like these happen across Canada each year. If there is not one in their community, I invite people to come to Vancouver and check out ours.
     I and my New Democratic Party colleagues are proud supporters of Canada's multiculturalism and have long supported celebrating the unique heritage of Canada and Canadians. Our great diversity has allowed Canada to be built through the contributions of many different ethnic and religious groups, and those with Latin American heritage are most certainly among them. Canada's rich cultural mosaic is one of the things that makes Canada what it is today. It is a huge strength that we should all celebrate and be proud of. Events like Vancouver's Latin American Week and Latin American Film Festival put on display for all of us the richness of our society. The opportunity to speak to this and to attend events like those mentioned is one of the many reasons I have been honoured to be the NDP critic for multiculturalism.
     The other hat that I wear for the New Democratic Party is that of critic for immigration, refugees, and citizenship. I feel it is important to examine bills like this from that lens as well, because actions speak louder than words. Recognizing Canada's diverse cultures and heritage is important, but it is even more important to recognize how we treat the people of that culture and heritage. According to the 2016 census, over 1.4 million Canadians identified as having Caribbean origin, or Latin, Central, or South American origins.

  (1135)  

    However, this number does not truly reflect how many individuals with Latin American heritage are in Canada and contributing immensely to Canada's society and economy. While none of Canada's top-10 source countries for new permanent residents are in Latin America, seven of the top-20 countries for temporary foreign workers annually are. Mexico and Jamaica are the top countries of origin for temporary foreign workers in Canada. Additionally, Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Brazil, held top spots in 2017. These countries alone accounted for almost 37,000 temporary foreign workers in Canada, on positive labour market impact assessments from January to September.
    The seasonal agricultural worker program sees an additional 30,000 labourers coming to Canada each year, primarily from Mexico, Jamaica, and other Caribbean countries. People from this program provide vital contributions to Canada, working long hard hours in Canada's agriculture industry to ensure our crops are harvested and sent to market.
     I do not believe we can truly recognize the contributions of Latin Americans to Canada without recognizing the immense contributions of Latin Americans who, due to how our immigration system functions, come here every year to provide vital services while lacking a pathway to making Canada their home. While these programs are structured to fill temporary needs, some research has shown that many agricultural workers have been coming to Canada for 10 years or more. Neither the seasonal agricultural worker program nor the agricultural workers stream of the temporary foreign worker program offer a pathway to permanence for these people, and force them to leave their families back home while in Canada.
    While doing this incredibly important work in Canada, these workers often find themselves excluded from workplace protections that Canadians take for granted, even if they are paying for them. Workers in the seasonal agricultural worker program are not eligible for employment insurance despite it being deducted from their paycheques, and they are excluded from most aspects of employment standards acts, to name just two issues.
    If we are to celebrate Latin American heritage in Canada and designate October to be Latin American heritage month, we need to match these words with actions. Let us not just recognize the importance of diversity and the joy of attending beautiful festivals and celebrations, but examine how our policies prevent the people whose heritage we say we appreciate from staying in Canada and calling it their home. Let us use this opportunity to realign our policies to recognize how much we rely on Latin American people in Canada by ensuring that we provide them with the ability to become a Canadian citizen. I have always said that if they are good enough to work here, they are good enough to stay. That approach should be the foundational principle for Canada's immigration policies.
    In recognition of the contribution of the Latin American community, let us begin that work. Let us make sure that for all those who come to contribute to Canada in a permanent fashion, in a temporary fashion, and particularly for the temporary foreign workers, that we honour them by ensuring that if they are good enough to work here, they are good enough to stay.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to able to speak to this important bill recognizing Latin American heritage month here in Canada. As other colleagues have, I want to start by recognizing the incredible work on this particular initiative, and in general, by the late Senator Tobias Enverga. Many good comments have been made about his work. I personally remember him as a person of contagious joy, and that is my enduring impression of him. Yes, there is the important work he did on initiatives like this, but I will remember him as being someone who was so full of goodwill and had an evident rich love for his family. He was always proud to have his family with him at different events. I want to associate myself with the words of my colleagues about Senator Enverga.
    I also thank my colleague from Thornhill for the excellent work he has done in this place on this bill. I know issues in Latin America are close to his heart. He has done a great deal of work around human rights issues in Venezuela. Coming out of his work as minister with a particular focus on the Americas, it is very appropriate he has picked up this particular initiative. It is one I know is close to his heart as well.
    I have a few comments about heritage months in general. The questions I sometimes get from constituents are “What's this heritage month thing all about?”, “Why do we have them?” and “Why are they even necessary?” I want to defend the idea of having heritage months for a number of different reasons.
    First of all, these are important points of recognition and appreciation, of acknowledgement of the contributions different cultural communities bring to Canada. Second, just so people understand, there is no associated cost or government spending. It is not a month off work or anything like that. These heritage months are simply a point in time at which we recognize and appreciate contributions.
    Also, these heritage months provide a particular opportunity for cultural sharing. Arguably, people from the community named are going to be aware of their own culture and heritage at all times of the year regardless. However, when we have a designated heritage month, that is a point in time for everybody else to pay particular attention to or recognize, or maybe be reminded that this is an opportunity to learn about and from the particular aspects of a culture and become more aware of it. It is not as practical to say that we should just be aware of all cultures at all times, although in a lot of ways we should. Having these specific points of noting and reminding ourselves is worthwhile as part of that process of ongoing cultural sharing and education.
    These heritage months also provide us with an opportunity to note and listen to the experiences of Canadians from diverse backgrounds. In particular, we know Canadians from visible minority backgrounds may experience prejudice others do not, and using these times as an opportunity to reflect on that, be sensitive to that, and learn about the experiences of others is very valuable.
    It is not enough to say that one is simply blind to difference. It is important to affirm equal dignity, but it is also important to notice and understand the particular challenges people may face, as well as to work to improve the situation of people in the context of their particular experiences. It requires us to listen to recognize that other people's experiences may not be the same as ours, and may not even be something we observe, because their experiences are their experiences. These heritage months and other such points of acknowledgement are important moments for us to notice those experiences and be very sensitive about listening to what the experiences of others may be that are different from our own.
    In particular, Bill S-218 is a bill that calls on us to recognize the contributions of people in Canada from Central and South American backgrounds. Obviously, this is a very diverse region in and of itself. For the most part, we are talking about people who come from a Spanish-speaking background, but also people from a wide variety of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds.
    I was reading an article recently in The Economist that spoke about Italian speakers in Brazil. This was something I did not know, but certain small linguistic dialects exist in Brazil that may have a close relationship to forms of Italian, German, and of course, many different indigenous languages and backgrounds. That diversity is certainly reflected in the Canadian experience as well. We are enriched by the contributions of the wide diversity of peoples who come here from different backgrounds.

  (1140)  

    Other colleagues have mentioned the importance of October in terms of a number of different holidays, which were mentioned, and various feasts and celebrations that have their roots in different cultural backgrounds from that part of the world.
    Members may know that I am a Catholic. Probably the most recognizable Latin American person in the world today would be Pope Francis who comes from Argentina. I think it is worth reflecting on his work as he is someone whose experience particularly reflects coming from Argentina, seeing the poverty that exists in parts of South America, and being very convicted in bringing our attention to the need to fight for justice and do all we can to help the poor and the marginalized. I think many people, Catholic and non-Catholic, have been greatly inspired by his work and his challenge to all of us to be more sensitive in response to the experiences of those who are struggling and to do all we can to be attentive to the needs of the poor.
    Another figure I would like to mention, and someone Pope Francis has highlighted, is the late Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero. Again, he is an example of a leading Catholic figure who spoke out against injustice. He is someone who is moving forward through the process of beatification. Oscar Romero was assassinated in the midst of celebrating mass. He was in the middle of serving a mass for people who were in the church when someone came in and killed him. There was never a conviction for that crime. He was one of those people who was fearless in speaking out on the importance of justice and universal human dignity. He did so in the context of an environment of great political conflict, tension, and oppression of those who are vulnerable. These are figures I want to highlight as people who have been an inspiration to me and who come from this part of the world.
    Many people who come to Canada, regardless of where they came from, certainly not all but many, come to escape conditions that were less than ideal where they were, whether that was poverty or some form of political persecution or oppression. We welcome and benefit from the contributions of those who come out of those situations. At the same time, many of those who come will inspire and challenge us to play a greater role as individuals and as a country in our pursuit of justice around the world. I am so glad that many members of Parliament, and certainly our caucus, have been very active on issues of human rights and human dignity in Central and South America. I know that a great deal of that is inspired by people who come here who have connections in some ways to that persecution. They share their stories and talk about what has happened in those contexts. They call on all of us as politicians, whether we come from that background or not, to commit ourselves and be part of that fight against oppression, that fight for justice and human rights.
    In conclusion, I want to thank Senator Enverga, as well as the bill's sponsor in this place, for bringing this important bill to our attention. These heritage months are an opportunity for us to recognize the contributions of Canadians from diverse backgrounds, to see these moments of cultural sharing as opportunities for greater cultural understanding, to meditate on the examples of leading figures from these communities, to seek to be taught by their wisdom and by the their experiences, and to enjoy the benefits that come from our cultural diversity.
    I commend this bill to the consideration of members of the House. I hope all members will vote for the bill.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed listening to my colleagues across the way and on this side of the House talk about what Canada, really and truly, is all about. Our Prime Minister often talks about Canada's greatest strength being our diversity. I have heard that said on many occasions within the House, and I think we would find unanimous support that diversity is one of the things that makes us who we are as Canadians.
    We have before us a bill that has come from the other place. The sponsor of the legislation talked about Senator Enverga and made reference to the fact that the late senator was co-chair of the Canada-Philippines parliamentary friendship group. I am the other co-chair and had the opportunity to work with Senator Enverga for a number of years. When he was first appointed to the Senate he took a very keen interest in the Canada-Philippines friendship group. Therefore, I am not surprised that the late senator brought forward this piece of legislation. I believe he understood the importance of Canada's diversity and how important it is that we recognize and celebrate it.
    I had the opportunity, with the senator, to talk a great deal about the Philippines and that special relationship between two countries that we want to see further advanced. We heard comments about issues such as working visas. I would argue there is so much more to relationships between countries than just immigration. We try to expand on that through trade, and there have been a great deal of trade agreements and discussions that have taken place in Latin America.
     There are many Latin American countries. I was just trying to make a quick note of some of the countries I am aware of. There is Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, El Salvador, Panama, and Cuba. These are just some of the countries that make up the Latin American region. That is why the senator captured the essence of the celebration we need to recognize. It goes beyond any one country. In fact, it is a region. It is a region in the world that has ultimately led to so much benefit for Canada as a society.
    I have often had the opportunity to talk about what I believe is one of the greatest shows on Earth. It is all about multiculturalism. It takes place two weeks every summer in the city of Winnipeg. We call it Folkorama. The Latin American countries are well represented. I think of the Brazilian pavilion as an example. It is a pavilion of high demand. People want to go and experience Latin American culture and heritage. There is a great display of entertainment in the form of music, dance, the heritage costumes that are showcased, as well as the types of food and alcohol that are consumed. One gets a good sense of how much Latin American culture and heritage is truly appreciated and valued.
    I am a big fan of recognizing heritage months and heritage weeks. We in the House have the opportunity to highlight different ethnic or cultural regions around the world in a very positive way. What I have found in my years here, but also in the provincial legislature, is that there is a great deal of goodwill from members on all sides of the House when it comes time to recognize those wonderful, positive attributes of what makes Canada the great country it is, that being our diversity.

  (1150)  

    The legislation before us would recognize the month of October as the month to give extra attention to a heritage community that has contributed so much to the development of our country. In fact, if we look at the base population, well over a half a billion people call Latin America their home. Over hundreds of years there has been a development of that heritage. Canada took a shortcut. We are a relatively young country, and thousands of individuals have made the decision to come to Canada and call it their home.
    I am often afforded the opportunity to speak to people in a number of different cultural settings. One of the things I highlight, especially last year when we celebrated Canada's 150th birthday, is our multicultural attitude, and that makes me proud to be Canadian. We are not that melting pot. Rather, we recognize and value that diversity.
    I often say to individuals, whether they are from Brazil, the Philippines, India, or anywhere else in the world, that because they have chosen to adopt Canada as their home does not mean they have to forget about their birth country or the country from where their ancestors came. In fact, I encourage those individuals to appreciate and share that heritage with the broader community in Canada.
    Folklorama is all about that. It recognizes that individuals who participate in Folklorama share their heritage with a broader community. Over a quarter of a million people participate in those two weeks of activities. More important, what we see, and I will use the Brazilian pavilion as an example, is young people getting involved in showing and expressing their heritage, and sharing that. It does not just occur during those two weeks.
     Often those volunteers, the thousands of volunteers who make up Folklorama, concentrate their efforts during those weeks, but it is year long. Activities are held and practices conducted. In fact, individuals are invited to participate in celebrations of multiculturalism around the world. Many of our performers in Folklorama, in the many different pavilions, are invited to participate.
    By designating a month, it provides those individuals of that rich and vibrant community to continue to share their heritage with others. That is important to this community. By doing that, I believe we will see an enhancement of activities by Latin American countries during that month. That is a healthy thing.
     In Winnipeg, for example, we see that community highlighted through things like Folklorama. By the House of Commons working with the Senate to recognize and to dedicate the month of October for the Latin American community, I believe we will see additional events in celebration of that heritage, showing how Canada has benefited from the community.
    I want to share the introducer's comments with regard to Senator Enverga, a great Filipino Canadian who understood the importance of celebrating Canada's diversity.

  (1155)  

[Translation]

    There are about four minutes remaining in the time provided for private members' business.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I, too, am really proud to stand to speak to this legislation. I would like to recognize my colleague opposite for sponsoring the bill. I would also like to recognize the late Senator Enverga for the legislation, which is critically important.
     As mentioned, Latin American month is critically important to recognize the rich colourfulness, experience, and culture of a particular community like we have done with others such as Black History Month and Asian Heritage Month. We recognized the Jewish community not too long ago. This is not just to recognize the experience and culture of those various groups, but also, and I do not want to put words in the late senator's mouth, to recognize the challenges those groups also face. We cannot be blind in understanding that these various groups face challenges when they come to the country. Therefore, it has to be a holistic and a comprehensive understanding and learning during these months. We could do it throughout the year. The month gives us a catalyst, but throughout the rest of the year, after October, it gives us an opportunity to understand more understand more about each other and to celebrate with each other.
    I am really proud to speak to the legislation. As our Prime Minister has said, diversity is our strength but with that strength comes understanding and a willingness to not just be there for part of the celebration but also an understanding of the challenges that are faced as well.
    As mentioned, this group is one of the largest growing. In the sixties and seventies, I was part of a group from the Caribbean, coming to Canada in 1975. My parents came to Canada to ensure we had better economic and social standing, especially for us, their children. Also, as an immigrant, it allows me to ensure my children have a better opportunity. Canada has afforded us those great opportunities and we are very thankful for that. The opportunity to celebrate is one that we should not take for granted.
    As we talk about these groups within our country and understand the great sense of responsibility they have here, it is also important for us to recognize that as we celebrate these months, it brings us together as communities. It allows us to learn more about each other. Bill S-218 supports our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
    As we have seen in budget 2018, it not only looks at things from a gendered lens, it also makes investments in multiculturalism, ensuring we have an anti-racism strategy, investments in the black community, investments in ensuring we have desegregated data. This will ensure that the limited resources we have are able to contribute to looking at the barriers that some of these communities face.
     While we are celebrating, we also have to be very cognitive of the fact that we have to make policies and investments to ensure our communities that are facing challenges have the resources they need to overcome those challenges.
     I thank the hon. member across the way and the late senator for introducing this very important legislation.

  (1200)  

[Translation]

    The hon. parliamentary secretary will have six minutes remaining when the House resumes consideration of this motion.
    The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired. The order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance 

    The House resumed from February 28 consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Rivière-des-Mille-Îles.
    I am pleased to speak to budget 2018, which lays out the government's plans to build on its previous budget and invest in our people, our communities, our resources, and give our citizens the best opportunities to drive economic growth going forward.
    I was privileged to chair the finance committee as it held pre-budget hearings across Canada in the fall. I want to thank all members on that committee and those from all parties who subbed in, for their work, their research, their witness selection, and their resolve to make recommendations to the government. Not always do members on committees agree, but we did have many good discussions and everybody's heart was on making the best report we could for the government's consideration.
    I would like to give special thanks as well to the many witnesses who spent endless hours preparing briefs and the many who appeared before committee. We heard over 300 witnesses in our pre-budget consultations. While travelling across the country during these consultations, we saw Canada's tremendous potential.
    Both the federal and all provincial governments have a role to play in assisting businesses and people to give them the best leg up and the best policy format on which to build economic growth.
    Not all of our great ideas in the pre-budget consultations or policy suggestions were put into our report or in fact into the budget, but they do provide food for thought for both this budget and for future developments, whether it is policy or budgets in the future.
    I certainly want to thank the Minister of Finance and Finance Canada for seriously considering the recommendations we did put forward. Many are woven through the budget proposals that are in the budget itself and will assist in achieving equality and growth, as the budget is titled.
    The budget proposes to invest. It looks to make Canada a leader on a number of fronts. It provides a good foundation for our kids and our grandchildren going forward.
    In our pre-budget consultations, we heard a lot about investing in science research, which really became to be known as the Naylor report. There was not one stop the finance committee made that the issue was not raised. The witnesses wanted us to expand on research.
    I want to quote from the budget itself, because this is one of the most fundamental policies put forward in the budget, “Canada's Fundamental Science Review, led by Dr. David Naylor”. It states:
    While Canada spends more on higher-education research and development (as a share of gross domestic product) than any other Group of Seven (G7) country, the Review identified a number of challenges that require urgent attention. These include declining funding per researcher and the need to fundamentally shift how, when and where Canada invests—encouraging more global collaboration, fostering more interdisciplinary research, and better supporting research that has the potential to be groundbreaking....In response, the Government is proposing measures to make Canada’s research environment more responsive, agile and modern in order to attract the world’s best researchers to Canada and take Canadian research to new heights
    In the budget, historic investments are proposed to support researchers. This includes more than $1.7 billion over five years to support the next generation of Canadian researchers through Canada's granting councils and research institutes.

  (1205)  

    It also includes $1.3 billion over five years for investments in laboratory equipment and infrastructure that researchers rely on to this day. What we said in our pre-budget report was to use the Naylor report as a framework for the long-term support of science and research. We also added agricultural research into the mix.
    I went through that somewhat long explanation because I really think that is where some of Canada's greatest potential is. We have always, as a nation, been good at research and somewhat poor at commercialization. We are innovators, and we need to certainly get on top of the commercialization aspect. That investment will make a difference in our children's future.
     Not necessarily in the budget but also announced by the government, and tied to this whole research component, is the announcement of the development of superclusters in a number of areas, ranging from oceans research to agricultural research. That builds on the potential this country has. I think it is another great move.
    The budget has, as well, established programs to address the gender wage gap and to make progress toward equality in the workplace. It is another good move to find that potential in terms of getting others into the workforce, bringing more equality, and expanding our workforce and our business community and giving them the opportunity to grow, develop, and strengthen our economy. That is another good move in this budget.
    Simply put, the government is investing in Canadians in a responsible way. These growth-generating investments in people, communities, and the economy are being balanced by sound fiscal management. We are investing while at the same time driving down the debt ratio as a percentage of the economy. The government is taking the next steps toward equality and a more competitive, sustainable, and inclusive Canada, where science, curiosity, and innovation are working to drive economic growth.
    This past week I happened to attend what was called the Globe Forum in Vancouver. The theme was “The Leadership Summit for Sustainable Business”. Over 4,000 people attended, and the thrust of the conference was climate change and economic leadership. I bring this point up in the budget debate because what struck me at the Global Forum was the need to find balance. I also raise it because at that conference, there was a lot of talk about the oil and gas industry and renewable energy.
    One of the things that struck me at the conference was the desire to use our current natural resources as we have, in terms of being so fortunate to have oil and gas in this country, while always striving to build better technologies, with less greenhouse gases, etc., and to use those investments and returns to also improve on renewables. Although it is not really a part of this budget, it is part of the government's philosophy that we need to use what we have to build for the future.
    I see that I am running out of time, because there is so much to talk about in this budget, especially as it relates to Atlantic Canada. There are improvements in broadband, pre-apprentice training, skills development, and assistance for the regional development agencies, which are extremely important in my area in terms of assisting the business community and communities themselves in gaining economic opportunities and growing business in the future. In fact, last week I announced that the Thompson Potato Company has a new technology that will add value to its potato product as it goes to market.

  (1210)  

    That is what this budget is all about: strengthening our economy and giving businesses and people the opportunity to grow the economy for the country as a whole and for themselves as businesses.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the issues in this budget is funding for the Canada summer jobs program.
    I had the pleasure of being in that member's part of the country when I visited Prince Edward Island during the last break week. It is a beautiful part of the country. I was very pleased to be able to talk to people about the Canada summer jobs program, the importance of that program, and the negative impact of the Liberals' values test attestation.
    I will just share one example with the member. I am sure it is an example he knows. I visited with the leadership of the Atlantic Baptist Housing association. The association's headquarters is in Moncton, on the other side of the Confederation Bridge, but it operates facilities in Prince Edward Island and throughout the region. It is no longer able to access the Canada summer jobs program because of the mean-spirited values test attestation policy. I am sure the member would agree that groups like this that do good work in and around his riding should not be targeted. I am sure he would say that they are not the intended targets.
     Does the member think that groups like this in his constituency and elsewhere should be able to access important summer jobs funding, regardless of whether they check the box? Is he supportive of groups in his riding that are doing charitable, non-political, non-activist work that simply want to have the freedom to do that without having to check a box that goes against their values?

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, just yesterday morning in my office I was going through some of the proposals that have come forward for the Canada summer jobs program. There are always more proposals than there is money available to assist. However, I want to say how important the Canada summer jobs program is. This government, early on, increased the funding for the Canada summer jobs program so that we could get more young people getting that experience in the workforce and the chance to get a leg up so that when they go to apply for jobs later on, they will have not only an education but experience. What I have seen with Canada summer jobs in my riding is that because of the efforts of this government, this Minister of Finance, and this Prime Minister we are able to add many more people who gain that experience as a result of the Canada summer jobs program than was the case in previous times.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to hear, from my colleague on the Liberal side of the House, details about the government's commitment to pay equity legislation. It was over 40 years ago that the first Prime Minister Trudeau promised pay equity and women would be paid equal pay for work of equal value. It never has been legislated by any Conservative or Liberal government.
    Given that the NDP successfully encouraged the government to add it to its agenda in a vote in this House two years ago, we really thought that in this budget there would at least be money for implementation. There is nothing. The government did not even take up very strong encouragement by the Canadian Labour Congress to fund, at a minimum, the establishment of a pay equity commission and some of the implementation mechanisms, if not to actually set money aside to pay federal workers fairly and to implement legislation. Why is there zero money for pay equity in this budget?
    Mr. Speaker, if there was ever a budget that emphasized women and their potential in the workforce or in being entrepreneurs or researchers, this budget is certainly it. I would just refer the member opposite to page 110 and the things talked about on that page: “helping women-owned businesses grow”; “increasing access to capital” for women; “enhancing data and knowledge” for women entrepreneurs; “improving access to federal business innovation programming”. Those are all our areas.
    Last week we had the opportunity to meet with people involved in the skills trades. There is pre-apprenticeship training for women who are involved in those areas. It goes without saying that this budget goes a long way to giving women more opportunities in the economy and in the business world.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to speak to the government investments in science and research provided for in the 2018 budget.

[English]

    A confident, growing middle class is driving economic growth, creating new jobs, and giving Canadians more opportunities to succeed.

[Translation]

     Let us examine how we have come to this point. Less than three years ago, we were dealing with low economic growth and stubbornly high unemployment rates. Our government decided to strengthen the middle class and chose to make investments in order to grow the economy. Canadians know that austerity is no way for a country to achieve prosperity.
    Our government is committed to making investments that will strengthen and grow the middle class, investments that will provide a stronger foundation for the future of our children.

[English]

    The results are in, and Canada has the fastest growing economy in the G7. The International Monetary Fund has argued that Canada's economic policies should go viral. Government investment in people and communities is delivering greater opportunities for the middle class and for all Canadians.

  (1220)  

[Translation]

     Since November 2015, the people of Canada have been working hard to grow our economy, helping to create more than 500,000 jobs and driving down the unemployment rate to a historic low.
    I can confirm that during the 2015 election campaign, Canadians talked to me about the difficult economic situation then. Almost every household had one person in a precarious employment situation. I can see for myself that the economy in Rivière-des-Mille-Îles is doing much better now. There are good jobs, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a historic low thanks to our government's policies.
    Budget 2018 is all about investment rather than austerity, while staying the course on fiscal responsibility and improving fiscal performance.

[English]

    Canada is a country of innovators. From pacemakers to peanut butter, walkie-talkies, the Canadarm, and life jackets, in ways grand and small, we Canadians have made the world around us better through our ingenuity. We have always understood that better is possible. Let me say it again: better is always possible. Time after time, we have used curiosity, courage, creativity, and collaboration to create positive change for ourselves and the world. However, progress does not happen without commitment and effort.

