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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 358

CONTENTS

Monday, November 26, 2018




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 358
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Monday, November 26, 2018

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 11 a.m.

Prayer



Private Members' Business

[Private Members' Business]

  (1105)  

[English]

Criminal Code

     He said: Mr. Speaker,
    [Member spoke in Cree]
    [English]
    Bill S-215 has been meandering its way through Parliament. It has now come to this place. It has come to the House of Commons, the people's place. It has moved through the Senate through first reading, second reading, committee stage, report stage and third reading. It was proposed by Senator Lillian Dyck.
    Bill S-215 would amend the Criminal Code to require a court to consider the fact that when a victim of an assault or murder is an aboriginal female it constitutes an aggravating circumstance for the purposes of sentencing. In doing so, it would add new sections immediately after sections 239 and 273 of the Criminal Code.
    We know indigenous women are overrepresented in violence committed against women in Canada. We only need to think of cases like that of Tina Fontaine in Winnipeg. I remember all too well four years ago how a young girl had gone missing, but at first no one seemed to care. It was only upon her discovery at the bottom of the Red River wrapped in a plastic garbage bag that people actually took note. She was only discovered because people were looking for someone else in the Red River. They discovered her body there, and it galvanized the city of Winnipeg. For the next two days, thousands upon thousands of people came to walk the streets in protest, to raise awareness of the issue of violence against indigenous women and girls and to say enough was enough.
    In fact, Tina Fontaine's death eventually led to the murdered and missing indigenous women's inquiry. It was one of those defining moments in Winnipeg, when people from all walks of life, whether indigenous, Caucasian, or from African or Asian heritage, all came together and really truly said that enough was enough.
    However, this is not the only case we have of violence against indigenous women in Canada. There is the recent example of Cindy Gladue. Cindy Gladue was a 36-year-old Cree mother of three found bleeding to death in an Edmonton hotel bathtub in June of 2011. The accused in the case was a truck driver who had spent two days with Gladue. Gladue bled to death from an 11-centimetre tear to her vaginal wall, while the accused slept. The Crown later argued in court that the tear in her vagina was caused by a sharp object, and the defence argued that the tear was caused by consensual rough sex because she was a sex worker at the time. The jury found the accused was not guilty. This was last spring. The accused was found not guilty of murder, not even guilty of manslaughter.
    Fortunately, the Attorney General of Alberta had common sense and appealed the decision, and it was just heard in the Supreme Court. In the last 20 years, there have only been three reported cases in Canada where the victim died as a result of rough sex. In all three of those cases, the defendant was convicted of at least manslaughter. As I said, the jury in the case did not even do that. There was no indigenous person on the jury. In an unprecedented move, the Crown actually entered into evidence the torn vagina of Cindy Gladue in the courtroom, and Gladue was reduced to a mutilated body part. This was not only highly offensive and extremely disrespectful to the victim and her family, it did not even result in a guilty verdict.
    The second example is the case of Helen Betty Osborne. Osborne was 19 years old when she was abducted and brutally murdered near The Pas, Manitoba, on November 13, 1971. The RCMP eventually thought four men were responsible for the murder. However, charges against three of the men were not brought until 1986, 15 years after the murder. In the end, only one man was convicted to life in prison for the murder of Osborne, one man was acquitted and the third was given immunity and set free in exchange for testifying against the others.
    It should be noted that Helen Betty's murder was extremely violent. She was badly beaten, assaulted and stabbed more than 50 times, apparently with a screwdriver. I remember this case, having read about it at the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba, where it was taught to us in class. Imagine reading about something like this. Thankfully, there is a building named in her honour at the University of Winnipeg.
    Helen Betty's case sparked the Aboriginal Justice Implementation Commission to conduct an investigation into the length of time it took to resolve the case. The commission concluded that the most significant factors that delayed and deterred the case were racism, sexism and indifference from the community right through to the criminal justice system. The report stated:
    It is clear that Betty Osborne would not have been killed if she had not been Aboriginal. The four men who took her to her death from the streets of The Pas that night had gone looking for an Aboriginal girl with whom to “party”. They found Betty Osborne. When she refused to party she was driven out of town and murdered. Those who abducted her showed a total lack of regard for her person or her rights as an individual. Those who stood by while the physical assault took place, while sexual advances were made and while she was being beaten to death showed their own racism, sexism and indifference. Those who knew the story and remained silent must share their guilt.
    The whole community protected these men, so for 15 years the family suffered.
    There are numerous cases in Canada. I could continue to enumerate all of them, but we must also think about other cases, which go on continuously here in Canada, about why indigenous women need greater protection, why we need to rebalance the scales of justice. Let us think of the Highway of Tears; between 18 and 40 women have gone missing on the Highway of Tears in British Columbia near Prince George.
    I was speaking with Paul Lacerte and his daughter Raven, who started the Moose Hide Campaign, a patch that many of us wear in the House of Commons and that many of my colleagues care about. The campaign tries to raise awareness of this issue of violence against indigenous women and girls, and it is for men to have this issue raised among ourselves because it is not an issue of women who conduct the violence, it is an issue of men.
     The father and daughter were out shooting a moose over a decade ago and they managed to shoot one. The father at first did not want to keep the hide, but his young daughter Raven, who was only around 10 at the time, said, “Dad, we can't throw it away. We need to use the entire animal.” He said, “What do we need a hide for?” She said, “Let's raise awareness, because we are not far from the Highway of Tears, and do something about the missing indigenous women and girls.”
    This is an extremely important bill because it would rebalance the scales of justice. It is fair to say that being an aboriginal female is a unique circumstances. The combination of being aboriginal female and living in a colonial society has devalued and dehumanized our women, and they are seen as inherently less worthy than other women. Worse yet, the stereotype of aboriginal women as loose and sexually available still persists and makes them more vulnerable to unwanted and, unfortunately, more violent sexual assaults and more gruesome murders.
    I heard from an elder in Quebec. He described where the word, the derogatory term, “kawish” comes from, which is used sometimes in Quebec to describe indigenous people. In fact its base is “awas”, “away” in Cree. According to the elder, it means to push someone away and it is from the sexual advances often made against indigenous women by non-indigenous men.
    In addition, the so-called subtle discrimination against aboriginal women and girls in the justice system minimizes the grievous harm done to them, which can result in leniency in sentencing of the offenders. Bill S-215 would increase the likelihood that the consequences of assaulting or murdering an aboriginal woman or girl are appropriate and meaningful.
    Bill S-215 obviously would not fix all of the complex issues of the criminal justice system, and that is not the goal, but this justice system has failed Cindy Gladue, Helen Betty Osborne and many other indigenous women and the bill is a step in the right direction toward reconciliation. By including aboriginal females as a specific aggravating circumstance—that is, a protected category of persons—we would acknowledge the historic roots that have led to their over-victimization and the systemic discrimination against them in the justice system.
    Bill S-215 would amend the Criminal Code in two places. First, the bill inserts a new clause at the end of sections of the Criminal Code that outline the murder provisions. The new clause reads:
239.1 When a court imposes a sentence for an offence referred to in section 235, 236 or 239, it shall consider as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the victim of the offence is a female person who is Indian, Inuit or Métis.
    Second, the bill inserts a new clause at the end of the sections of the Criminal Code that outline the assault and sexual assault provisions. This new clause reads:
273.01 When a court imposes a sentence for an offence referred to in paragraph 264.1(1)(a) or any of sections 265 to 269 or 271 to 273, it shall consider as an aggravating circumstance the fact that the victim of the offence is a female person who is Indian, Inuit or Métis.

  (1110)  

    The tragic phenomenon of the high numbers of missing aboriginal women and girls is undeniable. The homicide rate of aboriginal women is 4.8 times higher, or 4.8 per 100,000 people. The corresponding homicide rate is 3.2 for taxi drivers, 2.6 for police officers, and 0.8 for non-aboriginal women. Aboriginal women and girls are victims of more violent offences and go missing at far higher rates than other Canadian women. Bill C-215 would address this inequity by specific considerations of their greater vulnerabilities as an aggravating factor in sentencing.
     Thus, if an aboriginal female is a victim of sexual assault or murder, her identity is an aggravating factor. Such a move would send a clear and strong message to the court system, to justices, judges, and the public at large, denouncing the violent targeting of aboriginal women and girls. Proclaiming the bill into law would demonstrate that we value indigenous women just as much as we value other women, taxi drivers, public transit operators, police officers, police dogs and other service animals.
     The laws of our nation must reflect our values and the values of all our citizens. Terry Audla from the ITK stated, “we will be judged as a society on how we treat our most vulnerable.” We have an opportunity to truly make a great difference in the lives of more of our fellow citizens.
    An eagle feather weighs not very much, but on the scales of inequality in Canada, it can help to readjust the scales of justice so that lady justice is not blind to the suffering of her fellow citizens. We all deserve justice in our country. We deserve justice because this is what we aspire to as a nation. We desire and deserve basic respect and indigenous women need our protection at this time. They need our protection at this time because no one else is giving it to them. Many in our society still consider them less than valuable, less than human. If we cannot protect our most vulnerable citizens, then how can we send a message around the world? How can we stand tall as a beacon of hope and democracy and proclaim our charter as protecting all of us?
    It may be difficult to single out one group, but we have done this for taxi drivers, police service dogs and police officers. For a short time, until our society has caught up to what it truly means to have a charter of hope and true equality, it is time to protect our most vulnerable, indigenous women and girls and to take a stand in Parliament to complete the work that was done on behalf of all Canadians in the Senate, which has already looked at the bill and sees it of value. Now it is time for the House of Commons to consider it, weigh it and hopefully tip the scales of justice to a greater level of equality and justice.
    [Member spoke in Cree]

  (1115)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague from Winnipeg Centre about an issue that was raised when the bill was studied before the Senate legal and constitution affairs committee, and that was that there was a real risk that it would contravene section 15 of the charter.
    Mr. Speaker, there was some discussion, obviously, about the constitutionality of the bill. At the same time, it still passed through the Senate.
     I am not an expert in the justice system per se. I am not a lawyer; I am simply a gentleman with a PhD. I am sure there are people, who were at the justice committee, who are more qualified to answer that question. They would be able to look at the constitutionality. I am sure the Government of Canada will put out an advisory on the constitutionality of the bill.
    At this time, I cannot answer that question. All I can simply say is that I hope my colleagues will take the time to study it in second reading, at committee stage and come up with whether it is a worthwhile bill and whether it meets the requirements of the charter.

  (1120)  

    Mr. Speaker, as an indigenous woman, I am thankful for this discussion in the House of Commons, working every day. On behalf of all indigenous women across Canada, this is a very significant point for all of us.
    I want to ask my friend across the way a question. I understand he is supporting this discussion personally. I would like to seek clarification on the position of the federal government. Where does it stand on this very important discussion?
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know about the government position. I do know there has been great discussion among members of the caucus here.
    If members of the opposition, the loyal opposition, as well as the third party, decided to support the bill, I suspect there might be enough members on this side of the House, whether the government supports it or not, to move it forward. That is something for each member to determine. It is a private member's bill, and it should be a free vote.
    I would like to respond to the previous member who asked a question. In 1999, in R. v. Gladue, the Supreme Court stated that a section of the Criminal Code was enacted to respond to the disproportionate incarceration of aboriginals compared to non-aboriginal Canadians. It stressed that the section of the Criminal Code was a remedial response. It was referring to the Gladue decisions in the sense that there already were provisions for specific remedial measures concerning aboriginal offenders within the Criminal Code, which also meet the charter requirements.
    In this case, we are also talking about the victims. Instead of always discussing offenders, we are trying to protect more victims in Canadian society, ensuring they have adequate protection in the court. Often no one is specifically out there fighting for them. This would ensure that judges take into consideration the victims in sentencing.
    Mr. Speaker, because of his great experience, I am sure the member has a lot more to say, so I will let him say it.
    I will not ask a question, but I do want to make a comment on the constitutionality aspect that came up twice now. Just so members and the public know, when a government bill comes before Parliament, there are constitutional experts who have reviewed it and determined, in their opinion, whether they believe it is constitutional. It is not a shot in the dark, whether things that come before Parliament are constitutional.
    With private members' bills, hopefully private members will take their bills to a constitutional expert before they present their it to Parliament, so we do not have this discussion on motions and bills so often because they have already been reviewed for constitutionality.
    Mr. Speaker, I would also like to mention that the bill also has the support of the Assembly of First Nations, as well as the FSIN from Saskatchewan, in resolutions that were passed in 2016 on the Niagara Falls Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations. Perry Bellegarde signed resolution, 26/2016, concerning his support for Bill S-215.
    Also, when we talk about how we protect individuals, it is extremely important that we not only take into consideration the idea of offenders. We also need to take into consideration the whole idea surrounding victims in our justice system. I know the members from the Conservative Party moved quite extensively to try to put more victims rights into our justice system, and that is to be applauded.
     This goes a little further in trying to ensure that one specific group, or a specific period of time, at least receives additional protection to ensure that we hold them in high esteem, that we hold them up and do not continue to debase them in popular culture, as well as in how we view them in general Canadian society.
     Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill S-215, introduced by Senator Dyck and sponsored in this place by the hon. member for Winnipeg Centre.
    The bill seeks to amend section 718.2 of the Criminal Code, whereby it would provide that where a judge would impose a sentence for certain violent offences, including murder and sexual assault, that the judge would be required to consider as an aggravating factor the fact that the victim was a Indian, Inuit or Métis woman.
     The hon. member for Winnipeg Centre is a strong advocate in this place for indigenous peoples. There is no question that the rate of victimization among indigenous Canadians is disproportionate. That is particularly so with respect to indigenous women. Indeed, indigenous women are three times more like to be victimized than non-indigenous women.
     There is no question that the intentions relating to the bill are good. However, good intentions do not always make good laws. It is on that basis that I regretfully will be unable to support Bill S-215.
    There are three reasons why I believe the bill unfortunately falls short. First, it is partially redundant. Second, there are serious constitutional questions about whether it would run afoul of section 15 of the charter, which guarantees equality before the law without discrimination. Third, there are questions about whether it is inconsistent with the Gladue principle in sentencing, which is enshrined in section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code.
    With respect to the issue of partial redundancy, in the Criminal Code the fact that a victim is a woman who is indigenous is already considered to be an aggravating factor to the degree that the offence was committed on the basis that the individual victim was a female indigenous person. The key, though, is motive, the fact that it was motivated by prejudice or hate toward an individual on the basis of his or her gender or race.
    That brings me to the second point, which is the question of whether the bill would violate section 15 of the charter, which guarantees that all Canadians are entitled to equal protection and equal benefit under the law without discrimination. What the bill would do with respect to the Criminal Code is quite novel from the standpoint of aggravating circumstances. It is novel because it would create a special class of victim, namely indigenous women.
    As I mentioned, race and gender can be considered aggravating factors, but the basis upon which that would occur is if the offence were motivated because the victim was of a certain race or gender. Similarly, there are other aggravating circumstances that relate to the connection between the offender and the victim. For example, if the victim were vulnerable, and many indigenous women are vulnerable and in vulnerable circumstances, then that could be considered an aggravating factor.

  (1130)  

    In his speech, my friend from Winnipeg Centre alluded to the fact that there are aggravating circumstances in the Criminal Code with respect to service dogs and transit workers. Again, those aggravating factors arise from the fact that the individuals are performing certain duties, such as a transit worker who is attacked. Again, there is a connection between the offender and the victim based on the offence at hand.
    By contrast, the bill would say that it would not matter whether the offence was motivated by the fact that the victim was an indigenous woman. Indeed, it would not even matter if the offender knew that the victim was an indigenous woman. Simply because the victim was an indigenous woman, it would constitute an aggravating factor. This is unique, it is novel and it does not exist in the Criminal Code. Many lawyers who appeared before the Senate legal and constitutional affairs committee flagged the constitutionality of the bill in respect of it running afoul of section 15 of the charter.
    Finally, there is the issue of the Gladue sentencing principles, which provide that when imposing a sentence on an indigenous offender, the judge is to consider all reasonable alternatives to incarceration. We know that a disproportionate number of victims are indigenous women, but at the same time, there is, regretfully, an overrepresentation of primarily indigenous male offenders. In these cases, we have subsection 718.2(e) that says that a judge is to look at all reasonable alternatives to incarceration. At the same time, it would be treated as an aggravating factor that the victim was an indigenous woman. There would certainly be some litigation and some degree of uncertainty around sentencing. From the standpoint of backlogs and delays in our courts, which is a very real issue today, it would be problematic.
    Therefore, while this bill is well intentioned, and while there is no question that indigenous women are disproportionately victimized in this country, and while there is no question that we as members of Parliament in this place have a duty to do what is necessary to bring about necessary changes to protect vulnerable persons, including indigenous women, this bill misses the mark for the aforementioned three reasons I enunciated.
     Mr. Speaker, today I rise in support of, and in solidarity with, the generations of first nations, Métis and Inuit women who have come before me and will come after me. Today I would like to add my voice to the apparent silence that exists for indigenous women in Canada's justice system and speak in support of Bill S-215.
    Within the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all individuals are guaranteed equality before and under the law. All individuals have the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination. However, it is clear that this is not the case for first nation, Métis or Inuit women.
    If indigenous women had equal protection under the law, we would not have an ongoing inquiry into the 1,200 missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. All those women and girls had names, are loved and have families and communities that continue to search for justice in a system that does not view them as equals.
    If indigenous women were viewed as equals in Canadian society, we would not mourn with the families of young indigenous women lost in child and family care. We would not have to continue to fight for an inquiry into the systemic oppression indigenous women face. We would not have a Highway of Tears, and in 2018, we would not have to call for justice for the indigenous women forced into sterilization.
    When first nation, Métis and Inuit women and the organizations that support them call for justice and propose changes to the justice system, we should be listening. Not only should we be listening, we should do everything in our power to bring those changes and reforms into effect.
    Canada has a long history of oppressing and excluding indigenous women from systems of justice, but surely Canada's future is one that includes the voices of indigenous women. For this reason, I am proud to support this bill my friend in Saskatchewan, who serves our province in the other place, has brought forward, which is now being considered here. Bill S-215 would amend the Criminal Code to require a court to consider that when a victim of assault or murder was a first nation, Métis or Inuit female person, this fact would constitute an aggravating circumstance for the purpose of sentencing.
    It is not without precedent that consideration of aggravating circumstances has been given to other groups in society. Among others, police officers, transit workers and animals have been identified as vulnerable within the Canadian justice system by virtue of the line of work and social position they are in when they are the victims of a crime.
    The evidence exists for indigenous women to be given similar status. A 2014 RCMP report, reports from the Native Women's Association of Canada and reports from Amnesty International all affirm that indigenous women are three to four times more likely than other Canadian women to be murdered, sexually assaulted or made missing. Aboriginal women are seven times more likely to be targeted by serial killers. Statistics Canada has reported that being indigenous is a significant risk factor for women to experience violence, but that is not the case for indigenous men.
     I myself am an indigenous woman from northern Saskatchewan, and I repeat these statistics here not for my benefit but for the benefit of my colleagues present in the House today. My family and community are Dene. Most of the constituents in my riding are first nation or Métis. My constituents know how difficult life is for indigenous people in Canada, because they see and experience Canada as indigenous people.
    Our families suffered and survived residential schools. We feel the pain of colonialism every time young indigenous persons lose their lives, either from suicide or the violent actions of others. We feel the isolation of the north when we have to hitchhike for medical care. We know the danger of what it is like to be indigenous, because in virtually every way, our lives are governed by a colonial system that puts our communities at a lower status than those of non-indigenous Canadians.
    Like many indigenous women, I am personally affected by the injustice of violence against women. My auntie Janet Sylvestre and my friend Myrna Montgrand are among the 1,200 women and girls who were murdered and made missing. To this day, their killers are not known. Happy Charles, from La Ronge, has been missing for a year and a half, and her family remains determined, despite a lack of answers.
    I understand that we do not make policies or decisions as a government from the stories of individuals or from the anecdotes of history. However, at certain points in history, the stories of individuals become the narratives of a country if those stories are told again and again. This story of violence against indigenous women has been repeated far too often for us to think of it as a footnote.

  (1135)  

    Our stories exist to teach us lessons and guide our future. If we learn nothing from the continued story of violence against indigenous women from the stories of Happy, Janet and Myrna, among so many others, we do nothing but silence those who bravely step forward to speak. This narrative of violence must be accounted for in Canada's laws so that indigenous women are no longer targeted and overwhelmingly the victims of violence in Canada.
    Of course, the bill is not without concerns. I have heard and read the debates about how Bill S-215 would be unfair to aboriginal offenders who could be sentenced to more time in prison, and as a result, would be more likely to reoffend in the future. In particular, the bill, if implemented, could potentially negatively interfere with the section of the Criminal Code known as the Gladue provisions. To this I have two responses.
    First, as my colleague from Manitoba has said, the Gladue provisions of the Criminal Code are not meant to reduce prison time. The Gladue provisions are intended to ask the court to consider alternatives to prison, such as restorative justice and rehabilitation programs. Programs like these retrain and heal offenders and thereby decrease the likelihood that they will reoffend.
     Furthermore, the Gladue principles do not call for sentences outside the range of legally available penalties. A court cannot substitute a sentence just because someone is indigenous. The practitioners of violence would still get the punishment the law calls for, even with the aggravating circumstances the bill would put in place. It is even questionable whether the Gladue principles could be applied to violent crimes, with the Supreme Court ruling that for serious offences, there may not be any reduction in imprisonment for aboriginal offenders.
    Second, I want to speak about the balance of rights for indigenous women in the justice system. It says a lot in a debate about how we can help indigenous women and their families get the justice they are owed when we put the concerns of the offender over the concerns of the victim. Do not get me wrong. I am not trying to say that perpetrators of violence do not have rights, because those rights are important, but where we have protections for aboriginal offenders in Gladue reports, our courts must not fail to consider the situations and circumstances of the victims.
     Indigenous women who are the victims of violent crime are affected by the same historical factors and upheaval of economic development experienced by their communities. Not only are indigenous women victimized by the accused, they are victims of systemic discrimination and are economically and socially disadvantaged to a greater degree than the accused.
     Bill S-215 is not a catch-all solution for the problems indigenous women face in the justice system. The justice system is not destined to stay the same forever. It changes just as society does. It is a living, breathing system full of individuals who are constantly challenging it. Bill S-215 is an opportunity for us to examine and question the belief systems judges, lawyers, police officers and court workers have and calls on them to see indigenous women from a new perspective.
    For these reasons, I am proud to support this bill that works to create a safer world and a more equitable justice system for first nation, Métis and Inuit women.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to speak to Bill S-215, an act to amend the Criminal Code (sentencing for violent crimes against aboriginal women), introduced in the Senate on December 11, 2015, by the Honourable Senator Lillian Dyck.
    First of all, I would like to commend Senator Dyck for her advocacy on the critical issue of violence against indigenous women and girls. Our government shares the view that the unacceptable rates of violence against indigenous women and girls is a matter of urgency and national concern.
    Bill S-215's objective is outlined in its preamble, which states the importance of denouncing and deterring violent crimes against indigenous women, given that indigenous women have been, for many decades, and still are, far more likely than non-indigenous women to be victims of violence.
    Bill S-215 proposes to create two new Criminal Code provisions, sections 239.1 and 273.01, which would require the fact that a victim is an indigenous woman to be considered an aggravating factor when sentencing an offender for certain violent offences. These offences are murder, manslaughter and attempted murder; uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm; assault, assault with a weapon, or causing bodily harm and aggravated assault; unlawfully causing bodily harm and sexual assault, sexual assault with a weapon or causing bodily harm and aggravated sexual assault.
    While I know that all of us support this bill's objective, these proposed reforms may have unintended consequences in the application of sentencing. The purpose of aggravating factors is to signal to sentencing judges that lengthier sentences are warranted in cases where the aggravating factor is present. I will note that the Criminal Code already establishes that it is an aggravating factor for the purpose of sentencing where an offence is motivated by hate, for instance, because of the victim's gender or race. It is also already an aggravating factor where the victim of a crime is a spouse, common law partner or child. In that regard, the proposed aggravating factor in Bill S-215 duplicates these provisions. Furthermore, Bill S-215 might have the unintended consequence of contradicting the application of the Gladue principle.
    Section 718.2(e) of the Criminal Code requires sentencing judges to consider “all available sanctions, other than imprisonment, that are reasonable in the circumstances”, and mandates judges to pay "particular attention to the circumstances of Aboriginal offenders" in conducting this analysis. This provision requires sentencing judges to consider the background and unique circumstances of an indigenous offender, usually with the assistance of a Gladue report, and to consider alternatives to incarceration wherever possible. Where the offender is indigenous, combined with Bill S-215 , a judge could be under contradictory obligations both to lengthen the sentence for an indigenous offender's criminal conduct against an indigenous woman and, at the same time, to consider alternatives to incarceration and reduce the sentence because the offender themself has an indigenous background.
    Beyond these concerns, it is imperative to also consider the societal context in which this bill's proposed reforms are situated. This includes the lived realities of indigenous persons in Canada. This broader context highlights the importance not only of Bill S-215's objectives, but also the need for multifaceted responses outside the criminal justice system to meaningfully address this complex issue. Statistics indicate that indigenous persons are overrepresented among both victims and offenders of violent crimes.
    Indigenous women experience dramatically higher rates of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and homicide than their non-indigenous counterparts. Specifically, indigenous females recorded a sexual assault rate of 113 incidents per 1,000 people, which is significantly higher than the rate of 35 per 1,000 recorded for their non-indigenous counterparts. Also, according to the 2014 general social survey on victimization, indigenous women had an overall rate of violent victimization double that of indigenous males, with 220 violent incidents per 1,000 people compared with 110 per 1,000; close to triple that of non-indigenous females, with 81 violent incidents per 1,000 people; and more than triple that of non-indigenous males, with 66 violent incidents per 1,000 people.
    At the same time, indigenous persons are also overrepresented in Canada's correctional institutions. In 2016-17, indigenous adults represented 28% of the total provincial-territorial offender population and 27% of the federal offender population, but only 4.1% of the Canadian adult population. In particular, indigenous women accounted for 43% of admissions to provincial or territorial custody and 31% to federal custody, while indigenous men accounted for 28% of admissions to provincial or territorial custody and 23% of admissions to federal custody, according to the Statistics Canada's adult and youth correctional statistics for 2016-17.
    As we can all agree, these findings paint a stark reality. In thinking about both the overrepresentation of indigenous persons in prison, as well as women and girls' unacceptably high vulnerability to violence, we must acknowledge and act on the understanding that these realities are inseparable from the historic and contemporary impacts of colonialism.

  (1145)  

    As explained in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's final report entitled “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future”, violence and criminal offending are not inherent to aboriginal people, but rather emanate from very specific experiences that indigenous people have endured, including but not limited to, first-hand victimization and experience with physical and sexual violence in residential schools, poverty, and substance abuse. These factors have contributed to the overrepresentation of indigenous persons in all stages of the Canadian criminal justice process, both as offenders and as victims.
    While we are all committed to addressing the pressing issue of violence against indigenous women and girls, Bill S-215 cannot respond to these lived realities to which the bill's proposed reforms would apply. These concerns lead me to the conclusion that the proposed reforms are unlikely to achieve their important objective.
    Such a complex issue requires comprehensive approaches to ensure that the proposed solutions have their desired effect. I note that the results of the ongoing National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls will be instructive in this regard. The inquiry is studying relevant issues, such as identifying the root causes of violence and abuse and finding ways to them, and addressing the impacts of poverty, marginalization, cycles of violence and disempowerment. Our government looks forward to receiving the recommendations of the national inquiry.
    While the commissioners complete their important work, we are taking immediate action by investing in a commemoration fund that will support local and national commemoration activities; in organizations with expertise in law enforcement and policing to lead a review of police practices; in housing and shelters; in education and reform of child and family services; in programs to prevent and address violence against indigenous women and girls; and in increasing health support and victim services for families and survivors.
    A broad-based, holistic approach is the best way to ensure better protection for indigenous women and girls from violence. Our government is committed to ensuring tangible and systemic changes that will ensure improved outcomes for indigenous people, including indigenous women and girls.

  (1150)  

    Mr. Speaker, I too am happy to lend my voice to the debate. The purpose of the bill is to require a court, when imposing sentences for very serious crimes, to consider it to be an aggravating circumstance when the victim is an aboriginal woman.
    Like many of the speakers before me, I agree that we all must acknowledge the unacceptable and tragic reality that aboriginal women are more likely than non-aboriginal women to be victims of violent crime. There are many actions the government must and should take as part of the solution. Part of the solution lies within all of us, whether it be as communities, municipalities, provinces, or the federal government and first nations alike. We have to tackle this issue seriously. However I do have some concerns, like the member for St. Albert—Edmonton, that this legislation would not move us in the direction we need to go.
     I also want to note the very difficult stories, the poignant examples, that the member for Winnipeg Centre shared with us.
    It is important to ask certain questions. Would this legislation have made a difference in those particular circumstances the member talked about? Would it act as a deterrent? Is it constitutional? Would it result in fairer treatment of victims?
    Our justice system is about protecting rights and punishing wrongs. Our laws are intended to provide order in society and a peaceful way to settle disputes and to express the values and beliefs of Canadians.
    The preamble of the bill talks about the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which guarantees to all individuals equality before and under the law and the right to equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination. That is part of the essence of the issue when people wonder whether the bill is charter compliant. It talks about equality for individuals under the law and equal protection.
    The bill has also been discussed in terms of the Criminal Code and its sentencing provisions. A court that imposes sentences must take into account evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or any other similar factor. Those are aggravating circumstances that are already in the Criminal Code.
    We heard about the horrific murder of Betty Osborne. From what I gathered, it was racially motivated and therefore the aggravating circumstances should have applied in that case.
    Another important fact is that the bill states that sentences should be similar to sentences imposed on similar offenders in similar circumstances. Would this change be perceived as fair by all women who are impacted by violent offences? This is one of the areas in the bill that I do have a concerns about. When an individual who has suffered a horrific assault such as sexual assault goes to court, she expects the justice system to treat her fairly, whether she is non-indigenous or indigenous. This is going to be at the root of the issue here.
    Both an offender and the family of a murder victim have the right to expect the full force of the law to be applied when someone is found guilty. They should not feel that the offence against their loved ones, against themselves, meant less if they were either indigenous or non-indigenous. Every victim must matter.
    The government talked about transit drivers and policemen. As I said, I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it, the difference is that a transit driver or member of the police, or health care workers for that matter, is providing a service for the public. That should be considered when an offence is perpetrated against them. That is perhaps a different circumstance than saying that the sexual assault an individual experienced is less or more of an offence depending on their ethnicity. That is where the principles of sentencing will be a challenge. That is an issue on which I think we might end up with some charter challenges.
    I will go back to my original comments. Would this legislation act as a deterrent? No person who perpetrates these offences is going to say it was an aggravating offence and therefore choose his or her victims differently.

  (1155)  

    I do not believe that is going to happen, so I do not think there will be any deterrence as a result of this legislation. Of course, we all want prevention, so hopefully, out of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, we will get some solid suggestions and an action plan for going forward.
    Will the legislation act as a deterrent? I do not believe so. I do not think it will help us on the path to solving this problem. We talked about whether it is constitutional. We need to check the constitutionality of this piece of legislation. Would it result in increased fairness in the treatment of victims of these horrific crimes? I suggest that perhaps it would not add to increased fairness and treatment.
    Everyone in the House is committed to dealing with the overrepresentation of indigenous women and girls in these murders, assaults and sexual violence, but we also need to make sure the actions we take will have an impact with respect to the intended outcome.
    Before we resume debate, I will let the hon. parliamentary secretary know there are only three minutes remaining in the time for debate on the motion that is before the House, and I will interrupt him at about the three-minute mark.
    The hon. parliamentary secretary to the government House leader.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for bringing forward a very important issue that merits more debate in the chamber.
    For many years, particularly when I was on the opposition benches, I had the opportunity to hear about the 1,200-plus murdered and missing aboriginal women and girls. The numbers I have heard over the years have ranged from 1,000 to 1,600 murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. It is a really important issue for a number of reasons and strikes the hearts of many of the constituents I represent.
    My friend referred to the very sad story of Tina Fontaine. Her body was discovered on the boundary of my riding, along the Red River constituency. It opened a great deal of dialogue not just among indigenous community members but the community as a whole. It is one of the reasons this government acted on many of the things we talked about when we were in opposition, one being how important it was to get into the issue. Members of the House will appreciate that one of the first actions the Prime Minister and the government took was to call for the inquiry into the 1,200-plus murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. We are still waiting for the report and recommendations.
    A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to walk with a fantastic group of volunteers in Winnipeg North, known as the Bear Clan. I was inspired by a couple of individuals in particular. One was Vanessa. I saw her again over the weekend. She attended a Christmas open house hosted by my daughter, who is a local MLA. Vanessa has a wonderful story that would encapsulate not only the tragedy of what we are talking about but gives us a sense of hope for the future.
    Mr. Speaker, I see the time has already expired. I hope to provide more comments when the debate comes forward again.

  (1200)  

    The time does go by very quickly, especially when members are on their feet.
    The time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired, and the order is dropped to the bottom of the order of precedence on the Order Paper.

Government Orders

[Government Orders]

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2

    The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, as reported (with amendments) from the committee.

[English]

Speaker's Ruling 

    There are 23 motions in amendment standing on the Notice Paper for the report stage of Bill C-86.

[Translation]

    Motion No. 5 will not be selected by the Chair as it was defeated in committee.
    With respect to Motion No. 9, the Chair has received a letter from the member for Banff—Airdrie about why his motion should be selected even though it was rejected in committee. However, I am not convinced that the circumstances surrounding his motion are so exceptional that it deserves to be considered again at report stage as provided for in Standing Order 76.1(5). Motion No. 9 will therefore not be selected.

[English]

    All remaining motions have been examined, and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at report stage.
    Motions Nos. 1 to 4, 6 to 8, and 10 to 23 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

[Translation]

    I will now put Motions No. 1 to 4, 6 to 8, and 10 to 23 to the House.

[English]

Motions in amendment  

    The hon. member for Winnipeg North has informed the Chair that he does not wish to proceed with Motion No. 1. The other members who have also given notice of the same motion are not present to move this motion at report stage. Therefore, Motion No. 1 will not be proceeded with.
Motion No. 2
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 17.
Motion No. 3
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 247.
Motion No. 4
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 352.
Motion No. 6
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 444.
Motion No. 7
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 445.
Motion No. 8
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 454.
Motion No. 10
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 514.
Motion No. 11
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 591.
Motion No. 12
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 675.
Motion No. 13
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 676.
Motion No. 14
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 677.
Motion No. 15
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 678.
Motion No. 16
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 679.
Motion No. 17
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 680.
Motion No. 18
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 681.
Motion No. 19
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 682.
Motion No. 20
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 683.
Motion No. 21
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 684.
Motion No. 22
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 685.

  (1205)  

Motion No. 23
    That Bill C-86 be amended by deleting Clause 692.
    Mr. Speaker, often we say we are honoured to stand up in this House. However, today I am actually very disappointed to have to stand up in the House and talk to the amendments I have proposed, why I proposed these amendments, and how the current government has failed to live up to both its promises with respect to the 2015 election and its commitments regarding engagement with indigenous people before it puts proposed legislation on the table.
    Members will recall that back in 2015 the government said there would be no omnibus legislation and that it would never table omnibus bills. It also said that if something was not in the budget it would not be in any budget implementation act. Those were commitments it made to Canadians across this country and it has repeated. However, what we have learned, like with its promises for a balanced budget and democratic reform, is that it is simply not following through on its promises. For some reason, it has managed to get away with people not calling it on that. However, I think it is time that Canadians realize that many of the things the government has said it is not following through on.
    What has happened? We had the budget implementation act, Bill C-86, land on our tables and it was 802 pages. That is a significant size for a bill. I guess I should not have said, “land on our tables”, because the bills are not printed anymore and there are very few copies. However, it is really quite a massive implementation act.

  (1210)  

     We do not get a paper copy anymore. Therefore, as we try to look through and understand what is in this massive bill with the tools we are given, like we often do in this House, the government did not even bother to use a format in the budget implementation act that would link us to the sections we wanted to read. In the case that I am talking about, there were three particular areas that related to indigenous legislation, and I could not even get to read what was in the act in a reasonable manner. I had to scroll for minutes and minutes to get to where I needed to be. Therefore, not only do we not have a hard copy, but the government has made it virtually impossible to try and get to the sections of the bill that we need to get to without going through a very onerous process. Quite simply, it should be ashamed of itself because that is not acceptable.
    What do we have in this particular bill? As I indicated, there were three sections, division 11, division 12 and division 19, that were specifically related to the indigenous changes.
    I am going to focus on division 19, which enacts the addition of lands to reserves and reserve creation act. That was not in the budget of 2017. It was not in the budget of 2018. It was almost impossible to find, but is a significant change the government is proposing, and should be a stand-alone piece of legislation. I hope when people vote for the report stage amendments that the government will reintroduce it in the way it should have introduced it in the first place, as a stand-alone piece of legislation that will go to the indigenous affairs committee to review further.
    The next thing that we spot is that it is in the budget implementation act, but it was not referred to the indigenous affairs committee. A motion was brought forward at the indigenous affairs committee saying that we should at least look at this so that we understand what the intentions are, what the government is trying to do, so that we could determine if there were any suggestions we needed to make through amendments. The Liberal majority on the committee voted that down. Therefore, division 19 has had virtually no scrutiny in Parliament. The second reading debate was cut so short that there was no time to even have a conversation about division 19.
    One of the interesting things is this. The government has said there is no relationship more important to it than that with indigenous peoples in Canada. It has also committed to a consultation process before it introduces legislation. It committed to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which ensures that, when laws are going to impact indigenous peoples in this country, the government will have a robust consultation process before it introduces any legislation.

  (1215)  

    I will talk about what happened as the Senate was doing a pre-study on this particular division.
    Susan Waters, the director general, lands and environmental management branch in INAC said, “The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee was part of our outreach and engagement. We work closely with them. We are working with them to address the issues that were identified in the arbitration.... The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee are very much aware; we have spoken with them personally, and we continue to speak with them about this proposal.”
    Chris Henderson, the executive director of Treaty Land Entitlement Committee of Manitoba, said:
     We are concerned about this proposed legislation simply by the fact that nobody from the government ever asked us if we want the act, and also in terms of how will this act improve the land conversion process under the 1997 TLE framework agreement.... Now, with this proposed new ATR legislation, nobody from the Government of Canada ever came to us or our member First Nations to ask us, first, do you want this ATR legislation; and, second, what impacts will there be if we do propose legislation? We were never asked those questions. So out of nowhere, we have this new proposed ATR legislation before the House of Commons. At this point, it's somewhat premature to ask us if we want it because, again, we were never asked to begin with if it's something we asked for.
    What we have in division 19 is a change, and it could be a significant change. However, we do not know how significant it is, because we have not had the opportunity to have it referred to committee to do our due diligence in terms of bringing witnesses forward. There is no question that the government has absolutely failed. I bet if I went across this country and asked chiefs if they knew about the new addition to reserve legislation that was hidden in the budget implementation act, they would be very puzzled and very concerned.
    Really, how does that meet the government's commitment? It is another case of the government continuing to stand up and say the nice words but when it comes to doing the work, it just does not get it done. This is why it was such a mistake to put this into the budget implementation act.
    We looked at Bill S-3, which was a stand-alone piece of proposed legislation. The government said not to worry, it had it all right, it was a response to a court case, we heard from the officials and it looked like it might be a reasonable path forward. What we found when it got to committee was that it was actually a mess. People who came to us in committee said that it was a problem and that it was a mess.
    I hope the other two divisions are fine, but they have not had the scrutiny of divisions 11 and 12. There is the First Nations Land Management Act, which is very significant, the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, which is again pretty significant, on organizations and operations. However, nothing has been done.
     I think it would be important for the Liberals especially and all members of the House to say that we promised we would not do this, but we did it. We have some testimony over in the Senate, and it should lead us to be a little concerned about what we have done. We need to actually support the amendments proposed by the Conservatives and do some proper process in terms of making sure that we are going to move forward with a piece of legislation that is going to get the job done. Otherwise, again, it is another broken promise and another failure of the Liberals.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech.
    This bill will implement key measures from our 2018 budget, including measures aimed at reducing poverty, improving equality and fighting tax evasion.
    Can my colleague tell us how much money pollution pricing will put back in Canadians' pockets?
    I would be very happy if she could answer that simple question.

  (1220)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I will quickly answer that question. Only Liberals could talk about imposing a tax that takes money out of people's pockets and about how much it is going to raise. It is going to be taking money out of people's pockets.
    What I really want to focus on, and it was the focus of my speech, is the report stage amendment that talked about the government's commitment to first nations and its commitment to Canadians to not introduce omnibus legislation, not put into budget implementation bills anything that was not in the budget, and its commitment, again, to have full consultation with first nations before it introduced a piece of legislation that impacted first nations.
    The government has allowed for none of that, and it should be ashamed of itself.
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague gave an excellent speech that really highlights the profound dissonance between the things we see happening in this House every day and the kinds of rhetoric we heard from the government on the campaign trail, the things Liberals say when they are out and about that are totally different from the actions taken here.
    We have important changes that affect first nations, and yet very little discussion is happening on those issues in this House. I think my colleague's speech was the first one we heard that really focuses and drills into those issues. Even the questions from the government side do not reflect those issues.
    I wonder if the member could speak further about the implications for indigenous Canadians when big changes are made, not only without consultation but without anything resembling a proper debate here in this House.
    Mr. Speaker, with the time allocation on second reading, there was no opportunity to look at this issue at all. The finance committee had very minimal opportunity.
     More importantly, we learned from the Senate pre-hearings that the communities that are impacted had no idea that this was coming down and that this was going to be tabled. That was absolutely in direct opposition to what the Liberals committed to doing, which is proper consultation. To be quite frank, I could see us ending up in court again, because the Liberals did not do their job and they did not talk to the people who are going to be impacted by this particular piece of legislation.
     The Liberals are now trying to sneak it through in an 802-page bill without anyone paying attention, and this is completely contradictory to anything the Liberals ever promised Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not support the member across the way giving misinformation.
    When we look at the government's approach to budgets, the budget implementation bills and so forth, what we see is the Minister of Finance, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance and many if not all members of the Liberal caucus working with constituents and stakeholders. I believe they have ultimately come together with a budget that is very sound and that Canadians support.
    The budget implementation bill that we are talking about is a reflection on the budget itself. I am wondering if the member across the way would, at the very least, acknowledge that the consultation has been thorough throughout all regions of our country.
    Mr. Speaker, that is absolutely ludicrous.
    I have already said that this was not in the budget bill of 2018. As I understand, it was not in the budget bill of 2017.
    In terms of talking with the first nations, with respect to the Treaty Land Entitlement Committee, public servants are saying, “we have spoken with them personally and we continue to speak with them about the proposal.”
    The Treaty Land Entitlement Committee executive is saying, “So out of nowhere, we have this new proposed ATR legislation before the House of Commons.” “Out of nowhere” is what they said.
    Again, to suggest that people are being engaged across this country and that this 802-page bill does not have some serious issues that should have had proper process is absolutely wrong.

  (1225)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this discussion during the report stage of Bill C-86.
    In essence, Bill C-86 would implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27 and other measures. The bill builds on the commitments made during the last election and speaks to the government's plan to invest in the Canadian people to build an economy that works for everyone.
    Although not the topic for discussion today, the fall economic statement tabled last week, which among other things addressed a lot of the immediate business concerns regarding competition with the United States, should be added in. In doing so, one can really see that all of the actions put together, including in Bill C-86, really show Canada as the place to be. It is the country with which one can invest and invest with some security. It is a place to raise a family, It is a country with a bright future for its citizens, building on a progressive social and economic agenda that began with our policy thrust that followed the last election.
    Bill C-86 starts with improving tax measures for businesses and individuals to ensure every Canada has a real and fair chance of success. Through this bill, our government would improve access to the Canada workers benefit, modernize the federal labour standards and improve protection of bank consumers.
    The member opposite talked about the size of the bill, but to do all the things we needed to do and carry forward from the previous budget, it had to be a substantively sized bill.
    Through the bill, we would correct the damage done by the previous government against charities. The bill would now allow charities to pursue their charitable purpose, but also would allow them to be involved in the development of public policy. That will give citizens back their rights to participate fully in our democracy, even though they are part of a charity.
    The bill addresses pollution pricing. It further legislates gender budgeting and strengthens our capacity to advance gender equality with the creation of status of women as a department.
    The bill also addresses pay equity. The idea of equal pay for work of equal value is a very progressive step in this legislation. I want to highlight the bill's proposed measures to introduce this proactive pay equity legislation.
    Our government committed to tabling such legislation by the end of this year. Today we are living up that commitment as we have lived up to so many of our commitments we outlined in the last election. We are going above and beyond the current approach. We are moving from a complaints-based system to a proactive system, which will require employers to regularly review their compensation systems, identify inequalities between jobs mostly held by men and jobs mostly held by women and take action to eliminate them. In this way, we are presenting Canadians with balanced, meaningful and effective pay equity reform.
    In fact, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by taking steps to advance equality for women, such as employing more women in technology and boosting women's participation in the workforce, Canada would add $150 billion to its economy by 2026. The reality is that better equality for women means a strong economy for all Canadians.
    We are delivering a proactive pay equity regime that works for the diverse types of workplaces found in the federal jurisdiction, ranging from the public service to small businesses. As stated earlier, although it is very progressive legislation, it is also good for the economy.

  (1230)  

    I want to take a moment and turn to a couple of areas that Bill C-86 builds on and adds to that are of special interest to the people in my province. I will start with the Canada child benefit, or CCB.
     Compared to the previous system of child benefits, the CCB is simpler, more generous, entirely tax free and better targeted to those families that need it the most. With the CCB, nine out of 10 families with children are now receiving more money each month than under the previous system. To ensure the CCB keeps up with the rising cost of living, we indexed it last summer, two years ahead of schedule. This means the Canada child benefit will provide even more financial assistance to the low and middle-income families that need it most, such as single parent families. The extra support it gives makes a big difference for those working hard to make ends meet, like single working parents. The additional support from the CCB helps pay for things that can make a real difference in a child's future, like nutritious food, sports activities or music lessons.
     The government also cut taxes for the middle class, and those cuts are now helping more than nine million Canadians.
     By this time next year, as a result of these two measures, a typical family of four will receive about $2,000 more each year in benefits than it received in 2015.
    However, there is another factor with respect to the Canada child benefit that is not often talked about, and that is the stress it takes away from the enjoyment of life for low-income families, the working poor that have children, and their ability to do the job and participate in the general community. The Canada child benefit lessens that stress. It gives them the opportunity to fully participate in the social and economic affairs of the nation.
    The bottom line is that this means more money in the pockets and bank accounts of hard-working Canadians, more money to help with the high cost of raising their children and more money for them to save, invest or spend in their own communities. We are seeing the benefits of that across the economy. Canada's economy is strong and growing, and our plan is working.
    The budget implementation act also includes an important measure that would directly invest in those Canadians who want to work. I am talking about the Canada workers benefit, or CWB, which would allow low-income workers to take home more money while they work. The new Canada workers benefit is a more generous benefit that will replace the current working income tax benefit as of next year. The CWB is designed to encourage more people to enter and stay in the workforce and to help more than two million Canadians who are working hard to join the middle class.
    Under the new CWB, low-income workers earning $15,000 annually could get almost $500 more in benefits in 2019 than they are getting this year. In addition, the CWB's expanded eligible income range will ensure that more workers are entitled to receive it. This will be a big improvement for those Canadians overall. Improvements in the new Canada workers benefit will lift approximately 70,000 Canadians out of poverty.
    Bill C-86, which we are dealing with at report stage, really builds on our commitments made in the last election. It is another step along in the process to ensure that all Canadians have the best chance to participate in our social and economic affairs as a nation, as well as to ensure families are more prosperous and have more tools at their disposal to participate in our great country called Canada.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, they say that people always sing the tune that pleases their benefactor. It is a good Yiddish proverb that applies here. The member for Malpeque happens to have the highest benefactor in the land, the Prime Minister, and he sits as the chair of the Standing Committee on Finance, a committee I happen to sit on too.
    I want to grab onto a couple of words he said at the very beginning of his speech, a speech I do not think aged very well since it was written. With the Oshawa plant announcement and the closing of it, we cannot be saying that the economy is growing all that fast. However, he talked about the fall economic statement. He knows full well that last Tuesday at committee I moved a motion to invite the Minister of Finance to come and defend the fall economic statement and present to the committee.
    Now, that member was not able to vote. However, I want to hear from him why the members on that side of the House, his side, vote against asking the Minister of Finance to appear before the committee.
    Mr. Speaker, we have been very fortunate at the finance committee to have the Minister of Finance come before it many times. He was just there a short while ago for an hour, as were officials after that. I believe it was on the estimates and Bill C-86. As well, as a country, Canadians would want the minister to be out there talking about the programs the government is implementing.
    I want to come back to the first part of the member's question. Yes, we are certainly saddened about what happened in Oshawa with respect to General Motors. Things happen in an economy. Sometimes there is a shock to the economy. What this government is doing is investing in the economy so we can be assured, as a country, that we are not tied to one industry or one town. There is no doubt that the government will deal with that problem. We have always tried to be there for the workers in these kinds of situations and have made the necessary investments to ensure business can continue. The fall economic statement addresses that fact as well with respect to ensuring our industries are able to compete with those tax reforms south of the border.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to my colleague's comments with respect to charities. He knows, or should know, that the aspects recently litigated with respect to charities law and the allowance for political involvement of charities were not things introduced into law by the previous government. These were long-standing measures. I know many Conservatives support greater flexibility for charities to be involved in the public policy debate, but this was a question of the previous government involved in litigation related to long-standing principles, which was litigation continued under his government. It is something he maybe conveniently wishes to forget.
    On this side of the House, we are very consistent in supporting the right of civil society organizations to be involved in conversations about public policy issues. Why did his government seek to limit that right through its values test attestation as part of the Canada summer jobs program? If it is so committed to allowing charities, not-for-profit organizations, to be involved in public policy conversations even where they may disagree with the government, why did it bring in a values test associated with that program?
    Mr. Speaker, what happened with respect to charities in the last term of Stephen Harper should be a subject the Conservatives want to avoid. The Conservative government, under Stephen Harper, clearly attacked the political rights of those who happened to belong to a charity. Was there a witch hunt against those charities by the previous government? I am not sure. However, the fact is that we are trying to allow those charities to do their charity work and also allow them to be involved in the political policy process, which is the essence of democracy. That is what the previous Conservative government tried to take away from those Canadians who belonged to charities.
     We are doing the right thing. I am absolutely proud of what we are doing to give charities the right to collect and do good work, but also to participate in the policy discussions of this nation.

  (1240)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the second budget implementation act of 2018. Of course, this one, like its predecessor, is quite large and has a lot of different things to talk about. I am going to try to spend more time on one aspect of the bill, as opposed to trying to cover the many other aspects of the bill in 10 minutes. If one takes the latter approach, there really is not enough time to say anything of substance at all, which is part of the problem with having budget implementation acts of this size.
    The member who spoke previously offered what I think is a pretty timid defence of these kinds of massive budget implementation acts, namely, that there is lot in the budget and that if we want to get all of these things done, we have to put them all in one omnibus bill. Of course, that was not a justification his party subscribed to when the previous government engaged in this kind of activity. If one is trying to be charitable, it is passing strange that, suddenly, that is an acceptable justification. It is also not a very good one.
     It is quite obvious, for anyone who has looked at the budget document, to see that it is hundreds of pages long and signals many different policy intentions of the government, some of them quite vague because they were not necessarily very well developed in time for the budget. For the government to later say it can do this because the item in question was mentioned in passing in the budget, I do not think is quite fair.
    The budget includes vacuous phrases about helping the middle class, and then we see clauses in this 800-and-some-page budget implementation act that have nothing to do with anything discussed in the election campaign or even in the budget document. The Liberals say that in their opinion this helps the middle class, so it was foreseen in the budget and makes perfect sense to include it in the budget implementation act. Arguments like that do not pass muster, as far as we are concerned on this side of the House. That is why I felt it was important to begin by acknowledging the problem with this kind of massive bill.
    Getting into the details of some of what is in the bill and using pay equity as an example—although I think the arguments I am going to make can be applied to various other types of measures in the budget implementation act—one of the problems is the fact that some acts under the government have been heavily time allocated.
    At committee, when we are talking about a massive and important change that needs to happen when it comes to paying women fairly in this county, we want time to be able to make sure that we get the legislation right. Why do we want that? It is not so that opposition politicians can spend a whole bunch of time talking in the House. Just because the government drafted legislation does not mean it is perfect. It does not mean that it would do what was intended even with the best of intentions.
     We know from the committee process for this bill that a lot of flags have been raised by people who are strong advocates of pay equity, who have been waiting a long time for this legislation and, I think to their credit, who also have been working collaboratively as best they can with the government in the hope that it would get it right, and who are taking the government at its word that it wants to see pay equity implemented in this country.
    It was a long wait. For Canadian women it has been a decades-long wait. However, it has been a long wait even within the life of this parliament, because we are over three years into this parliament are only now getting legislation. There is no good excuse for that. In 2004, the pay equity task force of the day did this work and came up with good model legislation, in fact, legislation that is seen internationally as the gold standard and that has inspired and been the resource used by many other countries to implement pay equity, long ahead of Canada who commissioned the work. That is one of the ironies.
    The legislation presented in this massive bill got only a limited amount of time at committee, which meant that tough decisions had to be made about prioritizing what would and would not be discussed, and where the effort to make amendments would go and where it would not.