[Translation]

    Since the recommendations of the fundamental science review, led by David Naylor, were released in 2017, our government has heard the strong and united message from Canada's research community on the importance of investing in the future of Canadian research.
    In budget 2018, our government is proposing new investments to support Canadian researchers and innovators. These investments include increased support for women, under-represented groups, and career researchers.
    For one thing, the government is contributing nearly $1.2 billion over five years to Canadian granting councils to support investigator-led fundamental research. This represents the single largest investment in fundamental research in Canadian history since the granting councils were created. This will provide increased support and training opportunities for about 21,000 researchers, students, and high-quality personnel across Canada.
    To complement these investments, the policy objectives will be renewed with a much greater emphasis on international and interdisciplinary research producing quick results, including the creation of a research fund dedicated to supporting these objectives.

[English]

    We know that we need to compete globally for top talent. To attract and retain leading researchers at post-secondary institutions across the country, the government is also proposing new funding for the Canada research chairs program. This funding would provide more flexibility to improve the program so it better supports researchers. It could result in additional chairs for research and a sizable increase in funding for early career researchers.
    To ensure that Canada's researchers have the tools they need to make scientific breakthroughs and drive innovation, the government is taking a significant step to provide ongoing stable funding to the Canada Foundation for Innovation with investments in research infrastructure.

[Translation]

    I am fortunate to be a member of two standing committees, namely the Standing Committee on Official Languages and the Standing Committee on International Trade. During a recent trip to Asia with the Standing Committee on International Trade, we found that the people we encountered were aware of our universities and knew that we had excellent, first-rate research institutions. We must continue to move forward and help our researchers.
     Under budget 2018, our government is making an unprecedented investment of nearly $4 billion to support research and researchers and to provide funding for the tools that Canadian investigators need to ensure their research is successful. Better equipment and laboratories will enable Canadian researchers to make discoveries in areas like new composite materials for aeronautics, a very strong industry in the Lower Laurentians, the auto industry, new diagnostic techniques for childhood diseases, and new methods for cracking the quantum computing challenge.
    Through this investment we are also enhancing the work of federal government scientists. Thousands of scientists and a network of federal laboratories reinforce Canada’s research capabilities and strengths, particularly through collaborations with businesses and post-secondary institutions.
    Several SMEs in my riding of Rivière-des-Mille-Îles are already working with universities and researchers to find solutions to practical problems. For example, there is Elastro Proxy, which manufactures hatch seals; Kinova, which manufactures robot arms; and AP&C, which manufactures titanium powder for 3D printing.
    However, we must first support fundamental research to explore practical, essential solutions for our SMEs. In budget 2018, our government proposed to renew the federal science program by launching the first phase of an ambitious plan to renew federal laboratories. These coordinated investments will increase collaboration opportunities across the government as a whole and within the research system.

  (1225)  

[English]

    Finally, in a knowledge-based economy, a government must work to protect the ideas of Canadian innovators and entrepreneurs. Ensuring Canadian intellectual property rules are up to date and reflect the world we live in is fundamental to creating and retaining wealth generated from Canada's research, development, talent, and training.
    In budget 2018, our government will be announcing measures to contribute to a new intellectual property strategy to help Canadian companies use their ideas to grow and succeed.

[Translation]

    The Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development will announce the details of this strategy in the coming months.
    Canadians are known for their innovative spirit, and this spirit has been instrumental in the creation of the industries and jobs responsible for building and growing Canada's middle class. Today, this same innovative drive is responsible for new jobs and good export opportunities in growing industries, all the while helping to transform jobs in existing industries.

[English]

    In budget 2017, our government launched the innovation and skills plan, an ambitious effort to make Canada a world-leading centre for innovation, to help create more good well-paying jobs, and help strengthen and grow the middle class.
     In budget 2018, our government is taking the next steps to transform Canada's innovation programs, rules, and regulations, making them easier to access and to use. This is expanding support for Canadian companies that want to scale up and take their innovations to the international marketplace.

[Translation]

    The innovations of today will create new and exciting job opportunities for the workers of today and will create better job opportunities for our children and grandchildren. I am certain that this budget will generate many economic spinoffs in my riding today and in the years to come.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague said that better is always possible. After reading this budget, I have to agree. We can do so much better indeed, and we will after 2019.
    I want to ask a particular question about the deficit figures. There was a commitment in advance of the last election to run three deficits that would not exceed $10 billion, and then in the fourth year to balance the budget. Of course, that commitment is not often repeated now by the government.
    I want to understand. Did the government intend to not honour this commitment at the time it made it, or did it simply change its mind after the election?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to remind my hon. colleague that Canada has by far the best debt-to-GDP ratio in the entire G7.
    My colleague spoke about debt, but I am going to talk about the economy. At the time of the 2015 election, there were precarious jobs in my riding, in the Lower Laurentians. When I was going door to door, most people were telling me times were hard.
     After just three years, we can already see a difference. There are jobs, and unemployment has never been lower. Major investments are being made in aeronautics, a tremendously strong field with many subcontractors.
    It is plain to see that this is a balanced budget that paves the way to a better future.

  (1230)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for her speech. It is always good to try to find the good within the not so great to start with.
    I think that the government's final decision to admit there is a funding gap between first nations children and non-first nations children is important, and that the gap will then be filled so Canadian kids are given an equal opportunity regardless of who they are. This affects the place where I come from very much, northwestern British Columbia, which has 35% or 38% first nations. The disparity between opportunities for young people is stark, and it manifests in many ways.
    The government has committed to filling that gap so that kids have equal opportunity, but it will not tell us what the gap is. There is a commitment to doing something, but without telling us what that commitment will look like is important, because there have been so many broken promises over the years, as members and first nations people know all too well.
    My specific question to my friend is, now that the government has committed to filling the gap so it is equal for all, will the government simply tell us what the gap is so we can hold it accountable, and first nations families and all Canadians can know whether it succeeded or failed in keeping this promise?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for that excellent question. There is certainly a lot of work ahead. My colleague mentioned children, so I will talk about the children in my riding. Earlier, I was explaining to my colleague that the economy is doing better, and there can be no doubt that the Canada child benefit has made a huge difference. There are more than 10,000 children in my riding. Some families receive over $600 a month. This helps the economy because people have more money left over at the end of the month to pay for extracurricular activities and many other things.
    I am also thrilled to hear that the tax-free Canada child benefit is going to be increased.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her excellent speech. In my experience, she is a very passionate advocate of the aerospace industry, particularly in the Lower Laurentians and Quebec.
    Could my colleague tell us more about our government's investments and achievements in the aerospace industry under this budget and in general?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his question. The aerospace industry has a strong presence in the greater Montreal area. Many jobs depend on all of the large corporations and contractors, such as Bell Helicopter, Bombardier, and L-3 MAS. We do not hear as much about L-3 MAS, but it is the company that maintains our F-18s. It also maintains the American F-18s in Mirabel, which is next door to my riding.
    Since the economy is doing well, all of these contractors received a lot of innovation grants. I attended various press conferences to announce these grants with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, since they will impact my riding. Earlier I spoke about AP&C, which manufactures titanium powder for 3D printing for the aerospace industry. There are tremendous opportunities available.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in Canada, the federal budget has two main purposes: one is that it is a financial accountability record, and second is that it is a vision statement of sorts of our country. I would like to discuss both of these elements in my speech.
    With regard to the financial accountability mechanism, when we spend more than we make, it is called a deficit. When it comes to revenue streams or making money, there are only two ways that a government is able to do that. One is that it can develop the natural resources within the country and then get those commodities to market, and, two, it can tax the people who live within the country. These are the two ways that a government has to generate revenue. If it does not do enough of either of these, it results in deficit spending and a debt load incurred by the public in the form of further taxation.
    The Liberal government appreciates that model. It appreciates taxing its people to the point where they find it very difficult to live their lives. A Conservative approach would be to develop natural resources such as our oil and gas industry, which is something the Trans Mountain pipeline would allow us to do and unfortunately the government does not take a stand for. The policies brought forward in the 2018 budget will make life very difficult for Canadians
     Budget 2018 could have been great. The Liberals have inherited a great fortune. The world economy is thriving. The Canadian dollar is down, which is excellent for our trade market. Entrepreneurs are working hard and creating jobs. They are doing a phenomenal job. Women and men across the country are taking risks and starting up local companies. A responsible government would take advantage of this and put money aside so that when times get tough there is some money in the bank to take care of the Canadian public. Instead, the government broke its electoral promise. Instead of balancing the budget, or at least bringing it closer to balance, it decided it would incur another $18 billion worth of deficit.
    When asked about the need for deficit spending, the Liberals responded by saying they need to invest in infrastructure. The problem is that when we look at the budget closely, we see they have cut infrastructure spending domestically by $2.1 billion. In fact, they cut it here, but the Liberals are willing to take $35 billion and put it into overseas infrastructure to help places like China. It is the Canadian people who will have to foot that bill. We have to ask whether this helps Canadians. The truth is, it does not, at all. The Prime Minister had the audacity to tell veterans that there is not enough money in the budget or in government coffers to help veterans who have served the country faithfully, yet somehow there is enough money to send overseas and invest in infrastructure projects in places like China.
    Canadians expect better. The Liberals have said that better is possible. Better is always possible. Canadians expect the government to implement policies that will create jobs. They expect the government to respect the rights and freedoms of Canadians. They expect the government to stand up for victims; to defend families; to advocate for the most vulnerable, including our seniors and those who live with a disability; to invest in health care; and to deliver services with excellence, all while stewarding the taxpayer dollar.
    Canadians are hard-working people with great potential which deserves to be realized. It should be the government that facilitates that for the Canadian public. The government had the ability to facilitate that prosperity, but unfortunately it has wasted that opportunity in 2018.
    Mr. Speaker, I should mention that I will be splitting my time with the member for Markham—Unionville.
    The government has failed to deliver what matters most to Canadians. At a time when the government should be focused on making life more affordable and getting out of the way, it is focused on putting barriers in place for Canadians starting businesses and for investments coming into Canada. It is standing in the way of resource development. The Prime Minister is failing Canadians.
    According to an Ipsos Reid poll that was recently released, nearly half of all Canadian families are within $200 a month of not being able to pay their household bills. That is their mortgage, their car payments, the food on the table, the clothes on their back. They are within $200 a month of not being able to make ends meet.

  (1235)  

    Why is that? The reason is the current government is making life more expensive. On average, a Canadian family is spending $840 more per year in taxation than it was under the previous government. That is money that could have been spent on music lessons or sports for their kids, or going on a weekend vacation as a family. That amount, $840, is significant. Life is being made more expensive.
    I am going to talk a little about my riding of Lethbridge. I am very pleased to represent the people of southern Alberta in Lethbridge. One of the things we were looking for in this budget was infrastructure dollars. As I mentioned, those have been cut. Specifically, we could use roads, bridges, and social infrastructure. We are a growing community. Families are vibrant. Things are going well for us, but unfortunately, in this budget, as in previous budgets from the government, we have been left in the cold because of the size of our community. The government places all of its emphasis on large urban centres, and that simply is not us.
    Agriculture is a sector within my area that is very strong. It is the sector that keeps us afloat. We are very thankful for our ag producers. Again, in this budget, there was absolutely nothing for the agriculture sector.
    When it comes to small businesses, entrepreneurs, women and men who are taking risks, who are creating businesses in order to facilitate job creation in this country, which then allows families to provide for themselves, the government is choosing to punish these women and men who are incredibly hard-working risk-takers. These women and men are no longer going to be able to do income splitting between spouses who co-labour in order to run a business. They are no longer going to be able to do passive investments in a way that makes sense economically. Instead, they are going to be taxed through the roof on a good portion of those passive investments.
    That said, I will give credit where credit is due. One thing which took place is that Canadians actually stood up against the government. They spoke out saying that these changes are punishing and inappropriate. The government finally came back, with a Conservative promise I might add, saying that it would reduce the taxes that small businesses have to pay on a yearly basis. It has come down to 9%. That is the promise. I will give the government credit for that.
    The federal government must do everything it can to facilitate an environment of economic prosperity, where businesses want to stay, want to grow, and want to create jobs, because this is what sustains us as a society. When it does things like putting in place a federally imposed carbon tax, it actually drives businesses south of the border, which is something that has happened in my region recently. Two fairly decent-sized companies have moved south, simply because the policies look much better down there. This is costing us as Canadians. It is making life less doable.
    The last thing I want to talk about with regard to the budget is that in addition to serving as a financial record, it also serves as a vision statement. One of the things the government did is it put a lot of emphasis on women. As Conservatives, we absolutely believe that women are equal and that they deserve equal pay for equal work. If we were to look at a bar graph, we would see that the pay gap between men and women shrinks to the greatest extent when a Conservative government is in power. We are very proud of that record and will continue to work on that going forward.
    What I am hearing from women across this country is that the government has put forward a statement that forces women into the workplace full time and tells them exactly where they need to be putting their time and energy, that it needs to be put into STEM, or it needs to be put into leadership, or it needs to be put into technology. Women would love to have the choice left up to them. They would like the opportunity to choose to work full time or part time. They would like the opportunity to choose to work within the field or the sector that most interests them, that they place value on, rather than the sector or the field that the government places value on.
    What happened to a woman's autonomy? What happened to her choice? What happened to creating equal opportunity for men and women to thrive alongside one another, for our society to be robust, for us to pursue the things that we are most passionate about, rather than having a government dictate what those passions should be?
    As Conservatives, we support working women and working mothers, whether that work takes place in the office, in the lab, on the farm, or at home. Those women should be celebrated for their choice. They should be celebrated for their passions, their dreams, their abilities, and for the way that they are contributing to society as a whole.
    Autonomy must be granted. Freedom must be protected. Choice must be recognized. In this budget, the government failed.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, in her very passionate speech, the hon. member made some very good arguments. I would like her to expand on something she said.
    The member talked about two aspects of not having deficit financing. She talked about bringing revenues in or taxing people. When I look at the previous government's record during its 10 years in power, I see the weakness. When the Conservatives were doing their budget or when the campaign was moving forward, they were saying that they would have no deficit and that they would make some major cuts. However, it takes money to make money.
    Our government invested in the people. We brought in the Canada child benefit, which is one of the greatest investments for young families ever put forward. That was a strong investment. We have also invested in veterans, seniors, young families, and women.
    I would like the member to tell me, if her government would have no deficit, which programs her government would cut, because there would have to be some major cuts in those areas.

  (1245)  

    Mr. Speaker, the problem with the hon. member's question is the premise on which it is based, which is that the government has to spend a ton of money in order to create money. That simply is not true. In fact, the government is the worst at being able to steward money in order to generate money.
     Instead, let us take down the barriers. Let us cut the red tape. Let us put policy in place that would help entrepreneurs start businesses that will invest in our economy, which will attract further investment from other countries, which will help get our nation back on track and create jobs for hard-working women and men across this country so that they can provide for their families. Let us go into our natural resource sectors and develop those. Let us incentivize the development of those instead of standing in the way of pipelines which is preventing a commodity from getting to market, which then means that we do not have the revenue that it could be bringing into our country, which then means that families across this country have to pay for the government's ill choice.
    Mr. Speaker, over many years, probably decades now, wonderful things have been said in the House about the importance of an issue like pay equity. We have pay equity here in Parliament. Every MP is paid an equal amount regardless of gender, yet we do not have pay equity legislation that exists across the country.
    My friend's party, I would argue, has never been a champion for pay equity legislation. The Conservatives had many years in office, both the previous administration and prior ones, but did not move the needle forward. The Liberal government came in with much promise to do something about this for women who, on average, are making 75¢ on the dollar for what a man does for equal work. These are the statistics we have, and my friend can argue alternate facts, but the reality for many women in the workplace right now doing the same job as a man will, on average, is that they will be paid less.
    Here is the opportunity for the federal government, who alone has this power, to regulate federally directed industries, telecoms, the banking sector, and other jurisdictions. Now, this allegedly feminist Prime Minister said, “I got this.” He put hand on heart and told Canadian women and men that the Liberals were going to do something about it. The natural course two and half years into the government to do this, the vehicle, was the budget. However, not only did the Liberals not do anything to legislate pay equity, they did not even fund a pay equity commission to get to legislating pay equity.
    Can we at some point get to a confirmed and unified position in this House that legislation directing federally regulated industries to require equal pay for equal work for men and women become the law in Canada, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, women and men who work the same job deserve the same pay, full stop. I invite the hon. member to look at the Statistics Canada data and he will see that the graph shows that the wage gap between a man and a woman decreased the most when a Conservative government was in power. I will reiterate that a man and a woman working the same job deserve the exact same pay. We will always take a stand for that.
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to rise in the House today to discuss budget 2018. The Liberals really cannot help themselves can they? Another year goes by of mismanagement of taxpayers' money. This budget has a complete disregard for businesses and hard-working families across the country.
    The budget represents big government and little incentive for businessmen and businesswomen to set up shops or continue operating in Canada. I cannot believe how the Liberals expect our economy to grow when they are creating less competition and scaring business out of our country. The Liberals continue to give with one hand and take with another. Businesses will continue to choose to operate anywhere else but in Canada if the Liberals keep going down this road.
    Just as we have seen from the proposed tax changes earlier this fiscal year, Liberals do not do what is best for business in this country. The budget means less money in the pockets of Canadians and more debt on the backs of our children.
    I would never manage my family's budget like this, so how can the Liberals justify managing the country's budget like this? This out of control debt and deficit is going to leave our children to pick up the tab. What I see from the budget is missed opportunities. This budget could have been a way to do real good for Canadian families, but instead, the government has continued to rack up the debt.
    We know the recipe for job creation: low taxes, open competition, free trade, responsible spending of taxpayers' money. That is what the government should focus on. The government is taxing Canadians to death as it is. This is only going to get worse.
    The Conservative caucus demands a real plan to create jobs, fight to keep more money in the pockets of hard-working Canadians, and push the Liberals to live within their means and not borrow billions of dollars the country does not have.
    The previous Conservative government lowered taxes a total of 180 times, bringing the tax burden to the lowest level in 50 years. By the end of our mandate, the average family of four was saving almost $7,000 per year. Contrary to what the Liberals tell us, lower-income and middle-income Canadians benefited the most from our tax plan. I have said this before and I will say it again. We created jobs. During the worst economic downturn since the great recession, Canada had the best job creation and economic growth record among G7 countries. We balanced budgets. After running a targeted stimulus program that created and maintained approximately 200,000 jobs, we kept our promise to balance the budget and left the Liberals with a $3.2 billion surplus at the end of 2015. We lowered taxes. We reduced taxes to their lowest point in 50 years, with a typical family of four saving almost $7,000 per year.
    There are several issues that I would like to take the next few moments to address.
    We know that budget 2018 provides for the expansion of tax information sharing with foreign law enforcement authorities in 35 countries, including the United States, the European Union, Brazil, Belgium, France, Israel, Russia, and China. The Liberal government's new information-sharing measures fail to protect Canadians' privacy and civil rights, something the Prime Minister is obligated to do by law. Canadians' confidential information must only be shared with trusted allies. This is problematic. In addition to the out of control spending and double whammy of debt and deficit, now we have a potential privacy issue on our hands.
    The second issue I would like to address is health care. There were many disappointments overall in budget 2018 for health. I am deeply concerned about the removal of palliative care from the federal budget and the fact that the government has failed to deliver on the Prime Minister's promise to support home care for Canadians.

  (1250)  

    Budget 2018 has also failed to support drug treatment centres to address the growing opioid crisis. Spending a billion dollars on the legalization of marijuana does nothing to help parents who are increasingly concerned that their children are being exposed to dangerous opioids.
    Budget 2018 restored autism support. This was a result of strong advocacy from the Conservative caucus. However, budget 2018 does not do enough to support Canadians struggling with dementia, PTSD, and other mental health issues. Canada's aging population does not need a $75 million pilot project in the health minister's home province. They need a real solution to address their actual needs.
    The Liberals are not adequately addressing the serious drug addiction problems in Canada, and this was a missed opportunity. I will remain focused on bringing forward solutions that address the health priorities of Canadians, and policies that put people before government.
    We cannot throw money at a wall and expect results. The government needs a real plan for Canadians. High debts and revolving deficits are not the solution. The Liberals fail to address the health priorities of Canadians, especially the aging population and those coping with addiction and mental illness. The Prime Minister has all but abandoned his pledge to support our aging population with more home care.
    The Prime Minister is spending billions of dollars on foreign pet projects but has no plan to combat the opioid crisis. This is not right. We continue to see inconsistencies and contradictions from the Liberals. The Prime Minister's health care priorities fail to make a difference in the lives of Canadians. In fact, the government is spending nearly a billion dollars to legalize marijuana, and a third as much on addressing the opioid crisis that is killing thousands of Canadians each year. Spending $80 million to entice Canadians to quit smoking while simultaneously spending almost a billion dollars to legalize marijuana does not make sense.
    Budget 2018 was a missed opportunity. The world economy is roaring, but the Liberals are failing to turn this opportunity into results for us.
    The third issue I would like to address is Canada's north and the implications it will face as a result of this budget. The Prime Minister is raising taxes on over 90% of middle-class families in the north, and this budget announces new tax hikes on local businesses. I wish the government would be more focused on bringing forward solutions that put hard-working people before the government, but sadly it is not. The Prime Minister's imposed carbon tax will find its way into everything that northerners buy every day. The communities that can least afford it are going to be the most impacted by this reckless decision. The reality is that never has a prime minister spent so much to achieve so little. It is critical that government spending translates into meaningful results on the ground.
    Last month, we heard the finance minister speak for 36 minutes to introduce this budget. In that time, Canada's national debt increased by $1.44 million. With another $18 billion in deficit spending this year alone, never has a government spent so much to achieve so little. The numbers do not lie. We need to think about what is best for all Canadians, not just Liberal voters.
    As always, I will advocate for low taxes, support for families, and safe communities. The government and this budget are not doing that for Canadians.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, the temporary February job report showed that 283,000 jobs have been added to the Canadian economy compared to the previous 12 months. More importantly, all of that job growth was full-time work. Also, since we have come to power, there have been 600,000 jobs added to the Canadian economy.
    The member referred to personal finances. In my personal life, I do not like credit card debt. However, I like mortgages, because a mortgage allows me to create an asset that will yield returns for a long period of time. With respect to the government, it is not the debt that is important. No rich or developed countries have ever repaid their debts in full because the debt will always go up. The key factor is the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is low and is going lower. It is currently at around 28.5%. Does the member not like the low debt-to-GDP ratio, which is the best in all of the G7 countries?

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, let us take one thing at a time and start with job creation. When we were in power, we were always side by side with the U.S. Its job creation rate was 8%, and now it is less than 3.5%. We came down to 7% on job creation. A net 200,000 jobs were created in that window. We have the opportunity to do something with the U.S. economy, yet we have failed to show anything meaningful when creating jobs.
    Let us talk about the debts. When I pulled in this morning, I thought something looked different. I kept walking and realized that the $5.7-million ice rink was gone, which had only been there for a couple of days. Then there is the $35 billion for infrastructure in foreign countries. The current government is out of control when it talks about spending taxpayer money. That is the real problem.
    Mr. Speaker, I suppose some Canadians may have been looking for affordable child care or pay equity in this budget, because they were promised that by the Liberals.
    However, one of the things Canadians did not anticipate at the time of the last federal election in Canada, although a few of us did, is that we would have Donald Trump as President of the United States. Now that it is the reality, one of the expectations of this budget was that the so-called “plan B” would be unveiled with respect to what would happen if a trade war were to be initiated by our largest trading partner. The budget has an anticipation quality to it. It lays out the plan for the next year. We have seen the threat and then the temporary withdrawal of major tariffs on aluminum and steel by the Trump administration. However, I have not checked Twitter in the last five minutes, so they could be back on the table. We do not know. That is what we are dealing with.
    Obviously that is not within the control of the federal government in Canada. However, what is in its control is support for those industries that are particularly threatened by a volatile president sitting in the White House. There is no contemplation with respect to what would happen if NAFTA were to be abrogated or torn up by that president and Canada was only left with the free trade agreement between the two of us.
    The lack of planning is the concern. Many thought the budget would present what that plan B would look like. I am wondering if my friend, in the 300 pages of the budget, was able to find what the Liberal plan B is, if our trading relationship were to fundamentally change with our largest trading partner, the U.S.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is absolutely correct. This budget does not do anything for hard-working Canadians, especially in the steel and aluminum industry. This budget has not been well thought through. There is nothing in the 328 pages that talks about hard-working Canadians. I agree with the hon. member.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to address my House of Commons colleagues today. I will be sharing my time with the member for Don Valley East.
    As we have said, the 2018 budget is the next step in our government's plan to stimulate the economy and benefit the middle class and those working hard to join it.
    Thanks to our plan and Canadians' hard work, ingenuity, and creativity, Canada has created hundreds of thousands of jobs since November 2015. The national unemployment rate is about as low as it has ever been in the past 40 years. Since early 2016, Canada's growth has been the strongest in the G7.
    Pre-budget consultations with a record 1.5 million people shaped this budget, which gives our government the tools to build a fairer and more competitive, diversified, and inclusive nation where everyone truly has the same opportunity to succeed.
    We are working hard to reward curiosity and foster the creativity we need to innovate and maintain our competitive advantage in an ever more rapidly evolving global economy.
    With this budget, we are putting initiatives in place to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are experienced equally by men and women. It is important that Canadians' various experiences be taken into account. That is why we are starting to put gender at the centre of government decisions. For instance, we are going to make substantive efforts to reduce the gender wage gap by introducing fair wage practices in federally regulated sectors and adopting proactive pay equity regimes, the details of which will be revealed later this year.
    With regard to EI parental benefits, we are creating a new incentive for the sharing of benefits to support the parental role, adding additional weeks of benefits when parents decide to share the leave.
    We are also going to support female-owned businesses to help them expand, find new customers, and increase export opportunities.
    Ensuring that every Canadian man and woman has a fair and equitable chance of achieving success is not only the right thing to do, it is also the smart thing to do, and Canada's prosperity depends on it.
    As a government, we are determined to help the next generation of Canadians remove the obstacles that have been holding us back for far too long. We know that we cannot continue to grow the middle class if half of us, namely women, is always being held back.
    This budget is also for researchers and innovation. Our great country has long been at the forefront of scientific discovery and innovation. Open heart surgery, the Canadarm, and the discovery of insulin are just a few examples that spring to mind.
    This budget includes historic investments in the next generation of researchers, which will lead to even more significant breakthroughs that, hopefully, will benefit not only Canadians, but the entire world.
    We know that the government has a role to play in helping Canadians develop the skills they need to benefit from current and future economic opportunities. We also know that research contributes to the emergence of a workforce that can seize these opportunities with creativity and confidence. We are investing in training the next generation of researchers, which includes a larger proportion of women, and to provide them support by allocating new funding for fundamental research through the granting councils.