  (1245)  

    That means that what was presented in this budget implementation act did not get the attention it needs, particularly when people like the president of the Canadian Labour Congress are saying they have worked on pay equity for a long time and that this bill does not do it. That means that Canadian women are going to have to try to straighten this legislation out in the court system, as opposed to having it done here, where it should be done in good faith, a lot more quickly and cost effectively. Who is going to pay for the legal challenges? If the government decides to defend its own inadequate legislation, then taxpayers will be asked to pay for the bad work of the government that could have been improved.
    When amendment after amendment was presented in committee by the NDP, working with the same people who worked with the government in good faith over the last three years trying to get them to present decent legislation, those amendments were voted down. For instance, there is qualifying language in the purpose of the act to establish pay equity, such as “while taking into account the diverse needs of employers”. That is nice to put in the bill. We can understand why it seems like a common sense phrase and it would be fine if we were not talking about a fundamental right of Canadian women to be paid fair value for their work.
    We do not need that kind of language, which allows for so-called solutions that do not actually meet the bar of paying women fairly, to be implemented under the auspices of this kind of caveat, until it is challenged in court and found not to be consistent with the right of women in Canada to receive equal pay for work of equal value. That is another years-long court battle that will not be free. We are going to pay for that battle when we could have fixed it here. In the meantime, Canadian women are not going to be paid what they deserve to be paid for the work they do. There is a lot of frustration and a lot of ways in that we could have done better.
    Similarly, in this legislation, there is language similar to that in Quebec legislation to the effect that when decisions were made about compensating women in the past for their work and they were not paid properly, it would be done between the first pay equity review and the five-year review, limiting the period of compensation to five years. We can see why some people would want that to be the case. It is not fair to Canadian women. We have known for decades that there is a problem. This should have been addressed a long time go, and if it had, we would not have to make huge retroactive payments, but it was not done then. People ought to have acted sooner. In the case of Quebec, the courts found that that kind of provision was not constitutional and did not respect women's right to be paid properly for the work they do.
    We already know that this kind of clause does not pass muster. We do not need to include it. We do not need to incite another long legal battle just to get to where we already should be. Above all, it is frustrating to see this from a government that is led by a feminist Prime Minister who believes in pay equity. The government made Canadian women wait three years for this legislation and we already know that this legislation is not good enough.
     We see similar frustrating hypocrisies, frankly, when it comes to the Canada Post strike. One of the major issues is a pay equity issue. The government passed back-to-work legislation in the House on Friday above the objections of the union and certainly above the objections of the NDP. There is some terms of reference language around pay equity, but nothing that actually mandates pay equity that the women working at Canada Post deserve, as the court has said as recently as September.
    We keep hearing time and time again from Canadian women, Canadian workers and Canadian courts that this needs to be dealt with now. It is a question of justice for Canadian women, who, for too long, have been asked to do work of equal value without getting equal pay. We have a government that says this is what it wants to do and that it wants to honour it, and yet when the time comes to actually getting it done, we are left wanting, knowing that we will have to go back to the same courts that have already said Canadian women deserve fair pay. That is just one example of what is wrong with this bill.

  (1250)  

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague spent a considerable amount of time talking about pay equity. One of the most important things we can do to achieve pay equity is to make sure that we do not put a burden on women who are raising children. We need to make sure that the right supports are there for child care in particular, as we have heard time and time again.
    Early in its mandate, this government brought in the Canada child benefit, which was a great change from the previous government, in that this benefit went to support families that needed it more than families that did not.
    How does the member see the role of child care in this discussion around equity in the workforce, and pay equity as it relates to women specifically?
    Mr. Speaker, early in its mandate the government introduced a bill to repeal Bill C-377, but did not repeal it right away. Then, what we heard on Friday was that every assault by the government since then on collective bargaining, whether the tight restrictions it wanted to put on collective bargaining in Bill C-7 for RCMP members or the back-to-work legislation it rammed through on Friday, should somehow be forgiven because it repealed Bill C-377.
    Early in its mandate the government brought in the child benefit, which did something for low-income families. The funny thing is that that is not in keeping with the government's theme either. Looking at the changes to parental leave under EI, how are low-income families going to be able to access that? They already have low incomes and cannot afford to live on 33% of their income. The extended parental leave time is for who? Is it for low-income families that want to spend more time at home with each other, or is it for the high-income families the government said it was taking on when it eliminated the original UCB?
    This is the thing. Early on, the Liberals implemented a couple of their election commitments to workers and low-income families, and that is now supposed to forgive everything else they do for their Bay Street buddies and big multinational companies. The evidence does not bear out that they are serious about helping real Canadians who are struggling every day.
    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy hearing from the member. He has very good things to say.
    With the Liberal government, we are facing a scenario of rising debt and annual deficits way beyond what were promised. We have rising inflation and rising interest rates. Billions of dollars of investment are being lost in Canada. There is a crisis in our Canadian energy sector, and today we learned what is happening in Oshawa.
    Does the member have anything he would like to say in regard to the fact that the Liberal government insists on continuing to borrow against the future of our children and grandchildren?
    Mr. Speaker, it is a concern. Where the member and I would probably disagree is that the NDP believe there are ways we can mobilize the wealth of Canada to help Canadians without incurring massive debt. That could be done by ensuring that corporations pay their fair share.
    That is why in the last campaign we talked about raising the corporate tax rate. We talked about closing the CEO stock option loophole, something the Liberals promised to do and then changed direction on after being elected to government.
    That is why we talk often in this place about closing the option that wealthy Canadians have to use tax havens. That is why we speak against the kind of sweetheart tax treaties that Liberal and Conservative governments have signed with countries like Barbados, the Cayman Islands and others. That is definitely a concern.
    No great interest is served by ordering Canadian workers to pay a lot of interest to banks of all people, rather than our being honest about raising revenue to pay for things that would help them.
    It also means having rules and expectations in place and enforced by contract when the government provides bailouts to companies like GM, rather than letting corporate Canada walk all over us. That was not done. There was no guarantee that in exchange for taxpayer money, GM would keep jobs in the country, and we see the consequences of that today when we hear that thousands of jobs will be leaving.
    The government is certainly not a piggy bank for corporate Canada, but unless we have governments that have the courage to stand up to big corporations and impose some limits on them, we are going to continue to see these kinds of problems arise.

  (1255)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is great to be here this morning to speak at the report stage of Bill C-86.
    We heard the news this morning with respect to General Motors, and the workers and their families are in our thoughts. Our government will do everything we can to support them during this period.
    Canadians are an ambitious lot and they expect the same from their government. They expect us to be ambitious. They expect us to be bold. They expect us to be trailblazers. In this globally competitive world in which we work, operate and compete, we know that Canadians can compete and succeed globally, which is what they are doing. We also know that our strong economic performance is not only about a strong economic record of performance; it is also about ensuring that all Canadians benefit from strong economic growth. Yes, our government has been bold on pursuing policies that will ensure a robust and strong future for our economy and our workers and help those middle-class Canadians working hard and those who wish to join the middle class and are working hard, but also to ensure that all Canadians benefit. That is what our government has been about since we were elected in October 2015.
    In Bill C-86, our poverty reduction targets are one of the things that defines this government. First, we are aiming to reduce poverty levels to 20% below the 2015 level by 2020 and to 50% below the 2015 level by 2030. That is ambitious. We put out a policy paper on that, “Canada’s First Poverty Reduction Strategy: Opportunity For All”, which I looked at over the weekend. That paper is telling of what our government's values are and the values for Canadians and how we are going to lift up Canadians, but we are also going to ensure that those people who take risks are rewarded.
    Corporations are enjoying after-tax profit levels that can be measured by margins at a very high level. They are doing well. Wage growth has rebounded from the previous government's era of policies that basically led to stagnation. Employees are doing well. Workers are doing well. That is what our government is about.
    Since 2016, the Canada child benefit has provided an extra $25 billion to families in Canada over five years. The guaranteed income supplement provides $647 million or roughly $3 billion or $4 billion over a couple of years, helping 900,000 single seniors across Canada, our most vulnerable, and lifting hundreds of thousands of them out of poverty. The Canada workers benefit provides $3 billion over five years, lifting 70,000 Canadians out of poverty and helping two million Canadians from coast to coast to coast who are working hard. For someone earning approximately $15,000, that is an extra $500 a year. Those are our policies. That is our values statement on where our government is taking this country.
    In 2017, we had 3% economic growth and this year it is around 2% and change. We are going the right way. Recently, the Governor of the Bank of Canada was at the finance committee, a committee which I have the pleasure of sitting on. He stated that our economy is chugging along nicely, benefiting from strong export growth and good business investment levels. We have seen that, and we should be proud of that.
    Bill C-86 also introduces a number of measures that will benefit my kids in the future. There is pay equity legislation to ensure equal value for equal work. That would benefit women. My two daughters at home will know that the work they do will be rewarded the same as other work. That is very important and should be applauded. We have said that the ministry for women is a full ministry getting full resources. Again, we must reduce and remove structural barriers that women face in this country. We must also help other countries pursue those endeavours, because we know that for Canada and Canada's economy to truly succeed, all Canadians must be full participants. That includes under-represented groups and all Canadians.
    I am proud of Bill C-86. There is a lot in it. There is a lot we went through during committee. There is a lot that will strengthen our foundational economy and move us forward. We will do it in a very measured, prudent way.

  (1300)  

    As many members know, and many of my colleagues have repeated a few times, I spent approximately 22 years in the global financial markets in New York City and Toronto. I was a credit rating analyst which basically means I looked up the ratings of corporations and sovereigns. Canada's AAA rating is thanks to former finance minister Paul Martin. It has been that since our government many years ago. We will maintain our fiscal anchor, our fiscal target and the targeted debt-to-GDP ratio is going to decline. It is going to hit about 28.5% in the 2023-24 period. Again, we are undertaking measures that will strengthen our economy, help the middle class, help those Canadians wishing to join the middle class. We will do it in a measured, prudent manner. That is what we see in many of the measures in Bill C-86.
    One of the things that is emphasized by economists is this thing called the labour force participation rate. We see now in Canada looking at working age Canadians, 15-year-olds to 64-year-olds, we are at the highest rate of labour force participation in our history. Why is that? Yes, we have created 550,000 jobs in Canada, a majority of them full time and a majority of them in the private sector. I say “we” very humbly because it is risk-takers across the country, entrepreneurs, small business owners like the ones in my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, very successful people who invest their time and resources, who take risks and yes, hire and employ folks.
    What has happened is the labour force participation rates have risen for all groups, including women and under-represented groups. That is what we need to succeed. That is what we are seeing. Bill C-86 contains those types of measures: pay equity legislation which is groundbreaking; a ministry for women; child-rearing drop-in positions; a new parental sharing benefit. It is said that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, and those provisions are similar to the ones that are used in the province of Quebec. When two parents can share benefits, they get an extra couple of weeks. In Quebec, the labour force participation rate for women is much higher than in other parts of the country. With this, we will improve that. We have learned a measure from la belle province.
    On the poverty reduction targets, I cannot emphasize this more than to say that we will be going from one in eight in poverty, about 12% of the population today, to about one in 10 in 2020, which is 10% and we have targeted one in 17, which is roughly 6%. Currently, we have lifted 650,000 Canadians out of poverty by the measures we have introduced in the last three years. That is something worth recognizing, but we need to recognize there is more work to be done.
    I often like to say that we have done a lot for our economy. There are a lot of good things. We have created 550,000 jobs. We have attracted a lot of investment. LNG was approved in my home province of British Columbia. I say it is my home province because that is where I was born and raised. However, our work is not done until all Canadians can succeed, have a good job with benefits, good pay and provide for a brighter future for themselves, and most importantly, their families as many of us do here. That is what is important. That is the material in Bill C-86. It was those measures that I had the pleasure of debating at committee.
    We have also done some other things that Canadians will benefit from. We have improved their protection when they visit a bank or financial institution. We have introduced measures to make sure that all organizations, all high net worth individuals, pay their fair share of taxes. We continue to do that. We have invested $1 billion into the CRA in the last two or three years to ensure that it has the resources and tools to go after those who are not paying their fair share.
    In my riding of Vaughan—Woodbridge, I am blessed to have a number of entrepreneurs. They are going to benefit in January 2019. We have moved our small business tax rate from 11% down to 10% and now we are moving it down to 9%, a savings of $7,500 annually for small business owners that work tirelessly day in and day out.
    Those are my humble thoughts today on Bill C-86 and I look forward to questions and comments.

  (1305)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think my colleague knows that both of us share the concern about the issue of poverty. I have asked him about it in the past.
    This budget legislates some targets. Of course the government totally bypassed those making less than $45,000 a year. The previous government cut taxes for the lowest marginal rate and we raised the base exemption. These were things that were not done by the Liberal government, and were much more targeted at those who are struggling and who need the tax relief the most.
    We hear a lot of talk from the government about legislating goals in terms of poverty. I found this article in the Globe and Mail which I think he might find interesting. It states:
     The Liberal government spent $500,000 on outside advisers to come up with a logo, name and branding for a new agency that promises to alleviate poverty...internal documents revealed.
    The government spent $500,000 for a logo. I honestly do not even think it is that good a logo. My five-year-old daughter is available to do some drawings next time the government wants to save a little money.
     How many people were lifted out of poverty by legislating aspirations and by a $500,000 logo?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan for his thoughts. He and I actually co-chair the Canada-Holy See Parliamentary Friendship Group. The big message from Pope Francis in a number of his speeches and homilies is for social justice. With that, social justice is helping the poor and helping refugees, helping those less fortunate. That is what is contained in our poverty reduction targets. That is what I would answer to my colleague.
    The things we are doing with the national housing strategy, cutting taxes for nine million Canadians and setting targets are things that we need to do as a government. Again, Canadians expect an ambitious government. They are ambitious. We need to act in the same way. Our targets for poverty reduction are bold.
    I am glad the member's daughter is a great drawer. I have two daughters and they draw a lot as well.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hon. colleague for referring in his speech to the important piece of legislation around pay equity. I served on the Special Committee on Pay Equity, which tabled its report in June 2016. It is getting close to two and a half years later and we are finally seeing the legislation.
    I want to call to the attention of my hon. colleague how long women have been waiting for their basic human right, and that is to receive equal pay for work of equal value. It is their constitutional right. It has been over 42 years.
    Now, with this legislation, much of which did not take into account amendments proposed by our expert witnesses, it has actually watered things down. I do want to call to everyone's attention that Canada did have the gold standard of a pay equity report done in 2004, the Bilson report. Most people who came forward and spoke to the Special Committee on Pay Equity said that the government should implement that report, not redo everything, and actually move forward and start to look at the intersectional issues of pay equity between gender and race.
    I just wanted to bring that forward. Could the hon. member comment on the fact that it will be four more years before any pay equity impact lands in the lives of working women?

  (1310)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for that very important question, because ensuring equal pay for equal work is a human rights issue, and our government is addressing it. We are not only addressing it with pay equity legislation contained in the BIA, but we are also addressing it using gender-based analysis when we do our budget. We are also addressing it when we improve EI benefits on parental sharing.
     It is not just one measure; it is a number of measures. Currently the ratio is about 88.5¢ for every dollar. We need to close that gap and make sure that women in this country are paid the same, equal value for equal work. We are moving that way.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to be joining the debate. I have been listening to different members provide their views on the contents of the BIA. Some members have elected to go with a more generalist approach and have talked about the economy. Others have focused on specific clauses, and I will do the same. I am going to focus in the latter half of my comments on clause 470, which was debated at the Standing Committee on Finance, and the very specific amendments proposed.
    For a lot of BIAs I have seen before the House of Commons proposed by the Government of Canada, one could say lose an hour in the morning and then chase it all day, which is a Yiddish proverb. It means that if one wastes a lot of time at the beginning of the day, one is going to wind up always trying to catch up, which is what the government has done over the past three years. It is always playing catch-up and using its BIAs to play catch-up.
    We seem to waste an inordinate amount of time in the House speaking to different pieces of proposed legislation, and the government never seems to have all its ducks in a row. We saw it with Canada Post over the weekend. It just does not seem to be able to schedule important pieces of legislation and actually consult with this side of the House on matters that interest us.
     I would call the BIA an epic failure of leadership. It was time allocated speedily into committee. Once it reached committee, there was what I would call a guillotine motion imposed on members of the opposition, which quite a few New Democrats complained about. It was very stringent in how we could look at it. If we took any time to translate briefs, translate recommendations and amend proposals for amendments, it left very little time for opposition members to propose thoughtful amendments. We tried. We proposed many, but all of them were voted down by the government. I will focus on clause 470 and a specific amendment proposed by the member for Foothills, which received broad support from opposition parties who were members of the committee.
    This particular BIA, again, is coddling and compounding the problem of the deficit we have. There was a promise made by the Prime Minister that the government would run itsy-bitsy, tiny little deficits, and in 2019, in just 30 or so days, it would be running a balanced budget, which it has failed to do. Not only did the Liberals fail to do anything about it, but as far as the eye can see, we will have further and further deficits. The contents of the BIA will compound that problem.
    In 2017, the net debt hit an all-time high of $670 billion. If we include Crown corporation debt, we are actually over $1 trillion in debt already. Per Canadian family, that is $47,612. If we look at what an average single family is earning with a single earner, they are very comparable.
    I heard members mention that the CRA was getting extra tools and extra funding. However, the CRA was lambasted and heavily criticized last Tuesday in the Auditor General's report, which said that with the billion dollars spent on salaries for extra auditors, there were two systems: one for regular Canadians, and one for the monied elite and lobbyists. If people have a problem with the CRA, like some of my constituents, it will chase them down for every single penny owed and make sure that they pay. It will garnish their wages if it has to and take it straight out of their bank accounts. However, if one happens to have an offshore bank account, perhaps in the Caribbean, and has difficulty completing filing or is not on time, the CRA will give one months or years or maybe just close the file and not bother to follow up. Every single year, for the past three years, the CRA has been ticking upwards in its inability to collect taxes, so it is simply writing off billions of dollars it finds it is incapable of collecting.
    Back in my home province of Alberta, “build that pipe” is fast becoming the motto or slogan of our province. The Prime Minister experienced it last week when, for the first time I think in a very long time, we saw thousands of Calgarians take to the streets to protest his speech at the Chamber of Commerce. I can say that he did not do well at all. It was quite a frosty reception he received from the business community. Among the protesters, we saw a lot of people in business suits who had come out at lunch time just so they could protest the Prime Minister. Again, in this BIA, there is nothing for them.
    To the clause I want to talk about, I think a lot of Canadians will be quite surprised to learn that there are two different sets of systems for bereaved parents. The first system, we are told by officials, is 17 weeks of maternity benefits if one happens to lose a child through a death. That does not apply to fathers, who get five days. They get three paid days and two unpaid days. That seems patently unfair when the member for Foothills offered up an amendment to provide 12 weeks of bereavement leave, regardless of whether it was a mother or father.

  (1315)  

    We actually suspended the meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance for it to be dealt with, clause by clause, at the end of the day, which we did. Eventually, the members of the government caucus voted against providing equality for bereaved fathers in a situation where they have lost a child, for whatever reason that is. It was a very reasonable amendment proposed by the member for Foothills.
    Certain members of the government caucus questioned how they could make a decision to provide 12 weeks of bereavement leave if they did not have all the information, when there was so much in the BIA they were already doing. There is leave provided, 104 weeks, for instance, that would be adjusted, in cases where a child has been killed as the result of a crime. In those cases, 104 weeks is be provided to either parent.
    In a case where a mother loses a perinatal child, a baby, she is eligible for up to 17 weeks, under the maternity benefits. However, after 17 weeks and a day, she is not eligible for more. The Conservative amendment that was proposed would have fixed that. It would have provided either parent with an opportunity to grieve for the child they lost, bury him or her, and take care of the other children, if they had any.
    Members will know that my youngest daughter passed away in August. Therefore, this was of particular interest to me, because a lot of dads and moms have contacted me over the past few months, both to share their sadness and to explain their experience with the Government of Canada system and the different workplaces they have been in.
    I wonder why members on the opposite side would continue to insist that we vote against this particular amendment on clause 470. It was very reasonable. Again, they said that they simply did not have enough information. I would point out to them that the BIA is almost 900 pages long, and because of the guillotine motion, a programming motion that only provided a few weeks to consider the vast contents of this piece of legislation, it is impossible for any member to honestly say that he or she has read every single line and understood every single component. I will admit to not understanding all the components, and I am focusing on those of the greatest interest to me. When I suggested that we delay clause-by-clause consideration just an extra day to get a Department of Justice opinion on whether the 17 weeks and the 12 weeks conflicted, which was one of the arguments for voting against the motion, I was told that it was unnecessary, and we proceeded to a vote, and it was voted down.
    The reason I bring it up here is that I will quite gladly vote against this BIA because of procedural tricks like this, procedural tricks the Government of Canada and the Liberal Party expressly said they would not use. I would remind the Liberal members that I have probably read their platform much more closely than they have. On page 30, it states, “We will not resort to legislative tricks to avoid scrutiny.” It goes on to say, “We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.” It speaks specifically about omnibus legislation, which they have here again.
    The Speaker elected, for the second time now, to split out portions of the omnibus bill because they did not match the budget. In my office, whenever a BIA is presented to us, we go through it to compare it to the budget document to see what is actually in the budget and what is in the BIA to make sure that the Liberals live up to the promise of not engaging in procedural tricks.
    I will gladly vote against this piece of legislation, because it is unfair to dads and unfair to those who are grieving for a child they have lost and because the Liberals are again engaging in procedural tricks, which they expressly said they would not do.

  (1320)  

    Mr. Speaker, I believe the government has been very faithful in the commitments it made to Canadians last year, especially relating to all budget matters, such as the commitment to Canada's middle class with respect to tax breaks. Today we heard other Conservative members ask about those who are making less than $45,000. All I need to do is remind my Conservatives friends of the Canada child benefit program or the guaranteed income supplement, which have been profoundly positive for them.
    The member talked specifically about the size of the budget implementation bill. We passed Standing Orders that in essence allowed the Speaker to take into consideration, in a very real way, the need to break it up where it was deemed necessary, for the first time in years. Stephen Harper, as prime minister, never ever supported amendments coming from the opposition benches. That is quite the opposite of what has happened under this administration.
    Would the member not agree that the reason he is voting against this budget implementation bill is because of Stephen Harper and his leadership? The Conservatives were going to vote against it no matter what the contents were.
    Mr. Speaker, the member brings up the changes to the Standing Orders. He knows it is basically an indictment of the Liberals' own process, because it means that they do not trust the Minister of Finance and his department to get the job done properly in the first place and go through the budget bill and make sure that the BIA is consistent with it. It is an admission of failure once again.
    The member mentioned those earning $45,000 and less and then brought up the child benefit, which only applies if one has children, and the GIS, which only applies if one is retired, 65 and over. Anyone else who is a working stiff, who is just trying to get by, does not get anything. Actually, that person gets slammed with a higher cost of living. Study after study has proven that the Liberal government is layering extra costs onto low-income Canadians.
    To his point about amendments, maybe he should talk to the members of the Standing Committee on Finance about clause 470 and the amendment proposed by the member for Foothills that was refused on spurious grounds that did not provide equality for fathers who are grieving the loss of a child. That is the type of amendment that should be passed by the House, because it is not a partisan issue.
    Mr. Speaker, the member makes a great point about poverty. The way the Liberals approached the child benefit, and it is a good thing they finally came on board in supporting something we did, which was bring in the universal child care benefit, was to change it in certain ways and repackage it. However, at the very least, it was one area where they saw the light, to some extent, which was that giving support directly to parents was better than giving it to bureaucracies.
     I am very struck by what the member had to say about equality for fathers. I am a father. I have young children. He is a father as well and has been through a situation that relates very particularly to the provisions he talked about. It is so frustrating when we hear in certain quarters, perhaps socially or in government policy, the presumption that somehow the role of fathers is not important or that fathers would feel less bereaved in a situation of losing a child or that, in general, the engagement of fathers with their children is somehow less important than it is for mothers. I think the member feels the same way I do about that. We hear it come up in certain social conversations and situations. It is something that is wrong. It undermines the role of fathers, and it needs to be pushed back on.
    Given the discussion of gender equality and so many other things we discuss in the House, could the member speak to how Liberal members could vote down an amendment that recognizes the role of fathers in their children's live and recognizes that equality?