  (1305)  

    To make sure they get the infrastructure and support they need, we are also going to invest more in the research support fund, the Canada research chairs program, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, colleges, and polytechnics.
    This budget also lays the groundwork for the digital research infrastructure strategy that is going to be developed to stimulate progress in advanced computing and big data.
     Canadians want to make sure economic growth goes hand in hand with environmental protection. They know that their quality of life and their future economic prosperity depend on our commitment to protecting our natural heritage and keeping the environment healthy for future generations.
    Furthermore, the extraordinary beauty of our natural surroundings, parks, and wild spaces is central to the Canadian identity. Whether we are building a campfire with our kids, hiking with friends and family, or going for a swim in clean, refreshing water, we all have a stake in protecting the natural environment, which is one of the pillars of our identity.
    To that end, we have already allocated billions to the development of the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, but we are not stopping there. In budget 2018, we propose further investments to encourage the growth of a sound, sustainable economy. We are going to make historic investments in nature conservation by protecting Canada's ecosystems, landscapes, and biodiversity, as well as our species at risk. We are going to develop the federal carbon pricing system, extend tax support for clean energy, and bring in better rules for regulatory processes and environmental assessments.
    We are on the right track. Thanks to our various budgets focused on strengthening and growing the middle class, as well as the hard work, ingenuity, and creativity of Canadians, Canada has created close to 600,000 jobs since November 2015, and the national unemployment rate is almost the lowest it has been in 40 years. Since early 2016, Canada has had the strongest economic growth in the G7. Thanks to this budget, which was designed by Canadians for Canadians, we are addressing the challenge of equality head-on by asking the hard questions and beginning to come up with solutions.
    We will continue to redouble our efforts to deliver on our plan to invest in the middle class and those working hard to join it. This plan makes people a priority, builds on Canadians' hard work, and keeps us firmly focused on the future so that our children have a better chance of fulfilling their dream of getting good jobs and contributing to their community.
    I listened to and heard what my constituents had to say during the pre-budget consultations that we held in my riding of Shefford, and as a result, I strongly support the budget tabled by my colleague the Minister of Finance. This budget and our previous budgets have made it possible to implement many measures to strengthen the middle class, such as the Canada child benefit and tax cuts that put tens of millions of dollars back in the pockets of families in my riding.
    Once again, I am very proud to represent the interests of the people of Shefford, and I will always strive to do more to address their concerns.

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I salute my colleague from Montreal who just spoke. I would like to ask him a simple question.
    When he was a candidate in the election, what was the Liberal government's target date for balancing the budget?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to answer my colleague's question. I am actually the MP for the Eastern Townships, but that's okay as it is not that far from Montreal.
    In 2015, Canadians and the constituents of Shefford decided to invest responsibly in Canada. They chose a government on that basis. As I mentioned in my speech, today we are in a positive position. Since November 2015, a total of 600,000 new jobs have been created. Our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years, and we have the fastest economic growth in the G7. Our debt-to-GDP ratio is the lowest of all G7 countries and our deficit-to-GDP ratio is low. We are already in an enviable position with a rate of 0.8%, and we are headed to 0.5% or 0.4% in the next few years. Canada's economic position is the envy of the world.

  (1315)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for a feminist budget, a gender budget, the budget was sorely lacking in funding for new child care spaces. The International Monetary Fund, the Conference Board of Canada, and the Governor of the Bank of Canada all say that universal, affordable child care as a publicly-funded program will get women to work and will largely pay for itself, as it has in Quebec.
    I am concerned that the government's budget, although it has the label of a gender budget and names women many times, has not funded new child care spaces yet in its term. It has had two and a half years to do so, and there was no new funding in this budget to create new child care spaces for women who want to go to work can take their children. It is deeply unaffordable and costs more than rent in some communities.
    Could the member please explain why there were no dollars allocated in this budget for this fundamental program for working women?

[Translation]

     Mr. Speaker, this gives me an opportunity to reiterate that gender equality in Canada is an important focus of this budget. Canada has probably never had a budget more focused on gender equality.
    I simply want to remind my colleague of three extremely important measures that we have implemented and that will be developed in the coming years. We are investing 1.7 billion to drive the economic advance of women. We want women to start and grow their businesses and to export more from these businesses. This money is earmarked specifically for them, and we are very proud of this.
    There are women entrepreneurs in my riding working in various sectors, from farming to industry, and they want to see these changes implemented quickly. I also want to remind my colleague of the additional EI benefit weeks for women, which should help ensure a smooth return to work after pregnancy.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, for a long time Canada's prosperity and the high standard of living Canadians enjoyed was based basically on natural resources, including forestry resources, minerals and fossil fuels, and to an extent with manufacturing in basic industries like steel and aluminum, and in auto and aviation. However, the future is not in these industries. It is going toward a global-based, knowledge-based economy.
    Could the member kindly highlight the investment this budget is making to foster innovation in Canada's economy?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague. Indeed, the jobs of the future hinge on Canadians' ability to constantly adapt, innovate, and maintain our competitive advantage over the rest of the world. We are investing an unprecedented $3 billion to support the next generation of researchers. This is extremely important, and I remind members that an additional $511 million, on top of the current budget, will be allocated to regional economic development. Regions are important

  (1320)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is a privilege and a pleasure to rise in the House to speak to budget 2018.
    Over the past two years, our government has invested in Canadians and in the things that matter most to them.
    In 2015, the economy was sluggish and despite the previous Liberal government leaving the Conservatives with a $13 billion surplus, they had nothing to show for it. They did not invest in the economy and left us with a deficit. Our government decided that investing in people was the best way to boost the economy.
    We are now seeing our investments paying off. Our economy has added 500,000 jobs, our unemployment rate is the lowest it has been in 40 years, and the Canadian economy is the fastest growing of all G7 nations. We are following through with our promise to reduce the small business tax rate from 11% to 9%, which will save small business owners an average of $7,500.
    In 2015, Canadians made a choice to discard the failed austerity measures and to vote for a government that provided hope. They were in favour of rejuvenating the economy.
    How are our investments helping?
     Through budgets 2017 and 2018, our government has made targeted and strategic investments for economic development. I will focus on four of these and talk about the impact on my riding.
    The first is our investment in housing. My riding of Don Valley East sits on the perimeter of downtown Toronto. The high demand for housing has driven up rental rates and has made it more difficult for Canadians to live and work in the same area. The government's investment in housing is a critical step to encourage a stable supply of affordable rental housing for middle-income households. Budget 2018 is investing $3.75 billion over the next three years in the rental construction financing initiative. This initiative is expected to generate the construction of more than 14,000 new rental units across Canada.
    Further, our government's national housing strategy is investing over $40 billion over the next 10 years to create over 100,000 new units and repair 300,000 housing units across Canada. This means that 530,000 households will benefit from this investment and it will reduce the pressures on many municipalities. As well, 435,000 households will benefit from the maintenance and expansion of community housing in Canada. My riding has a large number of these houses, 68 such projects that will benefit.
    Through this investment in affordable housing, we hope to alleviate poverty, as one of the root causes of poverty is the lack of affordable housing. As well, with this investment, we will help seniors, single moms, and people with disabilities to have access to good and affordable housing.
    The second area is investments in infrastructure. Budget 2017 committed over $180 billion in infrastructure investments. Over $100 million of this are being invested in infrastructure projects in and around Don Valley East. One example is the Eglinton Crosstown LRT that crosses many ridings, including mine. This investment will help connect people, reduce traffic and travel times, and in turn increase productivity and economic opportunities. It will also give families more time to spend with each other in a cleaner, greener environment.

  (1325)  

    The third area is equality and growth. Budget 2018 is a family-friendly budget that makes significant progress towards equality of opportunity and growth. It does this by taking leadership to address the gender wage gap, supporting equal parenting, and introducing a new entrepreneurship strategy for women.
    The women's entrepreneurship strategy is a comprehensive approach to addressing critical growth stages and other challenges that women entrepreneurs face. Our investment will help them grow their businesses and remove barriers to success. A study by the Royal Bank of Canada, RBC Economics, estimates that the size of the Canadian government would increase by 4% if there was equal representation of men and women in the workforce. In addition, a McKinsey study shows that, by boosting women's participation in technology and in the workforce, it would add an additional $150 billion to our economy. These figures are substantial, and it would mean more middle-class jobs and more Canadians who would have the ability to pay their bills and save for retirement.
    Canadian women are among the best educated in the world, yet they earn less than men, are less likely to participate in the labour market than men, and are more likely to work part time. A study that I did as chair of the Standing Committee on the Status of Women stands true today. Women earn 30% less than what men earn for doing the same job.
     When women have the support and opportunities to fully contribute to Canada's economy, the entire economy does better. One example of our government's policy measure is the Canada child benefit, or CCB, which was introduced in budget 2016. This is making a positive difference for millions of Canadians.
    In my riding, there are many women who have to stay at home due to the high cost of child care. The CCB has now made it possible for them to go to work. Over 3.3 million families are receiving more than $23 billion in annual CCB payments. Last fall, the government proposed to strengthen the CCB by providing an additional $5.6 billion, starting in July 2018, in support of Canadian families. The CCB is making a large difference in Don Valley East where nearly 10,000 families receive an average annual payment of $7,500, elevating thousands of children out of poverty. When poverty is alleviated, people are able to contribute more to the economy.
    The fourth and last area I would like to talk about is youth. The investment in youth is an important one. As I go around, meeting youth from my constituency youth council, I hear that strong, good jobs for the future are important, especially when they are graduating and have student debt. Our investment in youth initiatives are paying off. Last year the government invested $725,000 in the Canada summer jobs program in my riding, creating jobs for 262 young people and providing them with 60,000 hours of valuable work.
    Last week I had an opportunity to visit STEM Kids Rock in my riding where our government's investment in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is giving impetus to young women to lead. I was amazed at the creativity and innovative technology these young people demonstrated.
    In conclusion, as members can see, the government's investment in equality, housing, and infrastructure are providing the boost needed to keep growing the economy and supporting all Canadians, who form the bedrock of our country.

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, investment in infrastructure is very important, because this is the investment that was needed for a long period of time. The debt is important to create investment in infrastructure, but the debt has to be at a manageable level. The Government of Canada has managed very well and has kept the debt-to-GDP rate low. It is committed to keeping it low in the future as well.
    Does the member agree that a prudent policy of the Government of Canada is to keep the debt-to-GDP rate low in the medium to long term?
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has a very solid analysis of what a debt-to-GDP ratio should be. As an accountant, I believe this is an important aspect to show that we are on the right track. For example, in 1993 when the Liberal government took over, the IMF called the then-Conservative government's mismanagement, the economic basket case. Canada was the economic basket case. It took prudent management. It was prudent fiscal responsibility that led to our leaving the next government with $13 billion in surplus. Therefore, the Conservatives can never claim that they are prudent economic managers because according to economists they have never been able to manage the economy.
    Mr. Speaker, I have a couple of questions regarding my friend opposite's speech, in particular the part where she talked about affordable housing. As we all know, the money for affordable housing starts well past the government's mandate. As well, the member did not mention the reason why people need affordable housing. Many of them are not able to access proper employment to allow them to get out of poverty. The government completely ignores the fact that the best solution for poverty is a job. We have people in Alberta suffering because of the government's inaction to get pipelines built. If the Liberals want to help the steel industry, one way is to build pipelines. We are completely lacking that leadership on that side of the House.
    Is a strong economy not something that will get people out of the poverty situation they find themselves in? However, especially here in Ontario, most people were driven into poverty because of bad government decisions especially in regard to electricity. That is putting more and more people into poverty, yet more unemployment is what that government is promoting.
    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member's good question allows me an opportunity to read something to him, because he said that jobs are required and that he believes a government that came in two years ago is responsible for some of the policies of the previous government. Here is a quote from economists:
Far from unleashing a business-led boom, Harper has in fact presided over the weakest economic era in Canada’s postwar history. For example, from 2006 through 2014...Canada experienced the slowest average economic growth since the Great Depression.... Harper wasn’t even close to the next-worst prime minister: another Conservative, Brian Mulroney.
    As Liberals, we do not really need lessons from the other side on how to manage the economy. We made investments in 2006 and that was, interestingly enough, defeated by that government.
    Mr. Speaker, the federal government has been asked by the parliamentary budget officer how it will spend $186.7 billion in infrastructure money over the next 12 years after the budget showed that about one-quarter of the planned spending for 2016 to 2019 would be moved to future years. The whole basis of the current government's deficit spending was infrastructure to get Canada's economy going, yet that is the area that it is drawing back. What is the rationale for that?

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, the bottom line is that as an accountant I know that when we have to spend money we spend it in tranches. We do not spend lump sums because it is not possible to spend anything lump sum. We have to be good economic managers to know exactly where. Therefore, we have invested $7 billion, for example, in affordable housing. We have invested in child care. We have invested in various components of the economy and we will keep on doing it in strategic and targeted investments, so that we can get people out of poverty and into well-paying jobs and increase the middle class.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, it is with pride and some emotion that I announce that I will be sharing my time with my colleague from Durham.
    We are gathered here to go over the government's budget. This is a budget in which, for the third time in a row, the government fails to keep its promises, fails to keep its word to Canadians, and throws caution to the wind when it comes to the sound management of public finances. Never in the history of Canada has a government spent so much to give Canadians so little. Those are the words of our leader, the leader of the opposition, who thankfully will be leading this country in two years.
    Two and a half years ago, the Liberal Party was elected on a promise to run small deficits and return to a balanced budget in 2019. Those small deficits were meant to be invested in infrastructure. In my overview, hon. members will see that there is no sign of small deficits, a balanced budget, or infrastructure plans, and the parliamentary budget officer agrees. The deficit is currently $18 billion. A deficit is a clear indication of overspending. It is proof that expenses are out of control. It is proof that the government is so irresponsible that it is sending the bill to our children and grandchildren.

[English]

    When we are a family, we have a budget and, yes, sometimes we will go to the bank and borrow money to buy a house. That is quite normal, but we do not go to the bank to borrow money to buy food. That is exactly what the government is doing. If as a family we are doing that, it is because we have a deep problem. We cannot control our spending and we spend too much.

[Translation]

    No head of household can live on a line of credit and max out credit cards indefinitely. That is what this government is doing. Who could forget the tragedy of the 1970s that mired us in skyrocketing debt and chronic deficits? Who could forget that Canada's 15th Prime Minister, he of the same name as our current Prime Minister, introduced deficit spending in a time of peace and economic stability? Like father, like son, unfortunately.
    The government has no idea how to manage public spending properly. Eliminating the deficit and balancing the budget are like foreign concepts, even though, two and a half years ago, the Liberals promised they would balance the budget in 2019-20. That promise just might have been motivated by the fact that 2019 is an election year, but at least they had a game plan that people could either support or reject. Voters made informed decisions based on the Liberals' promise to balance the budget in 2019, but what is the forecast for 2019 now? Another deficit. How about for 2020? Another deficit. 2021? Another deficit. 2022? Another deficit. 2023? Another deficit. In this budget, the government has looked as far into the future as it can, and all it sees, all we see, is deficits. The government has no idea when the deficit will be gone. That is irresponsible.

[English]

    We cannot accept the fact that the government was elected, with the hope and the confidence of the people of Canada, saying it would get back to zero deficit in 2019, and today, just a year and a half before the election, the Liberals have no plan and no idea at all of how to get back to zero deficit. That is totally irresponsible and it is not fair to the Canadian people who voted for them in the belief that they would get back to zero deficit in 2019. They failed in this promise and that is totally unacceptable.

  (1340)  

[Translation]

    Under this budget, 90% of middle-class families are paying more taxes today than they were three years ago, when we were in government. That figure comes from the Fraser Institute, whose analysis has determined that families will be paying up to $2,000 more. That is because this government eliminated tax credits. Astonishingly, it even did away with the public transit tax credit. These people keep saying they support mass transit and green spaces, yet they scrapped the tax credit that we Conservatives had introduced to help public transit users.
    It is also worrying that not one cent of the $330 billion spent by the current government has been set aside for the difficult NAFTA negotiations or for responding to competition from the United States, which is both our number one trading partner and our main competitor. We can all see that the U.S. administration is aggressively protectionist, and that is its right. We can disagree with that stance, but these people are acting in the capacity to which they were duly elected. However, our government has failed to set aside a single cent in this budget for tackling these new economic challenges.
    Last week, we were treated to the spectacle of the Prime Minister dashing here, there, and everywhere to visit steel and aluminum workers. He put on a fine show, but what are the measures in the budget for countering the Americans' competitive approach? There are none. The same goes for NAFTA. On the whole, we find this budget disappointing.
    I am proud to represent the people of Louis-Saint-Laurent and, to put it mildly, the people of the Quebec City region are not very pleased with this budget. Once again, the Liberal candidates, who I ran against during the election two and a half years ago, made several promises that this government still has not kept to our satisfaction.
    For example, the National Optics Institute is looking for federal money in order to expand across Canada. The government promised $25 million, but this is the third budget and the money has not materialized. The Institut nordique du Québec, which seeks to develop the full potential of northern Canada, is also waiting for federal money in order to establish a presence at Laval University, in the Quebec region. However, the Liberals have still not kept this promise.
    We can say the same about the expansion of the Port of Québec, a vector for wealth creation and the economy in Quebec City. The Liberals promised to support the port authority in its expansion efforts, known as Québec 2020, but, once again, there is no money after a third budget. That is also the case for the Quebec Bridge, a one-of-a-kind architectural achievement recognized by all as part of the world's engineering heritage. Congratulations. The Liberals stated that the issue of who is to maintain the Quebec bridge was to be resolved in 2016. It is now 2018 and, with 2019 approaching, this issue has not yet been resolved. There is a great deal of disappointment in the Quebec City region.
    These fine people will say that Canada's economy is doing well. However, the Liberals inherited an exceptional economic situation from our government. Under our government, Canada was the first G7 country to recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with the best debt-to-GDP ratio and a balanced budget. The Liberals are extremely lucky that they followed a Conservative government because we left the house in order.
    Since the Liberals took office, they have also benefited from a thriving American economy. When the American economy is doing well, it certainly helps because we are an exporting country and 20% of our international trade is with the United States. What is more, the price of oil is two or three times higher than when we were in office. Let us also not forget that the dollar has been low, which is a big help for an exporting country.
    The government is therefore doing a very poor job of managing the things it is able to control since it is running deficits and has no idea when it will return to a zero deficit and balance the budget. The strength of the offshore economy is creating wealth in Canada, and the government has no influence over that.
    We are angry that, day after day, the government refuses to answer our questions about when it will balance the budget. The parliamentary budget officer is also fed up. In a scathing report tabled last week, he indicated that it was high time that the Liberals came up with a plan to balance the budget.

  (1345)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I disagree with most of what my colleague and friend across the way said.
    We look at it and say to Canada that we are investing our energy in our middle class. We recognize the importance of a healthy middle class, which means a healthier economy. In fact, one of the first things we did in government was reduce the middle class income tax, putting hundreds of millions of dollars of disposable income in the pockets of Canadians. We invested in the poorest of our seniors through the guaranteed income supplement. We lifted tens of thousands of children out of poverty. All of this put money in the pockets of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. Those Canadians spent that money. They are the cultivators of our economy. That is one of the reasons the economy is doing as well as it is.
    Can the member tell us if he has any remorse in terms of voting against those tax breaks, voting against supporting our seniors, and voting against taking children out of poverty?
    Mr. Speaker, those who have remorse are those who voted for the Liberals, because they have been destroyed by them. They voted for a party that said that it would get back to a zero deficit, and that is not the case.
    Let us talk about facts. The hon. member talked about the fact that we give more money to the middle class. The reality, based on the Fraser Institute, is that 90% of the middle class pays more taxes than when the Conservatives were in office.
    Let us talk about facts. The member said that high-income people pay more tax. That is not the case. Based on a Department of Finance report six months ago, the highest ranked people, who have more money in their pockets, paid less in taxes, $1.2 billion, thanks to this government.
    Those are the facts. I can tell the member that I am very proud to be on this side.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Quebec for his usual excellent speech, in which he elucidated in great detail the problems with this Liberal government.
    I was interested to hear the parliamentary secretary's question. He is a typical Liberal. They think government spending creates wealth and that it is the only thing that will ever lift the middle class. Notice how the Liberals never talk about a climate of business or investment, where real wealth is created. In fact, the business climate in Canada is getting so bad that the CEO of Suncor said that it is not investing any more. I think it is down from $15 billion in investment in our economy.
    Can my hon. friend explain to the Liberals why their economic strategy is so wrong and what we need to do to create wealth?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the aisle, we recognize that those who create wealth and jobs are not the government but the middle class, and first and foremost, small business owners. This is where we must place our help. What did this government do? It attacked them last summer and last month with decisions to tax business people more. This is why the Parliamentary Budget Officer concluded in his report released a few days ago that 400 people pay more in taxes. I will get the right number.

[Translation]

    In fact, 900 families with an income of less than $100,000 are now paying $2,200 more.

[English]

    This is the reality of the government. The Liberals have said many times that they want to help the backbone of our economy, which is the small and medium business community, but that report is exactly what they have done. The economy could be so great, better, if it were not for Liberal policies.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to know if the member knows that according to recent articles in both Forbes and U.S. News, Canada is the best country in the G20 for establishing a business. Also, KPMG's 2016 “Competitive Alternatives” report ranked Canada ahead of all other G7 countries in terms of having the best overall business cost advantage relative to the U.S.
    Does the member know that no developed country will ever completely pay back its debt? The key is not the absolute amount of debt but the relative amount of debt compared to the GDP. Is the member not proud that Canada has the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among all the G7 countries?
    Mr. Speaker, we recognize the strength of people when times are tough instead of when times are easy. Actually, the worldwide situation for the economy is good. When we were in office, the worldwide economy was tough. As a government, we had to address the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The Conservative government was the best in the world in getting back on track. That is what the Liberals inherited, and we are very proud of it.
    Before we recognize the hon. member for Durham in resuming debate, there is not quite time for his full 10 minutes, so I will interrupt just before the two o'clock hour. Of course, he will have the remainder of his time when the House next gets back to debate on the question.
    Resuming debate, the hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise after my colleague, the hon. member for Louis-Saint-Laurent. He brings both knowledge and passion to this House, and we are very fortunate to have him on the team.
    Watching the reckless spending of the Liberal government in its two and half years here, he has raised repeatedly the fact that the Liberal Party of Canada broke its core election promise to Canadians, which was that it would balance the budget over the course of its mandate and never run a deficit of more than $10 billion. The Prime Minister and the finance minister broke that central promise within a few months of forming government. This budget shows that they have not learned the lesson.
    The most troubling quote from the budget delivered a short time ago by the Minister of Finance was near the end of his speech, when he said, “With this budget, we are doubling down on our plan to invest in the middle class and in people working hard to join it.”
    Now, “the middle class and those working hard to join it” is the trope the Liberals throw out all the time. The Fraser Institute has shown that the middle class is paying more under the Liberal government. In fact, 80% to 90% of middle-class families are paying more. Despite the rhetoric, and we have a Prime Minister who specializes in rhetoric, its record is atrocious. The Liberals are doubling down. It is a quintessential Liberal double-double: deficits and debt. We know that deficits are future taxes. What the government has committed Canada to is a long-term structural deficit, going out to 2030, that will start piling up debt on our children and on Canadian's grandchildren. It will almost double the debt over the projections of the Department of Finance and guarantee more tax increases in the future.
    Actually, the semantics of the Liberal government are critical to watch, because it uses language. I was just at the immigration committee, where I heard for the first time the immigration minister use the term “illegal border crossers”. He likes to say that they are irregular. Well, his own department is suggesting that Canadians will be spending up to $3 billion on these irregular crossers, because the Liberals will not fix the safe third country agreement.
    In the minister's quote I read, he said that they are going to double down on investments. The word “invest” is used 456 times in this budget. By comparison, the Canadian Armed Forces are mentioned zero times in the budget. It shows the Liberals' priorities. That is the largest department of the federal government. Just this morning, the minister of defence and the Minister of Foreign Affairs committed our Canadian Armed Forces, in an awkward and incomprehensible way, to a mission in Mali, at a time when 162 UN peacekeepers have died in Mali, because it is a combat zone, not a peacekeeping mission.
    The Canadian Armed Forces, our men and women, were mentioned zero times in this budget. However, investment, which is code language for spending, is mentioned 456 times. The Liberals have doubled down on excessive spending, excessive deficits, debt, and higher taxes for Canadians.
     I started my remarks with the election promise the Liberals made. The Prime Minister of Canada changed the Liberal Party's view on deficits midway through an election campaign. He had said previously that they were the party of Paul Martin. Then when he wanted to outfox the NDP, he said that they were going to run deficits because we were in a recession. There was no recession. He either did not understand the economy or he misled Canadians.
    The Liberals then said that they would not run a deficit of any more than $10 billion. As I said, they broke that promise within months. Their first two budgets had deficits in the $20-billion plus range, almost $30 billion. We are still doubling their projected goal at a time when the economy is doing well. This is not a time one runs massive deficits. As I said, those are future taxes on Canadians, which are going to slow our economy and hurt middle-class families. In a little over two years, they have increased spending by $58 billion.