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, the member asks an important question. I even asked officials at committee whether there was a gender-based analysis done. They could not answer the question, because they simply did not know.
    The member for Vaughan—Woodbridge talked about his daughter being quite the artist and how she could have provided a much cheaper option for the government on the FinDev logo than was provided. It is just another case in point. I think we could go to kindergarten and grade 1 classes in our ridings and offer up a MP competition to save the government a little money. It is an example. He knows his daughter quite well. He knows her likes and dislikes. We are heavily involved in the raising of our kids, and we take great pride in it. I think all members in the House take great pride in it.
    When we are given an opportunity at a committee to come together in a bipartisan way to vote for providing grieving parents with greater benefits, we should do so.
    Mr. Speaker, it gives me pleasure to rise today to speak to the fall economic statement, and to bring some facts to the discussion.
     The 2018 fall economic statement is proof our government is creating real change for Canadians. Our government's plan to strengthen the middle class and grow the economy is working, and the results speak for themselves. Across Canada, more Canadians are working than ever before, wages are growing and middle-class Canadians have more money to save, invest and grow the economy.
    In 2017, Canada had the strongest growth of all G7 countries. At 3% annually, we are projected to remain among the fastest-growing economies in the coming years.
     In the past three years, our government has created more than half a million new full-time jobs. As a result, the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8%, the lowest in 40 years. Not only that, employment gains by women have been especially strong and the level of employed Canadian women is at its highest in history.
     Our government is also ensuring current wage growth is outpacing inflation, which improves the quality of life for all Canadians. These results speak for themselves. Since 2015, we have seen a strong and steady growth in both the economy and in job creation. Our government is committed to continuing this progress.
    The fall economic statement is also proof our government provides tangible and valuable support for Canadian businesses and international investments. Since 2015, we have committed to funding Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises to help them explore new export opportunities.
     In July 2017, we implemented the Canadian free trade agreement, which reduces barriers to internal trade in goods and services, investments and worker mobility from all provinces. This is important because if we cannot trade internally and we do not have internal mobility, how will we survive externally?
    Through the federal development business innovation initiative, our government has provided mentorship, entrepreneurship, support and financing to help new businesses grow and succeed. In November last year, I had the pleasure of announcing a $400,000-investment in Clear Blue Technologies in my riding of Don Valley East. This small and medium-sized enterprise is leading the way on climate adaptability, by making effective use of sustainable and renewable sources of energy. This is the new economic way, and it will play an important part in shaping Canada's future economy.
     Through our government's contribution, this company has been able to expand its marketing activities and sell its technologies to a broader range of international clients, including Côte d’Ivoire. The project alone is expected to create up to 33 full-time jobs. It reinforces our government's commitment to supporting innovative businesses, while advancing our support for the clean technology sector.
    As a government, we work hard to ensure the economic well-being of Canadians, as well as that of the businesses, remains our priority.
     Also, one of the government's top priorities is to ensure Canada is the top destination for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs and prosperity. We have created the strategic innovation fund, which has since proven successful in attracting and supporting business investment in Canada. Over the past years, several international corporations have invested in Canada, including Amazon, Thomson Reuters, Google, Toyota, UPS and Microsoft, increasing the number of full-time jobs.

  (1330)  

    On international trade, we have successfully negotiated the CETA, the CPTPP and the USMCA. Statistics indicate that one in every eight Canadian jobs is tied directly to international trade. This amounts to approximately two million jobs in the economy. In Don Valley East, I had the pleasure to announce the grants given to six SMEs that were export ready. They have taken advantage of the trade agreements and have been utilizing markets within the CETA, the CPTPP and the USMCA.
     As well, we have reduced small and medium-sized enterprise taxes from 11% to 9%. This has given the impetus for small and medium-sized enterprises to hire more employees. Our government is committed to improving the lives of Canadians on a day-to-day basis.
    In 2016, we introduced the Canada child benefit, which is a monthly tax-free benefit designed to help families with the high cost of raising children. To date, the CCB, as it is called, has helped lift more than 500,000 people, including 300,000 children, out of poverty. We have also indexed it to inflation. In my riding of Don Valley East alone, the results have alleviated 17,000 children out of poverty and 9,000 families.
    Our government has launched Canada's first-ever national housing strategy, a commitment to $40 billion over 10 years to provide affordable housing to needy Canadians. As well, in May of this year, we launched the new 10-year, $13.2-billion national housing co-investment fund, which will provide low-cost loans and financial contributions to support and develop mixed income, mixed tenure and mixed use affordable housing. This initiative alone is expected to create up to 60,000 new housing units and repair up to 240,000 units of existing affordable housing.
    In my riding of Don Valley East, the impact has been the repair of 68 townhouses and buildings managed by the Toronto Community Housing, as well as repairs to seniors' buildings. I was at 16 Concorde and the residents were proud to let me know how our investment in infrastructure had helped them make improvements to the buildings. I heard similar stories of gratitude from residents of 2020 and 2040 Don Mills Road.
    Seniors are an integral part of our economy and it is therefore important for us to treat them with dignity. That is why our government increased the guaranteed income supplement top-up payment by up to $947, which has benefited nearly 900,000 low-income seniors. We have also appointed a Minister of Seniors to ensure they get the attention they deserve.
     The fall economic statement marks the next steps in our plans. With our 2018 fall economic statement, our government is committed to enhancing confidence in Canada by supporting Canadian businesses as they grow and expand into new markets.
    We have come a long way from 2015 when the Harper government, which had inherited a $13-billion surplus from its predecessor, whittled it down and left us in deficit, increasing the debt by $156.5 billion. We are ensuring that our investments give us a return on investment.

  (1335)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to challenge the last claim the member made with respect to comparing the fiscal record of the previous government to the current government. It is as if the Liberal government forgot about the global financial crisis. It is as if it forgot that happened and that what happened in late 2008, early 2009 was a government suddenly deciding to spend more money for some reason.
    I wonder if the member thinks the deficits run in the immediate aftermath of the global financial crisis had anything to do with global financial events. Does she remember how the Liberals and the New Democrats at the time were pushing the government to spend not less but far more? Does she remember how, in the context of a minority government, the previous government included a timely, temporary and targeted stimulus package that brought us back to a balanced budget? Maybe she will recall how it was her party that thought we should spend far more during those years.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a revisionist's history to which my hon. colleague is referring. The bottom line is that one cannot whittle away $13 billion in surplus. In fact, the Harper government did not even recognize there was a financial crisis in 2008. The Conservatives were the worst economic managers, and any economist will say that, and Harper had the second worst record after former Prime Minister Mulroney.
    We were a basket case in the Mulroney era and then the Chrétien-Martin government rebuilt the economy, leaving a surplus. However, the type of revisionist and la la land economics the member is indulging in is not even plausible.
    Mr. Speaker, when I talk to people in my riding of Kootenay—Columbia, the things they would actually like to see in the budgets coming from the government, from any government, are universal affordable day care and getting to universal pharmacare.
    When is the Liberal government going to get to the things that are really important to every Canadian?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the hon. member that the Liberal government, under Paul Martin, did introduce universal child care. In fact, in my riding, we had 125,000 child care spaces. Unfortunately, at that time, the NDP voted with the Conservatives and defeated that budget. As well, during 10 years of the former Harper government, the Conservatives did not care about anybody but 1% of the population.
    Therefore, we must remember that if we break a system, it must be built back. We hope we have support as we move along toward a progressive agenda.
    Mr. Speaker, I would note that the member has a great deal of credibility on business matters. I think it was in 2009 when she was given the John Leslie award by CGA Canada for her work in the area of accounting and business.
    However, there was one word in the member's speech that really struck me, and it was the word “ambitious”. Canada has a 3% growth rate. It is the best in the G7, yet we continue to pursue policies to get things going even more. In other words, we are cutting the tax rate for small business. Investments continue in infrastructure. Of course, we recognize that closing the gender gap, especially in the entrepreneurial area, is not only right and good social policy, but it is a good way to increase the GDP.
    I would like the hon. member to comment on that.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, in the area of economic growth and the number of things we are doing simultaneously, it is important to note that we cut the income tax for the middle class by 7%. Despite that, we have invested in infrastructure.
    The Conservatives talk about our deficit, but they left us with the deficit. There was nothing left but crumbling infrastructure. The best thing they did was to announce the economic statement, spending $172 million on advertising with $72 million going to real things.
    I appreciate the fact that we have been doing so much, but women entrepreneurship is critical. The majority of small and medium-sized enterprises are owned by women. Our government has worked hard to ensure there is a woman entrepreneurship fund to help them move along.
    Mr. Speaker, right now in Alberta, over 180,000 people are out of work, and a majority of those people have seen their jobs lost in the last couple of years.
    This morning, when I woke up and heard the news that the auto plant was being closed by General Motors, I tweeted the following, “From the tens of thousands of people who have seen their jobs disappear in Alberta, our hearts go out to the people of Oshawa today.” That is a legitimate sentiment. If we are going to be a federation, people in different provinces have to stand up for each other.
    From the people of Alberta, I want to send a message to those in Oshawa who are affected: We get it. We are going through this right now. It should not happen. Canada should be a place where we have jobs and prosperity.
    The interesting thing is that I had several responses to this comment of sympathy. One of them really stuck out for me, and it was this: “Both [job losses] are tied to outdated fuel sources/transportation modes. Economic hardship is always sad, but it was inevitable we would have to pivot.”
    I want to spend the bulk of my time today refuting the government's budgetary plan, because it is based on this principle of economic management. I have watched the government travel internationally to attend wonderful meetings in Davos, and have heard the speeches the Prime Minister has given in Paris in which he talks about exactly what this Twitter response said. It is a leftist, elitist, academic understanding of the Canadian economy. It is a “let them eat cake” understanding from somebody who has never really had to work a day in his life, told to a bunch of people who only want to work.
    They are being told their jobs are dirty and outdated. Do we have outdated modes of transportation? The last time I checked, it was cold in Canada, we did not have magical public transit from every place to every different place, and we drove cars. The last time I checked, the auto sector was one of the most important industries to the Canadian economy. The last time I checked, the energy sector in Alberta created so much revenue for all different levels of government in this country such that at the end of last week, we actually had major financial analysts asking the finance minister how he was going to deal with the significant price differential we are receiving for our energy products, compared to if we had market access for these things, in his budgetary forecast.
    That is why the government's approach to budgeting is so fundamentally flawed. Liberals do not understand the fact that Canadians want to work and want to be competitive in some of the world's most important industries, such as energy production or manufacturing. They do not understand what their high-level, bourgeois thinking of what “appropriate” industries or “clean” jobs means to somebody who is just trying to make ends meet. They have not taken any sort of understanding of these concepts into a framework that would make us more competitive, not less competitive, with the United States. They do not understand how fundamentally damaging this is to the fabric of the Canadian federation.
    If members were to go door-knocking from house to house in my province right now, as I frequently do in my riding, they would automatically hear a tale of somebody being out of work for a very long period of time. They would hear about how people have had to shutter businesses and how we are losing labour to the United States and to other parts of the world. They would hear about the fact that city council is increasing small business taxes by 25%, because the downtown core is now looking at about a 50% plus vacancy rate, even though we had, I think, a zero vacancy rate in downtown Calgary just a few short years ago.

  (1345)  

    We will hear one other sentiment and that is, why are we sending money to other parts of the country in equalization payments when the rest of the country will not stand up for us? The reality is that the context has changed since 2015. I used to think the Prime Minister's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was the worst possible Trudeau to Alberta, while he looks absolutely great compared to his son. Bill C-69 finishes the job. It shoots the energy sector in the head. Oil is over under Bill C-69 and maybe that is what the Prime Minister wants. Maybe he is celebrating that, but my community sure is not. The tanker ban, the carbon tax, the political veto of the northern gateway pipeline, not saying anything to President Obama when he vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline. The Prime Minister and the government have done every single thing possible to kill the energy sector.
    In the last budget implementation bill, the Liberals said they were not going to look at the equalization formula. If the Prime Minister will not stand up for the jobs in every part of the country, including Alberta, then we have to look at that formula because it is not fair. I would not be doing my job as a member of Parliament from that province if I did not stand and say he has a responsibility to make policy that is in the best interests of the entire country, not penalize regions because of his or his father's ideological opposition to having power and economic growth in Alberta. That is where we are at.
    We cannot look at 180,000 people out of work and at the response that other industries get and the lip service. I look at his response in Calgary on Thursday. I am so proud of my city for getting out and protesting him. I saw that and thought it was great, give him a message. I am so proud of my city for doing that, but at the end of the day, the people of Calgary and of Alberta have always been happy to contribute to the entirety of Canada. They do not want to be out protesting, they just want to work. However, the Prime Minister comes with nothing for my city. He is still pushing through Bill C-69 full steam ahead, full steam to kill the energy sector. He is not even acknowledging the depth of crisis that his ideological opposition to the development of the energy sector has done to the Canadian economy.
    The Liberals will stand with their talking points and will say the economy and the environment go hand in hand. There is only one reason that we will see a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, if we do, in Canada, and that is because he has killed the energy sector. His carbon tax will do nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That is because carbon, for the most part in Canada, is inelastic and we cannot set whatever the United Nations report called for, a $5,500 per megatonne price on carbon, and expect the economy to continue to grow. I cannot stand here on behalf of my constituents and support anything that the government is doing in terms of taxation, in terms of budgeting because it is a lot of spending on nothing. In this entire budget implementation act, there is no spending on any sort of infrastructure that is going to make my city more productive. There is nothing in it for the workers.
     Frankly, to add insult to injury, he is not talking about the fact that the Liberals have underwritten and underpinned a continuous welfare system for this country based on the backs of the people in my province. Enough is enough. Either the Prime Minister writes some policy that is in the best interests of the entire country or he starts dealing with the voices of the people in my city and in my province. They are tired of it and they will not go gently into that good night.
     Shame on the member for Calgary Centre. Shame on the member for Calgary Skyview. Shame on the members from Edmonton who have had the opportunity to speak up in their caucus for the rights of the people in this country and still see Bill C-69 going forward, still see the budget implementation act going forward, spending and taxing, with nothing happening for them. Enough is enough. There will be more protests like we see in Calgary. We will not go gently into that good night and the bill needs to die.

  (1350)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to listen to this debate go on and on about the Liberals' capacity to properly run the economy.
    However, when we actually look at the stats, there is nothing that could be argued away through circumstance. The reality of the situation is over the last 151 years, the Conservatives have been in power for 38% of the time and have racked up 73% of the national debt. Out of the last 16 budgets introduced by the Conservative Party, 13 of them ran deficits, and two of them that ran surpluses were on the heel of Paul Martin's $13 billion surplus, and the last was in 2015. We know what they had to do to get there, including selling off shares of GM.
    I have a question for the member. She spent a lot of time talking about Alberta specifically. Is the member proud of the fact that in Alberta, currently, the renewable energy sector is doubling every year in size? That is doubling in terms of employment, investment and outcome. Is she proud of that fact, or would she rather see us go back to continuing to use more oil?
    Mr. Speaker, in 2008, Canada saw one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression. A Conservative government put in place targeted, short-term infrastructure spending projects, and returned the country back to balanced budgets a few short years later.
    The Liberal government, by contrast, in peacetime, has racked up the biggest deficits. Remember the itty-bitty little deficits that the Liberals were supposed to have in 2015? They are massive. Here is the thing, any Canadian who is watching this is going to say, “My taxes have gone up. I have lost my job. What did I get?”
    For all the money the Liberals have spent, we should have a gold-plated rocket ship to the moon. We have nothing. Nothing. That is irresponsible spending.
    With regard to the clean tech sector, would it not be great if we had the receptor capacity of the big energy sector to adopt some of this technology here in Canada instead of licensing it out? This is a member from Ontario who has fundamentally not educated himself on any aspect of the Canadian economy, including Alberta. I resent being told by him, on behalf of my constituents, what they need. He should have the honour and the responsibility to vote this budget down.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciated the comments from the member at the beginning of her speech, because I think all members of this House should acknowledge the economic and social impact that is taking place today in Oshawa, and express our support to the residents of Oshawa. That bridges all political parties.
    Having said that, then the member chose to go into more of that attack-style personal western alienation, littered with all sorts of falsehoods. That is what I take exception to. I would ask the member across the way to reflect on how poorly Stephen Harper did for western Canada, whether it was western diversification or the fact that not one pipeline was built that would give us an alternative to the U.S. market. Stephen Harper was a disaster for the Prairies.
    Could the member name something of significance that Stephen Harper did for western Canada?

  (1355)  

    Mr. Speaker, the lowest federal tax burden over 50 years; four pipelines built; standing up for the energy sector. We had negotiations with the U.S. that saw our economy grow.
     Let us talk about western alienation. It is the current Prime Minister who is putting forward job-killing policies that are undermining the fabric of our Confederation. Stephen Harper always told his cabinet to look at policy that built the country. To anybody who is standing up in Calgary right now and asking, “Where is my job? Why are we paying equalization?”, it is because the Prime Minister is doing what his father almost did but failed to do, and that is to put Alberta down, to shoot Alberta in the head.
    I have had enough of this, and I will stand up here every single time, and for a member of Parliament from Winnipeg, my hometown, to somehow try to whitewash or gloss over the fact that this Prime Minister has done sweet fudge all for western Canada, he should be ashamed. He should be ashamed, and his constituents should vote him out. He should be standing up for western Canada, all of Canada, and he has failed to do it.
    The time has expired for questions and comments in the last intervention. We will get on with members' statements at this point as we are close enough to 2 p.m.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[English]

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, there is great concern about the economy not only in my riding of Calgary Skyview but right across the country. Just look at the bad news from Oshawa this morning. I wonder who is next.
    My constituents, from business owners to electricians to cab drivers, voice the same fears for the future of Alberta. With no access to world markets for our oil and dropping oil prices, Alberta's economy is in dire straits. We are losing a shocking $80 million a day in revenue. This money could be used to build hospitals and schools. It could be used to improve infrastructure and social programs.
    Bill C-69 in its current form is a huge concern in Alberta.
    We understand that the economy and the environment have to go hand-in-hand, but not at the risk of hindering the future development of our natural resources.
    I would urge the government to address all of the concerns raised by the industry regarding Bill C-69, and make the necessary amendments to the bill to ensure that it is both environmentally and economically friendly.

Grey Cup

    Mr. Speaker, members may have noticed that the hon. member for Ottawa Centre is wearing a Calgary Stampeders jersey. Last Friday, we made a bet on whether Calgary or Ottawa would win this year's Grey Cup.
    Well last night, the mighty Stampeders routed the Redblacks to achieve their eighth Grey Cup victory. It was a match well-fought on the frozen tundra of Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium, but the Stamps pulled through.
    Not only this, the Stamps are also making Calgarians proud on and off the field. They support one of my favourite non-profits, CUPS. Through integrated health care, education and housing, CUPS assists Calgarians living with the adversity of poverty and traumatic events to become self-sufficient. It is a worthy cause supported by our Grey Cup champions.

Road Safety

    Mr. Speaker, a couple of weeks ago one of my constituents, the father of a young man who died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, asked to meet with me to discuss driver training for truckers, and other safety-related issues.
    I would like to take this opportunity to reassure the families of the crash victims that members of this place, members of the provincial legislatures in Saskatchewan and Alberta and various industry organizations are all working together to improve training and safety standards in a variety of ways. For example, this summer Transport Canada announced that by September 1, 2020, all newly built medium and large highway buses must have seatbelts.
    Other steps involving driver training and other safety measures need to be looked at to prevent a tragedy like the Humboldt Broncos crash from ever happening again.
    I thank all members of the House and other levels of government for their work on policies to increase safety on large buses, and I look forward to seeing what improved safety and training requirements are implemented to prevent another tragedy like the one that happened to the Broncos from ever happening again.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Toys for Joy

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to draw attention to a committee in my riding that has been around for 29 years now.
    Toys for Joy works tirelessly to bring the magic of Christmas to families in need in the northern part of my riding, namely in Grand-Sault, Saint-André, Drummond and New Denmark.
    This year's gift drive will take place on Saturday, December 1, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Toner Home Hardware. The committee will be accepting donations of new toys, money and empty bottles and cans.

[English]

    Each year, the Toys for Joy committee provides for over 250 families with more than 500 children.
    The committee relies on donations only, and each year its success is made possible by the help of countless volunteers, the committee itself and generous donations from individuals and businesses.
    My thanks for the generous giving of all, whose contributions impact so many families in need.
    Help us bring a smile to a child this holiday season.
    Last but not least, I wish my son Jack a happy birthday.

[Translation]

Philanthropic Clown Guillaume Vermette

     Mr. Speaker, Guillaume Vermette is a full-time volunteer who lives out of a backpack and survives on an income of only a few thousand dollars, but he has a heart of pure gold. Everyone's worries fade away when he puts on one of his shows. Just watching this philanthropic clown makes everyone feel happier.
    He received an honorary degree on Saturday from the CEGEP in Trois-Rivières and was recognized by young people at the first Mammouth awards gala broadcast on Télé-Québec last year. Beloved by thousands of strangers in the 40 or so countries he has toured, spreading smiles everywhere he goes, Guillaume Vermette is admired by those who love him, and he deserves our respect, recognition and support.
    I am still not sure I believe him when he says that everyone could follow in his footsteps and do the same thing he does in order to bring happiness to places where such a thing seems impossible. However, there is absolutely no doubt that he is succeeding.
    A minute is not long enough to tell my colleagues all about this philanthropic clown, but I wanted to get this plug in, as they say in communications, and invite them to visit his website in order to learn about what he does and support his work.

[English]

Canadian Football Hall of Fame

    Mr. Speaker, the 2018 Canadian Football Hall of Fame induction class was honoured at the Grey Cup festivities in Edmonton. The class included Scott Flory, who had a storied career with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and Montreal Alouettes.
    In college, Flory enjoyed a five-year career, winning two Vanier Cup championships. He, of course, was drafted by Montreal and was a mainstay along its offensive line for 15 years. The 6' 4”, 300 pound guard was a nine-time CFL all star. Twice he was named the league's outstanding lineman.
    Flory was also part of the Alouettes that played in eight Grey Cups in an 11-year span, capturing three championships. Flory has just finished his second year as head coach of the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Under his guidance, he lead the team to its first Canada West football championship.
     I congratulate Scott Flory for his well-deserved induction to the Football Hall of Fame.

Lacrosse

    Mr. Speaker, Oakville and Burlington have a rich lacrosse culture, one that is flourishing with tremendous home-grown talent.
    Oakville is home to the head office and practice facility of the six-time National Lacrosse League champion Toronto Rock. The Oakville and Burlington Minor Lacrosse Leagues are nurturing youth to play Canada's national summer sport, also known as the Creator's game in indigenous culture. I was extremely proud of the Oakville Titans, who not only won the Ontario Senior Men's B Championship but also went on to the finish fourth in all of Canada.
    Lacrosse legends Dan and Paul Dawson grew up in our local lacrosse system, and this year Dan won another NLL championship with the Saskatchewan Rush. The Toronto Maple Leafs hockey hero, John Tavares, was also an Oakville lacrosse all star.
    As local boys and girls prepare for another season, they are the stars of the future in a game with a fanatically loyal fan base.

  (1405)  

[Translation]

Erik Guay

    Mr. Speaker, world champion skier Erik Guay announced last week that he is retiring. A true class act, he made his farewell run yesterday at a World Cup downhill ski event in Lake Louise.
    Throughout his two decades of dedication to the sport, he showed what it takes to become the most medalled skier in Canadian history while remaining a gentleman and inspiring an entire generation of young skiers.

[English]

    Last year, at an event at Mont Tremblant to recognize his most recent world championship, he spent hours signing autographs and being photographed with fans without ever saying no, losing his smile, or doing anything but being there for everyone else. This is but one small example of who Erik is: accomplished yet humble, competitive but selfless.

[Translation]

    Erik, on behalf of everyone in Laurentides—Labelle and across Canada, I want to congratulate you on your career. Thank you for being the athlete you are.
    Safe travels home, my friend. Enjoy this time with your family. I have no doubt that we will be hearing about you again in the very near future.

[English]

Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Mr. Speaker, November 25 marks the anniversary of the modern statehood of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    In Hamilton, we have over one hundred ethno-cultural groups and languages, making it one of our nation's most diverse cities. Among these are families who originated in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    I had the pleasure of travelling through much of that country on two occasions, and I have no hesitation in recommending it for those who seek something truly unique but absolutely welcoming in the way of a travel destination. The names of the cities may not be familiar, but I can assure you that places like Mostar, Zenica, Jajce and, of course, the great and well known capital of Sarajevo will stay in one's memory should one ever pay them a visit. Their history goes back centuries as a meeting place for different civilizations and cultures, which account in part for the amazing breadth of its art, music, literature and, of course, cuisine.
    Ziveo Bosnia Herzegovina.

Canada Revenue Agency

    Mr. Speaker, the problem of unauthorized Canada Revenue Agency personnel accessing confidential tax files is “on the rise” according to a CBC news report and the Privacy Commissioner. This comes a week before the sentencing hearing of a biker gang member who used his job at the CRA to illegally collect private information.
     This is from the same government that cannot seem to understand why Canadians are squeamish about being forced to hand over their bank statements to Statistics Canada. Under the current minister, the CRA has been called out for its call centre, for incorrect information, for picking on disabled Canadians, for targeting single parents, for giving breaks to offshore evaders, and now for breaching Canadians' privacy.
    The minister has been in charge for three years, and the agency's problems are getting worse despite a massive budget increase. It is time for her to act like a minister, take responsibility for her department and deliver an agency focused on service.

Sydney—Victoria

    Mr. Speaker, with the Christmas holiday season and the time for giving quickly approaching, I would like to encourage everyone to give to their local food bank. Whether it be food, personal items or money, or by donating one's time to hand out some meals, every donation makes a difference. In Sydney, Loaves and Fishes, where I visit every Christmas Eve, has been a staple in the community since 1981 and serves more than 40,000 meals every year.
    I had the pleasure of meeting with members of the North Sydney Community Food Bank over the summer, who do amazing work on the Northside, and even have a garden so that they can grow and serve fresh vegetables.
    The CBC in Cape Breton will be kicking off the annual Light up a Life fundraiser in support of Feed Nova Scotia on November 30 with a performance at the Highlands Arts Theatre, and will have a live on-air program on December 3.
    I encourage all Canadians to give back to the communities this holiday season by donating or volunteering at their local food bank to help those in need.

[Translation]

La Francophonie

    Mr. Speaker, November 15 was a sad day for Franco-Ontarians, as Doug Ford's Conservative government cancelled plans to build a French-language university and eliminated the Office of the French Language Services Commissioner. Once again, the community is rallying and standing up for itself.
    When I was a high school student in Kapuskasing, I went to Queen's Park to demand that a French-language college be built in Sudbury. We won. When I was a law student at the University of Ottawa in 1997, I took part in the big protest to save the Montfort Hospital from being shut down by the Mike Harris Conservatives. We won. Next week, on December 1, I will once again take part in a protest to assert my rights as a francophone in this province, and we are going to win.

  (1410)  

[English]

    To my anglophone friends, first, I thank them for their support. We are not seeking more than anybody else. We only want our official language to be treated as equal to the other official language in our bilingual country.

[Translation]

    In closing, I would like to share a quotation with my Franco-Ontarian sisters and brothers. In the words of the late Michel Gratton, author of a book on the Montfort crisis, “Have courage. Our cause is just.”

[English]

Holodomor

    Mr. Speaker, this past weekend, Canadians joined Ukrainians around the world and remembered the horrors of the Holodomor genocide. On orders from Joseph Stalin's brutal Communist regime in 1932-33, millions of Ukrainians starved to death in the Holodomor.
    I was honoured to gather alongside Canadians and Ukrainians and mourn the 85th commemoration of the Holodomor genocide. Two Winnipeg schoolteachers, Luba Fedorkiw and Orysya Petryshyn, are making sure the whole country remembers this tragedy. By developing bookmarks on lighting candles of promise around the world, they created a call to action that the horrors of the past would never be repeated.
    However, this very weekend, as we remembered the victims of the Holodomor, the Kremlin violated international law again by attacking and seizing three Ukrainian naval ships. As we commemorate the Holodomor, let us not forget that Vladimir Putin continues to repeat history by violating Ukraine's territorial integrity, destroying Ukrainian lives and threatening their freedom.

Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs

    Mr. Speaker, today the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs visits Parliament Hill. I want to thank all of the brave men and women who continue to risk their own health and safety to protect communities across this great country. Representing over 3,500 fire departments across Canada, its mission is to connect Canada's provincial, territorial and allied associations along with external stakeholders to advance public and firefighter safety.
    Firefighters and fire chiefs are both members of our communities and crucial to our safety. I urge all members of this House to meet with representatives from the association here in Ottawa to learn more about the important work they are undertaking to improve mental health support for firefighters, align building codes with response time and continue to lead the way in fire safety and innovation.
    On behalf of all members, we welcome fire chiefs from across the country to Parliament Hill, and thank them again for their service.

White Ribbon Campaign

    Mr. Speaker, the White Ribbon campaign, of which Jack Layton was a founding member, began in 1991 and is recognized in November every year. A global movement dedicated to ending male violence against women and girls, it works alongside organizations such as Positive VOICE and Anova in my community of London, Ontario.
    Today, women face gender-based violence, military sexual trauma, the forced sterilization of indigenous and vulnerable women, the lack of shelter space funding, affordable housing and child care. I would like to acknowledge the work of progressive men and boys in support of these causes, men who wear the white ribbon. Women matter, their safety matters and we must end violence against women and girls.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, when the finance minister was asked this weekend what it would take for the Liberals to finally do something to help the Alberta energy sector, he responded and said the Liberals would only help once there was a consensus from Alberta.
     There is a consensus. There is a consensus that opposes the Prime Minister's plan to phase out the oil sands. There is a consensus that opposes the Liberals' unilateral decision to impose a northern tanker ban. There is a consensus that export pipelines to new markets must be built and that the Liberals are wrong to kill the northern gateway, the west to east and the Trans Mountain pipelines. There is a consensus from leaders of all political stripes who are opposed to the Liberals' “no new pipeline” law, Bill C-69, which will ensure that no new pipeline will be built in Canada.
     There is a consensus. The minister is just not listening.

  (1415)  

Violence Against Women

    Mr. Speaker, November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, as well as the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. From now until December 10, people can use the hashtags #MYActionsMatter or #MESGestesComptent to share their messages of support and solidarity.
    This year, Status of Women Canada again partnered with the Canadian Football League, as well as the United Steelworkers and the Ending Violence Association of Canada on a campaign to end violence. “Call It Out”, the campaign challenging us all to be more than a bystander to end gender-based violence, was featured during this year's CFL playoffs and the 106th Grey Cup.
    Everyone has a role to play to in ending gender-based violence. When we work together, we can help change the attitudes that contribute to it.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, with the news of a pending GM closure, it is a very sad day for Oshawa, for Durham and for all of Ontario. The men and women who work at GM Oshawa are some of the hardest-working and best-trained workers in the industry globally. We believe there is a future for manufacturing in Canada if we all work together and fight for it. What is the Prime Minister's plan to fight for these jobs in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, we are disappointed by GM's decision regarding its plant in Oshawa as part of its global restructuring. Our thoughts are with those people whose jobs will be affected and their families. We understand today's news will have a significant impact on the whole community as well as the network of suppliers who support all the plants impacted by GM's announcement. Our government will always stand with our auto workers and do everything we can to support them in these difficult times.
    Order. The hon. member for Calgary Signal Hill has already commented quite a few times after only one question. I would ask him to remember the rule against interrupting. We may not like what we hear here, but we have to listen, regardless. That is required.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, the families in Oshawa need to hear that the Prime Minister has not already given up on a century of the auto industry in our community. We have the best workforce supported by suppliers across Ontario, and it ensures that we remain one of the best jurisdictions ready to build cars. We cannot abandon this competitive advantage. We need to work on trade and regulatory barriers. Will the Prime Minister work with us on a plan to save these jobs in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, last night I spoke with the CEO and chair of GM, Mary Barra, to tell her how disappointed we are with this decision, and this morning spoke with Premier Ford to talk about how we are going to work together to support the workers in Oshawa and across the region who are going to be affected by this decision. We will be working together on this one in a way that is not political because we know that being there to support the workers in this region is what people expect of all of their orders of government.
    Mr. Speaker, it is well known that steel and aluminum tariffs are impacting manufacturers across Ontario, including those in the auto industry, and now Canada's retaliatory tariffs are raising prices and leading to layoffs. Can the Prime Minister tell this House if General Motors spoke to his government about trade and tariff concerns impacting competitiveness in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I highlight that General Motors, like many auto companies and many industries across Canada and across the United States, were partners with us in negotiating the new NAFTA deal, in holding the trade between Canada and the United States as firm and as protected as we possibly could.
    We also recognize that there is more work to do to eliminate the steel and aluminum tariffs that are so unjustly imposed. That is why we continue to stand with the workers in the steel and aluminum industry and indeed in other industries as we move forward to keep them safe.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, when a plant closes, it hurts. It hurts even more when that plant has been the lifeblood of a region and a mainstay of the Canadian economy for over 100 years.
    Today, more than 2,500 GM workers in Oshawa and their families found out that they will have one more year of work at most. These workers are the best in the industry. It is in their blood. We stand by them during this difficult time.
    Is the Prime Minister prepared to join us and fight to save these jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, we are disappointed by GM's decision regarding its plant in Oshawa as part of its global restructuring. Our thoughts are with those affected by this decision and their families.
    We understand today's news will have a significant impact on the whole community as well as the network of suppliers who support all the plants impacted by GM's announcement.
    Our government will always stand with our auto workers and do everything we can to support them in these difficult times.

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, GM's announcement that it will be shutting down its plant in Oshawa in 2019 is terrible for workers and their families, and it is terrible for the Canadian economy as a whole.
    Today, workers want to know whether their elected officials are prepared to fight for the future of Canada's automotive sector. We cannot give up today. That would be an even worse message for the tens of thousands of Canadian automotive jobs.
    How does the Prime Minister plan to keep the Oshawa plant open and save the jobs of thousands of Canadians who have worked hard for years to be the best in the business?
    Mr. Speaker, our thoughts are obviously with the GM workers and their families.
    I spoke to Premier Ford this morning, and we agreed to work together to help these workers.
    Our automotive sector remains strong. This sector is uniquely positioned to design and build the cars of today and tomorrow, and our highly skilled workers are its lifeblood.
    Canada and our automotive workers are at the forefront of developing innovative, interconnected, clean technologies that will be the future of this industry. We will always support workers.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last week, Liberals gave corporations like General Motors $14 billion in various tax measures, supposedly because this would keep jobs in Canada, but today, while GM shareholders got a bump of 7%, more than—

[Translation]

    Order. There seems to be a problem with the interpretation.
    It is working now.
    The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques can repeat his question.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last week, Liberals gave corporations like General Motors $14 billion in various tax measures, supposedly because this would keep jobs in Canada, but today, while GM shareholders got a bump of 7%, more than 2,500 Canadian workers will lose their jobs and their livelihoods. We cannot afford billions of dollars in tax giveaways to these large companies when those same companies are pulling up stakes and leaving people out of work.
    The Prime Minister has expressed his disappointment, but what concrete actions is he planning to take for these workers and their families?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously our hearts go out to the workers in the region affected and we are going to be working with the Government of Ontario to ensure that we are supporting those workers.
    Our support for the auto sector is a key part of our plan to create opportunities for Canadians. From day one we have taken steps to make Canada's automotive manufacturing sector more globally competitive and innovative. We have announced over $5.6 billion in automotive sector investments in Canadian operations, creating and maintaining tens of thousands of good, middle-class automotive jobs.
    As we look to the future, we are developing a plan that will focus on new initiatives—
    The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

[Translation]

Canada Post

    Mr. Speaker, on another matter, the Prime Minister claims to be a feminist and a progressive, but does he know that in 1981, there was a general postal strike that lasted 41 days without any government intervention?
    Does he know that after those 41 days, the parties reached an agreement, and that it was the first time in the history of the federal public service that a collective agreement included maternity leave provisions?
    That is what can be achieved with free collective bargaining.
    Does the Prime Minister really believe today, in the House, that the union could have chalked up such an historic win if the government of the day had imposed a special law like the one it is ramming down workers' throats today?
    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we have faith in the collective bargaining process and believe that the best deals are reached at the table.
    For nearly a year, we have done everything in our power to encourage the two parties to negotiate an agreement. We reappointed the special mediator to work with the parties over the next two days.
    We continue to encourage both sides to reach a deal. Tabling legislation is not a decision that we have taken lightly
    Mr. Speaker, in 2011, when the Conservatives forced Canada Post employees back to work, the Liberals were outraged.
    Now they are the ones imposing special legislation. We know that postal workers are dealing with pay inequity, injuries and unpaid overtime.
    How can the Liberals, in good conscience, claim to be friends of the workers while imposing legislation that forces Canada Post employees to go back to work under the same conditions?

  (1425)  

    Mr. Speaker, we have been working with the unions for three years to transform their relationship with the government, which was broken by the former Conservative government.
    We have always encouraged discussion at the negotiating table and have always worked respectfully with the unions. However, there obviously comes a time when we have to make difficult decisions.
    Tabling this bill was a difficult decision but one we had to make to protect Canada's economy and people, and for the good of our country.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, Bill C-89 will force postal workers back into the toxic workplace they have been working to improve for over a year. Increased risks of workplace injury, forced overtime, stress and mental health issues, and pay inequity are the real crises people are facing that need to be addressed. Ignoring them comes at a human and financial cost to the workers.
    Why are the Liberals so determined to force the workers back knowing that they will be injured on the job? How can they not be ashamed of this?
    Mr. Speaker, we have faith in the collective bargaining process and believe that the best deals are reached at the table. For nearly a year, we have been supporting and encouraging both sides to reach a negotiated agreement. We provided conciliation officers, appointed mediators and offered voluntary arbitration. We continue to encourage both sides to reach a deal. Legislation is a step we did not take lightly.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, like thousands of General Motors employees and pensioners, we stand stunned at the news of the plant closure in Oshawa. This decision will wipe out a billion dollars in GDP and will ripple throughout the supply chain, putting tens of thousands of jobs at risk.
    For a century, GM workers have contributed to the economy of southern Ontario and have bettered their community as coaches, volunteer firefighters and neighbourhood volunteers. We are not ready to give up. What is the Prime Minister's plan to protect the future of the auto industry in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to echo that I share the sentiments raised by the member opposite. This is absolutely devastating news for Oshawa and the surrounding region. This has a significant impact on the workers and their families. We as a government recognize that. I started my career in an automotive company and I understand how important these jobs are to the local community.
    We have taken every step possible in the short term to reach out with the union, to speak with Jerry Dias, and to reach out and speak with the province. The Prime Minister has spoken with the premier, and we will continue to work with others to make sure we continue to defend auto workers and the auto sector.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a difficult time in Oshawa today. Our thoughts are with the GM workers and their families. Oshawa is devastated.
    The Prime Minister needs to put a plan in place immediately. Full effort should be made to support Canadian workers and their families at this very difficult time. When will the Prime Minister release a plan for the auto workers in Oshawa?
    Mr. Speaker, obviously, this is a very difficult time for the workers and for their families as well. This is very difficult for the local community. I spoke with the local mayor, Mayor Henry, to talk about what this means to the community and to say very clearly we are there to support the community, to support the workers and to support the automotive sector.
    This has been a priority for our government. Since we formed government in 2015, we have seen 5.6 billion dollars' worth of investments in the automotive sector. We will continue to work with the community in Oshawa and the surrounding regions to make sure they have a path forward.

Manufacturing Industry

    Mr. Speaker, it is not just the GM plant in Oshawa that has closed under the Prime Minister's watch. General Electric in Peterborough closed, with 358 jobs gone. Campbell soup company in Toronto closed, with 380 jobs gone. Procter & Gamble in Brockville closed, with 500 jobs gone.
    Does the Prime Minister recognize that there is a crisis and we need a plan to stop more job losses?
    Mr. Speaker, again, we understand how difficult this is for the workers not only in Oshawa, but the suppliers that are impacted in so many of the communities within the surrounding region as well. That is why in the fall economic update by the Minister of Finance we put forward measures to clearly demonstrate a plan to build on our previous budget submission around innovation and skills. We are making sure we are bringing in more investments through changes to our tax code and tax policy. These are measures that really help the Canadian economy. We have seen tremendous growth in the economy, 3% in GDP, and 500,000 jobs have been created, but we have more to do, and we endeavour to do more.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, Grenville Castings in Perth closed, with 380 jobs gone. A Dixie cup plant in Brampton closed, with 133 jobs gone. An Oreo cookie plant in Montreal closed, with 454 jobs gone. A carpet manufacturing plant in Waterloo closed, with 256 jobs gone.
    This is a crisis. Where is our Prime Minister's plan to stop more of these job losses?
    Mr. Speaker, we have a record low unemployment rate, the lowest in the last 40 years. We have seen tremendous job growth overall take place in the economy. Clearly, there are regions and communities that are going through difficult challenges.
    Today, GM announced significant job losses in Oshawa. We understand how difficult this is for the workers and their families. That is why we reached out to the local leadership there and the union. That is why we reached out to the local mayor. We also engaged the province.
    We will continue to work with the community and make sure we help them going forward, and continue to defend auto workers and the auto sector.

Carbon Pricing

    Mr. Speaker, when I asked the government why it was exempting large industrial corporations from its carbon tax, the reason it gave was that if the tax applied, many of those companies would leave and the jobs would go with them. They were right about that. Now we have a crisis of layoffs in the energy sector and now the auto sector.
    If the government will not agree with us to scrap the carbon tax altogether, will it at least agree to put it on hold while we figure out what to do about this terrible jobs crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, since we formed government in 2015, and let us talk about the automotive sector, we have used the automotive innovation fund, and ultimately we changed it to the strategic innovation fund, a $2-billion fund that has helped bring forward many investments in Canada specifically in the automotive sector.
    The 37 projects that we have put forward have leveraged $4.1 billion of investment in the automotive sector. Overall, the sector has contributed $5.6 billion since 2015. This has helped create and maintain thousands of jobs. We will continue to work hard to make sure we protect these jobs.
    Mr. Speaker, nobody is saying that the government is not spending enough money. It is spending money everywhere. The deficit is three times what the Liberals promised.
    However, the carbon tax will make it more expensive for businesses to operate, to heat their plants, to power their machinery and to transfer their goods. These are costs that other countries do not face, because they do not have a carbon tax.
     The government admits that carbon taxes drive jobs out of the country. With that admission, why does it not agree to put this tax on hold until we can figure out what to do about this crisis?
    Mr. Speaker, let us talk about some investments in jobs with regard to the strategic innovation fund. This is a fund that we also announced additional funding for in the fall economic update. This is a $2-billion fund.
    Advantech Wireless, 95 jobs; Blue Solutions, 246 jobs; CAE, 4,300 jobs; ENCQOR, 4,000 jobs; General Fusion, 170 jobs; Linamar, 9,500 jobs: These are clear examples of a government being a meaningful partner to help create conditions for more jobs in the Canadian economy.

[Translation]

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, the closure of the GM plant in Oshawa is devastating news for workers. For every direct job at this plant, there are around seven indirect jobs essential to the local economy. More than 5,000 Canadian families could be affected by these layoffs. The NDP was right in calling for a national automotive strategy. GM is making a green shift, but our automotive sector has clearly not adapted.
    Why is the government ignoring the future of the automotive sector?
    Where are the real measures to modernize the industry and keep good jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed in today's announcement by GM. My thoughts are with the workers, their families and their communities affected by this announcement. This decision is apparently part of GM's comprehensive plan and will affect operations and workers in the United States, Europe and elsewhere. This is terrible news, and I feel for the workers and their families.

  (1435)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last week the Liberals gave companies like General Motors $14 billion in tax giveaways, saying it would protect jobs here in Canada. Less than five days later, GM announced its plan to close its Oshawa plant, shattering the lives of more than 5,000 families with the ripple effect. This is devastating for these Canadians who have kids in school and mortgages. The Liberals must step in and do whatever it takes to protect these jobs.
     Will the Liberal government invest in hybrid and electric car manufacturing as part of a national auto strategy? What is the government's plan to save these jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, again, we know this is a very difficult time for the workers in Oshawa and in the surrounding region as well. They have been told that these jobs are being eliminated. That is why we are going to work with the local municipal leadership, the province and the unions to put forward a plan to really assist these workers as they are going through this transition.
    In the meantime, we have put measures in place that have secured additional jobs, particularly in the automotive sector. Some 5.6 billion dollars' worth of investments have been made in the automotive sector since 2015, largely due to our measures around the strategic innovation fund. We will continue to support the auto workers.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, for over a week now, 10 days to be exact, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie have been playing partisan games with the official languages file solely for political gain. That, unfortunately, is not the right way to approach minority official language communities across the country, especially not Franco-Ontarians at this time, I would say. The government needs to adjust its attitude and start looking at solutions, because there are definitely solutions to be found.
    My question for the Minister of Tourism, Official Languages and La Francophonie is this: how is she planning to provide meaningful support to the Franco-Ontarian community as a whole?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives.
    The fact is that we have invested $2.7 billion in official languages, which is the largest investment in history, and $500 million of that is new money.
    Last week, I announced the court challenges program, which is crucial to defending language rights in Canada but was abolished by the Harper government. The program will be very useful to all francophones who want to defend their rights against injustices perpetrated by the Ontario Conservatives.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unbelievable to see the Minister of Official Languages playing petty partisan politics by saying that the Conservatives ended that program. The program was suspended in March 2017 and it took the government 20 months to reactivate it.
    The Canada Infrastructure Bank was created two years ago and people are unable to get service in French, so perhaps she should stop trying to lecture everyone.
    The question we are asking is simple. Franco-Ontarians are looking for more than just words. They want real action.
    What does the minister actually intend to do to provide them with immediate support?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to place the question in context.
    Why are Franco-Ontarians calling for the Ford government to take action? It is because the Ford government first created an injustice.
    The reality is that the opposition leader is the only leader in the country who has still not spoken out against what happened in Ontario. The reality is that francophones—Franco-Ontarians, Acadians and Quebeckers—living in English Canada have formed a united front. All of these people want the opposition leader to recognize the current injustice against Franco-Ontarians.
    The Prime Minister said that he has spoken with the Premier of Ontario about this critical situation GM employees find themselves in.
    After playing partisan games on the backs of Franco-Ontarians for a week, did he at least address this language issue with the Premier of Ontario?
    Mr. Speaker, I did indeed raise that issue. I was very clear about my support for francophone minority communities. I will continue to actively defend them, unlike the leader of the opposition.

  (1440)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to see that we all want to defend Franco-Ontarians.
    The partisan games on the backs of Franco-Ontarians have to stop here and now. This morning, the leader of the official opposition sent a letter to the Prime Minister requesting an urgent meeting to talk about this file.
    Will the Prime Minister accept the opposition leader's help or not?
    Mr. Speaker, 11 days have passed since that dark Thursday and the opposition leader seems to finally be showing some interest in the issue.
    I want all francophones in Canada to know, whether they are Franco-Ontarians, Quebeckers, Acadians, Fransaskois, francophiles, or official languages allies, that they can count on our government. We will be there to defend their rights.

Pharmacare

    Mr. Speaker, last week's economic update clearly demonstrates this government's priorities. It offers tax credits to large corporations while, every year, nearly 1 million Canadians struggle to pay for their prescription drugs, which are costing more and more. This is unacceptable, especially given that the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report shows that a universal pharmacare program would actually save a lot of money.
    When will the government take meaningful action for families, seniors and businesses and create a universal pharmacare program?
     Mr. Speaker, Canadians are proud of their public health care system, which is based on people's needs and not on their ability to pay. We recognize, however, that we can do better. That is why we have created an advisory council on the implementation of national pharmacare. I look forward to receiving the council's recommendations in the spring of 2019.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the Liberals gave $14 billion in tax breaks to rich corporations and left families struggling to make ends meet. Now Canadians and Canadian businesses are continuing to spend billions on medication for themselves or their employees. A universal single payer pharmacare system would save Canadians and small businesses billions of dollars, but the Liberals chose to invest in the 1% instead of helping those in need.
    Will the Liberals help people by implementing a universal single-payer pharmacare system or will they keep giving handouts to the richest corporations?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians are proud of their publicly funded health care system, one that is based on need and not on their ability to pay. However, we also recognize that we can do better.
    Canadians should not have to choose between paying for medication or putting food on the table. That is why, in budget 2018, I was proud that we launched the Advisory Council on the Implementation of a National Pharmacare program. The committee has been having a national dialogue with Canadians and I look forward to receiving their report in the spring of 2019.

Pensions

    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes the many contributions that seniors have made to this country. Seniors have worked their entire lives and have added so much to our communities and economy and should be able to retire with security and dignity.
     Could the Minister of Seniors please update the House on the steps our government is taking to tackle the important issue of pension security?
    Mr. Speaker, pension security is important to our government and that is why I was very pleased last week to have announced with the minister of innovation that we have taken the next step on consultations and have opened up our consultations nationally.
    Our government wants a balanced and evidence-based solution to this problem. We do not want a band-aid solution that has unintended consequences for our pensioners, and that is why these consultations are so important. I encourage all those who wish to offer input to do so. We know this is a decades-old problem and we are going to get this right.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, documents submitted in the Vice-Admiral Norman case are revealing discrepancies of deep concern. In October, the President of the Treasury Board stood in the House and claimed he was just doing his job when he politically interfered in the supply ship contract. However, in 2016, in an interview with the RCMP, the minister said that was not his role.
    Which is it? Is the President of the Treasury Board misleading the RCMP or Canadians?

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, as we have explained in the House many times in the past, this matter presently before the courts. The courts are adjudicating on all of the facts. They will determine those facts according to law, and make a decision in due course. That is where the case is tried, in court, not in the House of Commons.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, that is the answer we were expecting, but the fact is that the documents have been made public. We know that the President of the Treasury Board received a letter from Irving that was addressed to the Minister of National Defence and the then minister of public works. We want to know why the President of the Treasury Board told us that it was not his problem and then said that the RCMP was looking into it.
    Who is he trying to mislead, the RCMP or the House?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the facts of the case will be determined by the judge in the trial. That is where our system works.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal member of Parliament for Brampton East resigned last week citing personal reasons, but over the weekend the PMO's official story has changed several times. Every time it has changed, the details have become more concerning. It was finally revealed that the RCMP is investigating.
    Can the Prime Minister confirm that his office has waived privilege and is assisting the RCMP in their investigation?
    Mr. Speaker, as was mentioned, last week the member told us that he is undergoing certain challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional. We hope he receives the support he needs.
    Mr. Speaker, Vice-Admiral Norman's defence team say court documents ordered released Friday reveal contradictions between statements made by the President of the Treasury Board and other witnesses, including fellow ministers. Admiral Norman's lawyer points to the RCMP witness list, arguing it indicates the investigation has been politicized.
     We also know the RCMP has been investigating the source of gambling funds spent by the member for Brampton East, who resigned Thursday.
    Could the Prime Minister tell us just how many other Liberals are being investigated by the RCMP?
    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the Norman case, the hon. gentleman makes certain allegations. There are of course procedures in our country for handling such allegations; they are called the court system. Charges have been laid. The defence has the opportunity to make a full response. All the facts will be reviewed and exposed in court. In due course, the court will take a decision. That is how our justice system works.

[Translation]

Official Languages

    Mr. Speaker, the federal and provincial official languages ministers passed the buck all weekend for the protection of French in Ontario. However, they are both responsible for supporting the francophone community and Franco-Ontarians.
    Francophones need more than two ministers who are not doing their job. The federal minister and the Prime Minister must protect francophones living in Ontario and the rest of Canada.
    There is a simple solution. Will the Prime Minister request an urgent meeting with the Premier of Ontario and commit to contributing his fair share to a French-language university in Ontario?
    Mr. Speaker, it goes without saying that we will always work with the provinces and territories that want to invest in our official languages and Canada's Francophonie. We will always take a collaborative approach.
    However, the reality is that the unjust situation in Ontario needs to be condemned. We have done that. The NDP has done that. The Bloc Québécois has done that. There is one party in the House that has not, and I hope that it will finally wake up and do so, because it is time for the Conservatives to speak up.

[English]

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, for months worrisome allegations were being raised about the conduct of the Liberal MP for Brampton East. The Prime Minister issued a statement citing that were serious personal challenges, significant gambling debts, and potential and serious conflicts of interest. Now an investigation by our own Ethics Commissioner, as well as an investigation by the RCMP and FINTRAC, raises even more serious questions.
    Canadians want to know the answer to one very important question from the Prime Minister, and only he is fit to answer it. When did the Prime Minister first know of these serious allegations and what did he do about them?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, as has clearly been stated, it was last week that the member told us that he was undergoing certain challenges and that he is receiving treatment from a health professional. We really do hope that he receives the support and assistance he needs.