  (1355)  

    It is unparalleled, even compared to the previous Prime Minister Trudeau, who I can mention by name because I am speaking about Pierre Trudeau. It is almost unparalleled to have, in two years, a 20% increase in spending during an economically positive growth period. Are Canadian families 20% better off? My friend from Welland is crying out. I know that the people in Welland are not 20% better off. I know they did not vote for $30-billion deficits. They did not vote for higher taxes on families, higher taxes on small business, higher taxes through CPP premiums, higher taxes through a carbon tax. In Welland, in Cobourg, and in Kingston, they did not vote for that. They voted for the promise of no more than a $10-billion deficit.
    I would recommend that rather than heckling, some of the Liberal members should go into the coffee shops in their ridings, where people think a double-double is cream and sugar, not double deficits and double spending. The Liberal double-double is coming at a time when the U.S. economy is cutting taxes on small business. The Prime Minister and the finance minister waged a war last year on small business and are increasing a carbon tax at a time when we are already uncompetitive. Shipbuilding in Welland is going to be closing up as a result of the Liberal government.
    I hope members do more than heckle here. They should heckle in their caucus. They should say to the Prime Minister to stop this reckless cavalcade of spending, stop raising taxes on small business and on farmers, stop raising taxes on businesses that are creating wealth and jobs. In this budget, where investment is mentioned 456 times, gender 358 times, Canadian Armed Forces, zero, it shows the Liberal government's priorities.
    The hon. member for Durham will have three minutes remaining for his speech when the House next undertakes this topic.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Mike MacDonald

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to legendary Ottawa comedian, Mike MacDonald, who passed away on Saturday. A renowned stand-up comedian for over 40 years, Mike's unique comedy routines inspired a generation of Canadian comedians.
    In addition to appearances in Just For Laughs, late night talk shows, hosting the Gemini Awards and the Canadian Comedy Awards, Mike MacDonald also starred in several movies, including, Three Fugitives, The Funny Farm, and Mister Nice Guy.
    Raised in an air force family, Mike used his ability to make people laugh to bring joy to the Canadian troops based in Kandahar.
    Mike MacDonald also spoke out about his own struggles with mental health, using comedy to help people view mental health in a more positive light and to end the stigma. In fact, he was scheduled to MC a fundraiser for first responders mental health in my riding on Wednesday at Algonquin College.
    Mike MacDonald spent his life making us laugh. Even as we mourn his untimely passing, we will always remember Mike MacDonald with a smile.

  (1400)  

Naw-Ruz

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to recognize the beginning of the Baha'i Naw-Ruz celebration.
    Canadians of the Baha'i faith in my community and across Canada will be celebrating Naw-Ruz to mark the beginning of the Baha'i calendar year. Organizations like The Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Oshawa will be hosting celebrations to commemorate this very important event.
    Just like New Year's Day, Naw-Ruz is a great opportunity for families and communities to come together in celebration of their culture, and of course their shared values. It also serves as a great reminder of the overwhelming diversity that exists in Canada.
    On behalf of my Conservative colleagues, I extend my best wishes to everyone participating in a Naw-Ruz celebration. May the coming new year bring nothing but health and happiness.
    Happy Naw-Ruz.

[Translation]

St. Patrick's Day

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday I attended the St. Patrick's Day parade in Montreal. Although the parade route has had to be changed in recent years as a result of construction, revellers once again lined the route in joy and celebration.
    Montreal has celebrated St. Patrick's Day since 1759. A parade has been held every year since 1824, which shows just how deeply Irish culture is entrenched in Montreal. To this day, Montreal's parade is still the largest of its kind in Canada.

[English]

    St. Patrick's Day celebrations were brought to Canada by Irish immigrants. This year marks its 195th anniversary. On this special day, I want to take the time to recognize the structural role that the Irish community has played in the foundation of Canada and how much it has contributed to its values and heritage.

Bev Desjarlais

    Mr. Speaker, it is with much sadness that I rise today on behalf of my NDP colleagues to pay tribute to a former member of Parliament, a colleague and friend, Bev Desjarlais. Bev passed away on Thursday at 62 years young.
    Bev was elected to the House of Commons for the riding of Churchill in 1997, and re-elected in both 2000 and 2004. She was known as a hard-working and dedicated MP who always stood up for her constituents. She later worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs, advocating and working on behalf of all veterans.
     I had the honour of having an office across the hall from Bev, and for years she provided me with guidance, advice, and laughs. For any other MP or staffer, she was known as the unofficial Hill social director. Bev could send us to any meeting or event, and we would leave with much more than we arrived with.
    Over the last weeks, former and present colleagues had the honour of sharing messages with Bev. Former party leader Ed Broadbent said it best, that he found in Bev a warm, spontaneous, unpredictable, gutsy, caring woman who fought for what she believed. What more could one want?
    Indeed, Bev was strong, passionate and had conviction in everything she did. We all learned from Bev Desjarlais and will carry her with us for all of our lives. On behalf of the NDP, I would like to send our condolences to Bev's family, her three sons, Kris, Steven and Patrick, her grandchildren, and brothers and sisters. God bless them for sharing Bev with us and with Canada.

[Translation]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day was celebrated on March 8, with this year's theme of #MyFeminism. I had the huge privilege of honouring eight exceptional women in my riding of Bourassa and awarding them certificates of merit.
    These women run businesses, community organizations, and seniors' clubs. They advocate for social development and communal harmony, and they work every day towards achieving equality for all.
    It is my pleasure to present these women to the House of Commons of Canada: Amina El Khiraoui, Manuella François-Saint-Cyr, Rose-Andrée Hubbard, Isabelle Laurin, Ruth Mibel, Jeanne Françoise Niwemfura, Palmina Panichella, and Rosalia Barbieri.
    I would ask all my colleagues to join me in congratulating these eight women on being awarded the MP's medal.

[English]

Conservation Trust Fund

    Mr. Speaker, as part of its climate and green plan, the Government of Manitoba has invested an incredible $102 million to create the conservation trust fund. The conservation trust fund will reduce emissions, grow the economy, and invest all revenues back into the province with a made in Manitoba approach.
     This allocation is a truly historic endowment that will release an estimated $5 million annually into the local economy to support projects and programs that conserve and enhance natural resources and increase resilience to drought and floods.
    The made in Manitoba approach also acknowledges the importance of conserving Manitoba's vast natural landscape. These investments will play a significant role in the conservation of wetlands and other wildlife habitats.
    This made in Manitoba plan also reduces more emissions compared to the federal plan, at a lower cost to individuals and the economy.
    I strongly encourage the Liberal government to learn from Manitoba and adopt similar measures that will have real and tangible outcomes for Canada's environment and economy.

  (1405)  

Pay Equity

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to stand in the House today and speak about a simple but powerful idea, that providing Canadians with the opportunity to realize their full potential is not just the right thing to do but it is the smart thing to do for our economy.
    It is unacceptable that in 2018, women in Canada earn 69¢ cents on average for every dollar earned by men.
    That is why I am proud that through budget 2018, our government is announcing it will introduce proactive pay equity legislation, which would apply to about 1.2 million employed Canadians in federally regulated sectors.
    Taking action on pay equity will move the dial for women. We know much more is needed, such as the government's investments in early learning and child care, better training and learning financing, enhanced parental leave flexibility, pay transparency, and the continued appointment of skilled and talented women to leadership positions.
    We are taking action on the gender wage gap, and I hope my colleagues in the House will continue to support this too.

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, I salute my mother, Giuseppina Di Iorio. One might ask why she is here today.

[Translation]

    My mother brought in homemade white lasagna for my colleagues, as she does regularly for the charities she supports. When my mother found out that the opposition members would not have access to our lobby, she promised to come back with a meal for them as well.
    Since the House was not sitting on March 8, I want to take this opportunity to highlight the achievements and extraordinary courage of my mother and grandmother, two unsung heroes of our world.
    [Member spoke in Italian]
    [Translation]

Yannick Dumont

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to commend Beauport—Limoilou's Yannick Dumont on his incredible athletic performance. He has done Canada proud on the international scene.
    On December 16, 2017, he participated in Spartan Race Iceland, the premier world championship obstacle course race, and won the Ultra World Championship 2017 medal. Only about 100 of the world's best athletes take part in this extraordinary competition, and Mr. Dumont bravely and skilfully made it through 21 hours and 45 minutes of obstacles, including 18 hours and 30 minutes of non-stop running, traversing no less than 70 kilometres of mountainous terrain in the cold.
    Mr. Dumont is busy preparing for the next international competition, which will take place a few days from now in the largest sports stadium in Paris, France.
    On behalf of the people of Beauport—Limoilou, I want to congratulate Mr. Dumont on his courage, his perseverance, his patriotism, and of course all his past and future medals.
    Beauport—Limoilou is proud of you, Mr. Dumont.

[English]

Worldwide Quilting Day

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow is Worldwide Quilting Day, and I would like to highlight a group of women who are using their skills to create spectacular pieces of work.
    The Material Girls of East St. Paul, led by Fran Howard, is a quilting club that has come together to share its common love of making beautiful works of art. Founded in 1999, the women have worked on many projects, including the East St. Paul centennial quilt. The group often puts its talents on display by participating in quilting shows, three of which it has hosted.
    Working together has helped these women share their ideas and technique. Most importantly, it has made quilting more enjoyable through socialization. This combination of both talent and sense of community embodies the people of Kildonan—St. Paul: making the most out of any opportunity in any season.
    I encourage these women to keep up their great work. Their positive spirits are impossible not to admire.

  (1410)  

[Translation]

Athéna Gervais

    Mr. Speaker, as you know, 14-year-old Athéna Gervais died on March 1, 2018, on the grounds of a high school in Laval, in my riding.
    Toxicology testing is still under way, and the results will tell us more about how she died. This tragedy should prompt us, as a society, to ensure the best possible future for our young people by re-examining how we support them and how we regulate beverages with a high alcohol content. Young Athéna could have been any young Canadian. Let's make sure that this never happens again.
    My thoughts are with her family, her mother, whom I have had the opportunity to meet, her father, who is with us on the Hill today, her sisters, and all her friends and loved ones. This situation concerns us all, and we need to reflect on it very carefully.

[English]

Canada Summer Jobs Program

    Mr. Speaker, Cal Maskery was serving time for violent crime. One day in the depths of despair, he saw Billy Graham preaching on television and he decided to turn his life around.
    Cal met his wife, a local volunteer, while still in prison. They got married on the day of his release.
     Cal wanted to help people, so he founded Harvest House Atlantic in Moncton, where he remains the executive director. Harvest House is a community hub for those in need. It now includes an emergency shelter, step-up housing, addictions recovery, and skills training. Harvest House is supported through donations and through some government programs, like the Canada summer jobs program.
    However, this year, Harvest House had its application rejected as incomplete because Cal would not sign the values test. This values test and the vote tonight are not about politics or ideology. It is about people like Cal and the communities they serve. It is about addicts who need help. It is about seniors who need housing. It is about young people who set out on a path to lifelong service. It is about charitable organizations that want to serve their communities.
    These are the people for whom we are fighting.

[Translation]

Quebec Intellectual Disability Week

    Mr. Speaker, the 30th annual Semaine québécoise de la déficience intellectuelle was held from March 11 to 17, 2018.
    This week aims to raise awareness about the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and how they contribute to society. Tens of thousands of Quebeckers and Canadians live with an intellectual disability. I had the opportunity to welcome a group from the Association pour l'intégration communautaire en Outaouais, or APICO, and Marie-Eve Mulligan was among them. I recently had the opportunity to visit APICO, and I saw the impact that the organization, its employees, and its volunteers have on the participants' lives.
    I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge the amazing work being done by organizations across the country, like APICO in Gatineau, to support and assist people living with intellectual disabilities and their families.

International Day of La Francophonie

    Mr. Speaker, tomorrow, March 20, we will celebrate the International Day of La Francophonie. This will be an opportunity to celebrate the tremendous contribution made by francophone and francophile communities in Canada and around the world.
    I rise today, one day early, because I would like to invite all parties in the House to join our initiative. All NDP members will speak only in French during question period tomorrow. We encourage members of the other political parties to do the same. This will be more than symbolic; it will demonstrate our commitment to the francophonie. We will prove that all public policy issues can be discussed and resolved in French. To quote Yves Duteuil:
    It is a beautiful language with splendid words
whose history can be traced in its variations...
    It is a beautiful language to those who know how to defend it
    It offers treasures of untold richness
    The words we lacked to be able to understand one another
    And the strength required to live in harmony
    I am reaching out to all parliamentarians: tomorrow, let's speak French.

[English]

    I think we are all happy to see the next person who will speak back and looking well, the hon. member for Cariboo—Prince George.

  (1415)  

Member for Cariboo—Prince George

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to say a heartfelt “thank you”. It has been almost two months to the day since my health took an abrupt turn. To say it has been difficult would be an understatement. It has, to say the least, been incredibly humbling.
    To my team, to my friends and colleagues from all sides of the House, and indeed, from across the nation, I want to thank them. Their words of encouragement, their cards, the fruit baskets, the flowers, have meant more to me and my family than they may ever know.
    To the doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia, I am thankful. I am thankful for all the work they do. I have seen the conditions the men and women work in, and we can do better for them.
    To my colleagues, we lead busy lives and it is easy to lose sight of what is most important. The work we do in the House and in our ridings has meaning, every meeting, every speech, every event, every text, and every call. It is easy to get caught up in the whirlwind, but without our health, we have nothing. I ask them to stop, take time to reflect, and above all else, I ask them to please take care of themselves.
    To my wife, Kelly, and my entire family, their strength when faced with the unimaginable was simply amazing. I thank them for their patience, their love, and support. Words cannot express my love for them.

2018 Winter Paralympic Games

    Mr. Speaker, the slogan of the Canadian Paralympic committee for the winter games in Pyeongchang this year was “Greatness is Rare”. It is true, because with only 55 athletes from a population of over 35 million, it is only 0.00000157% of the population of Canadians who make the cut and represent us with Team Canada.
    However, it is also false, because greatness was far from rare with Team Canada this year. Our team earned a record 28 medals this year, our best performance ever, and Canadians just missed the podium several times, with nine fourth-place results and five more in the top five.
    We can also believe greatness will be even rarer next time with 20 athletes winning their first-ever Paralympic medals in Pyeongchang. We can say without a doubt that Paralympians represent greatness better than anyone.

[Translation]

    They are an inspiration. We are all very proud of our athletes who took part in the Paralympic Games.

[English]

    Go Canada, go.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, the government has announced that Canadian soldiers will be taking part in a mission to Mali. In his own words, the Prime Minister has acknowledged that this is putting soldiers in harm's way.
     Mali is the UN's most dangerous peacekeeping mission it has currently, and the UN is experiencing the worst spate of UN peacekeeping fatalities in the organization's history. The Prime Minister would have been advised by his people as to the nature of the risk to soldiers, as well as the likelihood of casualties in this mission.
     Could the Prime Minister inform the House as to what the risk is to soldiers of a fatality?
    Mr. Speaker, two years ago, during the election campaign, we committed to re-engage Canadian soldiers in UN peacekeeping missions. We know that it is something that is important to Canadians, and is important to the world, that we be helping out in the best ways we can. That is why we are happy to respond to a direct request from the UN and from our allies to provide logistical and support helicopters to their mission in Mali.
     We will continue to work with the members opposite to determine the best way to move forward on debate in the House. We look forward to talking about that more in the coming days.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, we all want to see stability brought to conflict-ridden regions of this world. However, the reality is that there are 162 fatalities of UN peacekeepers in Mali alone.
     Less than two months ago, the UN Security Council was advised by the under-secretary general for peacekeeping operations that the objectives in the Mali mission were in question and it was urged to reassess this mission.
     I know the Prime Minister is happy that we are going to Mali, but there is a real and serious threat to our Canadian soldiers. Will those being deployed in this war zone be allowed to actively engage targets?
    Mr. Speaker, we are committed to contributing in ways that bring the most value to the UN mission in Mali. We believe it is important for Canada to play a role in peace operations around the world.
     However, the safety of our men and women in uniform remains paramount during all operations. We always act to mitigate, as best as possible, the level of risk that Canadian Armed Forces personnel face while on operations. The personnel we will deploy on peace operations will be equipped with the appropriate equipment and will receive the necessary training for their assigned missions, although of course we cannot altogether eliminate the risks.
    I understand that we cannot mitigate the risk, Mr. Speaker. The question I am asking is this. What is the risk associated with our Canadian soldiers? They deserve to know this. This is the most dangerous mission in the world right now. This is something we are sending Canadian soldiers into without any information at all from the government. It is absolutely deplorable. Canadians deserve to have the answer.
     How many soldiers are projected to be lost in this mission?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, we have committed to open information and discussions with the members opposite, with all members in the House, on the nature and the moving forward of missions like this.
     The previous government chose to wrap itself in the flag and use special forces as photo ops, while not informing the House about anything. What we are going to be doing is remaining open and responsible with all members in the House as we move forward and re-engage in UN peacekeeping missions to support our allies to move forward on peace in the world. That is what Canadians expect and that is what we are going to deliver.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister likes to talk about the previous government, but the previous government always held a debate on sending troops on missions around the world.
    The Prime Minister has decided to send our troops on a peacekeeping mission in Mali where there currently is no peace to be had. Mali is a war zone. The Prime Minister seems to be unaware of that fact. He has demonstrated to Canada that safety is not really important to him. He is getting ready to send our troops to Mali, a country at war.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us what the chain of command will be for our troops in this war zone?
    Mr. Speaker, the safety of our men and women in uniform remains our top priority in every operation. We always take all necessary steps to mitigate as much as possible the operational risks that members of the Canadian Armed Forces might face.
    The personnel being deployed in peacekeeping operations will have the equipment and training they need to see their mission through. We have tremendous confidence in the ability of our armed forces and the positive influence that Canada can have on the world.
    Mr. Speaker, I think the Prime Minister needs his notes because he has no understanding of what we are doing. That is why the decisions he makes behind closed doors should be put to parliamentarians here in the House of Commons so we can ask the right questions.
    Right now, we have no doubt that Canadian Armed Forces personnel are capable of carrying out any mission anywhere in the world. That is not the issue. The issue is that, right now, our people are in Mali on a so-called peacekeeping mission even though it is a war zone.
    Can the Prime Minister tell us what the rules of engagement are?
    Mr. Speaker, unlike the previous government, we are being completely transparent and are keen to have a good debate here in the House of Commons. We have already approached the opposition to talk about how to hold that debate, and we are pleased that plans will be finalized in the coming weeks.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has finally made an announcement about peacekeeping. After two and a half years in power, after repeated calls by the United Nations and our international allies, and after the government's failure to deploy troops to Colombia when that country needed them, we still lack important information such as the start date of the mission and the number of women that will be deployed.
    Should two and a half years not have been enough to start putting together the answers to some of these questions? Why this lack of clarity?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, as we said during the campaign, we want to contribute to international peacekeeping and stabilization missions. We announced our commitment to send an air task force to Mali that will include Chinook and Griffon helicopters. Canadian Armed Forces members will also help with medical evacuations of soldiers and provide logistical support for the mission. We know that Canada's presence is important to maintaining peace and security around the world. We have already approached the opposition about how to proceed with a debate. We look forward to having these conversations.
    Mr. Speaker, we still have no details.

[English]

    The government made, and repeated, grand promises that Canada would return to UN peacekeeping, but we would not know it from our current contributions. At the end of last month, Canada had just under 40 troops and police officers on UN missions, a record low in the history of Canadian peacekeeping.
    Today's announcement likely falls short of meeting the peacekeeping commitments the government made. When will the government reveal exactly how it intends to fulfill the promises it made over two and a half years ago?
    We have to admit, Mr. Speaker, it is a bit of an interesting turn of events when the Conservatives think we are doing too much with our military and the New Democrats do not think we are doing enough.
    As I have said, we are pleased that we are moving forward on peace operations with the UN, re-engaging with the UN the way Canadians expect us to, the way we committed to two years ago during the election campaign. I very much look forward to working with opposition members to figure out a way to move forward on debate regarding this mission so that all Canadians can be apprised of what we are doing and how we are doing it.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, while Canada is exempt for now from the U.S. President's global tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, the President stated very clearly that he will use the threat of future tariffs to get what he wants in NAFTA renegotiations. Our steel and aluminum industries, forestry, aerospace, paper: what is next? Sixty-four billion dollars could be lost and half a million Canadian jobs are at risk, yet all the Prime Minister has done is pay lip service.
    Canadians need to know how many more tariffs or threats of tariffs the government will allow before it takes action.
    Mr. Speaker, that allows me to once again say what a pleasure it was for me to be able to spend time with steelworkers and aluminum workers last week across the country. The hard-working steelworkers at Stelco and aluminum workers at Alma have been working hard to continue to deliver. I was very pleased to be able to meet with them to listen to their concerns directly and to reassure them about the path forward we are taking. We have continued to defend the industry in this country and we will continue to do so. Whether it is moving forward on pipelines, whether it is moving forward on protecting our steel, we will continue—
    Order. The hon. member for Essex.
    Mr. Speaker, when will the Prime Minister get his head out of the sand? Just last week, President Trump bragged that he made up figures while talking to the Prime Minister about the supposed trade deficit the U.S. has with Canada, and the Prime Minister said that he has full confidence in the President's being straight with him.
    Our Prime Minister is not being taken seriously by our largest trading partner and Canadians are worried. Does the Prime Minister still believe that the President is being straight with him? When will the Prime Minister be straight with Canadians and tell them exactly how he plans to protect their jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, it was a real pleasure to speak with steelworkers in Hamilton about exactly how we were standing up for their jobs.
    We have been working with the American administration over the past year to ensure that we are standing up for Canadian jobs, that we are standing up for Canadian interests. We are moving forward in a responsible way to renegotiate NAFTA in ways that will improve it for Canadians, for Canadian workers, and for our partners. We are going to continue to take this approach that is working with the American government, regardless of what the NDP proposes.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, we on this side of the House have asked the government hundreds of times over the past two years when it will balance the budget.
    We have never even come close to getting an answer. We are not the only ones who are fed up. In a scathing report published last week, the parliamentary budget officer indicated that the government has completely lost control of the public purse and has no plan to balance the budget.
    Will the Prime Minister reassure Canadians, do as the parliamentary budget officer is asking, and tell us when his government will balance the budget?

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, two years ago, Canadians had a choice between the Liberal Party's plan and the austerity measures being proposed by the Conservatives with results that we are all familiar with. They include the lowest growth since World War II, the worst growth in exports, and the worst job creation record. The Liberal Party's plan involved investing in infrastructure and communities, giving more to those who need it most in order to stimulate and bolster our economy, and investing in science, and that is what we did in the last budget. That is what we are doing. The results speak for themselves. Over the past two years, 600,000 jobs have been created, most of which are full time.
    That is a record we can be proud of.
    Mr. Speaker, here are the facts: two years and a few months ago, the Prime Minister published his mandate letter to his Minister of Finance. On page 4 of this letter, penned by the Prime Minister himself, he refers to “balancing the budget in 2019/20”. These are not my words, they are the words of the Prime Minister himself.
    Could the Prime Minister stand up and tell Canadians that he is going to keep the promise he made to them in this letter he wrote himself?
    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my previous answer, our plan is working. We are moving forward with this plan to promote growth for Canada. We are doing this responsibly by keeping the ratio of the size of our debt to the size of our economy on a downward track. Canada's debt-to-GDP ratio is the best in the G7, and it is projected to reach its lowest level since the late 1970s by the end of this term.
    Mr. Speaker, by the end of this term, that is an election promise.