Government Spending

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend we learned that the Liberals spent $500,000 to develop a marketing plan for the federal government's rural poverty reduction initiative. I am not just making this up: $500,000 would go a long way to help save lives and protect the vulnerable in the developing world. Instead, the Liberals thought a marketing plan was a better way to spend this money. The Liberals' should be ashamed of themselves.
    How can the minister justify this outrageous cost?
    Mr. Speaker, our government takes the use of taxpayers' money very seriously. The minister spoke directly to the managing director of FinDev Canada this morning to express his concern. As a brand new institution, some start-up costs are expected, but the amount funded in this case is clearly excessive. The rules and standards also apply to Crown corporations, like FinDev Canada.
    We count on Crown corporation leaders to ensure responsible management of public funds.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government continues to spend, spend, spend. This morning, we learned that a federal agency created to address poverty is spending $500,000 on a name, logo and branding.
    What does this government have to say to the poor Canadians who did not even have enough money for breakfast this morning? The Liberals have both hands in the cookie jar.
    When will the Liberal government keep its promises instead of spending money on its image?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as I have said, FinDev Canada is one of our new international aid financing tools designed to raise private capital and generate investment in developing countries. Ultimately, FinDev Canada will generate investments that will have a real impact on the poorest and the most vulnerable, including women and girls, around the world. As a brand new institution, some start-up costs are expected but the amount spent in this case is clearly excessive.
    We count on Crown corporation leaders to ensure responsible management of public funds.

Foreign Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, this weekend, Russia violated international law again by attacking and seizing three Ukrainian ships. Russia continues to escalate tensions in the region by invading Ukraine, launching multiple cyber-attacks and threatening free and fair elections around the world.
    The government needs to realize that Putin is provoked by weakness and we must make Ukraine stronger. Will the Liberals finally give Ukraine the lethal weapons it needs and sanction all the Russian crooks for violating our international peace, safety and security?
    Mr. Speaker, let me very clear. Canada strongly condemns Russian aggression toward Ukraine in the Kerch Strait and we call on Russia to immediately release the captured Ukrainian crew and vessels.
    I spoke on the phone late last night with Ukraine's foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin, and assured him of Canada's strong support. I have been directly in touch with Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary of the U.K., and Federica Mogherini, the high representative of the European Union. We are working closely with our allies. We strongly support Operation Unifier and we are in close touch with Ukrainians.

Automotive Industry

    Mr. Speaker, in my town of Whitby and Oshawa and the Durham Region as a whole, there are many who are feeling the effect of today's announcement by GM. The auto workers and families that live in the region are a critical part of our community and economy. They are friends and neighbours and I want to assure them that we are here for them during this very difficult time.
    Could the minister please share with the House what our government will be doing to help the workers and their families impacted by GM's decision today?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my colleague from Whitby for her advocacy and her hard work in really defending her community and defending the automotive sector. As she has highlighted, this is devastating news. This is very difficult for the community, and of course our hearts go out to the workers as well.
    We have been very clear that we are going to defend the automotive sector. We have put measures in place to do so, the strategic innovation fund is one such example. We are going to work with the province and the unions on a path forward to make sure we defend the automotive sector and the automotive workers.

  (1455)  

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have admitted, on multiple occasions, that Russia interfered in the last federal election, but they have refused to give any details to Canadians. Canadian elections belong to Canadians and we have a right to know how our elections have been influenced by foreign entities.
     However, instead of being transparent and open, the Liberals refuse to say how the Russians manipulated the last election. Why will the Prime Minister not come clean with Canadians and take foreign influence in our elections seriously?
    Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague knows, we absolutely do not support foreign interference in our elections at all. This is something on which all colleagues in the House should get together to ensure we are not politicizing this issue.
     In fact, Bill C-76 has important measures in place to ensure that we are not enabling foreign funding in any event in advertising for our elections and that we are protecting the integrity of our elections. This is something that is above partisanship and we are working hard with all our national security agencies to ensure that—
    The hon. member for Trois-Rivières.

[Translation]

Pyrrhotite

    Mr. Speaker, over two months ago, I asked the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development to announce a scientific study, a solution everyone has known about for ages, to help pyrrhotite victims caught in the grey area. His office later told me that a research protocol would be signed with Université Laval very soon. However, it is now two months later, and still nothing.
    Can the minister give us an update today on when this agreement will be signed and how long this widely anticipated study will take?
    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his question.
    Our government recognizes the importance of standardizing regulations regarding the design and construction of new buildings in Canada.
    The National Research Council Canada, in partnership with Université Laval, is leading a Canada-wide research project. This collaboration will help researchers determine the acceptable limits for sulphide in Canadian concrete.
    We will be announcing something soon.

[English]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, Sunday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. November 25 also marked the beginning of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

[Translation]

    Statistics show that women and girls are more likely to suffer many forms of gender-based violence than men and boys. For example, we know that every six days, one woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner.

[English]

    Could the Minister of Status of Women give us ideas of ways we can all get involved in the effort to end gender-based violence once and for all?
    Mr. Speaker, thanks to the courage of silence breakers, we now understand more than ever that gender-based violence hurts families, individuals and it scars for life. It also costs our economy $12 billion a year, which is what domestic violence alone costs our Canadian communities.
    Our government has introduced over $200 million in investments to address and prevent gender-based violence. We kicked off 16 days of activism in partnership with the CFL to show that men are part of the solution. Over the next few days, we will be announcing investments on addressing campus violence and also ensuring that communities are supported through—
    The hon. member for Lévis—Lotbinière.

[Translation]

Infrastructure

    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government's action regarding the third link project has been feeble, if not non-existent.
    The member for Louis-Hébert and the member for Québec are not making any effort to stand up for regional issues and are not siding with the majority of the population. The third link will foster unprecedented economic development in the greater Quebec City area.
    When will the Liberal government show some leadership and support the forward-looking project to build a third link between Lévis and Quebec City?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for Lévis—Lotbinière for showing the House his talent for drama. However, the real leadership is on this side of the House.
    Last week, in consultation with the member for Louis-Hébert and the member for Québec, I actually met with Mayor Labeaume, and we talked about the $287 million we have invested in infrastructure projects in Quebec City.
    We will continue to invest in infrastructure and in public transit. Once a project is brought forward for Quebec City's third link, we will take a close look at it.

  (1500)  

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, there is no green shift in the government's economic update. Once again, it is subsidizing big oil instead of developing green transportation.
    That is not surprising. According to Oil Change International, over the past five years, Ottawa has spent $62 billion on fossil fuels, compared to $5 billion on clean energy. It kind of feels like the Conservatives are still in power.
    When will the federal government stop wasting Quebeckers' money on businesses that are speeding up climate change?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, with respect to the fall economic statement, it included specific measures to encourage manufacturers to invest in clean equipment, among other things.
     I would never compare our record in shame to the Conservatives, who after 10 years only were able to achieve a reduction in emissions by shrinking the economy. We are investing in public transit. We are putting a price on pollution. We are investing in a clean economy.
     I could not be more proud to be part of this government, because we are finally taking the environment seriously while we grow the economy at the same time.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, we cannot base our economy on fossil fuels. The government does not seem to get that.
    If the government does not go green, we will be headed for disaster and our young people will pay the price. That is why a youth environmental organization called ENvironnement JEUnesse brought a class action against Ottawa today. They say the government is breaking its climate change promises. That is what it has come to: our young people are so worried about their future that they are suing the federal government.
    Do our young people really have to take the government to court to drive home the point that it has to stop subsidizing big oil?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Repentigny.
    I would like to remind her about our historic infrastructure investments worth over $180 billion over the next decade. That includes major investments of close to $30 billion in public transit and almost $27 billion in green infrastructure.
    We on this side of the House understand that Canadians want modern, resilient, green 21st-century infrastructure, and that is what we are going to deliver for Canadians across the country.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my question for the Prime Minister is this.
     On Sunday, December 2, the 24th Conference of the Parties on the climate convention will convene in Poland. The report of the IPCC on the imperative that the planet hold to 1.5°C and not above it in global average temperature is on that agenda.
     Will Canada commit to improving our plan, such that we are on a pathway to 1.5°C, and help lead the world there?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her dedication and passion on the environmental file.
    Let us face the facts. Climate change is real. Climate change is man made. We must act to fight it. That is why we are working hard to meet our 2030 targets, knowing there will be more work to do after that.
    After a decade of international abandonment on the environmental file under the Conservatives, Canada has returned as a leader at COP. We will continue to tackle climate change both at home and abroad.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Richmond—Arthabaska on a point of order.

French Language Services in Ontario

    Mr. Speaker, given what is currently happening in Ontario with the French-language university and the protection of official language minority communities, I seek the unanimous consent of the House to move the following motion:
     That the House call on the Prime Minister and the Minister of Official Languages to use their authority within their areas of jurisdiction to develop a plan whereby the federal government will work in partnership with the Government of Ontario on all projects that support the vitality of French-language services in Ontario, and that the plan be tabled no later than December 1, 2018.
    Does the hon. member have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Speaker: The House has heard the terms of the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

    (Motion agreed to)

    The Speaker: The hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands on a point of order.

  (1505)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, as you have directed us on numerous occasions, it offends Standing Order 16 in several places when hon. members interrupt someone who is speaking.
    I wonder if you could direct us on the question that strikes me. Quite often you will chastise someone you have heard interrupt. Down here we do not hear members interrupt, because the noises, while rude, are isolated. It seems there is a new practice of organized, loud laughter, which is actually so loud that it interrupts my ability to hear members across the way.
    I wonder if loud laughter when someone else is speaking, organized by the party whip, could be seen as a violation of our standing rules.
    I thank the hon. member for Saanich—Gulf Islands. I appreciate her concern about this issue of decorum in the House.
    I do not know if the Chair would be able to detect whether something of the nature she is describing were organized. I would simply ask members to restrain themselves and listen to other points of view, and when others have the floor, to not interrupt.

[Translation]

    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix on a point of order.
    Mr. Speaker, for over a week now, the Minister of La Francophonie has been playing petty politics at the expense of Ontarians by attacking us, the members on this side of the House.
    I have plenty of evidence to prove that she misled the House by saying that my leader has done nothing. He wrote a letter today, and we requested a positive response, which we have not yet received.
    If the minister does not want to explain herself to the House, she should join me outside. I have plenty of evidence against her.
    I thank the hon. member, but that sounds like debate. Perhaps the hon. members could continue that debate in the media or elsewhere.

Routine Proceedings

[Routine Proceedings]

[English]

Government Response to Petitions

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

Committees of the House

Fisheries and Oceans  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 17th report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, entitled “Supplementary Estimates (A), 2018-19: Votes 1a, 5a and 10a under Department of Fisheries and Oceans”.

[Translation]

Procedure and House Affairs  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 78th report of the Standing Committee on Procedure and House Affairs. The committee advises that, pursuant to Standing Order 91.1(2), the Subcommittee on Private Members' Business met to consider the items added to the order of precedence on Thursday, November 1, 2018, and recommended that the items listed herein, which it has determined should not be designated non-votable, be considered by the House.

[English]

Health  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the 20th report of the Standing Committee on Health, entitled “Towards Open Science: Promoting Innovation in Pharmaceutical Research and Development and Access to Affordable Medications both in Canada and Abroad”. Pursuant to Standing Order 109, the committee requests that the government table a comprehensive response to this report. Basically, the report encourages funding investments in clinical research and innovation and also wants to ensure that the research results in lower costs for pharmaceuticals.
    I want to thank all members of the committee, who worked hard on this, as well as the analysts and the clerk of the committee, who produced a wonderful report.

  (1510)  

Petitions

Firearms  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition signed by Canadians from several ridings, including Newmarket—Aurora, Mississauga—Lakeshore and Mississauga Centre. They call on the House of Commons to respect the rights of law-abiding firearms owners and to reject the Prime Minister's plan to waste taxpayers' money studying a ban on guns, which are already banned.

Pensions  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition signed by some 200 people from Smithers and Telkwa and Babine Lake describing their frustration and concern over Bill C-27, which is a pension bill the government introduced at one point but that we have not seen for some time.
    Their concern is about moving the defined benefit plans people have been paying into for, in some cases, their entire working lives out to targeted benefit plans, which, of course, is a great reduction in their pensions. Many of these petitioners are not public servants but are supporting public servants and others who have paid into these pension plans with the clear expectation that the law would be followed. They reject Bill C-27 and hope the government continues to ignore its existence.

International Development  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present this petition to the House, which has accumulated 89 signatures. The petitioners would like to see an increase in Canada's international aid contributions and want to see more concrete action taken to support girls and women living in poverty.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to present this petition signed by many residents of Ontario on the subject of international organ harvesting without consent. The petitioners call on the government to pass both Bill C-350 and Bill S-240.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise today to present a petition in support of postal banking from constituents in my riding. The petitioners state that whereas nearly two million Canadians desperately need an alternative to payday lenders, whose crippling lending rates affect the poor, the marginalized and rural and indigenous communities; whereas there are 3,800 Canada Post outlets that already exist in rural areas where there are fewer banks and credit unions; and whereas Canada Post already has the infrastructure to make a rapid transition to include postal banking, the petitioners call upon the Government of Canada to enact the member for London—Fanshawe's Motion No. 166 to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking under the Canada Post Corporation Act.

Canada Summer Jobs Initiative  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to rise to present a petition containing hundreds of signatures from residents of Ontario. These petitioners add their names to the thousands of Canadians calling on the Prime Minister to defend their freedom of conscience, thought and belief and withdraw the attestation values test on applications to the Canada summer jobs program. Despite receiving signatures from thousands of concerned Canadians over the past year, the government has yet to rectify this situation.

Public Transit  

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present a petition signed by 511 members of my riding that relates to the use of public transit by youth, students and the elderly and senior citizens. It is important to underscore the need for enhanced public transit. That is what they are calling for both to address environmental climate change and to ensure that people are better at getting to their places of work and school.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I am happy today to present a petition signed by dozens of Canadians from all across Canada regarding the scourge of forced organ harvesting.

Fisheries and Oceans  

    Mr. Speaker, I have two petitions to present today. The first one is from residents who are concerned about the effects climate change is having on the Cowichan River, and it is posing a threat to fish and fish habitat. With regard to first nations reconciliation, adapting to climate change and saving salmon, the residents call upon the Government of Canada to fund the raising of the weir in Cowichan Lake.

  (1515)  

The Environment  

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition comes from constituents who are concerned about the use of commercial freighter anchorages throughout the southern Gulf Islands, noting that the anchorages were designated without consideration of first nations rights and consultation. The use of anchorages has multiplied several-fold, and numerous vessels are anchored for extended periods. It is affecting the health and well-being of thousands of coastal residents and is damaging the coastal seabed. Therefore, the residents call upon the government to take all measures to possibly reduce and ultimately eliminate the use of commercial freighter anchorage sites throughout the southern Gulf Islands.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to table a petition by three dozen Canadians. It is specifically drawing the attention of the House to the practice of illegal organ trading. They are asking parliamentarians to support the penalties in Bill C-350 and Bill S-240.

Canada Post  

    Mr. Speaker, I have a petition in support of postal banking. Nearly two million Canadians are forced to use payday lenders. They are predators who charge crippling rates that affect poor, marginalized and indigenous communities the most. We have 3,800 Canada Post outlets across rural Canada, where there are few or no banks, and Canada Post has the ability to facilitate postal banking. The petitioners ask Parliament to create a committee to study and propose a plan for postal banking to benefit everyone.

Natural Resources  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to table four petitions. The first petition comes primarily from my constituency and calls on the government to support the expeditious construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline to ensure its completion.

Afghanistan Minority Communities   

    Mr. Speaker, the second petition deals with the persecution of Sikhs and Hindus in Afghanistan. It calls on the government to create a special program to facilitate the direct application of those facing that persecution in Afghanistan to be privately sponsored to come to Canada. It also calls on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to highlight the persecution of this community with her Afghan counterpart and to strongly advocate for more to be done to protect them.

Coptic Christians  

    Mr. Speaker, the third petition deals with another human rights issue, the challenges and the persecution faced by Coptic Christians in Egypt. It highlights instances of the abduction of Coptic women and concerns about forced conversions and forced marriages that sometimes follow in those cases. It calls on the Government of Canada to prioritize the principles of universal human rights and religious freedom and to engage with the Government of Egypt and with civil society on the issue of the challenges faced by Coptic Christians.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, the final petition deals with the private member's bill I am sponsoring, Bill S-240, which seeks to criminalize the practice of going abroad to get organs for which there has not been consent. The petitioners want Parliament to support the expeditious passage of the bill. We need to move forward with Bill S-240 as quickly as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, I, too, am presenting a petition signed by residents of Ontario in favour of Bill S-240 and also Bill C-350, which covers much of the same terrain. This is essentially about organ harvesting from people who do not want to have their organs removed from their bodies. This amounts, in essence, to the murder of one person in order to facilitate surgery to benefit another. Canada should not participate in this. When I chaired the Subcommittee on International Human Rights, all parties agreed that this is a barbaric practice that ought to be stopped. The petitioners, of course, agree with that conclusion.

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise once again to table a petition regarding a national framework for action to promote eye health and vision care. The petitioners indicate that in the next 20 years, it is expected that Canadians will be affected by vision loss to the tune of doubling what is happening right now. They ask the federal government to not only put in place a national framework for action to promote eye and health care but to also recognize this as a growing public health issue. The petitioners are from Bainsville, Harriston, Listowel, Palmerston, Atwood, Amherstburg, Lancaster, Martintown, Alexandria, Dunvegan, Maxville, Green Valley, Apple Hill, Glen Robertson, Fordwich, Milverton and Acton.

Human Organ Trafficking  

    Mr. Speaker, I am here to bring forward a petition from Brampton. These petitioners call on the government to pass Bill S-240, a private member's bill that would basically address the issue of Canadians and people from Canada travelling abroad to receive organs from people who have not consented to those organs being removed. This is a heinous act the petitioners are drawing attention to. We look forward to seeing the bill addressed in this House soon.

Vision Care  

    Mr. Speaker, vision loss is set to double over the next 20 years, and petitioners from Nanaimo and Ladysmith draw the House's attention to the fact that vision loss hits the most vulnerable, particularly youth, seniors and indigenous people. They urge that with better early detection and better access to health care services, preventable vision loss could be addressed by this Parliament. They call for recognition that vision care is a growing health care problem, and urge a reduction of vision impairment by acting proactively on eye health.

  (1520)  

Poverty  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to present a petition from residents of Saanich—Gulf Islands calling on the House to develop a national poverty strategy to ensure all Canadians have respect and dignity in their lives.

Questions on the Order Paper

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

Request for Emergency Debate

General Motors Plant Closure  

[S.O. 52]
    I have a notice of a request for an emergency debate on the same topic from three members, and I will hear from the three in the order I received the requests.
    The hon. member for Durham.
    Mr. Speaker, in accordance with Standing Order 52, I ask that we have an emergency debate on the situation in Oshawa, the Durham region and Ontario as a result of the announcement by GM today with respect to the planned closure of the operating facilities and assembly plant in Oshawa.
    Already we have heard that 2,500 jobs are at risk there. I would suggest that it is potentially even larger. A study a few years ago suggested 4,000 direct jobs would be at risk, and up 33,000 in southern Ontario from indirect impact on the supply chain network, which is tightly integrated in Ontario and the Great Lakes manufacturing region. There is a risk of a $1.1-billion hit on annual GDP to the country. For Ontario specifically, that study showed that after two years, there could be a drop of $5.2 billion to the GDP of Ontario as a result of closure of General Motors of Oshawa operations.
    There are many questions to ask with respect to why Oshawa was not considered part of GM's global competitive future. Historically, the productivity levels of the workers in Oshawa, who live throughout the Durham region, has been unparalleled. The flexibility the line offers there allows for multiple products, from trucks, which are hot selling now, through to sedans and others.
    What were the circumstances? This is going to impact thousands in Ontario. We have to explore what the tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the retaliatory tariffs, possibly had to do with this decision, as well as the economic conditions, and NAFTA, the free trade agreement, I would add.
    We saw a USMCA tabled, but we would not have free trade in Canada with our U.S. partners were it not for GM Oshawa, the epicentre of the auto industry that led to free trade in the Auto Pact between Canada and the U.S. in 1965. That is how fundamental autos have been. Since that time, Canadians in Oshawa, people from General Motors in the area, including my father when I was young, have produced cars, 85% of which were sold into the U.S.
    Trade, tariffs is fundamental here. We also have to look at the threat posed by President Trump with respect to 232 tariffs on the auto, and the potential imposition. Did that have anything to do with it? As well, there is the regulatory and tax environment in Ontario. It was noted that the government was planning to exempt General Motors from the carbon tax scheme, but certainly smaller and medium-sized parts suppliers in their network across southern Ontario were not going to be exempt.
    I would end with this. This has been over a century, since in the late 1800s when the McLaughlin family from Enniskillen started making carriages. Sadly my community of Bowmanville would not lend the family some money years later, so they moved it to Oshawa. The McLaughlin Carriage Company and later McLaughlin Motor Car Company was not just the epicentre of the auto industry in Canada, Sam McLaughlin was a director and original investor in the General Motors Corporation itself. The auto industry and General Motors owes its success to McLaughlin, McLaughlin Buick and his partnership with Mr. Durant that led to General Motors we have today.
     We can express our sympathy for the families impacted, but on this side we do not want to explore giving up on the conditions that led to this decision. From being a world-class plant with the best employers, the best position within the North American marketplace, what has changed to make us be one of the plants named today? As parliamentarians, we owe it to bring this debate to the floor. I am glad others have echoed our sentiment for this.
    According to Standing Order 52, I hope you, Mr. Speaker, will allow us the opportunity to advance the interests of our constituents and this wider issue that will impact all Canadians.

  (1525)  

    Mr. Speaker, earlier today I submitted a letter to your office asking for an emergency debate, pursuant to Standing Order 52.2, about the news we all heard this morning that GM would be closing up its operations in Oshawa. This is devastating news for the 3,000-plus workers who will lose their jobs. It is also devastating news for their families, for the city of Oshawa and the surrounding communities, for the province of Ontario and for the entire country.
     The effects of this closure will be huge. The economic and human effects will be felt far and wide, beyond just Oshawa and the GM facilities. Up to 30,000 people who work in jobs dependent on the auto sector could also be affected. That is 30,000 more families that will experience the incredible hardship of a closure like this.
    I have some personal experience with a closure like this, as the president of my local union. When Stelco announced its major closure, I saw the effects on workers and their families. The stress of the closure and the financial hardship even led some of my members to take their lives.
    Make no mistake, the effects of this closure will be severe and difficult. That is why we need to have a debate about what can be done immediately to help the workers, their families and the community.
     Both GM and the Premier of Ontario may be saying the ship has sailed, but we do not accept this is a done deal. The Liberal government must explore options to encourage GM to reverse its decision, including targeted investment that will ensure these workers can continue to build the vehicles that Canadians need now and into the future.
    Last week, the Liberal government gave corporations like General Motors a $14 billion tax giveaway. The Prime Minister said that it would guarantee jobs remaining in Canada. However, today we are seeing how much the Liberal government does not understand what working people are going through, with thousands of our layoffs sending shockwaves to our manufacturing sector.
    Order, please. The hon. member seems to be getting into what would be debate in the event that I grant debate. I would like him to stay to the key point of why there should be an emergency debate. I think I understand what he is saying. I got the gist of it. Maybe he could come to the conclusion.
    Mr. Speaker, those affected by this morning's announcement do not want to hear about who is to blame. They want to hear about how the jobs might be protected, about alternatives to closing the plant and how the government might step in and offer solutions. They want us as parliamentarians to address how we might protect the well-being of them and their families.
    We owe it to the workers and their families to try and find a solution. That is why we must have this emergency debate as soon as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, as it sounds like we are all in agreement that his debate is necessary, I will be brief in my remarks.
    I am rising pursuant to Standing Order 52 to request an emergency debate on GM's decision regarding the closure of the Oshawa plant. This is of course terrible news for the women and men whose jobs will be affected, along with their families and the community. I understand today's new will have a major impact on the community surrounding the plant, as well as the network of suppliers that support all the plants impacted by GM's announcement.
    As co-chair of the Liberal auto caucus, with the member for Guelph, I believe an emergency debate is appropriate so the House of Commons can consider this very serious issue.

Speaker's Ruling  

    I thank the hon. members for Durham, Hamilton Mountain and Cambridge for their interventions in relation to this request, which I am prepared to grant, for an emergency debate to take place this evening.

Privilege

Member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel   

[Privilege]
    I have notice of a question of privilege by the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    The hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley.
    Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of personal privilege, which I notified your office about two and a half hours ago. It involves the quite unusual case of the member of Parliament for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
    As you know, under our Standing Orders, Mr. Speaker, there are very few prescriptions on what a member of Parliament must do to perform his or her duties, but there is one at least that we try to hold each other to account, and that is Standing Order 15, which requires members of Parliament to attend to their duties on Parliament Hill in the House of Commons, representing their constituents. There are, of course, exceptions to this. Members of Parliament sometimes have parliamentary duties, delegations, travelling around the country or outside of Canada, and they may be on official business. However, that is not the case, to the best of our knowledge, with the member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel.
    If you will recall, Mr. Speaker, the last we heard was a statement by the member. I can remember him giving essentially his farewell speech last April 25, I believe. He was congratulated by members in the House and people from the opposition wished him good luck and best of luck in his future endeavours. To my knowledge, that was the last we heard of it. It happens from time to time that members of Parliament choose not to continue to work as members of Parliament and go on do something else.
    It was much to my surprise, and perhaps to the surprise of many members of Parliament, that since that April date, while the member of Parliament has not performed his duties as a member of Parliament, he has still been a member of Parliament. He did not give notice of his resignation nor did he stop receiving the many benefits, including salary, which he is entitled to as a member of Parliament of the House of Commons. We find this quite extraordinary. I am sure there have been cases somewhere in the past, but I have not heard of them.
    Typically, things come up in life. Sometimes it can be medical reasons or other things that we are all quite compassionate about and that we then reach out with much sympathy for an MP or his or her family. However, we have no knowledge of that in this case. The only thing that you, Mr. Speaker, have heard and that I have heard in terms of evidence is that last statement of April 25 from the member from Montreal, saying that he was finishing and quitting. However, that has not been true.
    We have social media posts and whatnot. We have some suggestion of a special assignment that he was sent on by the Prime Minister, which the Prime Minister's Office has rejected, or at the very least not acknowledged. That is certainly not sufficient to qualify him under any of the rules that we have. The privilege is quite straightforward. The rules that guide us in terms of attendance are quite straightforward.
    My concern is that allowing this type of behaviour to not be considered, we as members of Parliament are simply saying that it is fine that an MP can take his or her seat, duly elected from his or her constituency, and then just not show up for work but still receive pay, the ability to travel and all of those other things that are meant to allow us to do our jobs on behalf of the people we represent. If someone can simply not show up yet receive all of those benefits and we as members of Parliament and you as Speaker simply say that it is fine, then essentially we are condoning that behaviour.
    While Canadians' opinion of politicians and members of Parliament go up and down over the years, as I am sure you can appreciate, Mr. Speaker, and too often more down, then we must be invested with the effort to try to raise expectations, at the very least the expectation of showing up to work. Other Canadians in any other jobs, if they had gone into work in April and said that they were quitting and then for the next seven months did not show up for work but still received their pay, most Canadians would expect some sort of consequence to that. We have rules that do govern us, and we believe those rules should apply.
    Therefore, I rise on the tool that I am able to use here today, on a question of privilege, which I then defer to you, Mr. Speaker, for your consideration. If that is accepted, we would then send the matter, with some urgency, to the procedure and House affairs committee so it could hear proper testimony, evidence, from the member of Parliament and from whomever has any information about this. We would simply shine a light on this behaviour. Is there a viable reason for the member's absence for the last seven months, and two months more, and as best as we know, when he plans to resign? However, neither your office nor the Clerk's office has any notice of an actual resignation.
    If the member is saying that for nine months he just does not have to come to work, but there is a reason for it, then we can hear that testimony. The procedure and House affairs committee, in my opinion, would be the best committee to judge what has to happen next, whether that be suspension or any of the other methods it has.

  (1530)  

    To me, this seems like a pretty clear-cut case of someone breaching one of the relatively few rules we have as members of Parliament, because we do have some latitude in how we perform our duties. Not every MP does it the same. My goodness, one of the basic standards should be showing up. If the MPs simply do not show up, then the 100,000 or 130,000 people they represent do not have a voice. That is the way this works. No one else can represent them. No one else can vote on their behalf. When somebody simply says, “Well, I am entitled to this position and I don't have to show up to it” then that sends the worst of all possible messages to Canadians and Canadian voters.
    I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will take our letter under consideration, that you will look at this as a clear-cut case of privilege, that we can expeditiously move this toward the procedure and House affairs committee, which I think is the most appropriate committee of the House, and that we can say to not just all the MPs but to all Canadians that we take this work seriously. MPs come here with the best of intentions and, ideally, with the best work ethic possible. To simply condone or ignore behaviour that falls far short of that standard would be an indication that we as a collective House simply do not feel this is important. I do not believe that is true.

  (1535)  

    Mr. Speaker, on the same question of privilege, I would associate myself with much of the remarks of the member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, recognizing as well that members of Parliament have the privilege to do this job as they see fit, for the most part. The question here is that the member in question has made it explicitly clear that he will not attend the House of Commons. That is what is so different here. We have seen many cases, tragic cases even, where members have suffered from cancer and setbacks.
    We had Keith Ashfield, a good friend of ours in the last Parliament, who had to spend much time seeking medical treatment and no one on any side of the House begrudged him for being away to take care of his health during that difficult time. That is not the same as having a member declare to Canadians that he will not attend the House of Commons to perform his duties as a member of Parliament. That is what is so shocking about this case and what makes it so different from all of those other circumstances that may keep a member, through no fault of his or her own and for reasons which may be out of his or her control from attending here.
    However, to say that the member is pursuing another line of work that will prevent him from doing his duties, that is what makes this case so exceptional and that is why it should be a matter that seizes the office of the Speaker. This truly is an exceptional circumstance and we need to deal with it in that manner.
    Mr. Speaker, I do not know anything about this case and I am not saying it is not a problem. However, when you rule on privilege, just to remind the Speaker, you have to explain how a member's ability to do is his or her job is deterred by the question brought forward.
    I thank the hon. member for Skeena—Bulkley Valley, the hon. member for Chilliwack—Hope and the hon. member for Yukon for their interventions. I will consider the matter and come back to the House in due course.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Government Orders]

[English]

Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 2

    The House resumed consideration of Bill C-86, A second Act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures, as reported (with amendments) from the committee, and of the motions in Group No. 1.
    Mr. Speaker, Canada presently has the lowest unemployment in 40 years. What is also amazing is that Yukon has recently had the lowest level of unemployment in the country. The north normally has higher levels of unemployment. Therefore, this is fantastic for my riding. It is amazing and exciting for Yukoners that we are virtually at full economic employment.
    What has caused this great level of work in Canada and particularly in Yukon? There are two items that have made a major contribution to this.
    The first is the record level of infrastructure spending, double what has ever been spent before by any government in any part of Canada. In my riding, as an example, over 60 projects have already been announced for over $400 million for virtually every community in Yukon. There is probably nothing more gut-wrenching for people than to not be able to feed their family, to not have a job, to not be able to pay the bills. It must be hard for people to have to tell their family they have to move because they cannot afford to live where they are, or they cannot send their kids on school trips or buy them clothes similar to the other kids' or to not have good food.
    The fact that there are so many infrastructure projects putting so many people to work is so edifying. However, that is not the end of it. Last May we signed an infrastructure agreement for $445 million more over the next 10 years for our riding.
    The second area that I think is a big contribution to the low unemployment rates is the contributions we have made to all different categories of needy people in my riding an all of Canada. By increasing the GIS, thousands of seniors have been lifted out of poverty. We have increased support for students in general and have more support for low-income students. We have also doubled the number of summer jobs for students, and there are still more waiting. There were more applications to fill even when the number of jobs were doubled.
    We have supported low-income people with huge amounts of funds through the child tax credit. It is income-tested. Single mothers could get over $6,000 a child under this plan. Some people talk about the cancelled sports credit and other credits like that where people might have received $50 or $100. However, I think people would rather have the $6,000 to really help them raise their children. The other thing we did was we made it non-taxable. Parts of it in the past were taxable. A single mother, who I think was a reporter, came to me in shock when it came to the tax time of the year and found that she had to pay a huge amount of income tax on the child tax credit, which she was not prepared for at all.
     The credit has been increased recently, and faster than we thought we would be able to, by indexing the child tax credit. It is going to continue to rise. In my riding alone, it will increase to $5.6 million from 2018 to 2023 for children in very low-income families.
    Another area that helps low-income families is day care. As members know, we had a national day care program under the Hon. Ken Dryden. However, the opposition parties got together and replaced Prime Minister Martin with Prime Minister Harper, who cancelled the national child care program. We have initiated a new program. For my riding, the agreement has been signed with the federal government and the minister in Yukon for $7 million over three years.
    Another group that has been helped is veterans. The one item I would especially note is that employees now make trips to Yukon three or four times a year to help veterans and veterans of the RCMP in Yukon.
    Another group that is disadvantaged is those suffering from mental health and addictions. That has been a high priority for our government. There has been a big need for funding in Canada. My riding alone will get roughly $1 million this year.
    This deals with contributions to a vast majority of low-income people. However, there is one large group that I did not mention, and that is the low-income workers. In this budget we have added a low-income worker benefit so people can keep more of their hard-earned money to help them pay the bills as things are getting more expensive for everyone.

  (1540)  

    In my riding alone, the Canada workers benefit is going to help 1,600 workers. People can imagine across Canada how big this program is. It helps two million workers across Canada, and lifts 70,000 of them out of poverty.
    People may ask why I brought up all these contributions to the needy in the context of the great boost to the economy and the full employment. The reason is, it is the right thing to do. That is the most important reason to do it. The second reason is that people really need these funds. Of course when they spend them, they go to small businesses, whose taxes will be reduced, and other expenditures in the economy.
    All this employment actually leads to another problem, one which in a way is nice to have, and that is a lack of employees. Everyone has heard in the House of Commons and other debates the number of improvements to the immigration system to deal with this, and the increased training funds. In fact, the 2016 budget was a training budget. A significant portion of those funds goes to training aboriginal people, which is important in my riding.
    There is something else exciting for me in the bill. Mining is so important in my riding. In fact mining has been the biggest contributor to the GDP virtually every year since the century before last century, since 1897. Every year since 2003, for anyone who was not here at that time, I have been lobbying very hard to get the mineral exploration tax credit extended. In my riding, the vast majority of exploration projects depend on this credit. I have been fighting year after year, no matter who is in government, to get that extended. Indeed, it was extended each year. I was excited to see that again this year it was extended. I thank PDAC, perhaps the biggest mining association in the world, and MAC, and the Yukon Chamber of Mines who at the Yukon Geoscience Forum a couple of weeks ago applauded my efforts in lobbying for this every year.
    Something even more exciting is what the minister announced in the fall economic statement. PDAC was asking for this too. I think it was asking not only for a one-year but a three-year extension as the first priority of a number of things it was looking for. The minister announced not a one-year extension, not a three-year extension, but a five-year extension. It is so critical to such a big industry in Canada. I am so excited about this. Finance ministers, no matter what party, are the ones who say no to all the things that come forward, so for the minister to say yes to making this expenditure is exciting for me, for my riding and for the mining industry. I thank the Minister of Finance for this great success story. The mining industry is the biggest employer of indigenous people, with 16,500 jobs in Canada.
    Another problem that all this employment creates is the need for housing. As one of the first members of the Yukon Anti-Poverty Coalition, we have been lobbying for affordable housing for years as well. The new national housing plan, again, is the biggest in Canadian history, of some $40 billion. I have already announced projects in a vast majority of the communities with a population in my riding and the communities of Whitehorse, Carcross, Haines Junction, Burwash, Old Crow, Pelly Crossing, Dawson, Watson Lake and Carmacks.
    Also very exciting is the $1 million for the women's entrepreneurship program. I congratulate the women's business network and Tammy Beese. There is another $32 million for the Yukon government, which will spend it and help the economy.
    Finally, CanNor, our economic development agency, was about to expire when this budget came in. Again, I thank the Minister of Finance. He made it permanent and provided $20 million a year and another $2 million for innovations and skills, and funded the huge innovation centre so that Yukon is in with a digital economy like everyone else.
    For all these reasons, members can see why we are very excited in my riding about the economic interventions by the Minister of Finance.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, we are talking about a budget bill that is over 800 pages long. Despite Liberal members railing against omnibus budget bills when in opposition, this is double the length of any previous omnibus bill.
    It is interesting to note what is in the bill and it is also interesting to note what is not in the bill. What is not in the bill is any information about when the government believes the budget will balance itself.
    We have asked this question before and I wonder if the member has an answer to it. According to the government's plan, when will the budget balance itself? Liberals promised during the election that it would be done by this fiscal year, 2018-19. That was clearly promised by the Prime Minister. He told the media that this promise was very set in stone. Clearly, that is not the case.
    When will the budget balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, there were a number of questions.
    The first was about omnibus bills. What the Liberals railed against was the improper use, not in budget times, of omnibus bills. If the bill is twice as long as any other budget implementation bill, it means we are doing twice as much as any other government.
    In relation to the small deficit, we are leading the G7. It is not significant, especially given all of the investments I mentioned and the 500,000 new jobs. All of these workers are paying income tax and the businesses are paying taxes, and all of that is going into revenue.
    Low-income seniors, low-income students, low-income workers, people getting child care, veterans, people being helped with mental health and addictions, people in the women's entrepreneurship program, people in the innovation centre and people with the economic development agency are very happy with those investments and that small deficit.

  (1550)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have known my colleague for quite a long time and he is always the champion for the underdog and for many of the families in Yukon who struggle with the high cost of living, of food and so on.
    I would like to hear the member elaborate more on the benefits of the infrastructure programs as well as on the child benefit that we now provide.
    Mr. Speaker, the member is right. One of the reasons I got into politics was to fight against poverty.
    A number of things help low-income people. In my riding, there are a number of indigenous people and a number of rural communities where things are even more expensive. It is very important that Canadians get the child tax benefit, especially if there is no employment.
    One of the important things I can tell all Canadians who are listening is to make sure they fill in their tax forms. Even for those who do not make a cent, there are a number of benefits available, such as the child tax benefit and the GST credit. Canadians cannot get them unless they fill out their tax forms.
    One thing I did not mention is nutrition north. It helps people in the High Arctic with the high cost of food, which can be two, three or four times what is for the rest of us. Nutrition north has recently, through the economic statement, received more funds, and more studies have been done, helping people to collect country foods as part of the new investment.
    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my Conservative friend across the way make the assertion that this legislation before us is twice the size of Conservative bills. I will just remind members of the House that that is a far stretch from reality, to say the very least. This is not to mention that the content of the bill before us is, in fact, related to the budget itself.
    There are many aspects of budget implementation. One of them is very positive and progressive in the area of pay equity. A number of pages are dedicated to the issue of pay equity. There are many other social programs within it that I think move us forward.
    Could the member provide his thoughts on how important it is to pass this budget implementation bill?
    Mr. Speaker, the member seems to be easier on me than he is with a lot of the question he asks others in the House. I am glad he was so tame on me.
    I think everyone in the House, for the sake of the particular part of the bill on pay equity, wants the bill to pass.
    I want to add my congratulations to the Liberals' women's caucus, which I have attended off and on for years, and to the all-party caucus for pushing to make sure this important provision got in. I would also like to compliment the finance minister on having recently had the first budget analyzed based on gender to make sure it was fair for everyone.
    Mr. Speaker, today we are debating Bill C-86, the Liberal government's second mammoth budget implementation bill, related to budget 2018.
    As I begin my remarks today, I would invite everyone to reflect on the following section from the Liberal Party's 2015 election platform. Under the heading “Prorogation and omnibus bills”, there is a line that says:
    Stephen Harper has also used omnibus bills to prevent Parliament from properly reviewing and debating his proposals. We will change the House of Commons Standing Orders to bring an end to this undemocratic practice.
    These are stinging words, but as is so often the case with the Prime Minister, the promises he made in the Liberal platform document are not worth the paper they were written on.
    The string of broken promises by the Prime Minister is long. Just last week, the finance minister reaffirmed another broken promise to Canadians. In 2015, the current Prime Minister pledged that his budgetary deficits would be small and temporary. However, with this bill and with the recent fall economic statement, the Prime Minister and his government have broken their promise. In fact, the federal deficit is three times what the Liberals pledged it would be, and we all know that more debt today means higher taxes tomorrow.
    I could go on about the Prime Minister's broken promises and betrayal of Canadians, but there is a specific part of this bill that I would like to address. Buried in this bill between pages 589 and 649 are divisions 22 and 23, which make amendments to the Canada Shipping Act 2001 and the Marine Liability Act.
    To begin, it must be noted that three shipping associations representing members across Canada were all taken by surprise at the inclusion of these clauses in a budget implementation bill. The pan-Canadian Shipping Federation of Canada, the B.C.-based Chamber of Shipping, and the Great Lakes St. Lawrence-based Chamber of Marine Commerce all expressed their surprise at the move, as well as their concern at the speed with which the bill was being rushed through the House of Commons and committee.
    Talk about ramming a mammoth bill through Parliament, the bill was introduced on October 29. A day later divisions 22 and 23 were referred to the transport, infrastructure and communities committee, where we were invited to study and then submit any recommendations and/or amendments in less than two weeks.
    Despite this ridiculously rushed timeline for reviewing the bill, the transport committee did hold two meetings where we heard from shipping stakeholders who, despite the time crunch, identified some areas of common concern. Our committee also heard from departmental officials about the proposed changes. One shocking revelation from the officials was that the changes being proposed were the most substantial changes to these acts in, in one case, 10 years and, in the other, 25 years.
     These substantial legislative changes, with the potential to have a dramatic impact on the Canadian shipping industry, as well as all the way down the transportation chain, are being rammed through Parliament with hardly any time for prudent study. To me, this reflects the disregard with which the government treats the Canadian economy.
     Further, I would like to highlight another way that the government is disregarding the transportation sector when it included these divisions in Bill C-86. Apparently, through the framework of the government's much lauded oceans protection plan, it was conducting so-called consultations on potential legislative changes related to marine safety and environmental protection.
    These consultations ended on Friday, October 26, and, as I mentioned, this bill was introduced with divisions 22 and 23 on the morning of Monday, October 29. Given the tight timeframe, the Minister of Transport did not appear at committee, so we questioned the assistant deputy minister on how the department managed to craft 60 pages of legislation in just one weekend. Needless to say, we were not satisfied with the answers that we received and were left with only one conclusion, that these consultations were a farce.

  (1555)  

    While there were some elements of divisions 22 and 23 that stakeholders found agreeable, there was unanimity in the call for specific amendments. I would like to highlight a couple of these amendments that my colleague the member for Calgary Shepard argued for at finance committee. Regrettably, these amendments failed to be passed at the committee.
    An amendment was proposed to section 690. This amendment introduced some safeguards regarding the use of the interim orders by the Minister of Transport. Stakeholders suggested that the parameters around which the minister could make an interim order needed to be properly defined. Additionally, they suggested that the use of an interim order needed to be precipitated and/or necessitated by a significant risk and/or an immediate threat. Without these constraining definitions, Bill C-86 would create uncertainty and this uncertainty could become the norm in the shipping industry.
    They also suggested that it was essential that the proposal to give the minister the power to adopt interim orders under the Canada Shipping Act be sufficiently restricted through the appropriate checks and balances to ensure that their use would not open the door to the practice of governing by interim order as a workaround from the normal regulatory process. The new subsection they believed was required, because of the potential major ramifications of a minister's making an interim order, was also rejected by Liberal committee members.
    This rejected amendment also proposed to reduce the length of time that an interim order would be in effect. The current bill allows for an interim order to be in effect for one year, plus an extension of two years if granted by the Governor in Council. Stakeholders felt that it was quite unprecedented that a new regulation could exist for three years without going through the normal regulatory process. The proposed amendment would have limited the length of an interim order from one year to 14 days and the Governor in Council extension to one year, which is more in line with other legislation.
    Another amendment that also failed at the finance committee, but which should have been included in Bill C-86, proposed to amend clause 692. The purpose of this amendment was to introduce safeguards around the use of ministerial powers. What Bill C-86 proposes in clause 692 would go a step further than simply introducing new Governor in Council regulatory powers. In some cases, it would also enable the minister to modify the content of Governor in Council regulations relating to matters like compulsory or recommended routes, cargo loading, and navigation and anchoring by using a ministerial order for up to one year.
    To curb this expanded power, the shipping stakeholders felt that their amendment was needed to ensure that the minister would consult with industry before making any order under this section.
    In rejecting these reasonable proposals by the shipping industry, the government is turning a blind eye to the concerns of those workers and businesses that would be most directly impacted by these changes.
    As the shadow minister for transport, I value the input of key stakeholders. This legislation and the Liberals' rejection of reasonable amendments is a reflection of their disregard for Canada's economy and future well-being.
    I want to highlight a final area of concern that was given in testimony to our committee on November 6.
    The witness appearing for the Chamber of Shipping noted that clause 692 of this legislation appeared to be another mechanism by which to implement a moratorium on specific commodities through regulation and interim orders, and not through legislation, as this government is doing with Bill C-48. The witness noted that this contradicted what should be the government's objective in providing a predicable supply chain. There is no question in my mind that the inclusion of this clause in Bill C-86 would have a further chilling effect on Canada's oil and gas industry.
    The Liberal government has been bad for Canada's economy and this legislation would only take Canada further down this mistaken path.

  (1600)  

    Mr. Speaker, listening to my colleague across the way, I cannot help but think that budget implementation bills include a significant number of needed changes to regulations or for enabling them. It is all a part of it. For example, we see that many of the proposed changes deal with tax laws, tax brackets, and so forth. These are all very important changes when a government introduces a budget and they are why, in the most part, a budget implementation bill is required.
    Did the member want to expand on that aspect of the legislation? Not all of it is super attractive stuff or easily commented on, but consists of the details that enable, add to, or take away regulations.

  (1605)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned in my remarks, the amendments to divisions 22 and 23 were in fact buried in this omnibus bill tabled by the government. These were the most substantive changes. These are not everyday housekeeping changes to regulations or legislation that might be put into a large omnibus bill. These are among the most substantive changes made to the Canada Shipping Act and the Marine Liability Act.
    Members of that industry were completely taken by surprise that these changes were included in an omnibus bill. We suggested amendments at committee. We were very genuine in our attempt to review the clauses referred to our committee. They were genuine in their attempt to review the legislation and put forward some very thoughtful amendments, and the amendments were rejected. I would suggest that burying substantive changes to existing pieces of legislation is not the way to go when one dealing with an omnibus bill.
    Mr. Speaker, it is so interesting hearing the speeches from different shadow ministers on our side, digging deep into aspects of the budget implementation act that deal with their areas, and to really see how much of an omnibus bill this is, how many changes we are seeing in so many different areas. We are basically getting one good speech on each of those different aspects, providing so much comment with so little debate in response. It is really quite striking.
    Today we are going to have an emergency debate on the terrible impact we are seeing in the auto sector. In my province of Alberta, which the member spoke about, we are dealing with major challenges in the oil and gas sector as a result of legislation brought forward by the government, such as Bill C-69, the no-pipelines bill, as well as other steps it has taken.
    It really boggles the mind. On the one hand, the government has taken every possible step to kill the transportation of vital energy resources. On the other hand, it has put massive amounts of public dollars into buying a pipeline, supposedly in the name of getting that pipeline built, and it is still not succeeding with that. It has bought the pipeline without building it. We would prefer that we build pipelines without buying them.
    Could the member share with us a little more about what positive alternatives there are? The Liberals have said that it would take magic to get these things done, in some cases, and yet we have had success in the past building pipelines. What are the steps we can and should be taking to move these forward?
    Mr. Speaker, my colleague put it very eloquently when he spoke about the fact that, because of this Prime Minister and the current government's failure, thousands of Canadians have lost their jobs. As well, Canadian taxpayers are now on the hook for a $4.5-billion pipeline that may never be built. Add to that the legislation that has been introduced. In my comments, I mentioned Bill C-48, and my colleague has mentioned Bill C-69. This legislation is already having a devastating effect on investment here in Canada. Those companies have not just stopped investing, but have taken their investment to other countries. They are going ahead and building pipelines in other places around the world. It is just not happening here in Canada.
    I know that the leader of our party, the leader of our caucus, has stood and suggested what a Conservative government would do if it were elected. The first thing Conservatives would do is repeal Bill C-48, a moratorium on tanker traffic off the northwest coast of British Columbia. In itself, that would begin to build some confidence. We would repeal Bill C-69. Again, we have placed a regulatory burden on certain sectors in this country that needs to be reversed if we are ever to see a thriving oil and gas industry in this country again.

  (1610)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I am extremely pleased to speak to Bill C-86, a second act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 27, 2018 and other measures. I will be talking about the middle class, which is extremely important, and those working hard to join it. In my speech, I will also talk about veterans, women, families and, of course, seniors.

[English]

    Before I get started, I will talk about what I would describe as Canada being a just society. Our government is working extremely hard to make sure that all Canadians are part of that just society. Throughout my speech, I will touch on that.
    Mr. Speaker, as you can understand, we expect the wealthiest 1% of Canadians to pay more to help ensure we have the best country in the world, and that is extremely important. The second piece is ensuring that the middle class is strong and that we create opportunities and good jobs for the middle class. We have to make sure that we help those trying hard to join the middle class and that is a very important focus of our government. We want to move people from below the poverty line to the middle class as well and we want to make sure that people in the middle class do not fall below the poverty line. It is a very important approach. This is what I call a just society and that is why we are asking all Canadians to contribute to that vision.
    Let us look at what our government has done, is doing or will do as we move forward. The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.7% from 7.2%. That is very impressive. That is the lowest in 40 years. That is something to talk about and is extremely important. Almost 700,000 Canadians are finding new, good-paying jobs. That is what is important in our focus on the economy.
    We are seeing the effect of the Canada child benefit, which is tax free. We are seeing major investment in this area. For example, in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, people are receiving $5.2 million a month. That is right, $5.2 million a month or $60 million a year. That is happening right across this country. If we play with the numbers, that is 338 times $60 million on average. Billions of dollars have been invested and are having an effect. What is really helping the economy is that money is being spent right away by families because it is needed and it is contributing to the economy. That is what it is all about and that is why it is very important.
    The fall economic statement delivered last week has very important strategies, one of which is the accelerated deduction for companies that want to purchase equipment to be more competitive. They are seeing three times the deduction. If we use computers as an example, before the investment would have been about 27.5% and now the first year they can deduct 82%. It is quite impressive.
    Now let us talk about families. They are extremely important in my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook. We are investing in the EI parental sharing benefit. The second parent is receiving up to five weeks more to spend more time with his or her family, which is very important. We have established an advisory council on pharmacare. We know this is extremely important to Canadians. We have been talking about it for years, but it is time to take action, and I believe we will see that in the very near future.

  (1615)  

    To help low-income Canadians, we have introduced the Canada workers benefit, which will help over 300,000 more people. Over two million people will benefit from that investment. The BIA will enact that process. One will not need to apply for it; it will be automatic.
    Then we see changes to the labour code that would give up to five days of paid leave for individuals experiencing family violence. Those are added features that are very important.
    We have invested almost $10 billion for veterans. When I was going from town hall to town hall and from legion to legion, one of the most important things they asked for was to bring back the option of a monthly pension. Veterans can achieve that goal now. There are three phases to it: the pain and suffering compensation, additional pain and suffering compensation, and income replacement, which would be up to 90% of pre-release salary. Those are major investments for Canadian veterans who have risked their lives, and for their families.
    When the Conservatives were in power, it took 10 years of service to get a veterans ID card and then they cut it. I am not sure why. It is hard to understand. We brought back the veterans card, which I heard across my riding was a very important step veterans wanted. Now, as soon as they have basic training, they have the right to a veterans card. The ID card states the name, the rank, the years of service and more information about their service. They will be able to access benefits because of the card.
    The budget implementation act supports women. It would actually enable a department of women and gender equality. It is an extremely important piece of the legislation. This would help the minister to implement and move these initiatives forward. We are laying the groundwork now. More consultation is required, and with that consultation we will be able to move legislation within the next year. We have to keep in mind that we are seeing today, as I speak, a historic number of women participating in the workforce. That is because we are creating opportunities, trying to ensure we are supporting women in the workforce, because they can contribute enormously to the economy of our great country.
    In my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, we are going to benefit from many initiatives of our government, such as broadband. Access to the Internet is extremely important so people can stay in their rural communities and be able to create a successful business, have a family and build on that prosperity.
     The investment of our government in dementia and the autism spectrum disorder is a 10-year investment of $5 million each.
    Let me close with the piece that would enact the poverty reduction act. This is extremely important, and it is part of the BIA 2. It sets two targets: reducing poverty by 2020 by 20% and reducing poverty by 2030 by 50%. That is very impressive. How are we going to achieve that? We have already started. We have seen a major investment in the CCB, as I mentioned. We have seen investment in GIS for retired low-income single individuals. We are seeing investment in the national housing strategy. In my riding of Sackville—Preston—Chezzetcook, 155 units have been built or renovated. We are seeing investment in early learning. In Nova Scotia alone, it is over $11 million per year.