[English]

    That is a promise. The Liberals also promised they would eliminate $3 billion in spending after they did a comprehensive review to find waste. Having done that review over the last two years, the Liberals have come to the conclusion that there is not a single penny in waste that they can cancel. In fact, it gave them ideas on how they could spend even more.
    Will the Liberals keep their promise to eliminate $3 billion in annual spending waste by the end of this term, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, we are always vigilant, working across government, to ensure the best value for tax dollars, while we make important investments in the interests of Canadians today and in the future.
    The innovation review that we led, in fact working with ISED, actually resulted in a more responsive, focused, and targeted approach to innovation writ large across the Government of Canada.
    What I will say is we will not do what the Conservatives did, for instance, when they cut 700 pay advisers to save $70 million on the eve of an election, destroying the pay system for the Canadian—
    The hon. member for Carleton.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals claimed that their deficit spending would go to infrastructure, but now the Parliamentary Budget Officer has revealed that a quarter of that money has lapsed and just disappeared into the massive Liberal spending hole. Now there is this:
    Budget 2018 provides an incomplete account of the changes to the Government’s $186.7 billion infrastructure spending plan. PBO requested the new plan but it does not exist.
    How does the government spend $186 billion with no plan?
    Mr. Speaker, we are proud of the relationship we were able to build with the provinces, territories, and municipalities to deliver a historic infrastructure plan.
     Under our plan, we have approved more than 4,100 projects with a combined investment of more than $35 billion. These investments are creating jobs for the middle class, helping us build a stronger economy, moving us to a green economy, as well as improving people's living conditions.
    Mr. Speaker, let us review the fiscal promises. The Liberals said they would cut $3 billion in waste. Instead, they found billions of dollars in increased spending. They said that the deficit would be just $10 billion. It has been double that. They said that the budget would be balanced by 2019. Now they say that will not happen for another 25 years, during which time they will add, or some government will add, half a trillion dollars of deficit. They said the middle class would pay less. Instead, the Fraser Institute said that 80% are paying more.
    With all of these broken promises, how can the Canadian people believe anything the Prime Minister says about their money?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the member that the first thing we did was we lowered taxes on the middle class and raised them on the wealthiest 1%. The other thing we have done is we have made the Canada child benefit a new and more progressive program to give more to those who need it the most. That has lifted 300,000 kids out of poverty.
    What we said to Canadians is that we will succeed where the Conservative government failed. We have grown this economy more than they ever did in the decade that they were in power. We have the fastest growth in the G7, and we will continue on that path.

  (1435)  

    Mr. Speaker, the government said that the deficit would be just $10 billion. It has been nearly $20 billion. This year the deficit will be three times the size that the Liberals committed to in their platform, and they are unable to find a single penny in savings necessary to eventually return us to a balanced budget.
    Why does the member not just rise now and admit what the Parliamentary Budget Officer has already suggested, and what Canadians already know, which is that the Liberals will never balance Canada's budget?

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we always take a very responsible fiscal approach, one that has been lauded by economists the world over. They all agree that in a slow economy, like the one we inherited from the previous Conservative government, the smart thing to do is to make investments where they are needed, in infrastructure, in our communities, to stimulate growth, to stimulate the economy. That is what we have done, and we are making sure that our debt-to-GDP ratio stays on a downward track.

Regional Economic Development

    Mr. Speaker, aluminum is very important to some of our regions, including the Saguenay, and we are very proud of that fact. Despite President Trump's temporary exemption, workers in our regions are still worried and unsure about the future. Workers are entitled to strong representation and a hard-working government, which is what they are getting from the Government of Quebec.
    Will this government implement an action plan immediately?
    Mr. Speaker, our government worked hard to secure an exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs for Canada. We will keep working hard until the possibility of such tariffs is completely and permanently eliminated. Our priority is to get the best possible outcomes for Canadians and their families.

[English]

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is claiming to have made significant commitments to the budget to end pension theft, but this is just not true. There were no answers from the Prime Minister during his PR trip last week about changing the laws to protect workers' pensions. Workers have had enough talk. It is time for action. We can and we must end pension theft now.
    When will the government outline a real plan for the protection of workers' pensions, like the one I have already presented in Bill C-384?
    Mr. Speaker, as we have made clear, our heart goes out to those Sears workers. We are taking their advice. We are taking advice from all sides of the House to look into how we can better the situation of pensioners in this country. We made that promise. We will continue to work in that regard, and we will continue to examine any suggestion that comes with it.

Canada-India Relations

    Mr. Speaker, the plot surrounding the Atwal scandal continued to thicken even while the House was away, courtesy of Jaspal Atwal himself. He held a press conference where he directly refuted the Liberal government's claims about an Indian conspiracy. Mr. Atwal confirmed that he asked the MP for Surrey Centre for an invitation to the Prime Minister's event. Mr. Atwal confirmed that the Liberal government got him that invite and that he has never spoken to the Indian government.
    When will the Prime Minister rise in this House and apologize to India for this diplomatic incident?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's national security agencies are impartial and non-partisan. They are highly professional and competent. We trust them always to promote, protect, and defend the national interests of Canada, and I am confident that they have done that at all times.
    Mr. Speaker, the person at the centre of the Atwal scandal does not believe the Prime Minister's wild conspiracy claims. The Liberal MP for Surrey Centre does not believe the Prime Minister's claims, because he apologized and accepted responsibility. Even the foreign affairs minister does not believe the Prime Minister, because she admitted to apologizing to the Indian government, calling the Atwal invitation “an honest mistake”. It appears there are only two people who still believe in the Prime Minister's wild conspiracy theories: the Prime Minister and his national security adviser.
    When will the Prime Minister allow the national security adviser to brief the House in the same way they briefed the press gallery?

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, the issue with respect to the invitation has been clearly discussed and responded to. The invitation should never have been issued. When it was discovered, it was rescinded, as it should have been.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, a terrorist convicted of attempted assassination was invited to an official dinner with the Prime Minister. There are two possible explanations for this. A Liberal MP says he invited the felon, but the Prime Minister himself says it was an Indian conspiracy.
    How can it be an Indian government plot against a Canadian trade mission if a Liberal MP says he is the one who invited that person, that terrorist?
    If the Prime Minister has evidence, let him present it to the House and answer questions to bring transparency—

[English]

    The hon. Minister of Public Safety.
    Mr. Speaker, I have two points very specifically.
    First, the invitation should never have been issued. When it was discovered, it was rescinded.
    Second, whenever senior government officials with long experience issue opinions, advice, and recommendations, they do so impartially and always acting in the best interests of Canada to defend the Canadian national interest. They have done that at all times.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this is serious. The Prime Minister's national security adviser said there was a conspiracy theory, and the Prime Minister publicly supported the allegation. The Indian government categorically denied it. Now the Minister of Foreign Affairs is calling it a simple mistake. A simple mistake? Some 19 MPs and ministers take a trip to India, a terrorist gets an invitation, the PM does a half day's work in eight days in India, all on the taxpayers' dime, and this is being called a simple mistake.
    Will the Prime Minister apologize to the Indian government and to all Canadians?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. gentleman overlooks the fact that during the course of that mission there were about one billion dollars' worth of trade and investment identified, about 6,000 Canadian jobs created, and a number of different initiatives that went forward, including an agreement resolving a fumigation dispute with respect to Canadian pulse crop exports to India.
    At the end of the mission, the Prime Minister of India expressed his satisfaction with the success of what had been accomplished.

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, there are 300 workers at the Catalyst Paper mill in Powell River, who make the products that were recently slapped with a 22% punitive tariff by the U.S. government. Those tariffs directly threaten the mill, meaning that 300 good-paying Canadian jobs in a small community that needs the mill's payroll, taxes, and investment are at risk. These workers know that the government's words on the unfair tariffs are not worth the paper they are written on.
    Where is the leadership, the real action that our workers need from the government to protect their jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, we are deeply disappointed with the unjustified preliminary rates announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce.
    Canada's forestry industry sustains good, middle-class jobs and provides economic opportunities for rural and indigenous communities across our country.
    We will continue to work with all our partners across Canada to defend this vital sector against unfair and unwarranted U.S. trade measures and practices.
    Three hundred workers, Mr. Speaker, and those talking points help none of them.
    The federal government has failed so far to come to the defence of workers in British Columbia whose jobs are at risk with U.S. tariffs on groundwood paper. These are good-paying, family-supporting jobs in my riding, and the industry also supports thousands of indirect jobs throughout British Columbia.
    What is the government going to do to stand up to this unfair U.S. trade action? When will the Liberals finally show some strength in international trade talks and protect Canadian jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, the preliminary rates announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce are unjustified, and they are unacceptable to Canada. We stand with our forestry industry, and we are taking every possible action, including in international arenas, to support and defend our forestry industry.
    We stand with Canadian workers. We are fighting for them, and we will succeed.

  (1445)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, a round of negotiations for a possible agreement with Mercosur will take place here in Ottawa tomorrow, March 20. This is a free trade agreement between Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia. Canada hopes to enter into a free trade agreement with this economic community, Mercosur. The primary objective is to diversity our international trade markets with countries that have similar goals and growing economies.
    I wonder if the Minister of International Trade could give us an update.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Rivière-des-Mille-Îles for her excellent work.
    Two weeks ago, I was in Asunción, Paraguay, to launch the Mercosur negotiations. Through our ambitious trade diversification program, Canada is positioning itself for success for decades to come.
    With Mercosur, our government is pursuing the most progressive trade negotiations our country has ever undertaken. For the first time ever, the negotiations will include a gender-based analysis and comprehensive assessments of the impact on labour, human rights, and indigenous peoples. I look forward to welcoming stakeholders this evening to get started.

Employment

    Mr. Speaker, this morning, we began our parliamentary day by acknowledging the freedom that we enjoy in Canada. The Prime Minister and the Liberals are attacking that freedom: freedom of conscience and freedom of religion. Through their ideological and dogmatic approach, the Liberals are attacking the least fortunate and depriving our young people of good jobs.
    Will the Prime Minister and the Liberals use today's vote to support our motion to ensure that the Canada summer jobs program remains a program for creating jobs and not an attack on the freedoms that our soldiers fight for?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Canada summer jobs program has always provided young people with good-quality job experiences, where they can gain valuable experience, and helped prepare them for school.
    Unlike the Conservatives, who have funded groups that promote anti-abortion, distribute graphic images, or discriminate against the LGBTQ community, we are going to ensure that we do not support groups that actively undermine Canadian rights.
    We predict a successful year ahead. We know the number of applications is on par with last year, and we look forward to doubling the Canada summer jobs opportunities for young people in the country again this year.
    Mr. Speaker, last week, the approval list for Canada summer jobs came out to the MPs. Compared to last year, 36 fewer organizations in my riding even applied. At least 15 of these organizations told me they did not because of the Liberals' values test.
    Instead of funding groups that provide housing and child care, the Liberals have dumped money into for-profit organizations and retailers. Will the Liberals admit this is wrong, vote in favour of our motion, and support Canadians who are trying to help their communities?
    Mr. Speaker, Canada's prosperity relies on ensuring that young people get the experience they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. That is why the Canada summer jobs program has been so critical in ensuring that young people get that oftentimes first well-paying job that will help them identify their career path and gain the skills they need.
    We predict a very successful year ahead. The number of applications received, and currently under review, is on par with 2017. We know that we are going to continue to help young people get that experience and thrive going into the future.
    Mr. Speaker, the minister referred earlier to an organization that I know received tens of thousands of dollars from the Liberal member for Mississauga—Erin Mills. However, that choice by the member does not have anything to do with our motion today, which speaks to non-political, non-activist groups that for reasons of conscience, and their conscience rights in section 2 of the charter, do not want to check this box.
    Will the minister support our motion, which would allow these charitable organizations to continue to provide this vital work? Will she look at the motion and support it on the basis of its support for non-political, non-activist organizations?
    Mr. Speaker, the Canada summer jobs program serves a critical purpose in the country, and that is to make sure that young people get quality job experiences, oftentimes for the first time in their young careers. That is why we are going to make sure that funds do not go, in any way, to groups that actively work to undermine Canadians' rights.
    Young people are counting on us to stand up for their rights, to deliver this program in a way that is fair and equitable and respects all Canadians, and that is exactly what we will do.

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the minister, she is just not answering a very direct question. We have a motion before the House today that says that non-political, non-activist groups should be able to access the Canada summer jobs program regardless of their private convictions.
    We believe that it is a violation of fundamental charter rights to force an organization to disclose its private convictions if that has absolutely nothing to do with the activities it is involved in. If the government is sincere about not targeting faith-based charities, it could take one very simple step to reassure those organizations and support our motion today. Will it?
    Mr. Speaker, the process this year asked organizations to commit to the fact that their core activities, their core mandate, and the job description for which they are applying would not in any way actively undermine the rights of young Canadians. In fact, we have had resounding applications, the same as last year. We anticipate that over 70,000 young people will have excellent job experiences across the country in a variety of different sectors that will help them gain the skills they need, determine their career paths, and earn a little extra money.
    We are incredibly proud of the fact that the government puts youth success at the forefront and knows that it is critically connected to our economic success.

[Translation]

Telecommunications

    Mr. Speaker, many main roads in rural regions are not even covered by a cellular network. Although investing in 5G may be a good thing, in the meantime, nothing is happening in rural areas. The Liberals are so out of touch that the word “cellular” is not even in their last budget. If the minister is ready to pull his head out of the sand, I would invite him to go on a little road trip with me. He would realize that there is a cellular dead zone just two hours from here.
    How much longer before people living in rural areas are not treated like second-class citizens by this minister?
    Mr. Speaker, in this day and age, mobile communications and high-speed Internet are no longer luxuries, they are necessities. Our government recognizes that innovation is occurring everywhere in the regions, just as it is in major cities. That is why we want to ensure that all Canadians have access to the same technologies, no matter their postal code. It comes down to equal opportunity. Our connect to innovate program is addressing the digital divide and will enable our communities and businesses to seize opportunities provided by the global digital economy.

Infrastructure

     Mr. Speaker, in his most recent report, the parliamentary budget officer called on the Liberals to deliver a detailed plan for how they intend to dole out billions in infrastructure dollars to prevent further delays. He said that some funding would likely not be allocated or spent on time. He went so far as to say that the Liberals do not have a plan for spending the billions of dollars earmarked for infrastructure over the next 12 years. Municipalities have been waiting for too long and cannot wait any longer.
    On their behalf, I am asking the government, where is the plan to prevent delays?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, we worked very closely with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and with provinces and territories to develop a historic plan that is investing more than $180 billion to build the necessary infrastructure that has been neglected by the Harper government for a decade. We have approved 4,100 projects, with a combined investment of $35 billion. Last week, we signed three bilateral agreements with the Province of Ontario, New Brunswick, and Northwest Territories to deliver historic investments so communities get the infrastructure they need and deserve.

Public Safety

    Mr. Speaker, serious concerns are being raised about China-owned telecom company Huawei having access to 5G technology. Recently, a U.S. Senate committee heard compelling testimony from four U.S. agencies, including the FBI and the CIA, which says that Huawei poses a serious cybersecurity threat.
    Does the Prime Minister recognize that there may be a threat to Canadian cybersecurity? What is he doing to stop China-owned Huawei from spying on Canadians?
    Mr. Speaker, cybersecurity is an extraordinarily important priority for the country and for the government. As the hon. member will have noticed in the last budget, the Minister of Finance has set aside something in excess of $700 million for investments over the next number of years, including the creation of a new cybersecurity centre, one that will pay particular attention to the critical infrastructure of this country, which we must indeed protect and defend by every means possible.

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is not just our allies sounding the alarm but national security experts in Canada as well. Ward Elcock, a former CSIS director, told The Globe and Mail, “I would not want to see Huawei equipment being incorporated into a 5G network in Canada”. Dick Fadden, former national security adviser, is saying that we do not want Canadian infrastructure to be available to Huawei.
    With what these Canadian experts are saying, will the public safety minister commit to a re-evaluation of Canada's ties with China-owned Huawei?
    Mr. Speaker, we have just completed a national security review of our cybersecurity systems. That has included every dimension of those systems, including how best to protect critical infrastructure. We will take every step necessary to make sure that this critical infrastructure, which is vital to Canada and to our relations with countries around the world, is properly protected and defended. There is nothing more important than that.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, amid a busy schedule of family vacations, the Prime Minister squeezed in some visits to Canadian steel plants. In Saskatchewan he visited Evraz where they manufacture pipelines. The Liberals' abdication of federal leadership on the Trans Mountain pipeline is hurting Evraz, the prairie oil and gas sector, as well as the Canadian steel industry.
    Can the Prime Minister reassure Canadian steelworkers that construction on Trans Mountain will start this spring?
    Mr. Speaker, as we continue to say, the environment and the economy go hand in hand. We continue to support the energy sector in a variety of ways, including the approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline. I would like to add a number of other pipelines as well: the expanded export capacity for the Alberta Clipper, the Nova Gas pipeline, the Line 3 replacement project, and our support of the Keystone XL pipeline. I could go on and on.
    Our government has approved the Trans Mountain expansion and we stand by that approval.

Poverty

    Mr. Speaker, last month, the Minister of Families, Children and Social Development released the results of our government's poverty reduction strategy consultations in a “What We Heard” report. I hosted one of those consultations in my riding where I heard from Canadians living in poverty and front-line workers about what it is like to live in poverty in our country.
    Can the minister please tell the House how budget 2018 will help low-income Canadians get the support that they need?
    Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate the member for Toronto—Danforth for her strong commitment to reducing poverty.
    Budget 2018 introduces the new Canada workers benefit, which is going to lift tens of thousands of lower-wage Canadians out of poverty and also benefit more than two million vulnerable Canadians. Budget 2018 also introduced automatic enrolment, which will ensure that eligible Canadians actually receive the benefit. Starting in 2019, the new Canada workers benefit will help more vulnerable Canadians who work hard succeed in joining the middle class.

[Translation]

Agriculture and Agri-food

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister believes that the budget will balance itself. As a result, Canada has a deficit of billions of dollars.
    Western grain farmers are facing a second crisis. They are unable to deliver their products. Like his Prime Minister, the Minister of Agriculture thinks that the crisis will resolve itself and is refusing to take action.
    The Liberals' record is one of deficits for everyone and millions of dollars in losses for all farmers. The farmers are here in town.
    Will the minister personally commit to taking action, rather than believing in fairy tales like his Prime Minister and waiting for the crisis to resolve itself?
    Mr. Speaker, we all want our western farmers to be able to get their grain to the global marketplace as quickly as possible. That is why the Minister of Agriculture and I spoke with CN and CP. We told them clearly that they were not doing an acceptable job right now, and we asked them to show us how they planned to address the current problems. Over the past two weeks, the situation has improved considerably, and we will continue to monitor their progress in the coming weeks.

  (1500)  

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday, Marielle Franco, a city councillor in Rio de Janeiro, was brutally murdered.
    Marielle was 38 years old. She was a black woman, a lesbian, a socialist, and a human rights advocate. For years, she had been speaking out against police brutality in the favelas. It is for all of these reasons that she was murdered by multiple gunshots to the head. We cannot stay silent in the face of this attempt to kill hope.
    Will Canada show leadership and demand that Brazil order an independent investigation into this politically motivated killing?
    Mr. Speaker, as you are well aware, human rights, including lesbian and gay rights, are a very important component of our foreign policy. They are important here in Canada, and we are working with our foreign partners to defend LGBT people around the world. We are going to continue with this vital work.

Agriculture and Agri-food

    Mr. Speaker, our government knows that Canadian farmers are key economic drivers in this country and that they play a major role in combatting climate change.

[English]

    Could the Minister of Agriculture update the House on the important announcement we made to improve clean technology in Canadian agriculture, this morning at Terryland Farms in my riding?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell for all his hard work for Canadian agriculture. Our government is committed to supporting clean technology in Canadian agriculture.
    Today, I was proud to join the member to announce an investment of $25 million to develop and adapt clean technology in Canadian agriculture. This would help our farmers stay on the cutting edge, grow our economy, and help more people join the middle class.

Rail Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, western Canadian grain farmers have asked the Liberals for one thing: help them move their grain. We have given the Liberals the concrete actions they could take now to get grain moving. Instead they stand up and defend the rail duopoly. They have tarnished our reputation as a reliable trading partner. Time is of the essence and the crisis farmers are facing is critical. Railcars are not being delivered. Grain is not moving. Farmers are not getting paid.
    Does the agriculture minister not grasp the seriousness of this crisis? Why will the Liberals not take action now to move our grain?
    Mr. Speaker, we want to get our western farmers' grain to market as quickly as possible, unlike the previous government, which for 10 years did not do a darn thing to move grain and other commodities more efficiently. By the way, they voted against Bill C-49 and I would ask them to speak to their colleagues in the other House to speed up the process with Bill C-49.
    In the meantime, the Minister of Agriculture and I have spoken to CN and CP, and told them that they have to do better. They are doing better, but we will watch them very carefully.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, André Dionne, a federal public service manager from Montreal, will be in Federal Court tomorrow as part of his lawsuit to uphold his right to work in French, a right that has been trampled throughout his career. This is a violation of Bill 101 and is also a violation of Canadian law, as the Commissioner of Official Languages found eight years ago. This is the price Quebec has to pay for being subject to the Canadian system.
    Will the minister enforce employees' right to work in French at Canadian institutions in Quebec?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, our official languages are at the core of our Canadian values. We will ensure that public servants across Canada continue to have the right to speak in both official languages. This is something that is absolutely fundamental. We will continue to ensure that from coast to coast to coast Canadian public servants are respected, including their right to speak in both official languages.

[Translation]

Public Services and Procurement

    Mr. Speaker, two months ago, the Prime Minister was acting like the Davie shipyard's saviour, promising contracts would be forthcoming. The government has yet to sign a single contract with Davie, even after direct appeals by representatives of the service providers' association. This is an urgent matter for all of Quebec, but obviously not for the Prime Minister of Canada.
    When will the Prime Minister honour his commitment? Is he waiting for permission from Seaspan and Irving?

  (1505)  

    Mr. Speaker, Davie is a major shipyard and we are still in talks with its representatives. We are exercising due diligence, and we will inform the House once we have made a decision.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Health will be holding consultations to stop sugary, high-alcohol drinks from being sold in their current format, and that is a good thing. However, we also have a duty to be diligent and above all thorough in our actions, to prevent another tragedy from occurring.
    As part of these consultations, will the Minister of Health also consider banning the addition of guarana to these alcoholic drinks?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question. I also want to extend my deepest condolences to the Gervais family. This was a real tragedy.
    Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is a top priority for our government, and we are going to continue our work to do so. I have instructed Health Canada to immediately take action with regard to the proposal to restrict the amount of alcohol in single-serve highly sweetened, high-alcohol beverages.
    We are also going to meet with our provincial and territorial partners, as well as other partners, to ensure that we address this problem.

[English]

Chemical Attack in Salisbury

    Mr. Speaker, there have been discussions among the parties and if you seek it, I think you will find unanimous consent for the following motion.
    I move:
     That the House (a) acknowledge the strength of the ties and values that Canadians and the British people share; (b) condemn in the strongest terms the despicable use of a nerve agent on the sovereign territory of the United Kingdom in the March 4, 2018, chemical attack in Salisbury; (c) recognize that the Russian state bears responsibility for this act and has shown a total disregard for the rules-based international order; (d) call on Russia to co-operate fully with British investigators; and (e) stand in solidarity with the British people and the United Kingdom, a key NATO ally and G7 partner.
    Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

     (Motions agreed to)

    Mr. Speaker, in the spirit of co-operation, following the brutal chemical attack on British soil, there have been some basic discussions among the parties with respect to a motion involving the death of a Canadian citizen. If you seek it, I believe you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: that the House (a) condemn the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Revolutionary Guard for the brutal oppression of its own citizens, which included the imprisonment and killing of a Canadian citizen, Kavous Seyed Emami, who was killed in Iranian custody; (b) call upon the government to immediately cease any and all negotiations or discussions with the Islamic Republic of Iran until they accept responsibility for the death of Mr. Seyed Emami; and (c) stand with the people of Iran and recognize that they, like all people, have a fundamental right to freedom of conscience and religion, freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press, and other forms of communication, freedom of peaceful assembly, and freedom of association.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to propose the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, as parliamentarians, the solemn acts we perform, like voting or signing a document, are very important. When we put our signature to a document, we are putting our honour on the line.
     Consequently, I am seeking unanimous consent to table a document signed by the Prime Minister's own hand. It is his mandate letter to the Minister of Finance, dated November 12, 2015, in which he refers to “balancing the budget in 2019/20”.

  (1510)  

    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to table this document?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that if you seek it, you will find unanimous consent for the following motion: that this House call on Health Canada to suspend the sale of high-sugar, high-alcohol drinks and alcoholic energy drinks containing guaranine for the duration of the consultations on this matter and until such time that new rules come into effect.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

[English]

Business of Supply

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to inform the House that Thursday, March 22 shall be an allotted day.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[Translation]

Parliamentary Budget Officer

    Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act, it is my duty to present to the House a report from the parliamentary budget officer entitled “Income sprinkling using private corporations”.

[English]

    Pursuant to subsection 79.2(2) of the Parliament of Canada Act it is my duty to present to the House a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, entitled “Budget 2018: Issues for Parliamentarians”.

Government Response to Petitions

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 65 petitions.

Committees of the House

Indigenous and Northern Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs, entitled “Indigenous Land Rights Towards Respect and Implementation”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.
    We know that no relationship is more important than our relationship with indigenous peoples. This report identifies clear measures that must be taken to work toward reconciliation.
    I would like to personally thank the 89 witnesses who shared their stories with the committee, both during our travels across the country and in Ottawa.

[Translation]

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 55th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs entitled “Creation of an Independent Commissioner Responsible for Leaders’ Debates”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report.

[English]

    This report makes some significant suggested changes to debates during elections. When members of the public see this, I think they will be interested in seeing the suggested changes with respect to future debates in federal elections.

[Translation]

    I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the 56th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. Pursuant to Standing Order 92(3)(a), the committee reports that it has concurred in the report of the Subcommittee on Private Members’ Business advising that Bill C-385, an act to amend the Navigation Protection Act regarding certain lakes and rivers in British Columbia, should be designated non-votable.

[English]

    My apologies to the hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo. I should have gone to her following of the tabling of the 12th report of the Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
    The hon. member for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo.

Indigenous and Northern Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to note that the official opposition did attach a dissenting report. We recognize that Canada's processes for comprehensive and specific claims are in need of revision. However, we felt this report contained many lofty words and very few practical suggestions. Witnesses specifically said that they did not want another report that sat on the shelf. They asked for an action plan. We do not believe this report lives up to the standards of an action plan.
     Therefore, we have included a number of actionable items that we believe will make things better with respect to the resolution of these important issues.

  (1515)  

    Now, in relation to the 55th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs, the hon. member for Banff—Airdrie.

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservative members of the procedure and House affairs committee had a number of issues with the report surrounding the creation of a debate commission. Therefore, we have put forward a dissenting report, which I would encourage all members to read, outlining those things, not the least of which is the fact that the committee had undertaken this while consultations were being done by the minister separately, which were not taken into consideration. We believe this is something the minister should be taking into consideration.
     Therefore, we certainly hope that those comments, suggestions, and differing opinions will be taken into consideration when the report is looked at.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration:

[English]

    the 16th report, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (C), 2017-18”; and the 17th report, entitled “Interim Estimates 2018-19”.

[Translation]

Public Safety and National Security  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the following two reports of the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security: the 17th report entitled “Supplementary Estimates (C), 2017-18”, and the 18th report entitled “Interim Estimates 2018-19”.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I ask for leave to return to tabling of documents so I can table a document.
    Does the member have unanimous consent?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Translation]

Citizenship and Immigration  

    Pursuant to Standing Order 109 of the House of Commons, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the government response to the 14th report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration entitled “Immigration to Atlantic Canada: Moving to the Future”.

[English]

Petitions

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  

    Mr. Speaker, the petitioners state that Widlene Alexis Earle has been in the care of legal guardianship of a Canadian citizen for more than eight years; that the legislation of Dominican Republic, her country of birth, has stripped Widlene of her rightful citizenship; that Haiti, the country of ancestry, has denied citizenship for Widlene for being born out of country; that as a state child of Haitian descent, Widlene is subject to violent immigration sweeps by Dominican government; and as an unwelcome stateless child in the Dominican Republic, Widlene has access to none of the basic human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
    The petitioners therefore call upon the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to grant Widlene Alexis Earle immediate access to Canada via a temporary residence permit.

Gatineau Park  

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36 I rise today to table a petition regarding the beautiful Gatineau Park.
     The petition was organized by CPAWS, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and is signed by dozens of local residents. I am pleased to table a petition and I look forward to the government's response.

Kinder Morgan Pipeline  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition.
     The petitioners are calling for the government to oppose the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project. They note that the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project would triple the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline system to 890,000 barrels per day and that it would bring massive environmental and economic risk to British Columbia; that some 40,000 barrels of oil have already leaked from existing Kinder Morgan pipelines; and that it would create only 50 permanent jobs, many of which would be filled by temporary foreign workers. They further note that none of the oil would be refined in British Columbia, but instead would be shipped by tanker to foreign markets and that it would increase the number of tankers coming into the Burrard Inlet from eight to 34 per month. Finally, the pipeline would go through densely populated urban areas, residential neighbourhoods, and the traditional territories of 15 first nations.
     The petitioners therefore are strongly urging the government to say no to Kinder Morgan.

  (1520)  

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to table this petition, containing hundreds of signatures from residents of Carleton Trail—Eagle Creek, calling on the Prime Minister to withdraw the attestation values test on applications to the Canada summer jobs program.
     These petitioners add their names to the thousands of Canadians who have signed this petition already.

Somaliland  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions on behalf of constituents in my riding of Scarborough—Guildwood. This is from the Somaliland expatriate community. It wishes to have Canada recognize Somaliland as an independent country, as well as contribute to international disaster and relief efforts in Somaliland.
     Somaliland was a former British protectorate. After an unsuccessful union with Somalia, the people declared their independence in 1991. Over the last 25 years, Somaliland has established a new constitution and its own currency and bank. The people have overseen the restoration of peace and an independent judiciary. In 2015 and 2017, Somaliland suffered from a drought. The local population has suffered from malnutrition, lack of water, and thousands of deaths.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today to table a petition on behalf of petitioners from Courtenay—Alberni who are on the front line of ocean plastics and are leading the charge.
    The petitioners call on the government to work with municipalities, the provinces, and indigenous communities to develop a national strategy to combat plastic pollution. They call on the government to regulate single-use plastics, stormwater outfalls, micro-plastic pollution; a national strategy to clean up derelict fishing gear; extend producer responsibility and address the root problem; and redesign the plastic economy through education, outreach, and funding for beach cleanups.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise on behalf of a number of people in my riding who are very concerned about hospice palliative care. They believe it improves the quality of life of patients and their families facing the problems associated with life-threatening illness. Palliative care provides relief from pain and other distressing symptoms, and affirms life regarding dying as a normal process that intends to neither hasten nor postpone death.
     Unfortunately, it is not specifically mentioned in the Canada Health Act, and it is not accessible and available to all Canadians. Therefore, petitioners are calling on the government to specifically identify hospice palliative care as a defined medical service covered by the Canada Health Act, so that provincial and territorial governments would be entitled to funds under the Canada health transfer system to be used to provide accessible and available hospice palliative care for all residents of Canada in their respective provinces and territories.

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to present three separate petitions, all on the same topic. The first petition with 110 signatures is from people of Salmon Arm in my riding, another petition with 40 signatures is from Vernon, and another petition with 60 signatures is from Vernon and Coldstream.
    They call on the Prime Minister to defend the freedoms of conscience, thought, and belief, and withdraw the attestation requirement for applicants for the Canada summer jobs program.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, I stand to bring voices from coastal B.C., and particularly Gabriola Island, where I live. They are opposed to the establishment of five new commercial bulk anchorages. Each are to house 300-metre long freighters. The petitioners cite that the waters of the Salish Sea are already more jammed up with freighters than we have ever seen before. Establishing five new anchorages in this sensitive area to export Wyoming coal to China is a poor decision. They again urge the transport minister to reject the application in order to prevent oil spills and support local communities.

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in the House today to present a petition with hundreds of signatures from Calvary Baptist, St. Hedwig's, Harmony Road Baptist, and St. Joseph the Worker Parish in my riding of Oshawa.
    These constituents are calling on the Prime Minister and the government to reduce their short-sighted decision and remove the values attestation from the Canada summer jobs application. These organizations and many others have been providing quality summer programming in Oshawa for decades. They do not deserve to have their funding stripped because they disagree with the social values of the Liberal Party.
    I strongly urge the Liberals to listen to Canadians and remove this unfair values test.

  (1525)  

Volunteer Service Medal  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition asking the Government of Canada to reinstate the Canadian volunteer service medal, which was given to recognize Canadians who serve voluntarily in the Canadian Forces, and to acknowledge the volunteerism of our veterans and troops.
    You may or may not recall this, Mr. Speaker, but it was abruptly stopped in March of 1947. These petitioners ask the government to bring it back so we can once again recognize those who serve so generously, bravely, and selflessly.

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, it is an honour to rise today with a petition from residents throughout the southern Gulf islands within my riding. The preamble of the petition states the deep concern of residents about the proposal of Kinder Morgan to expand and increase its tankers through the Salish Sea, loaded with bitumen and diluent.
    The petitioners ask the House of Commons to extend what is being proposed now, a tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia, to a permanent ban on crude oil tankers for the whole west coast of Canada in order to protect British Columbia's other industries in fishing, tourism, and our coastal ecosystem.

Canada Summer Jobs Program  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present 14 petitions with over 1,100 signatures from persons residing in and around my constituency, as well as in the Ontario communities of Corkstown, Scarborough, Oshawa, Whitby, and Ajax.
    The petitioners call upon the Prime Minister to defend the freedoms of conscience, thought, and belief. They want the Prime Minister to withdraw his attestation requirements for applications in the Canada jobs program.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present two separate petitions on the same topic. Many of these constituents are upset with the Prime Minister's decision to take away federal funding for people and organizations who disagree with them through the implementation of the Liberal values test. As we know, many of these groups have nothing to do with advocacy on social issues, but now must violate their beliefs in order to receive government funding through the Canada summer jobs program.
    These constituents believe that governments must enhance our freedoms, not try to control them. As such, they are asking that the government remove the requirement for applicants to make an attestation to qualify for Canada summer jobs funding.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to present a petition signed by just over 90 residents of Manitoba. These Canadians represent only a handful of the thousands from every corner of the country who have been shocked by the Liberals' assertion that only those who agree with Liberal Party values will have their Canada summer jobs funding applications considered.
    The affected organizations are pillars of Canadian communities, groups that do work like helping newcomers to Canada, running soup kitchens, youth drop-in centres, and summer camps.
    The discriminatory values test hits at the heart of our communities in a very practical way. As a result of this decision, many community organizations will not be able to serve our communities as effectively as they have in years past. This is also an affront to the rights guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
    That is why these petitioners are calling on the Liberal government to defend the freedom of conscience, freedom of thought, and freedom of belief, and to withdraw the attestation requirement for applicants to the Canada summer jobs program.
    I hope that the Liberals respect these voices and do exactly that.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns

    Mr. Speaker, if Questions Nos. 1430 to 1471 could be made orders for returns, these returns would be tabled immediately.
    The Speaker: Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

[Text]

Question No. 1430--
Mr. Gabriel Ste-Marie:
     With regard to the national shipbuilding procurement strategy: (a) what is the profit margin allocated by the government to the Irving shipyards in Halifax and the Seaspan shipyards in Vancouver; (b) is there a delivery schedule that the Seaspan shipyards in Vancouver must respect; (c) if the answer to (b) is affirmative, what is the schedule, broken down by ship being built; and (d) what correspondence, including emails, was sent by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Defence and Marine Procurement at Public Services and Procurement Canada and by the Assistant Deputy Minister of Materiel at National Defence regarding the Davie shipyard and Federal Fleet Services between June 1, 2017, and December 12, 2017?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1431--
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach:
     With regard to the Kathryn Spirit: (a) did Groupe St-Pierre seek rent for the land, the barge, or anything else, from the Mexican company that it sold the wreck to and, if so, how much was the rent for each; (b) did Groupe St-Pierre warn the government, when it bid with Englobe, that it had been fined for violating Quebec environmental legislation; (c) was the government aware that Groupe St-Pierre, either René St-Pierre Excavation or its affiliates, did not comply with Quebec environmental legislation and had a class action suit brought against it during discussions on the dismantling contract; (d) if the answer to (c) is affirmative, what action was taken in light of this information to the selection process during the call for tenders, particularly in terms of the points awarded to the Kathryn Spirit DJV consortium (the consortium); (e) what are the environmental and safety standards and rules that the consortium must abide by under the wreck dismantling contract; (f) what are the actions, reports, analyses, etc., that the Groupe St-Pierre must undertake for each department concerned in order to abide by the environmental and safety standards set out in the contract; (g) what are all the actions, reports, analyses, etc., that the departments must undertake to ensure public safety and compliance with environmental standards and to check that the consortium abides by them; and (h) since the contract was awarded, has the consortium violated any rules or standards of the contract and, if so, on which occasions, broken down by (i) date, (ii) rule or standard that was violated, (iii) description of the infraction encountered, (iv) end date of infraction, (v) the departments' actions to ensure it does not reoccur?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1432--
Ms. Anne Minh-Thu Quach:
     With regard to federal spending in the constituency of Salaberry—Suroît, for each fiscal year since 2010–11, inclusively: what are the details of all grants and contributions and all loans to every organization, group, business or municipality, broken down by the (i) name of the recipient, (ii) municipality of the recipient, (iii) date on which the funding was received, (iv) amount received, (v) department or agency that provided the funding, (vi) program under which the grant, contribution or loan was made, (vii) nature or purpose?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1433--
Ms. Elizabeth May:
     With regard to government expenditures related to the National Energy Board Modernization Expert Panel, what were: (a) the costs associated with the Panel; and (b) the costs associated with the Panel to review the federal environmental assessment processes?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1434--
Mr. Ted Falk:
     With regard to Health Canada's decisions taken with respect to Mifegymiso: (a) what were the conditions imposed by Health Canada during the initial review and approval of the drug on the (i) manufacturer, (ii) distributor, (iii) retailers, (iv) prescribers, doctors and medical professionals, (v) consumers; and (b) for each of the conditions listed in (a), (i) what rationale was given by Health Canada, (ii) what studies did Health Canada cite to justify the conditions, (iii) which stakeholders were consulted by Health Canada?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1435--
Mr. Alistair MacGregor:
     With regard to federal funding investments in infrastructure, programs, and services in the Cowichan—Malahat—Langford riding: what is the total of the monetary investments for the riding across all government departments for the (i) 2015-16, (ii) 2016-17, (iii) 2017-18, fiscal years, thus far?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1436--
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
     With regard to the government paying for the expenses of stakeholders to attend government news conferences or announcements, since November 4, 2015: (a) what are the details of each expenditure including, (i) stakeholder, (ii) organization represented, (iii) date of announcement, (iv) total expenditure; and (b) what is the itemized breakdown of each travel expense referenced in (a), including (i) airfare, (ii) other transportation, (iii) accommodation, (iv) per diems, (v) other?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1437--
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
     With regard to staffing levels at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s Operational Communications Centres, since January 1, 2017: what were the vacancy rates broken down by province and by month?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1438--
Mr. Ziad Aboultaif:
     With regard to concerns raised by veterans and other individuals regarding the Vimy 100 anniversary: (a) how many pieces of correspondence were received by the government; (b) what were the most common concerns raised in the correspondence; and (c) what specific measures is the government taking to address the concerns raised?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1439--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
     With regard to the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2018: (a) how many government employees travelled to Switzerland in relation to the Forum, excluding any members of the Prime Minister Protection Detail; (b) what are the titles of all employees in (a); (c) what is the complete list of Ministerial Exempt Staff who have travelled to Switzerland in relation to the Forum; (d) are there any other individuals for whom the government paid their travel to Switzerland in relation to the Forum and, if so, who are they; and (e) what is the list of individuals who flew to or from Davos on the government’s Airbus which transported the Prime Minister?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1440--
Mr. Arnold Viersen:
     With regard to the December 12, 2017, report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer which states that “the total amount of GST collected on carbon pricing in the four provinces is anticipated to be between $236 million and $267 million in 2017-18, and between $265 million and $313 million in 2018-19”: in light of the report, does the government concede that its carbon tax is not revenue neutral?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1441--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
     With regard to projections made by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation regarding mortgage default rates and interest rates: (a) what is the projected increase in the number of mortgage defaults if interest rates increase by (i) 0.5 percent, (ii) one percent, (iii) two percent; and (b) for each of the projections in (a), what is the projected value of the defaulted mortgages?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1442--
Mr. Steven Blaney:
     With regard to outstanding tax money recovered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and with regard to individuals named in the Panama Papers: (a) how many CRA employees or full-time equivalents are currently assigned to investigate information contained in the Panama Papers; and (b) what is the total amount recovered to date as a result of information contained in the Panama Papers?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1443--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to federal spending to address addiction to items listed under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act: (a) what is the total federal government spending on programming and transfers specifically related to this issue, broken down by each specific funding envelope and each program funded; and (b) what portion of this funding is committed to (i) prevention and education, (ii) treatment and recovery, (iii) supporting police and justice system efforts to deal with the distributors, (iv) research, (v) harm reduction, (vi) other commitments, broken down by type of commitment?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1444--
Mr.Bob Saroya:
     With regard to the pending legalization of marijuana and any resulting change in policy at Global Affairs Canada: (a) what is the anticipated policy regarding the possession and use of marijuana at Canadian missions abroad; and (b) what is the anticipated policy regarding the use of diplomatic mail in relation to marijuana?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1445--
Mr. Bob Saroya:
     With regard to flights taken on government aircraft by the Minister of National Defence since November 4, 2015: what are the details of each flight, including (i) date, (ii) origin, (iii) destination, (iv) names of Parliamentarians and exempt staff on each flight, (v) type of aircraft?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1446--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
     With regard to Health Canada’s Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Branch: (a) what is the annual budget for the Branch; (b) how many employees or full-time equivalents have been assigned to the Branch; (c) what is Treasury Board’s employment classifications and associated salary ranges for the employees assigned to the Branch and how many employees are associated with each classification; and (d) what resources have been moved to the Branch from other branches within Health Canada?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1447--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
     With regard to the Prime Minister’s meeting with Joshua Boyle: on what date did the Prime Minister’s Office or the Privy Council Office become informed that Mr. Boyle was under investigation for possible violations of the Criminal Code?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1448--
Mr. Jamie Schmale:
     With regard to obligations under the Red Tape Reduction Act, since November 4, 2015: (a) what is the complete list of regulations which have been implemented; and (b) for each of the regulations in (a), what regulation was removed in accordance with the Red Tape Reduction Act?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1449--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
     With regard to vitamin D, taking into consideration that the tolerable upper level of intake set by Health Canada is 4,000 IU per day and that the limit for a dose allowed by Health Canada is 1,000 IU per dose: (a) why has the amount allowed in one dose not been modified to reflect what is considered a safe intake; and (b) what is the rationale for the 1,000 IU per dose limit?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1450--
Mr. Matt Jeneroux:
     With regard to Rickets and the fact that Statistics Canada has reported that 32% of Canadians are vitamin D deficient: (a) what is being done to ensure that all Canadians, especially pregnant women, are educated about the importance of vitamin D; and (b) is there a program to specifically address prenatal health for First Nations, Métis and Inuit?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1451--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
     With regard to grants and contributions from the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program: what are the details of all funding recipients since November 4, 2015, including (i) name of recipient, (ii) location, (iii) amount, (iv) project description, (v) date funding was received by the organization?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1452--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
    With regard to government priorities: what are the government's top four priorities?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1453--
Mr. Guy Lauzon:
     With regard to the maintenance and posting to Twitter accounts: (a) how many employees or full time equivalents are assigned to manage or make postings to Twitter accounts; (b) what is Treasury Board’s classification and associated salary ranges for each employee assigned to Twitter accounts; and (c) what are the Twitter handles or usernames maintained by government employees and how many employees are assigned to each account?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1454--
Mr. Robert Kitchen:
     With regard to the carbon tax and the statement by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change on CTV News on January 15, 2018, that “All the revenues go back to the provinces”: what is the projected amount which will be returned to each province as a result of the additional GST revenue collected from the carbon tax?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1455--
Mr. Guy Caron:
     With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and each CRA program that handles suspected cases of tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance, fraud and other tax offences: (a) what is, since 2010, the number of employees dedicated to each program or unit, broken down by (i) number of contract employees per year, (ii) employee position; (b) what is the total budget allocated to each program; (c) what is the number of investigations launched since 2010, broken down by (i) year, (ii) number of employees who worked on the investigation, (iii) type of offence investigated; (d) since 2010, what share of the CRA’s total annual budget has been allocated to the committee responsible for assessing problem cases in order to recommend whether or not to apply the general anti-avoidance rule as set out in the Income Tax Act, broken down by year; and (e) since 2010, what budget amount has been available to the committee in (d), broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1456--
Mr. Guy Caron:
     With regard to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) committee responsible for assessing problem cases in order to recommend whether or not to apply the general anti-avoidance rule as set out in the Income Tax Act: (a) how many problem cases has this committee received from CRA auditors since 2010, broken down by (i) year, (ii) reason for the committee’s involvement, (iii) number of employees having worked on the case; (b) how many investigations have been launched following the committee’s involvement since 2010, broken down by (i) year, (ii) reason why the investigation was warranted, (iii) number of employees having worked on the investigation; (c) how many employees are working or have worked on this committee, broken down by (i) number of contract employees per year, (ii) number of contract administrators per year, (iii) number of contract technicians per year; and (d) what is the number of investigations resolved since 2010, broken down by (i) year, (ii) number of employees who worked on the investigation, (iii) type of offence warranting investigation?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1457--
Ms.Candice Bergen:
     With regard to the destruction of the Golden Lampstand Church and the Zhifang Catholic Church by the Chinese government: (a) does the government condemn the Chinese government’s actions and, if not, why not; (b) did the government raise any objection to these actions with the Chinese government and, if so, what are the details, including (i) who raised the objection, (ii) what is the title of the Chinese government official who received the objection, (iii) date of objection; and (c) since November 4, 2015, has the government raised the issue of the persecution of Christians by the Chinese government with anyone from the Chinese government and, if so, what are the details?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1458--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
     With regard to individuals being denied entry into Canada since November 4, 2015: how many suspected war criminals have been denied entry into Canada under the War Crimes Program, broken down by year?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1459--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
     Does the government consider the Iranian government to be elected?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1460--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
    With regard to expenditures related to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change's social media accounts, since November 4, 2015, what are the details, including: (a) number of employees assigned to each (i) account, (ii) handle or username, (iii) platform; (b) the details of all expenditures made by Environment and Climate Change Canada in relation to social media, including (i) date, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount, (iv) description of product or service, (v) file number?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1461--
Mr. Dave MacKenzie:
     With regard to the Canada 2020 event scheduled for February 8, 2018, at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum: (a) is Canada 2020 being given a preferential rate by the government for the event; and (b) what rate is Canada 2020 being charged for renting out this government space?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1462--
Mr. Michael D. Chong:
     With regard to the Gordie Howe International Bridge: (a) what was the original estimated date of completion of the bridge when the project was announced; (b) what is the current estimated date of completion; and (c) if there is a delay, as per (b), why does this delay exist?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1463--
Mr. Michael D. Chong:
    With regard to the Ambassador Bridge Enhancement Project: (a) did the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, or the Prime Minister hold any meetings or interactions concerning this project with (i) Manuel (“Matty”) Moroun, (ii) Matthew Moroun, (iii) representatives of the Detroit International Bridge Company, (iv) representatives of the Canadian Transit Company; (b) did officials or exempt staff from the offices of the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, or the Prime Minister’s Office hold any meetings or interactions concerning this project with (i) Manuel (“Matty”) Moroun, (ii) Matthew Moroun, (iii) representatives of the Detroit International Bridge Company, (iv) representatives of the Canadian Transit Compan; and (c) did officials from the Embassy of Canada to the United States or Canadian consulates in the United States hold any meetings or interactions concerning this project with (i) Manuel (“Matty”) Moroun, (ii) Matthew Moroun, (iii) representatives of the Detroit International Bridge Company, (iv) representatives of the Canadian Transit Company?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1464--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With regard to federal tax expenditures, federal economic development agency programming, and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) over the 2010-17 period: (a) what is the government’s estimate of the annual forgone revenue through tax expenditures claimed by companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees, broken down by sector, year, and tax credit and expenditure claimed; (b) what is the number of companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees claiming tax expenditures, broken down by sector, year and tax credit and expenditure claimed; (c) how much has been spent on federal economic development programming to companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees, broken down by sector, year, federal economic development agency and program; (d) what is the number of companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees receiving funds from federal economic development agencies, broken down by sector, year, agency, and program; (e) how much was spent and invested by the BDC in loans, loan guarantees, or other funds in companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees, broken down by sector, year, and category of service; and (f) how many companies with operations in multiple countries and over 250 employees received loans, loan guarantees or other funds from BDC, broken down by sector, year and category of service?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1465--
Mr. Charlie Angus:
     With respect to data, information, or privacy breaches in government departments, institutions, and agencies for 2017 and 2018 to date: (a) how many breaches have occured in total, broken down by (i) department, institution, or agency, (ii) number of individuals affected by the breach; (b) of those breaches identified in (a), how many have been reported to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, broken down by (i) department, institution, or agency, (ii) number of individuals affected by the breach; and (c) how many breaches are known to have led to criminal activity such as fraud or identity theft, broken down by department, institution, or agency?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1466--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
     With regard to the various departments, divisions, or units in the Office of the Prime Minister: (a) what are the various departments, divisions, or units; (b) how many employees are in each referred to in (a); (c) what are the mandates of each department, division, or unit; and (d) what are the budgets of each department, division, or unit?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1467--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
     With regard to expenditures on investigations by the government since January 1, 2016: what are the details of all such contracts, including for each the (i) date, (ii) duration, (iii) vendor, (iv) value, (v) summary or description of investigation, (vi) findings?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1468--
Mrs. Cathay Wagantall:
    With regard to the 2017 Canada Summer Jobs Program: (a) how many organizations were approved in each riding; (b) how many organizations applied, but were not approved for funding in each riding; (c) how many jobs were funded; and (d) how much money was awarded to each riding to support the jobs?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1469--
Mr. Pat Kelly:
     With regard to the recent changes announced by the Canada Revenue Agency: (a) how many paper income tax packages does the government expect to mail out this year; (b) what is the projected cost for the mailing referred to in (a), including (i) printing, (ii) postage, (iii) other expenses; (c) how many individuals does the government anticipate will be using the new “File my Return“ telephone filing system; (d) what is the projected cost of the new “File my Return“ system; (e) what criteria will be used to assess whether or not someone is eligible for the new system; and (f) what are the costs associated with setting up the new system?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1470--
Mr. Larry Miller:
     With regard to the government’s delegation to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2018: (a) what was the delegation’s estimated carbon footprint; (b) what is the breakdown of the estimated carbon footprint by type of activity, including (i) air transportation, (ii) ground transportation, (iii) accommodation, (iv) other; and (c) what are the details of any carbon offsets purchased by the government in relation to the trip to Switzerland, including (i) date of purchase, (ii) vendor, (iii) amount (dollar value), (iv) amount of offsets purchased (carbon dioxide equivalents)?
    (Return tabled)
Question No. 1471--
Mr. Gord Johns:
     With regard to the Department of Veterans Affairs: what was the amount and percentage of all lapsed spending in the Department, broken down by year from 2013-14 to the current fiscal year?
    (Return tabled)

[English]

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

Request for Emergency Debate

Canadian Steel and Aluminum Exports  

[S. O. 52]
    Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 52(2), I am proposing an emergency debate on the urgent situation of the possible future levy of duties on Canadian steel and aluminum exports to the United States.
    It was to my great relief that Canada was exempted from this recent action. However, as this is only a temporary exemption, any future tariffs, if implemented, would have disastrous repercussions on the Canadian steel and aluminium industries and the thousands of workers in those sectors.
    Since his election, President Donald Trump has ordered billions of dollars of tariffs on Canadian industries. Almost every major sector has been targeted by the current U.S. administration. In fact, I posed two questions to the Prime Minister today on this very subject.
    The steel industry in Canada employs 22,000 workers directly and over 100,000 workers indirectly. Our aluminum industry employs 8,300 workers directly and over 20,000 indirectly. These are good-paying, family-supporting and community-supporting jobs across the country that we cannot afford to lose.
    It is necessary for members of the House of Commons to have the time and opportunity to fully discuss not only the implications of future tariffs, but also to propose and debate remedies and solutions to this growing problem. We must have the opportunity to address the increasing amount of Canadian jobs and livelihoods that would be negatively impacted in all of our communities.
    I would also like to note that there is no opposition day in the foreseeable future for the NDP. It should be taken into consideration that the next opposition day for the NDP will not be designated until March 28 at the very earliest, but in all likelihood it will not fall until after the Easter break. This situation is far too critical to wait for that date.
    I believe, Mr. Speaker, that you would find strong support from all parties in the House for a full debate on this issue that will greatly impact our future.
    I thank you, Mr. Speaker, for considering this request and, if granted, I respectfully ask that the debate take place this evening.