  (1620)  

    Let us talk about the part that I said was important, which is poverty, those who are in need.
     With respect to opportunities, last week we moved forward legislation on accessibility, which is extremely important, and on pay equity. There is also a safety net, which is the Canada workers benefit investment. That is also extremely important.
    In closing, what is important to note is that this is a process. This government is moving our economy forward and making sure that every day Canada gets closer to its just society.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's interesting exposition on this particular bill. I would like to ask him this. There is only one taxpayer pocket, which is municipal-provincial-federal. However, he makes it sound like it is the government's money. It is the taxpayers' money. It comes out of my pocket and his pocket. It is not the government's money.
    Specifically with respect to this new machinery type of writeoff, if we listen to the response the Prime Minister got in Calgary last week, the people in my riding are selling their equipment. It is going or is gone. They are not buying new equipment for the resource sector. This does nothing in Alberta. Nobody is buying new machinery. It is being shipped to the U.S. For the government to say it is giving this incentive to buy new machinery has no value in Alberta.
    I would like a response from my colleague about what he think this does for the resource sector in Alberta.
    Mr. Speaker, I hate to say it, but the facts are in front of us. The Conservative government, after 10 years in power, did not build one kilometre of pipeline. It focused 99% of the investment on the United States. It did not take advantage of the opportunities in the world to move our product, which is extremely important for our economy. It did not do its job. It sat with the Americans, selling them 99%, and that is why we are seeing wholesale prices today. Albertans deserve to get much greater money for their oil. We as a government will make that happen in the very near future, because we are investing in Canadians for Canadians, and for a better country.
    Mr. Speaker, the member spoke about a “just” society. That is an original term. I wonder if he coined it or something.
     I think what we are hearing about is a “just enough” society. We have Canadians who are struggling and who are earning just enough to get by on any given day. I wonder what he thinks about that in particular.
     Also, why will his government not tell Canadians when the budget will balance itself?
    Mr. Speaker, the thing that seems to be missing on the Conservative side is its members do not really understand what spending and investing money is. For example, a company does not wait for a crisis to invest. It has a vision, it sets out a plan to achieve that vision and it invests.
     I can tell members this. Because of all of the investments I spoke of in my speech, more and more revenues are coming in as we speak. That will help us pay the deficit and continue to invest in Canadians.
    Mr. Speaker, one issue that has been brought up and fought for by many people across Canada and unions is pay equity. People have been fighting for over 40 years to have this come to fruition. During my colleague's speech, he talked about the importance of having that brought forward. However, once again, with what has been put forward in this piece of legislation, women will have to wait another four years. Can he explain why, in 2018, we still have to wait to have pay equity?

  (1625)  

    Mr. Speaker, as I said in my speech, we are focused on pay equity. In the legislation we are proposing a department for women and gender equity, which includes pay equity. This would allow us to move forward on that agenda. Right now we are working on that piece, but we need to consult to ensure we are doing it the right way, because it is extremely important.
    Our plan is to move forward in the next year with legislation to achieve that goal.

[Translation]

    The bill has made it to report stage. This is a mammoth bill that is more than 851 pages long. It is truly a massive omnibus bill.
    If we combine this bill with the 2008 budget, that makes more than 1,400 pages of legislative changes that all members of the House have to study.
    We have said many times that bills like Bill C-86 should be split so that all members of the House have enough time to debate and study them. When bills are this big, it is easy to hide things in them.
    In 2015, the Liberals promised to do things differently. When the Conservatives were in power, they had a habit of introducing mammoth omnibus bills. During the election campaign, the Liberals said they would be different and everyone could trust them. However, right after they were elected, back in 2015, they started introducing omnibus bills.
    When a government drafts a budget, it makes choices and sets priorities. We are really very disappointed with Bill C-86. More and more, people are hoping the government will enact measures to change their lives for the better. As the NDP sees it, the Liberals have missed that opportunity.
    As everyone knows, Canada is a rich country. The gap between Canada's richest people and the rest of the population has never been wider. We believe that that is utterly unacceptable in 2018. Two Canadian billionaires own as much as 11 million Canadians.
     Oxfam released a report revealing that the eight richest men own the same wealth as half of humanity.
    About 4 million Canadians, including 1.15 million children, live in homes that struggle to put food on the table. Last week, following our weekly caucus meeting, I was able to go back to my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé to attend a Noël du pauvre fundraising dinner in Yamachiche. Volunteers work throughout the year to raise money so that families and children get Christmas hampers.
    I would like to recognize the work of organizing committee chair Pierrette Plante and honorary chair Father Julio César Duran. A total of 550 people attended this dinner, which raised nearly $16,000 to help local residents in need.
    We are pleased to see that Bill C-86 contains poverty reduction targets. Unfortunately, those targets are not accompanied by appropriate measures or funding so that they can be met.
    The Liberals have ideas and targets, but they are not making any new investments to meet those targets. There is a poverty crisis in Canada. People are living in hardship and misery. There are still people struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month.
    The important thing in this bill is pay equity. Women have been waiting for pay equity for over 42 years. It is a promise that was made by the Liberals. However, once again, we are waiting. The Liberals like to consult, but what it really boils down to is that they are buying time. They are still consulting about pay equity, when we really need it today.
    Another thing we were hoping to find in the bill was a federal measure to tax web giants, but the bill contains no such measure. We are also calling on the government to put an end to pension theft and to give Canada a national child care strategy.

  (1630)  

    I had my son when I was a teenager, and at the time, it cost me $55 a day to send him to daycare. I had to take out additional loans so I could continue my studies and send my son to daycare. We need a Canada-wide child care system to help families, especially single parents.
    Furthermore, we want stronger action to address tax havens, and we also want EI sickness benefits to be extended from 15 weeks to 50. There is a good public awareness campaign on that topic. I will come back to that. We also want a universal pharmacare system.
    In addition, we want the needs of indigenous communities to be met, particularly with regard to access to safe drinking water and funding for educational institutions in their communities, which receive less funding than other institutions in the country. Lastly, we want assistance for rural regions.
    Regarding the duration of EI sickness benefits, which we want to be extended from 15 weeks to 50, it is important to highlight the work of Marie-Hélène Dubé, who launched a petition called “15 weeks to heal is not enough!”. Half a million Canadians signed that petition calling on the federal government to take action, but we have heard nothing but radio silence so far in response. It is very frustrating.
    In 2016, the Prime Minister himself and the Minister of Social Development promised to take action and extend the benefit period. In 2014, the Prime Minister even voted in favour of Bill C-291, which would have extended EI sickness benefits from 15 weeks to 50.
    The government needs to walk the talk. Sick people need time to take care of themselves. They do not have time to fight. That is why we continue to pressure the federal government to extend EI sickness benefits.
    I represent the riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, which includes the RCMs of Maskinongé and Berthier, as well as three municipalities in the RCM of Matawinie. I travel quite a bit across my riding, and people stop me to talk about the importance of having a national connectivity strategy, which is something we do not currently have at the federal level.
    Access to high-speed broadband Internet is vital to strengthening Canada's social and economic fabric. Some businesses really struggle with connectivity issues. I know a business owner in Maskinongé who pays two ISPs and never knows which of the two will work when he needs it. When one does not work, he tries the other.
    We have long called for a national connectivity strategy. Although the government offers programs and money from time to time, this is not enough. We need a Canada-wide strategy to connect Canada and Quebec to the Internet.
    I should point out that a cell network strategy is needed as well. In my riding of Berthier—Maskinongé, people from Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc to Saint-Édouard-de-Maskinongé tell me how important cell coverage is. The mayor of Saint-Édouard-de-Maskinongé, Réal Normandin, has spoken to me about this, because people in his village have a hard time getting cell reception. The community of Saint-Élie-de-Caxton, the hometown of Fred Pellerin, is in the same boat.
    At a coffee meeting last week in Lavaltrie, Sylvie Legault and Gilles Auclair collected signatures for a petition about the 34 homes on the Point-du-Jour concession that have no Internet access and limited cell network access. Lavaltrie is not far from Montreal. These people are calling for a national Internet access and cell network strategy.
    We had hoped to find all kinds of good things in Bill C-89, but the NDP will have to oppose this bill, since it does not do enough to address pay equality. Women have been fighting for far too long for the right to equal pay for equal work.
    This bill also does not do enough to help rural areas get access to the Internet and the cell network. We also need to improve the pharmacare system. In short, there are many reasons why we will be voting against Bill C-86.

  (1635)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, basically, it looks like we are in agreement in a lot of areas.
    The member mentioned that there were a lot of poor people in the country. As I mentioned in my speech in detail, we have contributed to virtually all of those groups. First, for the working poor, we have helped over two million people. We have increased the amount of money for low-income students. We have increased the GIS for low-income seniors, bringing thousands of them out of poverty. There is the new Canada child benefit, which brings thousands of children out of poverty.
    I am delighted the member raised the boiled water advisories. I do not have the exact figures, but a record number have been dealt with, I think 60 out of 120. We are well on schedule to eliminate them all. It is very important, and I am glad it is important for the NDP.
    Finally, on Internet for rural areas, there is a special program. As an example, in my area, the federal government is investing millions to put a line up the Dempster Highway to Inuvik. Therefore, we will have redundancy with our line from the south from Alberta as it goes down whenever someone breaks a line from Alberta. I am very appreciative of that. I appreciate the fact that the member supports those types of initiatives.
    Mr. Speaker, I could have talked more than 10 minutes, because there are a lot of issues I would have liked to have brought forward on the floor of the House.
    I mentioned the importance to act on ensuring we equalized and had better transfer payments to first nations schools. We hear stories, quite often brought up in caucus and in question period, of devastating circumstances, such as how the schools are filled with mould and people are getting sick. The government is not investing enough in building schools so kids feel safe and comfortable. It is completely ridiculous to think that in the 2018 there is such as injustice in the way kids are treated across Canada.
    For the boiled water advisories, some people do not have running water. Parents are afraid to wash their kids because they might get sick. We have not seen a concrete plan and obviously the government has not invested enough.
    These are human rights violations. These are important issues that the government talks a lot about, but when it comes to concrete action and money to back it up, it is far too little.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Berthier—Maskinongé, which is a magnificent riding.
    Earlier, she spoke briefly about pay equity. I have been hearing about pay equity and its importance for years. I even heard about it before I was elected in 2011. It was one of the government's key campaign promises. The Liberals promised to do things differently, and they promised real change. However, we have yet to see any real change on the indigenous file or other key files, including pay equity for women in Canada.
    If the campaign promise was sincere, work should have begun on this file the day after the election. Clearly, that did not happen. We are less than a year away from the next election, and the Liberals are promising to hold further consultations. We might see action on this file in another four years.
    As I see it, if the Liberals were unable to keep their promise right after the election, it is a sham.

  (1640)  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for his comments on pay equity.
    This situation is inconceivable in 2018, especially since our Prime Minister professes to be such a champion of women and equality. As my colleague aptly pointed out, this was a Liberal campaign promise. They are holding yet more consultations. They are going to create a department.
    During the committee's study of Bill C-86, we heard from experts. The committee held three meetings on this bill and heard testimony from experts. The Liberals rejected all of the NDP's amendments, which had been drafted with the help of experts. That is really frustrating because we had something like 30 amendments on pay equity. The Liberals said they knew more than people in the field who have taken cases to court.
    What the Liberals are proposing means that groups will have to go back to court to achieve pay equity. That is sad, disappointing and frustrating. The Liberal government needs to take action right now, not hold more consultations. The time to take action is now.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, before I start my discussion on the fall economic update, I would like to acknowledge that today is the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attack on Mumbai, where two Canadians lost their lives.
    During a state visit with the former governor general, the Right Hon. David Johnston, whom I accompanied to India, we visited the Taj hotel, which was one of the places that came under severe attack. We paid our respects at the memorial that was set up in the hotel. We talked to the survivors of that terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who were killed and to the people of India. Just a note to my colleagues, the masterminds of that terrorist attack are still free.
    On another note, as everyone knows, I am from Calgary. Yesterday evening, I was sitting in a pub with fans in Ottawa for the Grey Cup. I had a great evening when Calgary beat Ottawa. The pub was pretty quiet, but they could not keep me quiet. I was out there rooting for Calgary. I am very grateful that we won the Grey Cup. Go, Stamps, go.
    Now I am going to talk about the fall economic update and the management by the Liberal government of the economy. The government gave a fall economic update, and today we heard an announcement that over 2,000 Canadians are going to lose their jobs because of GM's closure of their plant in Oshawa. This has sent shock waves across the country. It will have a serious impact on Ontario's economy, and by extension, the Canadian economy. We will see not only jobs being lost but a subsequent chain of events associated with the plant and the production of vehicles in the auto sector. The impact is going to be huge. Therefore, the fall economic update, as far as I am concerned, is not very valid.
    Tonight an emergency debate has been agreed to, which was put forward by the Conservative members. Members of the House will discuss this issue that impacts everyone. Hopefully, everyone will agree unanimously that we should all work together to ensure that Canadians will not be heavily impacted by this loss.
    I also want to say that last Thursday, the Prime Minister visited Calgary to talk about the other sector that is crucially important to the economy, and that is the oil energy sector. He had come there to give assurances. He spoke to the Chamber of Commerce, and he met with business leaders. Close to 2,000 people were in the streets asking for action by the Liberal government with regard to the energy sector. Ultimately, his visit provided absolutely nothing of the kind to the oil sector and the workers in Calgary who are suffering. It will subsequently lead to more job losses. The oil sector impacts everyone in this country, yet the government was unable to give assurances to Calgary and Alberta about what it plans to do.
    The government's inaction has become so bad, despite having the NDP as its closest ally in Alberta, that the finance minister in Alberta, the Hon. Joe Ceci, who I worked with for many years, because he was a councillor in the same riding I represent today, commented in frustration that if it was something like Bombardier, we would have seen massive action by the Liberal government. However, because it is Alberta, it kind of got the brush-off. This is what the NDP finance minister in Alberta is saying.

  (1645)  

     This is a warning sign to the federal government that if it does not pick up the ball in the energy sector, it will once more inflame the western alienation that occurred under the Pierre Trudeau Liberal government. It is a good point for the Liberals to know. It is not the Conservatives speaking about it. It is the NDP finance minister in Alberta talking about this issue.
    The point of the fall economic statement is how the Liberals have managed our economy, and it is looking really bad. Canadians are concerned. The deficit is going on and on. It is now three times higher than what the Liberals promised during the election campaign. They like to say that what they promised they are delivering, but unfortunately, they are absolutely not.
    The government has raised taxes on the middle class. It has raised taxes. The deficit is going up. What does the future of Canada look like under the current government? It does not look very good. Today's announcement is just one of the symptoms of not looking forward. The government should have known this might happen, and if it did, what actions it would take. It was totally caught off guard. We will hear in tonight's debate what it intends to do, as it is in power.
    The main issue in the economic update is simple and straightforward. What assurances do Canadians have that there will be sound management? They are worried about jobs, their children and their families, and now there will be a carbon tax.
    This weekend, Rex Murphy, a great commentator, said very simply that we cannot have extra burdens when the economy is under stress and that the government should revisit the carbon tax. We are calling on the government to revisit the carbon tax. It should not sit with its head in the sand and say no. There are other options to address climate change as we move forward, but the carbon tax is not the way to go. Liberals say the carbon tax is revenue neutral and they will return the money to Canadians, but what incentive do they have to do this except to create a bureaucracy for the carbon tax.
    The main issue is that we need to create an economic environment that will create economic development. The Prime Minister's actions at the first TPP meeting in Vietnam were disastrous. He did not bother giving any attention to the trade file, which is crucial for Canada.
    The finance minister was on TV over the weekend saying that the media was not giving him fair coverage. My colleagues and everyone else are wondering if that is why he gave the media $560 million, to make sure that the Liberals get favourable coverage from the media. There is a question being raised about that money, and a lot of the media are attacking that. I know it is about job security for them as well, but it brings into question why the government is favouring one sector. The minister says we need a free press. Indeed, we need a free press. Canadians want a free press, but they can make up their own minds as to what kind of free press they want. They do not need what the government is doing, forcing on them what they do not want. Liberals are not listening to what the media is talking about.

  (1650)  

    Nevertheless, over the course of the month, we will talk about how the Liberal government failed. In 2019, we hope Canadians will send them packing.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things that has been consistent from many of the prairie members of Parliament in the Conservative Party is that something does not have to be true, but they just say it.
    They are trying to imply that this government is not proactive in our western provinces. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have no problem comparing what the Liberal government has done with what Stephen Harper did in his 10 years in office, on things such as the infrastructure program, the western diversification fund, and the pipelines. On the pipeline issue, over 99% of oil, the commodity, went to the United States when Stephen Harper first became prime minister, and when he left office, it was still over 99%. The Liberal government is investing hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in Alberta to ensure that there is a healthier, more robust future for the province of Alberta.
    Could the member tell us when we can anticipate that the Conservatives will be more straightforward and truthful with regard to what this government is doing, and that this government has been far more proactive in western Canada than Stephen Harper ever was?
    Mr. Speaker, I always enjoy hearing the member talk. He should look in the mirror and think about what he is talking about. I do not know what planet he is living on. Is he living in Alberta? He says he represents Winnipeg. Does he know that all three prairie governments do not share his vision? There is no prairie Liberal government. None of them agree with the nonsense he is talking about. He should go and talk to the provincial governments to find out what is happening in the provinces before he stands up talks about the Harper government.
    We are talking about the fall economic statement by his government, and what he is saying it is going to do. He should not forget—
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Bow River.

  (1655)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments made by my esteemed colleague.
    One of the things we heard from the government when we talked about Alberta was that it had extended EI. That is not what people are looking for. They are looking for jobs, not handouts or bailouts. They need regulations changed. That was not in the economic update.
    How would the member respond to constituents in the resource sector? Are they looking for more EI or are they looking for jobs?
    Mr. Speaker, that is an excellent question from my colleague, who happens to also be an Alberta member of Parliament. That is a great question. It is simple and straightforward.
    EI is a temporary solution. EI is not and has never been a permanent solution. We want permanent solutions. The permanent solution is straight and simple: jobs, jobs, jobs.
    The government is talking about the economy doing well. The Liberals had a surplus, and what they did is they spent everything. The government has now created a situation where we are losing jobs across the country. Today we lost jobs in Ontario. Yesterday we lost jobs in Alberta. The Minister of Innovation got up during question period and tried to say how many jobs were created. That is a normal situation in a country. Nitpicking areas is not.
     It is what has happened in Oshawa and what is happening in Alberta that is concerning. It is sending a message that the economic management by the government is a disaster for the country.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and debate Bill C-86 and the economic update. This is another omnibus bill that brings into force new spending increases, adding even more to the national debt and reaffirms that the government will continue to borrow, borrow, borrow, with no plan to balance the budget. Canadians are frustrated by the overspending and inept spending of the Liberal government, while growing new boards, commissions and bureaucracy that tie up the true job creators in Canada.
    Canadians see our economy as being attacked by the federal government with untenable regulations, tariffs, poor international negotiating, and thank goodness it was a whole-of-government and friends approach, interference, indecision and fake consultation. This creates an environment that no international company wants to waste its time on. Canadian small businesses are running out of resources and laying off workers.
    Today we heard from GM that the plant in Oshawa is going to be closed. Under the Prime Minister's watch, over 2,500 direct plus 5,000 other jobs across the province of Ontario are being affected. From the way the Liberals spoke today in QP, one would think this was the first time this was happening. My word, this is only one of many situations, like General Electric in Peterborough which has closed with 358 jobs gone. Campbell soup company in Toronto closed and 380 jobs have been lost. Proctor & Gamble in Brockville closed and 500 jobs are gone. Grenville Castings in Perth closed and 380 jobs gone. A Dixie cup plant in Brampton closed and 133 jobs are gone. A carpet manufacturing plant in Waterloo closed and 256 jobs are gone. An Oreo cookie plant in Montreal closed and 454 jobs are gone.
    This is a crisis we are facing in Canada and the government is destroying our economy. Manufacturers in my riding of Yorkton—Melville are desperate for the steel and aluminum import and export tariffs to be removed. They are running out of capital and laying off workers. That passive income the government claimed belonged to them is turning into fumes. There is nothing left for investment in their businesses or preparing for their own retirements. They are just trying to save people's jobs.
    To add insult to injury, while the Liberals targeted small businesses with new tax penalties for saving within their company or sharing their business earnings within their family, the Prime Minister protected his trust fund inheritance and his finance minister's billion dollar family business from these tax hikes.
    In the first three years of the Liberal government being in power, it will have added $60 billion to the national debt. Last year, Canada's national debt reached an all-time high of $670 billion, or $47,612 per Canadian family. As a result of the Prime Minister's reckless borrowing, last year the Liberals spent $23 billion just to service the national debt. That is $23 billion just on interest last year. By 2023, the Parliamentary Budget Officer says that amount will rise to $37 billion, a 60% increase. The Liberals will be spending more on debt interest than we currently spend on health transfers across this country.
    I know these numbers are hard to comprehend for all of us to truly fathom the extent to which the government is willing to go to announce and mislead. Its intention is to delay, deny and wait until people die. Oh, no, that is the approach the government has to meeting the needs of our veterans as the number who deserve care are in a fishbowl with 29,000 of their comrades. When it comes to our job creators like the resource and manufacturing industries, its approach is to actually compromise, control and then wave goodbye.
    The government was blessed with an influx of $20 billion. A responsible government would have paid down the debt so that we would have more fiscal room in case there was a downturn, but instead, the Liberals blew through it and added another $18 billion to the national debt this year.
    Here we are facing a downturn in manufacturing and resource development with less and less need for our products as the U.S. becomes more and more self-sufficient and is a growing provider of the resources we once provided it. There is no means to get our oil to customers offshore because the government has so desperately underperformed on empowering and growing our economy. The government needs to stop the reckless spending and balance the budget so that future generations are not stuck with the burden of trying to consolidate the national debt.

  (1700)  

    The average income tax bill for middle-class families has increased by $840, not including the new carbon taxes and payroll tax hikes. It does not matter how many times the Liberals say out loud that somehow Canadians have more money in their pockets, the Parliamentary Budget Officer does not agree. Since the Liberals came to power, 81% of middle-income Canadians are seeing higher taxes.
    It is important to mention that a media tax credit will do nothing to help Canadian families struggling to make ends meet, and buying up media outlets prior to a general election is not a reasonable budget expense.
    The many small newspaper outlets in my riding that provide such a crucial service to their communities are struggling, but I have to say that I have absolutely zero confidence that any of the now $595 million plus that the government is allowing the media to self-regulate will make it to where their needs are. Why? The money is not going to rural Canada where the Liberals do not care about the towns, villages and smaller cities that house the families and employees of the economic drivers of our nation in resource development, agriculture and manufacturing.
    The government's overwhelming tax hikes and new regulations are making it harder and harder to grow and operate local businesses in Canada. This includes the Liberals' job-killing carbon tax that will not reduce emissions and will only punish families and small businesses. The government is increasing CPP and EI, which impacts small businesses. The government is increasing personal income tax rates for entrepreneurs, and changes to the small business tax rate will disqualify thousands of local businesses.
    Businesses in Canada expected to some degree the challenge that was going to come from the south with tariffs, but at a time when they are facing these international barriers and these increased taxes from the government, they never could have imagined that it would be their own government trying to shut them down. It is as if the Prime Minister wants to ship Canadian jobs and investment to the United States.
    The finance minister's omnibus budget bill only reinforces his out-of-control spending and major tax increases. It is clear that the Liberals are incapable of managing the federal budget.
    The Conservative government dealt with the worst global depression since the 1930s, and yes, ran deficits, increased the debt and even tightened spending across government. As a result, former prime minister Harper, the late Mr. Flaherty and Canada were recognized internationally as the most fiscally responsible prime minister, finance minister and country in the world, the last in and the first out of the depression.
    The current Prime Minister and finance minister are breaking their promises, increasing taxes, destroying and inhibiting investment and putting Canada into a tailspin that will take years of good government to correct. The Liberal government under the current Prime Minister is following in the footsteps of the Prime Minister's father, and believe me, I am old enough, unfortunately, to remember both of these points in history. I remember personally the damage done. I remember personally how it impacted our small business, our family and our savings. It was devastating.
    However, not to fear, the Conservatives are here. Soon Canadians will have a government that will end the raid on future generations, eliminate deficits, manage the national debt, and grow our economy while taking care of our environment. I am part of what will be a government that is truly fiscally responsible.

  (1705)  

    Mr. Speaker, I found the hon. member's statement interesting although largely a piece of fiction, particularly when it came to our government's record of job creation. Over half a million more Canadians are working today than when we took office in 2015.
    My question pertains to one comment that the hon. member made during her remarks. She suggested that our plan to put a price on pollution will not reduce emissions. I note in particular that Stephen Harper's former director of policy recommends the approach taken by the federal government. I note in particular Doug Ford's chief budget adviser has suggested that putting a price on pollution is the single most important thing we can do to transition to a low-carbon economy. I note in particular that this year's Nobel Prize in economics was awarded to a gentleman who has come up with a plan that we are now implementing.
    I am curious. If the member wants to base her argument on fact, can she point to one leading expert who has suggested that putting a price on pollution would not lead to an emissions reduction?
    Mr. Speaker, I know that the Liberals are desperate to make this work for them because they have committed to it to a point where they have no choice but to carry forward. My only concern is that we might, heaven forbid, give them the opportunity to do that. I am certainly hoping that Canadians will not allow that to happen, because we know that provinces across this country have said no, that they are not prepared to do that. They have not said it because they are provincial leaders; they have said it because Canadians across this country have said very clearly that they cannot have and do not want a carbon tax.
     I am more than aware of multiple ways that we are continuing, in my province, to deal with our environment in a very responsible and capable way to improve production, to improve growth and to protect our environment without having to be penalized by this carbon tax. This is a tax grab. Tha