  (1530)  

Speaker's Ruling  

[Speaker's Ruling]
    I thank the hon. member for Essex for raising her request. However, I do not find that it meets the exigencies of the Standing Order at this time.

Government Orders

[The Budget]

[English]

The Budget

Financial Statement of Minister of Finance  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion that this House approves in general the budgetary policy of the government, of the amendment, and of the amendment to the amendment
    The hon. member for Durham has three minutes remaining in his comments that were interrupted by question period.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, I was in full flight, responding to some of the heckles from my friends in the Liberal Party on my comparison of this budget to the Liberal double-double. I said that it is the Liberal double-double, deficit and debt, and there is no roll up the rim to win for Canadian families. Studies have shown that 80% to 90% of middle-class families, the families they claim to be helping, are paying more under the Liberal government.
    High deficits and high debt are connected with taxes. Taxes are already going up, and in many ways large deficits are deferring taxes to the future. The Liberal government seems to forget that it is going to continue to make our economy less and less competitive. The budget contained five mentions of NAFTA, with no funding attached to any of the industries that could be at risk. That includes those industries that the Prime Minister did his speedy little steel town tour to because they almost blew the market access for steel and aluminum for Canadian workers.
    I am going to spend my final few minutes on the Canada summer jobs, which dovetails nicely to the thousands of Canadians who have written condemning the Liberal government's approach to politicizing a summer jobs programs. It is in the budget at page 56, and states, “A summer job helps students pay for their education, and gives them the work experience they need to find and keep a full-time job after they graduate.”
    All members of Parliament know how impactful these programs are. They do great service-related events for communities and help students defer costs of their university or college education at the same time. It is a win. Service clubs are involved, as are seniors homes and faith organizations. All sides of this House have seen the great work that is done with this program. Never in the decades of operation of this program has there been a thought-police approach, where they are putting in a values screen. The Liberals did that because they wanted to exclude faith organizations from playing roles in their communities, even though the Prime Minister's sunshine photo ops with the Syrian refugees who first came to Canada were all coming through private sponsorship roots from faith organizations.
    Excluding people in this way violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and violates the spirit of what the Canada summer jobs program is supposed to be about. We have heard from thousands of people who have written petitions. We have a vote tonight. For the Liberals who are listening, I would like them to use their conscience. Do they have freedom of thought in the Liberal government? It is time for them to stand up for all charter rights, and that includes freedom of conscience and religion, and recognizing that faith communities play important roles across Canada.

  (1535)  

    Madam Speaker, for years I sat in the opposition benches, and former prime minister Stephen Harper ignored the importance of the Canada summer jobs programs. In fact, one of the first things this government did in recognizing how important our young people are to our country was to virtually double the amount of money going into the summer student program. I would hope that members opposite would not be discouraging individuals from participating and applying for these important student jobs. I would suggest that if they read the supplementary information, much of the information that the member is getting across is wrong.
    My question is a little off that particular topic. Why does my friend and colleague believe that the Liberal government should take advice from the Conservatives when they ran nothing but deficits and accumulated well over $150 billion? Why does he not see the irony in terms of the Conservatives giving advice on deficits?
    Madam Speaker, I saw my friend, Joe Oliver, over the break from Parliament, and he commented that as Conservative finance minister, he would be the only G7 minister to have a balanced budget in this decade. That is unbelievable. That party's own projections suggest that with the way the Liberals are spending, there will not be a balanced budget in Canada again until the 2030s.
    Weathering the largest financial global crisis since the recession better than all our G7 allies and competitors, having a balanced budget, and running a deficit when there was a global recession with a plan to get out of it, is far different from running massive deficits with no plan at a time when the global economy is rocking. This is a failure of the highest order.
    With his attacks on job creators and deficit financing, my friends in the Toronto business community wonder if the finance minister is the same person who used to work in the private sector. He seems to have forgotten how to read a balance sheet.
    On the summer jobs, the member knows that church organizations and immigration support groups in his riding have involved people from faith communities. That was consistent, from the Trudeau government through Chrétien, Harper, and Mulroney. Why is there a values test now? It is to exclude Canadians of faith.
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Durham. He is a great representative of his community, and he has really taken this issue of Canada's summer jobs to heart. He knows that the Prime Minister has made statements such as that he admires the basic dictatorship of China and he admires Cuba.
    In his speech he spoke about this precedent of requiring an attestation. I was wondering if he could respond to this as being a precedent. There are people in my community who are worried that if the Liberal government will go this far, it will now require Canadians to sign more attestations that agree with the government of the day's policies to receive CPP benefits or EI benefits or to apply for a government job. Could he please comment on how important it is as a precedent?
    Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend and neighbour, the MP for Oshawa, whom I have learned a lot from as a member of Parliament, for his strong defence of families, the role of faith communities, and balanced budgets.
    There is a precedent for this type of thought police and this type of values screening. The precedent is found in the book 1984, by George Orwell, in which one does not just oppose one's opponents, one tries to exclude them or defeat them entirely.
    Gerald Butts and the Prime Minister's Office do not like people to hold faith convictions. They moved away from private sponsors of the Syrian refugee program to “government knows best”, even though it is condemning a lot of those families to poorer outcomes, which their own department has realized.
     Faith organizations, of all faiths, including Christian, Jewish, and Muslim, have a tremendous track record. There are those people who might have faith organizations but do their work as Rotarians or as members of the Lions club. These organizations are the foundation of communities. We should be encouraging that, not excluding them.
    The precedent being set here not only contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms but runs contrary to what parliamentarians should be doing, which is supporting Canadians to help grow their communities and support the less fortunate before “Ottawa knows best” gets into the act.

  (1540)  

    Madam Speaker, I am very pleased today to share my time with the hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.
    This is an opportunity I am very pleased to have to share my perspective on behalf of the good people of Lac-Saint-Louis on what I consider to be a pivotal budget, not in dollar amounts spent but in terms of some of the long-term structural changes the budget will gradually engender, changes that will benefit both economic growth and social justice. Liberals approach governing with these two dual objectives in mind. Growth without justice is something that would be incomplete, and to have social justice, we need growth.
    As I mentioned at the beginning, this is not a budget that is focused on describing large investments. Previous budgets and the economic update talked about our investment of $180 billion to renew Canada's infrastructure over the next 12 years. If I may take a moment to refer to that economic statement and those budgets, that is spending that is laying the foundation for productivity growth and economic growth, spending to encourage the creation of networks and clusters that are at the very core of innovation.
     I am thinking more specifically in terms of my region of the country. I am thinking in terms of the investments the federal government will be making to make a new train system in Montreal a reality. The Réseau express métropolitain will link the south shore of Montreal with the West Island through the airport and the Saint-Laurent Technoparc. These are the kinds of investments that create opportunities for growth in the long term and the medium term.
    Budget 2018 targets important objectives. As I mentioned, I believe it would create structural change, but I am pleased to say that it would do so against the backdrop of declining deficit and debt ratios. For example, if one looks at the projections for the budget deficit in terms of percentage of GDP, we see that it will be going down from 0.9% to 0.6% and then to 0.5%. The federal debt as a percentage of GDP will be going down from 31% to 28.4%. That is important, because many of my constituents have told me that it is very important that deficits remain under control and that we pay back some of the debt that has been accumulated over the years, including by the previous government.
    There is a very important investment being made in the budget that I would like to mention, and that is the decision to invest over $900 million over five years in fundamental science. In other words, the budget is responding to the recommendations of the Naylor report and to the scientific community, which recognize the importance of investing in fundamental science, the kind of science that does not tell us what will drop out of the process down the road, because we just do not know. We could find out that the research has led to a completely unexpected result, an unexpected result that creates jobs and economic growth and new companies that hire new employees, many of them young, in the sciences, the cutting-edge sciences, who will now, as a result, have good-paying jobs.

  (1545)  

[Translation]

    Speaking of the investments we are going to make in fundamental science, I would like to thank one of my constituents, Mr. Terry Hébert, a researcher at McGill University. He is a professor in the department of pharmacology and therapeutics at McGill and an advisor of sorts. For the past few years, he has been telling me about the importance of fundamental science, and I would like to quote an article that he and two of his associates wrote, which was published in Le Devoir on August 2, 2017, entitled “Tomorrow's innovation requires funding today”.
    The title could have been, “Tomorrow's innovation and economic growth require funding today”.
    The article says, and I quote:
    Thanks to basic research on membrane protein biology, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), we have implemented new strategies that have led to treatments for cystic fibrosis...
    At the time this research was being carried out, nobody could predict that it would lead to the discovery of therapeutic molecules and promising therapeutic approaches, and to the creation of local biotechnology enterprises or to collaborations with pharmaceutical companies internationally.

[English]

     By investing in fundamental science, this budget is laying the groundwork for economic growth and scientific discoveries that will help in the treatment of diseases, for example.
    This budget does something else that is structural and is very important for the future of the economy. It is working to increase the supply of labour. I would like to quote the Governor of the Bank of Canada, who was giving a speech at Queen's University, I believe about a week or two ago. He talked about the labour market. The theme of his speech was the labour market and how we need to increase the supply of labour.
     I will quote from Mr. Poloz's speech. He said, “economic growth can[not] happen unless there are people available to fill the newly created jobs. Accordingly, a healthy, well-functioning labour market is critical”. He goes on to say, “After looking at a much wider range of labour market indicators, the Bank has concluded that there remains a degree of untapped supply potential in the economy.”
     This budget is aimed at unlocking some of that untapped potential. It does so by focusing on some groups whose labour force participation rate is, unfortunately, too low for us to maximize economic growth. One group is young people. Young people are one source of untapped potential.
    Governor Poloz said:
    The key point is that youth represent an important untapped source of potential economic growth. If the youth participation rate were to return close to its level before the [financial] crisis, more than 100,000 additional young Canadians would have jobs.
    How is the budget helping with youth employment? It is investing an additional $448.5 million over five years, starting in 2018-19, to continue increases in the number of summer jobs. The member opposite mentioned the Canada summer jobs program. The government is investing in the Canada summer jobs program, which will be good for increasing the supply of labour from that particular demographic group.
    The budget also aims to facilitate greater labour force participation on the part of women. To quote Governor Poloz, again from the same speech at Queen's University:
    An even more significant source of economic potential is higher labour force participation by women. While about 91 per cent of prime-age men participate in the labour force, the rate for women is only about 83 per cent.
    He goes on to say:
    History suggests that this gap can narrow. Consider Quebec, where, 20 years ago, the prime-age female participation rate was about 74 per cent. The provincial government identified barriers keeping women out of the workforce and acted to reduce them, particularly by lowering the cost of child care and extending parental leave provisions. Within a few years, proportionately more prime-age Quebec women had jobs than women in the rest of Canada. Today, Quebec’s prime-age female participation rate is about 87 per cent.
    Members will recall the Minister of Finance saying in his speech that if men and women in this country had equal labour participation rates, the GDP would be boosted by 4% and we could compensate for the drag on the economy caused by the aging of the population, which, of course, takes people out of the workforce. Therefore, this budget, to facilitate the participation of women, has introduced shared parental leave, which will provide an incentive for members of a couple to share the leave so that they can manage their careers while they are growing their families.
    All in all, I conclude that this is a good structural budget that will lead to positive results in the long term.

  (1550)  

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I am very glad to have heard from my hon. colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis, a man I really respect. Working with him on sensitive issues has been a pleasant, positive, and constructive experience. I am sure he can see me coming a mile away, but I have a very straightforward question for him.
    The member was elected because he promised a balanced budget by 2019. The government has now tabled three budgets that offer no prospect of balancing the budget. Worse yet, the parliamentary budget officer says that if nothing changes, we will not see a balanced budget until 2045.
    With all due respect for my hon. colleague, who is about to vote for a budget that offers no hope of a balanced budget in the foreseeable future, can he give us a frank and honest explanation for why he told his constituents that his government would balance the budget in 2019?
    Madam Speaker, it has been some time since we have worked together, but we had the pleasure of travelling across the country to talk about electoral reform.
    Of course we need to work toward balancing the budget in the long term and we need to manage our finances in such a way as to keep spending on track. There is good news though. For example, never before have so many Canadians been employed. The unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 40 years.
    We need to work toward balancing the budget in the long term, but we must not forget that the economy is working because of the government's infrastructure investments, among other things. If the price of oil goes up, we should be able to balance the budget sooner than if things stay as they are now.
    Madam Speaker, I always enjoy the speeches given by my colleague from Quebec. He spoke at length about gender equality and pay equity, but this budget does not allocate one red cent to pay equity. The members know as well as I do that, in Quebec, investments are what led to the elimination of the wage gap between men and women in the public service, although at the federal level, a significant gap still exists.
    The question is very simple. How can the government raise the issue of pay equity without investing any money to achieve it at the federal level?
    Madam Speaker, indeed, only 16% of business owners in Canada are women. In that regard, the budget includes a $105-million investment over five years. Those funds will be allocated to the regional development agencies to support women-owned businesses.
    The budget also allocates $1.4 billion over three years to the Business Development Bank of Canada for women entrepreneurs as well as $250 million over three years to Export Development Canada. This will encourage women-owned businesses and create wealth for women and for the Canadian economy.

  (1555)  

[English]

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague for Lac-Saint-Louis gave an excellent speech and I thank him for sharing his time with me. It is very generous of him.
    This is actually a very good budget. I realize that may not be a universally held position and possibly is really bad for the opposition parties and for the Conservative Party's propaganda machine, but it is a very good budget. It is a very good budget in terms of economic fundamentals.
    I would encourage members to go to page 26 of the budget where it talks about our debt-to-GDP ratio and the progress we have made literally over a great period of time. I am looking down at the end of the chamber and I see the hon. member for Kenora who arrived here in the bad old days when our debt to GDP was at its highest, which is 69% of debt to GDP. It climbed steadily from around 30% back in the 1980s through the Mulroney years until the election of 1993 and the Chrétien-Martin period. The New York Times had described Canada as an honorary member of the third world because our debt was out of control. While our Conservative colleagues might wish us to believe that at this point, unfortunately this chart and these facts do not support that contention. It is unfortunate for them but very fortunate for us and our nation.
    Since 1993 when both Chrétien and Martin worked on reducing the debt and actually paid down something in the order of about $100 billion of debt, we, meaning the nation, had worked this down around 2006 when it actually dipped under 30% of GDP. After that, we kind of limped along a little above. Certainly, in the 2008 financial crisis, there was a bit of a bump. The Conservatives at that point ran a deficit of $56 billion claiming it was entirely due to financial turmoil. In fact, in part, it was also due to mismanagement with respect to fiscal instability and reduction of revenues coming into the government. Thereafter, economic conditions settled down and when the Conservatives left office, it was in and around 30% of GDP.
    If members think this is simply luck or that we are just a blessed nation, which we are, I would invite members to think again. If we compare, again in the same chart, our fiscal performance to any other G7 nation, members will notice that, for instance, Italy and Japan run debt to GDP well over 120%. Even the United States, which loves to lecture everyone about debt and fiscal responsibility, is running its debt to GDP around 90%. We are around 30%. There is a broad consensus among Canadians of all political stripes that we do need to maintain fiscal discipline in order to be able to provide the services and programs that Canadians rightly are concerned about.
    I have heard previous speakers say that we are out of control with respect to the deficit. It is true that there was a promise, a commitment made in the election to run a modest deficit. At the time, that was quite radical because the opposition parties, the Conservatives and the NDP, were promising a balanced budget. At this point the leader of the day decided that Canada's economy needed a stimulus. The stimulus, as it turned out to be, went from $10 billion, as was set out in the election, to an estimate of $30 billion. However, if we look at the charts, it actually comes in at less than $20 billion. The interesting part is that we ended up with a growth in the Canadian economy.

  (1600)  

    What my Conservative colleagues fail to mention when they talk in those numbers, namely, 10 becomes 30 which actually ends up as 20 and is projected to decline over the next two or three years, is that at the same time, our unemployment rate went from a high of 7.1% in 2015 to a historic low of 5.9% in 2017. It poses the interesting and nice question as to what it is that we want. Do we want to have a balanced budget at all costs and run the unemployment rate at 7.9% or do we want to provide a stimulus, possibly a larger stimulus than was originally promised but still a stimulus, and run the unemployment rate down to 5.9%?
    I know that all governments say the same thing, that it is because of their fiscal management and brilliance that the economy is just humming. The problem for the opposition is that the economy is humming. My hon. colleague from Lac-Saint-Louis referenced the speech of the Governor of the Bank of Canada at Queen's University. The governor said there is still some space in the economy to improve without inflation, which is the dream of every central bank governor. Right now, the Canadian central bank governor has the most envious job in the world. He is running an economy without inflation, with low unemployment, with a debt to GDP that is well within a manageable range.
    Again, looking at the charts on page 22, the average real GDP growth since 2016 Q2 is 3.2% in Canada, 2.4% in Germany, 2.4% in the United States. Apparently making America great again has not quite worked. In fact, if one wants to live the American dream, one should move to Canada.
    All of these numbers probably in some respects make some people's eyes glaze over, and probably my wife is one of them, but they have to be for some purpose. One of the purposes has been the redistribution of income, or of wealth, if you will, across the income spectrum.
    Probably the most significant income redistribution that has happened under this government has been the re-profiling of the Canada child benefit. In the budget at page 38, there is a commitment to raise the amount that is available for an income of $35,000 from $7,500 or $7,600 to almost $11,000. That is enormous. For a family income of $70,000, it is raised from $4,000 up to $6,700.
    In a riding like mine, Scarborough—Guildwood, where there are a lot of children and a low level of income among a lot of people, that is a significant and huge impact. In Scarborough—Guildwood, that means something in the order of $100 million comes into the riding each and every year.
    We can talk about tax cuts. For those of us who have a good income, tax cuts are very attractive, but the beauty of putting $100 million into a riding like Scarborough—Guildwood is that the money gets spent. It gets spent on transportation. It gets spent on food. It gets spent on clothing. It gets spent on education. It is money that goes into the bank accounts of the constituents of Scarborough—Guildwood and immediately, because the incomes are low, gets turned around and ends up in the economy.

  (1605)  

    The government has initiated, literally, a fiscal revolution under the Canada child benefit. Unfortunately, I am not going to get a chance to talk about the other revolution, which is the ability to redistribute, under the working benefit.
    I am sure the member will have a chance to speak about that during his questions and answers.
    Madam Speaker, I always enjoy following the hon. member's wanderings through historical revisionism. I would agree that the Canadian economy is humming, but it is not humming because of what the Liberal government is doing. It is humming because the world economy is humming, and the U.S. economy is humming.
     The most remarkable thing about this budget, as many economists have pointed out, is that it is notable for its lack of economic analysis, something that the Parliamentary Budget Officer fully agrees with, when he talks about the lack of detail on direct program expenses, the lack of detail on infrastructure spending, and here he pauses to remind the government that roughly a quarter of the planned infrastructure spending will lapse because the government has not figured out how to get those billions of dollars out the door, and the lack of detail in national defence, with no explanation of how Canada's new defence policy is going to be funded over the coming years.
    My friend likes to talk about the GDP. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has noted, and this is where I will come to my question, that budget 2018 bases its estimates on U.S. potential real GDP, in other words, the potential for the American economy to continue to grow sustainably. The budget officer suggests and requests—
    We have to allow for other questions. I have allowed the member almost two minutes to ask the question. I am going to allow the member for Scarborough—Guildwood to give an answer, so that we can get at least one more question in.
    Madam Speaker, I love the way the hon. member seems to be able to extract bad news out of good.
    After his wanderings all over the fiscal map, I will say that growth in the United States is an issue. There has not been a government in Canada since the time of Confederation that did not base its projections upon growth relative to our main trading partner. After all, 70% of our trade is with the United States. We wish it was less.
    I do not think we can underestimate the risk that the White House is to NAFTA. If the hon. member reads the back annexes of the budget, he will realize that there is an itemization of risk to GDP. The first risk is the NAFTA negotiations. I hope they go well, but if they do not go well, we will all suffer.
    Madam Speaker, if the economy is doing so well, why did the government delay action on affordable housing and significant infrastructure until well after the next election? It is kind of like a prize way out there that maybe someday we will see in our own backyards.
    Why is there no action on tax havens, pension protection, pay equity, real child care, or pharmacare?
    Madam Speaker, one of the things that I learned from former finance minister Paul Martin, and subsequently Prime Minister Martin, is to get the economic fundamentals right.
    For the first two years, the government has been readdressing the economic fundamentals of the previous government. The previous government was “a balanced-budget at all costs”. The mere fact that it only achieved this once in its mandate seems to be lost in the mists of time.
    Until the economics are right, we cannot address the issues that the hon. member raised, all of which are quite legitimate. The issue of pharmacare, for instance, is a live issue, and all of us on this side are hoping that it moves forward.

  (1610)  

    Madam Speaker, I am going to start off where my Liberal colleague from Scarborough—Guildwood left off, where he talked about economic fundamentals.
    What are the economic fundamentals right now of Canada? The economic fundamentals are that we are living through the period of greatest inequality in our nation's history. That is an economic fundamental that both this budget and previous Conservative budgets completely ignored. We now have two Canadian billionaires who have the same wealth as 30% of the Canadian population, or 11 million Canadians.
    Another fundamental that this budget does not touch in any way, shape, or form is the fact that Canadian families are now struggling with the worst debt burden, not only in our nation's history but in any industrialized nation's history. The average family debt now is a crushing burden. That, of course, was created by Conservative policies and has been enhanced by Liberal policies. However, these are economic fundamentals that this budget does not take into account in any way, shape, or form.
    This budget is a cruel hoax for all those Canadians who actually believed that this government was going to do what it said it wanted to do in the 2015 election. We have seen a whole host of broken promises. My colleague from Skeena—Bulkley Valley certainly could speak to the broken promise around democratic reform, but we have seen a whole host of broken promises. This budget just enhances what has been a drive toward more inequality and an unjust tax system.

[Translation]

    Madam Speaker, I would like to start with the inequalities and the Liberals' broken promises. Several weeks ago, our leader, Jagmeet Singh, and I held a press conference. We wrote to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Finance to talk about the ever-increasing inequality across the country and to talk about the major changes needed to help all Canadian families.
     We said that the government must go after tax havens. The government must close tax loopholes, including tax havens, instead of continuing to allow major corporations and wealthy Canadians to avoid paying taxes. Instead, the government signed even more treaties with notorious tax havens. I am talking about the Cook Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and Grenada. Even the Conservatives did not want to sign agreements with those countries. Now these agreements exist and they allow companies to not pay taxes.
    We also talked about web giants that do not pay taxes like Netflix and Facebook. These companies are effectively stealing from Canadian businesses, and communities are struggling as a result. These web giants were not addressed at all in this budget. This is yet another failure.

[English]

    When we talk about all of these tax havens, when we talk about these special fiscal arrangements that allow some of the world's biggest businesses to not pay one cent of tax in Canada, when we talk about what that actually means, there is a cost to Canadians, a huge cost to Canadians. My colleague, the Liberal member, was talking about fiscal discipline. This government has shown absolutely no fiscal discipline whatsoever, in the same way that the Conservatives did not. With the Conservatives it was a free-for-all. Every month they would sign another special treaty with an overseas tax haven. Now the Liberals are in the process of doing the same thing.
     What is the cost to Canadians? The Parliamentary Budget Officer and a whole host of think tanks in Canada, whether we are talking about the CCPA or the Conference Board of Canada, have evaluated what it costs Canadians to have this free-for-all, this most egregious signing of taxation-free agreements, which allow money that is made in Canada to go overseas and not be taxed one cent.

  (1615)  

    The cost for the web giants alone is over $1 billion, which could be money that serves collectively for all of us to fight the inequalities that I mentioned earlier, to provide the programs that Canadians desperately need, and yet the government is not willing to touch that.
    When we talk about tax havens, depending on the estimates, we are talking about a minimum of $10 billion a year. We are talking about up to $40 billion a year. These should be those common resources that all Canadians in solidarity use to make sure that their families are taken care of when there are health care problems, when they need medication, and so that they can actually provide child care for their children. Canadians have said very clearly, certainly in the last election, that they believe in a society where we collectively provide those resources and those supports for families. However, Conservatives and now Liberals have been frittering away tens of billions of dollars each and every year by refusing to close all of these tax loopholes.
    There was a brave paragraph in the budget, and I am going to praise the government for this very brave paragraph. On page 69 in the English text, the finance minister and the Liberal government actually say that they are going combat tax evasion and tax avoidance, and that the government will invest money to address the issues of tax evasion and tax avoidance, which, as I mentioned earlier, are in the realm of tens of billions of dollars each and every year.
    This is what the budget says. This is what all Liberal MPs stand behind. “As the CRA has a proven track record of meeting expectations from targeted compliance interventions,” which is the combat of tax evasion and tax avoidance, “Budget 2018 accounts for the expected revenue impact of $354 million over five years.”
    About $70 million a year with that enhanced compliance is what the Liberals are expecting to get. Now, each and every question period when we raise the egregious issue of the massive amounts of money going offshore for tax havens, the Liberals have responded by saying that they are going to spend over $1 billion over 10 years to get some of that money back. Now we know what they are targeting. They are spending $1 billion, or half a billion over five years, and are expecting to get back $354 million, and remember, Liberals very rarely meet their targets. They would spend half a billion to get back $354 million. It is almost laughable. It would be a comedy if it did not have such a profound impact on Canadians.
    Here are some of the other things the Liberals refuse to close.
    There is the stock option loophole, which was evaluated a few years ago as benefiting, to the tune of half a billion dollars, 75 of Canada's wealthiest corporate CEOs. Those are figures under the Conservatives, but the figures today would be similar. Seventy-five wealthy Canadians, because of the stock option loophole, got an average of $6 million each. That is half a billion dollars in taxpayers' handouts to some of Canada's wealthiest people on Bay Street, yet the same Liberals who are defending this budget will stand up and say that we cannot afford child care, housing, or pharmacare. They are saying that because they have a complete absence of the fiscal discipline to say to the wealthiest in our country that they have to pay their fair share of taxes, the fiscal discipline that means standing up to the corporate sector, which now has a real effective tax rate of less than 10%. It is 9.8% as evaluated by the CCPA.
    Ask a tradesperson, a nurse, or someone who works in a mill if they can get by with a 9.8% effective tax rate. They cannot, of course, but Canada's wealthiest enterprises, courtesy of Conservative and Liberal policies, can get by with that small a rate of taxation.
    We have said that we need a fair tax system, and I can tell members that in this corner of the House we are not going to stop until there is a fair tax system in this country that allows us to invest and provide for families when they are in need. Canadians, because of the record level of family debt and because of the record level of inequality, have never been more in need than they are now.

  (1620)  

    It is not just what the Liberals refuse to do, which is establishing any sort of fiscal framework. It is what the results have been. That is why we tabled the subamendment to the budget decrying how undisciplined this fiscal framework has been in giving most of the nation's resources and wealth to a very few Canadians, and virtually nothing to Canadians who are struggling.

[Translation]

    I will start with housing. On page 78 of the budget, we see that $31 million has been allocated to build more rental housing for Canadian families.
    As we know, this means that only a few dozen apartments across the country would be affordable for Canadians.
    All amounts combined, including those elsewhere in the budget, represent less than 10% of what is needed this year to deal with the housing crisis that exists across Canada. Even I am affected by this crisis, and my fellow citizens, who are my bosses, feel it every day in New Westminster—Burnaby. In fact, the cost of housing is increasing and more and more people are finding it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to access affordable housing. Take Hélène, for example, a deaf woman who could not afford an apartment even when she was working. She had to turn to a local organization that provides services to deaf people.
    In Canada, half of the people who are currently homeless, and we are talking about tens of thousands of people, are people with disabilities. As we can see, this crisis is profoundly affecting people with disabilities and other poor people.

[English]

    It is not just disabled Canadians who are impacted. I am talking about John Young, a pensioner who worked all his life. He paid into a pension and has a modest pension. However, because of the increase in rent in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, in my riding, he struggled to keep his apartment but could not, because he was going further into debt. He then tried to room with a friend, which did not work out, so he ended up in a parkade in downtown New Westminster.
    These are the victims of the lack of fiscal discipline of the government, which allows people to be homeless and not have the services they need while it feeds tens of billions of dollars to offshore tax havens. These are extraordinarily poor choices. These are the kinds of choices that should force the government out of office in 2019.
    It is not just about housing. Let us talk about first nations. We have a government that committed to ending boil water advisories within a couple of years, yet the funding in this budget is only pennies of what is needed to end boil water advisories in this country. It does not even come close to the $320 million that is needed this year. It is pennies on the dollar. It is a cruel hoax for all those first nations communities across the north and across this country that expected that the government would care enough to actually make those investments.
    As well, the government falls lamentably short of the nearly $1 billion that is needed this year alone for housing for first nations communities, to address what has been a chronic absence of funding by the federal government. Since the former Liberal government eliminated the national housing program, Canadians, in so many cases, have been forced to make incredibly difficult choices. In first nations communities, only a fraction of the money that is needed this year is actually being provided in this budget.
    Let us talk about universal child care. It is not here.
     Any sort of investment to deal with the industries that are facing what is an intense push from the new Trump administration against Canadian industries is not there.
    My colleague from Hamilton Mountain has done an extraordinary job of protecting pensions. As he has said many times, there is nothing in this budget, and there will be nothing in the budget implementation act, that actually addresses the theft of pensions that is hurting so many Canadians.

  (1625)  

    The reply of the government was to introduce Bill C-27, which would of course help the finance minister with Morneau Shepell, but it would not help Canadians who are struggling to keep their pensions. Sears pensioners losing their pensions are only the latest who have seen the money they have invested over a lifetime evaporate because there is no pension protection in this country.
    As well, I can mention Phoenix, where the government has to make a phenomenal investment, a significant investment, to address the Phoenix pay system, and it chose not to in this budget. The Parliamentary Budget Officer and even the Australians, who would have warned the Liberals not to implement Phoenix, say that it costs $1 billion to $5 billion to fix it. The Liberals have only pennies on the dollar in this budget, not enough to fix it, and not enough to make sure our public servants receive the paycheques they so richly deserve in working so hard for our country.
    With regard to pay equity, I mentioned earlier that there is not a cent.
    The most cruel hoax is the issue of pharmacare. In the days prior to the budget, the Liberals leaked out that they would be taking real action on pharmacare. We have repeatedly brought to this House motions directing the government to enact pharmacare, and the Liberals have refused to vote for them. However, in the buildup to the budget, they said that this time they really meant it.
    It made a lot of sense that they would enact pharmacare. Even the Parliamentary Budget Officer has said very clearly that all Canadians would save money if we have a universal pharmacare system. The cost of drugs, over $30 billion a year, can be reduced remarkably if there is a single-payer system. We saw that in New Zealand, with costs being reduced by 90%. Provincial and territorial governments can save billions of dollars, and so can businesses and individuals. Canadians who cannot afford to pay for their medication now and take the medication they so desperately need would actually have that medication provided.
     In the past, I have quoted Jim, who is right outside Parliament Hill begging every day for the $580 he needs for the medication that will keep him alive. After all that buildup, what the Liberals gave was a cruel hoax to Canadians who are desperate to have a pharmacare system in place. The cruel hoax is that they just decided to study it for another couple of years. They will make another promise in 2019, if they get re-elected.
    My point is that the budget is a cruel hoax. The Liberal government has repeatedly broken promises it made back in 2015. On the basis of this budget, the government not only does not deserve the support of the House of Commons for this budget, but it does not deserve the support of Canadians in 2019. The Liberals have kept the same cruel fiscal framework that allows the gross inequalities we see in our country, the tens of billions of dollars that go to offshore tax havens and stock options, the whole range of loopholes. None of those are shut down.
    What the government is saying is that for those Canadians who want to see pharmacare, instead of struggling and having to choose between putting food on the table or paying their rent and paying for the medication their doctor has prescribed, there is no hope. The Liberals are just offering a study. For the tens of thousands of Canadians who are out on the streets and parks of our nation tonight, there is not going to be any housing coming. There is a little bit, but not nearly enough to actually address the size and scope of the crisis that has befallen Canadians.
    If people are looking for pay equity, for their pensions to be protected, or for support for their industry being attacked by Donald Trump, they should not look in this Liberal budget.

  (1630)  

    This budget is a cruel hoax. Canadians deserve better. Canadians expected better. In 2019, they will be able to get better.
    Madam Speaker, the member opposite keeps holding this book up, and he really ought to read it.
    Something else the member might want to think about reading is the NDP platform from the last election. I am going to read what the NDP promised in year three of its mandate, if elected, for introduction of incentives for affordable rental housing construction. It was zero dollars. In fact, the New Democrats did it for three straight years, zero, zero, zero, for what they just described as the greatest crisis confronting this country.
     On homelessness, we have invested an extra $100 million on top of the $100-million base that our government created back in the late 1990s and the Tories never changed. We added $100 million to that. What did the NDP promise to add, in the third year of its mandate? What was the most pressing response it could come up with? It was $10 million. That is not even half of what the City of Toronto spends, and that is what the NDP put on the table.
    When it comes to aboriginal housing, it was zero dollars. In fact, all the NDP put down was $25 million for critical indigenous infrastructure in the third year of its mandate.
    All I can say is that if Canadians had selected an NDP government, it would have made about as big a difference as selecting a Conservative government. In other words, the NDP promises were next to nothing, which was exactly what the Tories promised. That is why both parties are on the opposite side of the House. Zero, zero, zero.
    Madam Speaker, it would almost be comical, except that these are very serious issues. I wish the Liberals actually took them seriously.
    First, I think the member has just confirmed the point I made, that the funding is far from adequate. As members know, there are a whole range of budgets, including the alternative federal budget, which actually said that the government gave proper direction, as we did, prior to the tabling of the budget, and actually talked about what it would take to address the crisis of housing that we are seeing.
    However, we have this hon. member inventing an NDP budget. He invented it out of thin air. Then he says, “Oh, the NDP would not do as much.” To that I reply that the B.C. NDP government gave $1.6 billion to housing in its budget just a few weeks ago, which is many times more than the Liberals are giving right across the country. The NDP understands the housing problem. We understand homelessness. There is $1.6 billion coming from the B.C. government.
    If the Liberal government matched even a quarter of that, that would get more people off the streets and into homes—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. The microphone is closed.
    I would just say to the member that he needs to take a breath and allow for other people to ask questions. I do want to remind the parliamentary secretary that he had his opportunity to speak, and he should respect others when they are speaking.
    I also want to mention that no props are to be used in the House, and that includes the budget book.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Madam Speaker, I know the member for Spadina—Fort York is very excited about this issue. He had to put aside The Fountainhead for a couple of weeks so that he could actually get this budget read. I have to say the prose here is almost as well put together as in that other book.
    In terms of the budget, it is interesting to hear the member for Spadina—Fort York talk about what was promised in the platforms. There is dramatic dissonance between what the Liberals said in their election platform and what they are doing today. In fairness to the NDP, there might have been that much difference had it formed government as well. Who knows?
    However, we have this contest between our two far-left parties about who would tax more, and who would spend more. Thank goodness Canadians can rely on Conservatives to cut their taxes. Does the member agree with me that after 2019, we would be well served by a Conservative government that is going to get rid of the carbon tax, cut taxes for Canadians, and actually allow the private sector to grow and create the conditions that will allow people at all levels to prosper?

  (1635)  

    Madam Speaker, I was in the House when the Conservatives were in power. I saw the massive deficits and the most egregious misallocation of spending possible.
     When we talk about this foundation of offshore tax havens, it was established by the Harper government. The Harper government did not see a tax haven it did not love. It wanted to sign as many tax treaties as it could. Unfortunately the Liberals are continuing that practice. That is my point. When Canadians are losing anywhere from $10 billion to $40 billion every year because of the Harper tax havens, supported by the Liberal government now, that is where it falls short for Canadians.
    When we talk about a balanced fiscal framework, we have to take into consideration revenues, and we have not had that. We have not had a balanced approach on a fiscal framework now for decades. That is why we need to have a new look.
    In my opinion, it is a pox on both Houses. The Conservatives and the Liberals really do not make a difference in the lives of regular Canadian families. That is why we have a record debt load and that is why we have such crushing inequality.
    Madam Speaker, I want to remind the party opposite of this. On affordable rental housing construction incentives, in the third year of its mandate there were zero dollars. That is what those members promised for the crisis they described as the largest crisis confronting the riding of the member opposite.
     With respect to homelessness initiatives, those members offered to add an extra $10 billion. We have added $100 billion, yet they call our approach timid. Their approach was one-tenth of what we have offered.
    On the restoration of funding and reinvesting in affordable housing, which is essentially guaranteeing the operating agreements, those members put forward $640 million, which we are achieving, but we have also added in this budget an extra $1.25 billion over the next three years for housing.
     In light of the fact that our expenditure on housing is by a factor of 10 in some situations, three in others, but quadruple the size of what they promised, would the members not agree they should support the housing budget put forth by our government of $40 billion over the next 10 years?
    Madam Speaker, the member just keeps making stuff up. That is sad because we are talking about an extremely important issue. I addressed the $1.6 billion paid by the B.C. NDP. Therefore, what we have is more investment coming from one provincial NDP government than the Liberals have done since they were elected. That is the difference.
    The member has just admitted, and this is very important for Canadians, that he is talking about three years from now. He is talking about after 2019. Unfortunately he is a little mathematically challenged. He throws these figures out without really understanding what the impacts are. He is talking about after the next election. Canadians who are homeless need support now. They need housing now, not three, five, or 10 years from now. Case closed.
    Madam Speaker, today, on my way into Ottawa, I was stopped at the airport. A young single mom told me that her life was not getting any better, that she kept hearing these promises about how they were going to help her and my children, but their lives were no better, that she was constantly scrambling for money. She could not even afford to go to the dentist.
    The hon. member has talked about the fact that the gap between those who have and those who have not is growing every day, and we know that. As a result, people are desperate. They are going to payday lenders. These are users. These are predators. People are being forced into that kind of economy. I am curious to hear what he has to say about that.
    Madam Speaker, the question from the member for London—Fanshawe has been the best question asked so far this afternoon. It really touches the core of what the budget debate should be all about. She has touched on real people. It is not Liberal spin or Conservative spin. It is really about the impacts on real people.
    Having no pharmacare, having no access to dental care, and having no access to housing in our country hurts real people. It is all well and good for the Liberals to spin it and say that eventually they will get around to it. In three years, as the parliamentary secretary has said, they will do something about it. People are suffering now. Canadian families are suffering now. The government needs to act now, not in three years.

  (1640)  

[Translation]

    Order. It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Edmonton West, Public Services and Procurement; the hon. member for Chilliwack—Hope, Ethics; the hon. member for Nanaimo—Ladysmith, Indigenous Affairs.

[English]

    Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Mississauga—Lakeshore.
    I rise today to talk about budget 2018. In particular, I want to talk about the great things I found in this budget for my riding of South Shore—St. Margarets in Nova Scotia.
    However, before I do, I want to commend the Minister of Finance for bringing forward a budget that recognizes the importance of giving women the tools they need to succeed in the economy. It is clear that when we add women to the economy, the economy does better.
    Just like when we add women to politics, politics changes. It gets better. I think we can all agree that it needs to get better. I am one of only nine women who have been elected to represent Nova Scotia in the House of Commons in the last 100 years. Just let that sink in. That is why I am happy today to be speaking to a budget that would put women in the driver's seat, and acknowledges the importance of having women represented in our economy and in our communities.
    For communities across my riding, there are a lot of great things to be found in the budget, which I would like to address, things like $250 million for small craft harbours. This is a huge investment in our coastal communities, especially because the state of small craft harbours in my riding is, an issue about which I have heard so much.
    During the election, as I travelled across the riding, constituents raised a lot of concerns with me. One of the issues I heard about the most was that our small craft harbours really needed to be repaired.
    Since the election, constituents have sent me videos of wharves crumbling and flooding, messaging me on Facebook and Twitter, sending me emails, writing letters, and calling my office to share their concerns about the state of our harbour infrastructure. I have toured a lot of these harbours and my constituents are right. These wharves need serious repairs.
    Small craft harbours are a major economic driver in my coastal communities. I am sure some of my colleagues, like the members for West Nova, Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, St. Catharines, Avalon, and many other members across the country would agree that this infrastructure is heavily relied upon. Forty per cent of lobster exports in Canada comes from southwest Nova Scotia.
    Fishers rely on safe small craft harbours for their livelihood. The fishing industry is the backbone of my riding's economy and it relies on access to these harbours. Communities and families up and down the South Shore rely on this infrastructure as well. Having safe and accessible small craft harbours means that fishers in my riding can sell their catch and provide for their families.
    By investing in our small craft harbours, we are investing in our fishing industry, allowing it to grow, develop, expand, and attract future investment. This historic $250 million investment will ensure the sustainability and preservation of a vital industry for generations to come.
    It is much like the commitment to protect our forestry industry in Atlantic Canada. By investing almost $75 million in the forestry sector, we are supporting and protecting important forestry jobs and the communities that rely on them, not only in my riding but across Atlantic Canada.
    As I am sure my New Brunswick colleagues can attest that the threat and damage of the spruce budworm is catastrophic and can destroy our valuable forests and natural resources. This funding is great news for our forest-dependent communities. It means they can be protected from the devastation of spruce budworm and ensures the survival of our forests. To be honest, there are communities in my riding that rely entirely on the forestry sector. This industry is the economic backbone of these communities. Therefore, if they experience a spruce budworm outbreak, the impact would be devastating.
    The economy and the environment go hand in hand, and it is important to ensure we make the necessary investments to protect our natural resources and the benefits they provide to our country.
    That is why our government is committing over $1.3 billion to support Canada's biodiversity, protect our species at risk, and increase our capacity to manage protected areas, including our national parks, like Kejimkujik National Park in my riding.
    This new funding, along with the existing $1.5 billion oceans protection plan, demonstrates that Canadians can be confident that their government takes environmental protection seriously.
    While it is important to invest in the environment, it is also important to invest in the workers themselves. That is why I was thrilled about the introduction of the new and enhanced Canada workers' benefit. The working income tax benefit is a refundable tax credit that would supplement the earnings of low-income workers. It would put more money in the pockets of hard-working people across the country.

  (1645)  

    The government already committed to enhancing WITB to a combined $750 million in the 2017 fall economic statement. Now budget 2018 wants to strengthen that commitment by introducing the Canada workers benefit. This new strengthened benefit is more generous and, more important, more accessible. Currently, too many Canadians are unaware of their eligibility for the working income tax benefit, so they are not applying. Our plan would allow the Canada Revenue Agency to automatically apply the Canada workers' benefit, which would ensure Canadians would get the money to which they would be entitled.
    We need to be clear about what this means and why it is so important. We are talking just shy of $1 billion in new funding for hard-working people across the country. We are talking about impacting the lives of almost two million working Canadians. We are talking about lifting approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.
     I also want to highlight what it means to individual Canadians. This benefit means that a single mom from Queens County, who is living paycheque to paycheque, can buy her children new boots, or young couples living in Lunenburg, who are just breaking even, can afford to pay their power bills and their phone bills at the same time. It means that we are investing in the hard-working people in my riding and in the hard-working people right across the country.
     This budget will do that. It invests in Canadians. It recognizes potential. It will help us grow. It invests in low-income earners and gives them more money for necessities like groceries and utilities. Not only that, it sees their potential and invests in their future. It invests in rural Canadians like fishers and foresters in my riding. It understands the importance of our harbours and our forests and recognizes that these industries are a way of life. It invests in women and girls. It recognizes the challenges we face every day and gives solutions to those challenges. We know that getting a seat at the table is not the only problem. We know we cannot get a seat at the table if we cannot make it there to begin with.
    That is why I am proud to stand in the House today on behalf of my riding of South Shore—St. Margarets and speak in support of this budget. This budget is an investment in all of us. It is an investment in Canada. I encourage all members of the House to support it.
    Madam Speaker, when I reflect on this budget, I cannot help but think about how it continues with what this government started just two and a half years ago. We made a commitment to Canada's middle class and those aspiring to be a part of it to work hard for them. We are seeing the results of that effort. We have had budgets that have invested money into things such as tax cuts for the middle class. We have seen larger amounts of money go to guaranteed income supplements, the Canada child benefit, all the money that goes into the disposable income of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. In turn, they are spending that money and we have a healthier economy.
     Could my colleague and friend provide her thoughts on the importance of recognizing that this budget is continuing from previous budgets, that it is continuing to help, with Canadians, build our economy?

  (1650)  

    Madam Speaker, my hon. colleague is right. We have made a commitment to invest in Canadians. We have done it through the Canada child benefit and now with the increase in WITB. We have done it through increases in the GIS for our seniors and our most vulnerable population. I am very committed to that.
     I am very excited to see that it is not just about investing in the infrastructure we desperately need, but it is investing in those families and in the people who need the disposable income. With the tax cuts and the programs we have been able to offer through our past two budgets and now this one, I see great changes for people in South Shore—St. Margarets.
    Madam Speaker, I want to make one point of correction. I keep hearing government members say that Canada has the lowest net debt-to-GDP ratio, and it is repeated on page 26 of the budget. Actually, the numbers that go into that are federal debt to GDP. One of the things that makes us different compared to many of the other countries we are being compared to is that far more services in Canada are delivered at provincial and municipal levels relative to the federal level relative to other countries. If we look at net government debt to GDP, we are certainly much higher relative to some of those other countries. We are much closer to the average.
    The member talked about some of the gender issues in the budget and the laudable efforts to improve the situation of women and of women in the workforce. In particular, one of the things proposed in the budget is a grant for women who go into non-traditional occupations. Obviously, we want to ensure this money goes to the intended recipients. What measures does the government intend to associate with that provision to verify the gender of the applicant, so it is not a man applying and asking for that money? Could the member comment on that? It seems like an important process question.
    Madam Speaker, when my colleague mentioned provincial versus federal, we have made historic transfer payments to the provinces, so that has to be taken into consideration when we look at the debt-to-GDP ratio.
    With regard to women in non-traditional female roles, this is something that I am extremely passionate about because it has affected me directly. I have a daughter who studied heritage carpentry and actually left the trade because of the sexism she faced in the workplace. It is important that when we are looking to make sure that women have access to these programs, we do everything we can to support them and to make sure that they not only get the training they need, but they get the respect they deserve in the workplace.
    Madam Speaker, in terms of how we clarify this messaging, there is some confusion, so I would like the member to pick one of those to clarify. It sounds like she is very interested in pay equity. Why is there no funding allocated for implementation? Is that a concern to her?
    What about the issue of pharmacare? That is a broken promise right off the bat. We heard a day later from the finance minister that there is a very specific type of pharmacare being envisioned.
    I wonder if the member could clarify either of those for us.
    Madam Speaker, my colleague is right. Pay equity is extremely important. This is 2018. Women should be paid at the same scale as men no matter what, and I am really proud of the fact that our government has taken the initiative to make sure this happens.
    Madam Speaker, I rise to talk about what budget 2018 means for constituents in my riding of Mississauga—Lakeshore and for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
    Let me start by saying that we are seeing clear signs that our government's plan is working. Nearly 600,000 jobs have been created by Canadians and the unemployment rate is down to near 40-year lows. Middle-class Canadians feel more optimistic about their future, whether their plan is to pay down debts, to save for a first home, or to go back to school to train for a new job. The Government of Canada has been supporting this confidence by investing in Canadians and the things that are important to them.
    We raised taxes on the top 1% so that we could lower them for the middle class. Through the Canada child benefit we also increased support for nine out of 10 families, lifting 300,000 children out of poverty in the process. At the end of 2017, child poverty was reduced by 40% from what it was in 2013.
    These are important achievements for Canadians, but we also know that some of our greatest challenges present the greatest opportunities.

  (1655)  

[Translation]

    By creating these opportunities, the government is taking action with budget 2018 to ensure that the advantages of a growing economy are enjoyed by more and more people.